Shirley Garrett owner of Leaps & Bounds.

Shirley Garrett owner of Leaps & Bounds Fitness.

Shirley Garrett, Vancouver business woman and owner of Leaps & Bounds Personal Training and Clinical Exercise joined the South Surrey Board of GroYourBiz (GYB) in November, 2013. She was introduced to the group by another GYB member who thought Garrett might be interested in growing her business.

“I was invited to a meeting and after the first visit, I knew this was a group I could enjoy meeting with. I’m not a “marketer” by nature, however after opening a high-end studio with a business model that required a small team of personal trainers, I soon realized my dream of training clients was being overwhelmed by the important task of growing my business. So GroYourBiz seemed like a perfect fit,” said Garrett.

Gaining confidence and becoming empowered by other women is a topic widely discussed by women in business. Garrett says confidence is something she’s often struggled with, since joining GYB she’s now more confident when talking to other business owners and potential clients.

GroYourBiz has given me first-hand access to wonderful women who also own businesses and have struggled with the exact issues I face. There’s been no other group or person who’s made such a difference in my confidence, marketing skills, adjusting my thought process and finding unexpected resources,” said Garrett.

A common belief among women in businesses is that women work on a different level than men, which is why women focused business groups are gaining traction.

“There seems to be more enthusiasm and real support (not just talk) from women in the group. I believe it’s because they all face similar challenges with time management, running households, staying healthy, etc. The approaches and suggestions usually seem more possible for me to take seriously, they just seem more doable than when I receive advice from business men,” she said.

Garrett has used GYB to not only strengthen her business but also used the meetings to share her knowledge as a personal trainer with other board members, effectively empowering them to maintain a healthy work life balance. After three months of admissions by group members that they weren’t as active as they wanted to be, Garrett decided to make a difference.

“I offered to setup a twice-weekly circuit in my gym. We decided on a time that would suit most working women/business owners and got started the following week,” said Garrett.

Keeping with the fitness regime members of her GYB Advisory Board collectively decided to use Fitbit wristbands, which track steps, distance, and calories burned.

leapsandbounds“Using Fitbit has made our group motivated to be more active, they’re counting their steps and calories burned every day. The fun and the laughs we enjoy as we compare stats from the Fitbits are another component that make us feel like we’re not running our businesses alone,” said Garrett.

Garrett says it’s not only the advice from board members and being able to offer others advice that she finds helpful in an all women group, she says she’s most inspired by her biggest supporter Hanne Madsen, chair of the South Surrey and Kamloops Advisory Boards of GroYourBiz.

“Hanne has been an enormous influence for me and the others in our group. She wastes no time and spares no effort in putting us in touch with someone that may be able to help our business move in a good direction. I would say Hanne is the main reason I’ve benefitted so much in such a short time. She is very, very special!” said Garrett.

How have you benefited from working with all women business boards? Let me know in the comments section below.

Interested in learning from female peers in your area? Visit to find a location close to you.

cathyearleCathy Earle is a member of the GroYourBiz Kamloops Chapter. Through her company Peaks Media she consults clients in Canada and Australia on how to get the most out of their internet presence through web and social media integration. She writes a monthly blog post on GroYourBiz chapter members entrepreneurial  successes.