I created a female empowerment brand and movement called Never Too Pretty. It stems from my experience in boxing and how I was told I shouldn’t be boxing because I was a girl. This really stuck with me and I knew there were other girls and women in the world hearing the same thing whether they were basketball players, doctors, race car drivers, etc. It has been amazing to see the brand create and foster a female community that inspires and supports each other.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Cary Williams. Cary is the CEO of BOXING & BARBELLS. She has been a guest on many radio shows and television news shows. She is also a keynote speaker giving motivational speeches at venues and schools on a regular basis. In the boxing world, Cary boxed competitively in the amateurs and won the Pacific Northwest Women’s Tournament before hanging up her gloves. She is now a Level IV Olympic Level Boxing Coach with USA Boxing. Cary has trained many boxers, some of which have made it to Olympic Trial Qualifying Tournaments. Cary caught the attention of many when she trained and cornered a female boxer for 3 Olympic Qualifying tournaments. All done without the help of an assistant coach in the corner for each fight. She has also trained a few celebs such as Kelly Hu, Kevin Alejandro and Tilman Fertitta. Cary co-created and co-hosted “Boxing 101” Boxing Camp Workout and “Additional Fundamentals”, unique boxing instructional and workout DVDs. As a spokesperson for Everlast, Cary created a boxing class format for 24 Hour group fitness called Everlast ShadowBox and was a part of several print ad campaigns for Everlast. She also offers the Prime Time Boxing Certification Course for home study and for workshops in Santa Monica, CA. The PTB program trains participants in the real fundamentals of boxing and teaches them how to teach the sport to others up to the competitive level. Cary founded the “Knocking Out Obesity” tour which stopped at 10 of the “fattest” cities in the nation (according to Men’s Fitness). Cary conducted non-contact boxing workouts with students at 10 middle schools in the nation. Cary resides in Santa Monica, CA.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
After graduating from college with an Environmental Science degree I worked for a government agency as that was the path to take living in the capitol of California. I soon realized that I did not like working in a cubicle and I wanted to create my own destiny. I wanted to be my own boss. I thought about what I wanted to do and realized that it must be something that had not been done yet. I had a friend in high school who was a boxer and he use to tell me that the average person was not allowed into the boxing gym to train unless they wanted to be a fighter. A light bulb went off and I decided to create a gym where people could come in to learn how to box, but do it to get in shape.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I wanted to work with a large brand and did not have any connections with the company so I called to speak with the CEO and was told he was out of town for a conference. I acted as though I was at the same one and somehow got out of them the hotel he was staying at. I called the front desk and was able to call his room. I told him I was in town and wanted to meet with him for 30 minutes and he agreed. I actually had to drive 8 hours to get to him but I made it happen. I ended up getting a 3-year marketing deal with them.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
One thing that makes my company stand out is that I am a highly skilled woman in a male dominated sport and that has allowed me to look at it in a different light . That has allowed me to attract women who are looking for a female community and a strong female role model.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Right now I am working on a new class format and certification program. It is called Boxing & Barbells. I have partnered with a professional bodybuilder who is an expert when it comes to weight training and coupled his experience with my boxing experience. This program comes from an authentic place and is formatted so that participants can learn easily and any trainer can teach it easily. It will help trainers make additional income but will also help them to assist their clients in making healthy changes while feeling empowered. This program will also be going into large chain gyms which means it will be available to people around the world. The one thing I hear from people who participate in this program is that they feel strong and empowered after doing a class. If I can do that for tens of thousands of people then I am doing what I was placed here to do.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
I would tell all female leaders to lead as an example of what support means. Be supportive of your team. Be a servant leader and things will always work out. There are things in life that are more important than money and that is people. Your people. Your team.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Manage your team with compassion but with expectations. There is a balancing act you must do in order to be respected but also respecting your team. Learn how to delegate and teach your team leaders how to do the same. Never disconnect from anyone on the team. That includes those who are starting at the bottom.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are people(mostly strangers) along the way who believed in me. In the beginning when I was opening my first gym, a banker named Iyan McDaniel gave me a small business loan strictly based off of my business plan and presentation. To get a loan with no business experience or collateral is unheard of, but he saw something more. Another person who believed in me was Joanne Shapiro, a real estate agent. She was the one agent who really helped my find my first gym location. The other agents looked at me as this 26 year old woman with no business experience. They failed to see all of me.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I am still working on becoming more financially successful so that can give more! But, I have been able to give my time, my experience and wisdom to so many. I worked with hundreds of youth within the first 6 years of opening my first gym and was able to have a positive impact on their lives. Some have found me on social media and have thanked me. That is priceless. My father once told me I have done enough charity work for a lifetime. But I will always do more, especially if I have more.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Be a servant leader/ Always ask what you can do for your team
- Make those around you feel important, because they are/ Never ast as if someone is replaceable. Be sure to let them know they are important in every step of the process.
- Lead by example/ If you want your team to be responsible for their actions, be responsible for yours.
- Be compassionate/ Everyone has a life outside of work. Be aware of that and care about it.
- Give direction/ Without your team having direction, they will be lost and in turn, not productive. You are there to lead.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I actually created a female empowerment brand and movement called Never Too Pretty. It stems from my experience in boxing and how I was told I shouldn’t be boxing because I was a girl. This really stuck with me and I knew there were other girls and women in the world hearing the same thing whether they were basketball players, doctors, race car drivers, etc. It has been amazing to see the brand create and foster a female community that inspires and supports each other.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My father told me that life was like going up a down escalator. If you walk you stay in one spot, if you stop you go backwards, if you run you get ahead. I remind myself of this all the time.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I am a huge fan of Shark Tank and would love to have a private sit down with Daymond John or Mark Cuban. They both came from nothing and hustled to make their way to the top. Aside from that, I feel like they don’t forget where they came from and really have compassion for small start-ups who are doing the same hustle.