Marie Claire - US
Being A Female CEO Is Not My Identity Image Credit: Marie Claire - US
Being A Female CEO Is Not My Identity Image Credit: Marie Claire - US

Being A Female CEO Is Not My Identity

Sadie Lincoln thought that building her dream company, Barre3, would lead to happiness. Despite the success of her business, she soon realized the culture that surrounds female founders was in need of a major rethink.

Megan Ditrolio

I have been in the fitness industry since I was 19 years old. My first job after grad school was at 24 Hour Fitness, where I worked with founder and former CEO Mark Mastrov and helped grow the company from nearly 20 gyms to more than 400 over 11 years (with the guy who would become my husband, Chris Lincoln). When I was there, I started looking into the data behind fitness, and it was pretty clear: Most people did not have a healthy relationship with fitness. Our overall collective health is on the decline, and lifestyle-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, not to mention emotional diseases like anxiety, depression, body-image issues, and eating disorders, are alarmingly high. We are not well, and yet the health-club industry has grown close to 35 percent over the past 10 years. I was in the middle of this booming $30 billion industry and identified with fitness as my career, but I was really unhappy with my own body, my energy levels, and my confidence.

Chris and I had good jobs, a house with a view, and two healthy kids, so everything seemed to be lining up. But despite those achievements, I was lonely and unhappy. I thought there was something wrong with me. Chris came to me one day with a spreadsheet that he had kept tucked in his pocket for weeks. It was an analysis of how we could sell our house, not work for a year, and raise our kids together. We ended up using the money we earned by selling our house to build our dream company, Barre3, to redefine what

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