Sasha Williams, owner of 3 businesses and creator of Food Medicine Life, is passionate for guiding women toward a healthy lifestyle. As a vegan chef, yoga instructor, personal trainer and bikini competitor, Sasha’s wholistic and fit lifestyle is just the inspiration we need after a long summer of cookouts.
With a background in economics, real estate, and even dance – business was proven to be a natural fit for Sasha and was a driving force behind her third business, fitness and nutrition consulting with her own private studio here in South Side. Seeing a go-getting woman balance three businesses and a healthy lifestyle is just the motivation we admire around #DivaHQ. This week, we’re chatting with Sasha Williams and getting to know more behind her biz-worthy credentials and passionate persona that made her the success she is today.
Q: Tell us a bit about your profession/company
A: I actually run THREE companies. I know, I’m nuts. We have 2 Oil and Gas engineering firms – one in Calgary, Canada & one here in Pittsburgh. We design facilities, pipelines and more for producers in the Oil & Gas business. I also run my own fitness & nutrition consulting business with a small private studio on the South Side. I have a B.Com in Economics from the University of British Columbia – with a diploma in Urban Land Economics. Being from Vancouver originally, Real Estate is what it’s all about.
Q: How did you get started in your career?
A: I started working in Real Estate at 18 in Commercial Property Management, moved on to a mix of Commercial/Industrial/Hotel/Residential construction & management for both private & public companies. I put myself through university while working full time. Before this jump, I was a dancer (ballet/tap/jazz/theater/lyrical) for a total of 23 years. When I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to make a career out of it (sadly enough) I pushed harder into Real Estate. I always had a passion for competition which drove me to pursue competitive ballroom dance and then (after an injury) competitive bodybuilding. I began to take night and online courses in nutrition, fitness, herbalism, personal training etc… in 2006. Food/Fitness are my passion so I like to keep one toe in the water at all times by training clients in person and online.
Q: Do you have any tips for professional women?
A: Keep pushing. We have so many talents and so much to give to the business community that we can’t let setbacks of any kind get in our way. I have worked in 2 of the most “old boys club” industries out there and have had a flourishing career by being who I am, truly. With age comes wisdom and at first, I really tried to play a role that I thought would “do better” in those industries…but really all I was doing was being untrue to myself. I stifled my opinions, wore clothing that made me feel like I was playing dress up, hid my tattoos and any trace of my BIG personality. That really did nothing but hold me back.
Be responsive, be kind and be open minded because you NEVER know who you might want to be doing business with in the future. Success doesn’t look like it used to and open-mindedness really has kept all my businesses going. That, and a healthy side of sass.
Q: What do you love about working in Pittsburgh?
A: Pittsburgh is a “little big city” to me. When I first moved here I thought “oh wow, big American city”…then I settled in and realized that while the population is great, the vibe here is less “Manhattan” if that makes sense? It’s been a real interesting challenge to wrap my head around business development, client relations and the culture here, but after two years, I still love it. There’s a fun vibe in the air, most folks you meet are pretty friendly and there are a good number of expats here as well which makes for great “coming to America” stories. Definitely a good place for a start up of any kind if you can wrap your head around your target market.
Q: Any big plans for the future?
A: Yes! Always big plans. We have a lot of ground to cover with our Engineering business by offering a lot of services unheard of in this area. We really have gained momentum in the last 8 months and we are looking forward to growing our team significantly in the next 12. We are starting a blog/vlog on our entrepreneurial adventures highlighting taking business development on the road, travel & keeping fit/sane while working throughout Canada, the US & possibly Mexico. My PT/Nutrition business has nearly reached full scale so, I’m taking very few new clients in now to make sure I have some balance in my life. By 40 you start to realize that 6 hours sleep isn’t going to cut it anymore and sleep deprivation really impacts productivity. I think I will be competing in my last bodybuilding shows this fall/winter so that I can focus more on growing our businesses to a saleable size.
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