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Monthly Member Meetup Speaker Spotlight: Anne O’Brien

The avid Indianapolis advocate discusses how she combined her passion for events and her personal fitness journey to create a successful business.
Monthly Member Meetup Sweat and Sip- Sweat and Sip

When the pandemic hit, Anne O’Brien knew she needed to change something in her life to improve her mood and motivation—so, she began making strides in her personal fitness journey. She eventually combined her passions for marketing—events in particular—and fitness to create Sweat & Sip pop-up fitness parties. We are so excited to partner with Anne at our June monthly member meetup on Tuesday, June 29 and caught up with her beforehand to find out more about her and her organization.

Sweat & Sip is basically brand new! What inspired you to start this organization?

The idea of Sweat & Sip came about because I’m leaning into a unique intersection—an intersection where my own curiosity and personal fitness journey met my passion for planning events and building community. 

There is no doubt that the past year has been a challenging one for everyone … myself included. In early 2020, I started working out more regularly and began exploring different kinds of fitness. I noticed how getting active made me feel good; not only physically, but even more so mentally. I wanted to learn more about fitness, and talk to others about it. 

It was a challenge to find ways to socialize and meet others, and so I felt like there was something missing. I kept thinking about ways to create a fun community for people to explore fitness together and to ensure there was time to connect and learn from each other. Of course, what better way to socialize than with a drink in hand? And so, it is with this sense of curiosity of fitness, desire to connect with others that I created this idea of pop-up fitness events called Sweat & Sip. I can’t wait to enjoy this with you … both friends old and new!

Congrats on your recent kickoff! What have you already learned from this first event?

Sweat and Sip Launch Group PhotoThank you! I’ve learned that 1) people are really excited to be together in a social setting. Our launch party “concluded” and everyone stuck around to keep talking and enjoying getting to know each other and have community. We discussed what kinds of fitness we liked, and also how important it was to prioritize staying active not only for our physical health but mental as well! And I learned that 2) people are open to trying new things. The first Sweat & Sip event featured a power yoga session. Some attendees had never tried yoga and assumed they wouldn’t like it, but then they left raving about it and buying tickets to our next yoga event in July!

Can you share more about your career journey?

In my decade of working in marketing and events, I have discovered my personal mission to create an inspired community through shared experiences and media.

I work as a freelance event producer through my own company called Indy Inspired and enjoy partnering with organizations to make their event visions come to life (in-person and virtual). I am an entrepreneur at heart and recently started producing my own events, the first of which is a series of pop-up outdoor fitness parties called Sweat & Sip. I also serve as the director of events with EDGE Mentoring where I am currently focusing special attention to the annual conference, EDGE|X. Previously, I was the vice president of marketing and communications at the Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Palladium, where I began as the founding marketing manager in a start-up capacity as we opened to the public in 2011 and established marketing and communications operations from the (literal) ground up.

 
 
 
 
 
 
What has your personal relationship with fitness been like?

I used to be intimidated by the idea of “fitness.” It felt like something I had to check off my to-do list but I didn’t have the motivation. Since I viewed it as more of an obligation, I went through short phases of commitment but it always tapered off and I felt like I failed.

In the spring of 2020, I experienced several mental challenges. I had no motivation, little energy, and felt pretty lost. My friend and I started working out more together and I learned that working out could be FUN. I also learned that if I moved my body and got active in some way, I actually had more motivation, more energy, and more focus. Yes, working out regularly helped me start fitting into my clothes better, but my motivator now isn’t about appearance, it’s more about my mental health — giving me energy and challenging myself to build my self-confidence. 

Should people have previous experience with these types of workouts before attending an event?

Sweat and Sip Launch ExercisingNo experience necessary! Sweat & Sip events are essentially social events that include a group fitness activity. If you have interest in moving your body and getting active in a fun and welcoming atmosphere, join us! We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and this is a way to just have fun out in the community while getting active.

What advice do you have for women who want to explore fitness but are intimidated or have had previous unhealthy relationships with food or the gym?

A Sweat & Sip event might be just the perfect thing for you to try! Our events are fun and we are purposefully trying new things, so we definitely don’t take ourselves too seriously. It makes fitness accessible, and we are a supportive and welcoming community—I invite you to try it out! 

