• findSisterhood

Lauren Foundos

Founder and CEO of FORTË


Tell us about your career and how it all started?

Working out has been instrumental in helping me stay focused and grounded. My earliest memories are all about playing sports and being active. I would have spent every minute outside if my parents would have allowed me to, but fortunately they strongly advised me to focus on school for which I’m thankful today. I wanted to be a professional ice hockey player like Pierre Turgeon from the NY Islanders as a child. I managed to play enough street hockey with my garage door, and became a two-time all-American field hockey player and went on to play Division 1 at the University ofMaryland for the nation’s top ranked program. I spent ten years working on Wall Street where I had to be at work very early. Working out in the

morning before work became increasingly more difficult, so I started taking my clients to work out with me prior to our evening events. That was the catalyst for the FORTË concept. I was self-motivated when it came to working out my entire life and steered clear of studios; but once I began dabbling, I was immediately hooked by the energy and unspoken camaraderie within the room. As I began to build friendships within the fitness industry, I started to realize that what seemed so obvious wasn’t being done. Studios wanted to offer ‘streaming services,’ but it’s costly, and streaming is not their strength (building technology in fact would be an entirely different business for a studio). After rounding up a handful of excited studios and building my incredibly talented team, the journey began. We are empowering the best brands in boutique fitness and elite coaches from around the world to reach far beyond the confines of their studio walls. They are creating incredible content daily, and we are enabling them to share that with the world. The boutique fitness sector makes up over 42% of the fitness industry’s revenue; and with their increasing popularity, it was evident that I needed to find a way to empower studios and make it accessible to all.

What does sisterhood mean to you?

To me, sisterhood means supporting the women around me. Building one another up, helping one another, and most importantly being proud of the women around me when they achieve something great. I am not envious of other strong women in my orbit, rather I am truly proud to call them my friend. The key to sisterhood is support, we are a much more powerful force if we rise together.

What is your personal mantra?

I love the two quotes below, and repeat them to myself daily in an effort to remind myself that this journey will not be easy, and that anything is truly possible! There are lots of late nights and missed birthday parties as a founder, so these constant reminders help me to remain focused on my ultimate goal. It’s the hard work you put in when no one is watching that makes the difference. It always seem impossible until it’s done.

What is your superpower?

My superpower is self belief. I always tell myself that I am capable of anything, which makes me feel empowered, confident, and fueled with strength to face any challenges or problems that may arise. It begin to say and believe this positive self talk, then others begin to believe it, and productive things begin to follow. You think, believe, and feel this strength into reality. The first step is to truly believe in yourself, and then you are capable of anything.

Tell us about women that inspired you and your female role models:

My mother has always inspired me. She lives each day with such wonder, love, and compassion. She has taught me to be kind, generous, and honest to others. I truly believe that this code of ethics that she has engraved in me has helped me along my journey. At times doing what is right may not always be the way to make the most money, but in the long run I truly believe that those doing as my mother has taught me do (which is the right thing) will come out ahead in the end. I am thankful for her unconditional love, it inspires me to be the best person that I can be. My friend, Reshma Saujani is another true inspiration to me. She has taught over 40,000 girls to code, and is a leading force that is closing the gender gap in technology. She is brave, fearless, and unapologetically stands strong behind her beliefs. She is a true leader, and I love to watch her thrive and continue to make this world a better place.

What would be your advice for women who are building careers in your industry?

My advice for any woman that is looking to leave their job to become an entrepreneur is to trust yourself. Being an entrepreneur is by the far the hardest thing I have ever chosen to do in my life. It is not a 9-5. I have sacrificed everything in my life the last four years, but I always remind myself that if this was easy then everyone would also being doing it. With great risks come great rewards, and this journey is extremely mentally challenging but also extremely fulfilling. I used to absolutely love working on Wall Street and had I not left my job a few years ago, then I would have continued to believe that I had everything that I ever wanted. Now, I wake up every day and I am building a technology company in the fitness space, improving the well-being and lives of our users and actually making the world a better place, and now I can truly say that I have found a fulfilling job. I did not know what I was missing until I took the leap of faith to try something new, and for that I am extremely grateful. My advice to you, is to take risks. You may not succeed, and the odds are that you won’t but you may end up discovering your best possible place for you along that journey and that’s what it’s all about.

One piece of advice for your 18 year old self?

No one is you, and that is your superpower! There is no one on this earth quite like you. You should embrace your uniqueness because that is your secret power. I have learned over the years that you should never compare yourself to others, worry about what others think, and always follow your own path. That is the secret to success and happiness!

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