Thursday 25 August 2016

2inspire Inspirational Woman: Lucy Kenefick Founder of Crossfit Return

Meet Lucy Kenefick Founder of Crossfit Return Gym who has a dream and made it into a reality! 

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?  My day to day schedule can vary depending on how many classes I have for the day.  I rise at 5.30am to be in gym for 6am for the first class of the day.  I train myself after the class and hit the computer for a few hours doing my daily admin work.  If we have a lunch class on that day I will be there for that and then again back to classes in the evening from 4pm to close, group and individual sessions.  I have a fantastic team of coaches with me and we work together to balance our schedules and work/ life attitudes, as a team.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?  I was doing CrossFit as a hobby in Melbourne, Australia back in 2010 and found it a very challenging yet rewarding and fulfilling activity. At the time I was working in investment banking and thought I had my life wants sussed, the proverbial boxes ticked and Ts crossed...  But deep down I knew something wasn’t sitting right but I chose to ignore it.   One sunny Saturday morning after training a flippant comment about opening my own CrossFit gym took some momentum and what was originally a joke started to become real.  Myself and my brother, Chris decided to work together on this mutual project and bring, what we thought would be, a very beneficial and fantastic service back to Cork, Ireland.  Looking back on it now it was a massive risk, to leave successful jobs and our comfort zones especially in recession times, to start from scratch but we both had the fire in our bellies and the belief that it would work.  Four years later I am thrilled to say it did!!

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?  There has been many, luckily but the one that sticks out in my mind as the most rewarding was celebrating our 1st birthday with our members, family and friends.  Chris and I had worked so hard with very little financial reward and sleep for 18 months prior to that but to see our new community come together and see people improve and enjoy our gym, that was payment in itself.  Cheesy but true!!

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?  Honestly and I hope he won’t mind me saying so but working with my brother!  We have always been very close siblings but working together professionally did pose its challenges. We had clear roles from initial set up but personalities did clash every so often and as most siblings can attest to, we didn’t like being told what to do by the other…  We luckily had the maturity to sit down when necessary and talk things out and get back on track, keeping focus on the business and openness and understanding in our personal relationship.

What are your future plans for the business? To keep growing and keep providing the best service and facility we can to our members.  We pride ourselves on being professional and personable with all our members and will continue to ensure they feel comfortable but get value for their money and see results!! 

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?  From an administration perspective I would have better procedures and systems in place sooner, to make the work load lighter and easier.  And not be so slow to ask for help from the professionals in their industry, you can never know it all!!

Realistically I have found in business we are our own worst critics and would usually do things better in hind sight but overall, to date, we’ve done a pretty good job. 

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?  When I was growing up there was always a bigger emphasis on men participating, engaging and succeeding in the professional world and to a certain extent this would have directed my decisions as a young girl.  But when I started CrossFit in my late 20s I got a certain feeling of empowerment from it that I never experienced before.  It gave me a confidence that no dress or pair of shoes ever did and it allowed me to get to know myself better, know my capabilities and push my self-imposed boundaries.  In turn having this control and energy gave me the confidence to change my career path and change my life.  I have learned that women are amazing humans, resilient and often humble, more so in the last 4 years in the gym.  Our female members push as hard if not harder than the men. We are most definitely a unisex gym. 

Women, like men can do what they want to do, be it run their own business, be a mother, climb the corporate ladder or follow a creative path.  The earlier we can teach and assure these young girls and inspire them to follow their dreams and aspirations the better!!

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?  Read as much as you can from as many as sources as you can and have a definite idea of what and how you are going to run your business.  In the fitness industry there are many trains of thought, old school and new, which is often conflicting and confusing.  There will always be a few people out there that are not with you, just ignore and focus on those who help you and want your help.

What or who inspires you in business and why?  In business I take a lot of strength and direction from my girlfriends.  They all work in fast paced, stressful, male dominated industries and still manage to work full hours, raise families and be good, dependable friends.  That is real life to me and very encouraging and focusing.  They deserve the credit in my eyes and not the celebrity business guys that make millions!

What is your favourite inspirational quote?  Carpe Diem – so much so I have it tattooed on my wrist to remind me every day!

Lucy Kenefick
CrossFit Return
Dosco Industrial Estate
South Douglas Road
087 191 3242

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