How is the upcoming Indy Maven event going to be unique for Sweat & Sip?

This event features three different types of fitness! Most Sweat & Sip is a full workout for 45-60 minutes featuring one instructor, but for this Indy Maven event, we thought it would be fun to showcase a few different instructors who teach different types of fitness. I hope that it might be a chance for the attending women to experience something new or maybe outside of their comfort zone—maybe someone will leave with a new favorite way to have FUN with fitness!

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Can you share more about each of the fitness instructors that will be at the event?

Sarah Windsor has been practicing yoga for over 10 years and teaching for just over a year now. Yoga helped her get through the most difficult days of her life back when she was a caretaker for her late father who suffered from Alzheimer’s. One of the reasons that drove her to share her love of yoga is the hope that she can pay it forward, one hour at a time, and help anyone who may need an hour of self care like she desperately did when she found this practice.

Johnette Cruz helps elevate people’s lives through personal nutrition plans and high energy dance workouts. She loves educating and coaching others to become the best version of themselves to live life to their fullest potential.

Achzionna Riding is a personal trainer, fitness instructor and sports performance coach at Fit Flex Fly. She works with people of all ages at different stages in their fitness journey Her passion is to magnify strengths and come alongside weaknesses to ensure each individual she works with is becoming the best version of themselves.

We are so grateful to the other event sponsors, including Indianapolis Art Center, Vino Mobile Bar, DJ Wild Woman, and Rad Designs. Can you share more about each of the sponsors and what we can expect from them?

It is so exciting to partner with these companies and individuals!

The Indianapolis Art Center is an incredible venue—especially considering Indy Maven’s June outdoor theme of outdoors. The campus includes ArtsPark, which is 9.5 acres of interactive sculptures and scenery. The Center itself offers hundreds of art classes, over fifty art exhibitions across six art galleries, and outreach programs. Their new exhibition “Women’s Work” is being installed right now and will be up for the Indy Maven Sweat & Sip event. This exhibition showcases some amazing work from female artists.

Vino Mobile Bar features “Vinny” and “Vito” – the very first Independent ‘Wine Trucks’ in the State of Indiana. Their chic mobile wine trucks are a fun addition to events, bringing the libations to the celebrations. Owned by self-described serial entrepreneur Jenn Kampemeier (also an Indy Maven member!) who has over 13 businesses under her belt and is also an event planner.

DJ Wild Woman graduated from local DJ school, Deckademics, and has performed at various spots around Indianapolis. She likes to play a mix of Top 40 hits along with lesser-known music that will expand your musical palette while keeping the mood upbeat. She strives to avoid misogynistic songs as there’s plenty of other music to choose from. She believes that music is built on community. I also find her story especially inspiring because she also has a full time job as a financial analyst! 

RAD Designs & Rentals is owned by Kristin Stayer, Kristin’s hope is to design spaces that help you find your tribe, connect in a meaningful way with new or old friends, elevate a typical event to a rad event, and make the world a little more beautiful. From weddings, to dining with friends, to corporate events, Rad Designs creates a special vibe that adds great energy to events! 

Simplicity Juice will be offering samples of their juice too! Simplicity Juice is a local women-owned small business that uses 100% recycled and recyclable bottles. It’s fresh produce with no added sugar or artificial anything. I sampled their juice at an event a while back and have been hooked ever since! I love including a wellness-oriented drink as part of the “Sip” in “Sweat & Sip”! 

At Indy Maven, we love to dream big. What are your big plans for Sweat & Sip?

This is why I love Indy Maven—I love to dream big, too! Sweat & Sip is just now in its beginning stages and we’re in experiential mode. People are starting to learn about our pop-up events and are reaching out to partner, which is so exciting! In the future I would love to work with fitness studios, nonprofits, and companies to form community through the enjoyment of physical activity and socializing. Someday I would love to produce or participate in a large-scale festival, and perhaps take Sweat & Sip outside of Indiana!

To learn more about Sweat & Sip, visit https://www.sweatandsip.org/ 

The Maven Member Meetup series gives Indy Maven members the opportunity to connect, laugh, learn, and vent each month. Members: Check your email inbox or the Facebook group for the link to register for this event. Not yet a member? Become one so you can attend the monthly member meetups AND receive all the other awesome Indy Maven member perks!


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