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Conversations with the Inspiring Shalisa Pouw

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shalisa Pouw.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Ok, here goes… but “where I am today” is definitely still a work in progress. 😉

I have lived in Colorado my whole life. I was born in Denver and then moved to Golden from elementary school through high school. I stayed in state and attended CU Boulder, where I got a BA in Sociology (after three years as a Dance Major) and was a member of the dance team. Right out of college, I made the Denver Nuggets Dancers and continued with the team for two years. Growing up, I was involved in a ton of activities, but dance was always a constant and my main focus.

After leaving the Nuggets Dancers, I spent a little time finding myself… working as a bartender, waitress, administrative assistant, retail manager… but I always felt like something was missing. One day in 2009, while sitting at my desk and searching part-time jobs on Craigslist, I came across an ad for a new dance-based fitness studio called Pure Barre coming to Denver. I had no idea what it was, but I applied, met the owner Lindsey (who is now one of my closest friends) at Starbucks and was on a plane to Nashville to train! I fell in love with the technique pretty much immediately, began teaching, and brought my best friend and former Nuggets teammate, Mish, into class to see what it was all about. We had always thought we should start some sort of business together, and when Pure Barre began franchising… we jumped on our chance! We opened the Boulder Pure Barre studio at the end of 2010!

I learned more about business in the first year of owning our franchise than I could have ever imagined. From leasing a space to construction to franchise agreements (those are really long BTW) to hiring teachers to market, we threw ourselves in head first. It wasn’t always a smooth ride, but we were able to build an amazing community of clients and staff and a successful business all while maintaining our friendship!

During my time with Pure Barre, I also had the amazing honor of being a Master Teacher Trainer and traveling the country to meet and train teachers. During my time as an MTT, I really found my voice and my passion for inspiring women both in and out of the studio. It was so amazing to help people grow professionally and to leave them with the tools they needed to be the best in the biz. I also realized the power of community and began using my social media to connect with that amazing community.

After passing the Pure Barre Boulder torch on in 2017, I was looking for something to both fill my time and help me find a new way to follow my passion or empowering and connecting with women. Out of the blue, I got a DM from someone at Bumble asking me to help create partnerships and throw events in Denver. It only took me about 2 minutes of research to know that this was the opportunity I was waiting for. Bumble’s mission so perfectly aligned with my own, so I took the position and have been throwing Bumble events around town for just under a year and a half! The events are usually themed around one of our three platforms: Date, BFF & Bizz. They are always about making real-life connections, empowering women to “Make the First Move” is all aspects of life, and promoting a kind and safe environment for everyone involved.

In addition to my gig with Bumble, I recently stepped into the role of Executive Producer for DiningOut Events ( company owned by my fiancé) and get to produce some pretty amazing food festivals: Chicken Fight!, Top Taco & Rare. We also came up with the crazy idea to throw a wedding festival where ten couples get married together on one stage and Ben Higgins from The Bachelor is the host! It’s called The Wedding Party and you will be seeing plenty of us as we are creating a full web series of videos leading up to the big day on September 1st.

Lastly, I still teach Pure Barre in Denver and I have been teaching spin at Rush Cycle Denver for a year! It is completely different from Pure Barre but allows me a new way to motivate and inspire people through fitness. These are my happy places. 🙂

And if that wasn’t enough, I have a few more big ideas up my sleeves…

Has it been a smooth road?
I think there have definitely been moments of smooth sailing, followed by moments where the road has been so bumpy that I wasn’t sure if I could go on.

Starting out, I faced a ton of challenges being a young woman opening a business. There were plenty of times where I felt belittled or underestimated, but I wouldn’t change those for the world. Growing up, I was always sweet and shy. I never rocked the boat and always followed the rules. Becoming a business owner helped me develop my voice and my confidence. It forced me to believe in myself when nobody else did and to stand up to people when I needed to.

My advice for women starting out is to find a mentor. Find someone who has been through the obstacles that are in front of you and have come out on the other side. Find someone to encourage you when doubt and fear start to creep in. There is so much power in the human connection and having someone to go to when you aren’t sure what your next step should be.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
Fitness – I teach spin at Rush Cycle Denver & Pure Barre. I am known for hard classes with a lot of motivation and heart. I am proud to have been a Master Teacher in Pure Barre and recently became a Master Teacher for Rush Cycle. I love training trainers and passing along my years of knowledge to them! I also use my social media (@Shalisa_p) to talk about fitness tips, motivation, etc!

Events – I produce both large festivals for DiningOut Events and smaller events for Bumble. My favorite events have an element of connection and empowering the attendees, whether they are business networking or fitness events.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
My mom has definitely inspired me. She taught me to work hard, but more importantly, she taught me the importance of helping people. My dad is a pastor for an Indonesian church, and my mom takes care of the entire congregation… all the way to the point where she has taken in two of the teenagers as her own. She was our bookkeeper for Pure Barre and is my go-to for pretty much any question in the book!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sara Palandeng & Julia Vandenoever

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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