A letter from CEO + Founder Kirsten Potenza:
We’ve changed our sun room into an office and I’m currently sitting at the desk where I will work, at least through 2021. What will I create at this desk? What decisions will be made? How many fun and not-so-fun Zoom calls will I have here? I’ve always been a fan of wiping the slate clean – and that’s exactly what this feels like to me.
This year has been an experience I know I will have a hard time putting into words for a long, long time. It has been equally devastating as it has been life-altering. High highs and low lows, all felt across the world in a collective breath held, waiting to exhale and get back to “normal.” We all know it will never be normal again and that the future will look very different than it did in the past, but that’s okay. A “new normal” is upon us. That’s what brings us hope, right? We were given a chance to re-imagine the way things could be, reconstruct our normal, and reconnect with all of the little things that really matter.
For this, I am grateful. Beyond words.
Another thing I am grateful for is a huge milestone that we’ve hit as a company and a community. 2021 marks our tenth year. 10 YEARS. First of all, we kept a company alive for 10 years, holy crap. Second – WOW – how incredibly special this ride has been so far! So in light of all that we have done and are yet to do, I would like to take a moment to reflect on a few memories – maybe a few you’ve never heard before.
Some from the beginning: Leaving our first investor meeting and kindly having to ask for gas money. We wouldn’t have made it home that day without it. Playing “find the change” with Jeremy (my now husband) in our apartment to scrounge up enough money to eat that day. Pretty much everyone and their mother (including my mother) telling us that POUND was a silly idea. My tiny office in the closet of my house. Being told that I was too young and inexperienced to be a CEO (probably true). Reading through over 500 pages of legal documents all on my own (not knowing at all what I was doing) and proceeding to have a nervous breakdown where we had to call 911 (whoops). Kendall Hogan coming to one of our first POUND classes and leaving halfway through (devastating), but later emailing us to tell us how incredible the class was (intro to CRUNCH). The nights at CRUNCH Sunset where so many people packed the room that we fogged up the windows and couldn’t see out of the glass by the end. Classes where the floors would rumble and the music would pulse through our bodies as we moved together in unison. Our first trip across America where we met some of the most incredible instructors, who ultimately changed the course of POUND history.
Some from the middle: The first few international trips – Paris, Australia – where POUND met the world. The fear that people wouldn’t speak the language and the moment when we realized almost everyone does. From talk shows to offices in every Los Angeles neighborhood, sleepless nights and endless days. From 1,000 instructors to 10,000 to 20,000 and beyond. Bolt tattoos on bodies around the world and 3,000 person classes that would leave chills for days. FRIENDS made, everywhere. PEOPLE who all rode the same wavelength (how did we all find each other?). An infomercial, that actually didn’t feel like an infomercial (proud moment), to DVD’s filmed in the same recording studio as the Beatles, to Backstage and THE LABEL. Finally, filming tracks in places that weren’t my backyard and working in places that didn’t exist within my home. Warehouses and shipping companies, new accounts and big changes. Concepting a low-budget sizzle reel that would eventually go viral. Big wins. Big losses. BIG TIME lessons learned.
And Now: This is the year it all made complete sense. We let go of our office and collectively learned that material things and even spaces don’t make up the spirit of POUND. We Zoomed (so much) and realized that our connections with each other were what made it all tick. We all STEPPED up and stepped in, even when the hat was not ours. My team gave me time with my first born son, something I will NEVER forget. We taught virtually and learned that we will stop at nothing to give our community what it needs. We stood up for what was right, even when it was hard and more than our instagram following was at stake. We watched (and admired) our global community as they put on a happy face (and sometimes a costume) to SHOW up for those in need. I am not joking when I say you all saved lives this year. We knew human connection was important, but this year we felt it to our core. And as much as the world might have moved in a virtual direction, there isn’t an ounce in our bodies that doesn’t think we won’t come running, leaping, sprinting back to each other as soon as we can.
So here we are, on the cusp of the next 10 years, at the end of one of the hardest years we all have ever endured, and it’s an incredible feeling to say, “We’ve made it, we survived.” But it’s even more incredible to feel so hopeful about the next 10 years, thanks to the community we’ve built. So this year I want to give it back to YOU, our posse.
For the Pro who spends hours constructing the perfect class, for the mom or dad who spends those few spare minutes of their time Backstage, for the dedicated posse member who never skips class, for the nurse by day and badass rockstar by night, and for the grandparent who doesn’t let their age or ability keep them from rocking out…this year is for YOU.
POUND is nothing without our fitness rebels. So as we move into 2021 I hope to remind everyone of the power you hold. One conversation could lead someone to join you in class. One loving person could inspire change within a whole group. One kind word could make someone’s day. One daring action could change your path. One changed habit could change your life…just like ONE BEAT turned into noise heard all around the world.
So start the chain reaction. All it takes is one. You’ll never know where it might lead you. Thank you, Posse, for 10 years of Making Noise.