The interview below was featured on the website Exercise Jobs. What trainers do you know report for work at 10:00 am? Night owls rejoice. Sarah interviews the very successful night owl Gina Gutierrez, MS, General Manager and Holistic Lifestyle and Fitness Coach at DIAKADI. I truly enjoyed her interview and it got me day dreaming about perfectly blending your passion, your true self, and your work. Hopefully it will stir something in you as well. Enjoy. – Stacey
Incorporating skills in biomechanics, personal training, public relations and marketing are some amazing features that Gina Gutierrez has excelled in. Read on to find out what it takes to be a general manager of a successful training facility with over 60 trainers. – Sarah
Sarah Koszyk: What attracted you to the field of fitness and exercise? Gina Gutierrez, MS: I grew up in a life full of sports. From a young age, I was in ballet and a gymnast. I loved the competitive, healthy aspect of it. I loved feeling strong as a young girl … I remember surpassing all the boys in the President’s Fitness Pull Up Challenge in grade school. Oh yea!! But really, I thank my parents for empowering me at such a young age.
Following that ten years of my life, I started to play soccer and volleyball throughout grade school, high school, and club. In college, I was always active with intramural sports and that is when I started to focus more on weight training and running. My freshman year I was enrolled in pre-med studies and sophomore year is when I became more intrigued with movement and biomechanics. I switched my major to Exercise Science at that point. As challenging as it was, I knew I made a smart decision. I loved my classes.
Interest also sparked with my grandfather being a pharmacist and my mother working in a hospital. I was always around the medical field and found it so appealing. At the same time, my grandfather battled heart disease quite a bit and because of that I learned so much about the body and cardiac medicine. I wanted to get into a field that would care for such pain. I took on several internships in hospitals surrounding cardiac rehab. As rewarding as the job was it was treating patients after the diagnosis and surgery. That particular internship made me realize that I wanted to work with individuals that wanted to move and take care of their bodies and in the long run, hopefully never encounter heart disease.
Sports and movement was what I knew, was good at and enjoyed. I figured doing this everyday would be fun, fulfilling and worth sharing. To this day, I haven’t regretted what I do. I will always find myself creating new challenges and goals, trying new sports and sharing the goodness that I feel and live.
Your Job Title? General Manager and Holistic Lifestyle and Fitness Coach at DIAKADI
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you? It’s amazing how many trainers and clients are up and working out at 6am. If you know me, you know that will never happen! Haha! I applaud them. I’m a night owl. I love getting my consistent eight hours of sleep and waking up in the 7am hour. At that point, I wake up and prep breakfast with coffee and get ready for the day with the TODAY show, an audio book, or Pandora in the background. I enjoy my luxurious, easy-going morning and head into work between 930am -10am.
The beauty of my job is that every day is a bit different! I am always busy, always learning, and always having fun. My main priority is running our facility which consists of general operation, customer service, marketing, PR, recruitment, sales, design, you name it! At the same time, I do have three wonderful clients that I work with throughout the week. I love the hands on work with clients, but I have found my passion shift towards the creativity, organization, and management of building the brand and providing service that is DIAKADI.
One particular day may consist of three meetings in a row – checking in with a trainer about client referrals, finalizing an agreement, and spending time with a prospective trainer in a business development session. Following those meetings, I’ll catch up on some email and then plan for lunch. Usually, I’ll bring in my lunch because I like to save eating out for times with friends and family. During this time, I’ll catch up with some of my favorite blogs (right now I LOVE: www.daniellelaporte.com) or take notes on how I want to design my apartment. Following lunch, I could be diving into a website plan, brainstorming with co-owner Billy Polson, or assisting our staff and interns with projects.
At the end of the day I like to workout. I have a great fitness facility in my apartment complex. It’s peaceful, it’s my escape. Other nights I may go to a dance class or hike the Presidio. Then, the night owl I am … I will make dinner, watch a little TV, scribble down some design ideas, and maybe even read. Yea, my mind never rests!
How did you get your current job in fitness and exercise? I moved to SF from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to work on my Master’s Degree in Sport Management in 2004 from the USF . While in school, they were incredible at filtering job opportunities to us and I was always on the look out for something. DIAKADI had a connection with a professor in the program and posted a position. I saw it, interviewed, got it! It was right up my alley with my previous work experience. I have been very lucky to start off part-time as a business assistant right when DIAKADI opened and since then I have worked my way up in hours to full-time Operations Manager and now General Manager.
There’s a quote I love: “You are the average of the five people closest to you.” | Jim Rohn
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way? Tough question! I think I was born with great organization and creativity skills. An eye for detail. The ability to juggle a lot at once with grace (breathe!).
Along the way, I have learned to be more assertive, confident, ask questions, put ideas out there even when you doubt yourself.
I love the fact that you can learn so much in school – biomechanics, calculus, marketing, sociology – but what I have always taken away with me is what I learn in LIFE. By actual doing and learning in the field. By having great role models to learn from. My parents, caring brothers, lifelong friends, encouraging coworkers and passionate people you meet along
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you? Find your passion and do what you love. Surround yourself with people that inspire you. With that, success will come to you.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be? Travel … to have the opportunity to explore and relax in beautiful places around the world!