We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Harrington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’m a 6 on the enneagram personality scale…which means I’m severely risk adverse. Like…I would rather do anything else besides take a risk–I would rather be cuddled up under a warm blanket waiting for my life coach (that I don’t have) to make my next move for me…and whatever missteps are made–I can blame on said Life Coach. But I’m also a business mind–which means I understand I have to take risks in order to get where I want to be in life. So…I have to give myself serious pep talks when making big choices and be talked off ledges by my business partner. Jillian Keaveny and I opened Compass Fitness 2 1/2 years ago and Compass Wellness and Compass Online during the pandemic (because we signed the lease months before Covid hit) — and now here we are! Loving the life we have created but stressed everyday about being in a human based business where we are relying on the world getting back to “normal”. But honestly — there’s risk in driving a car on 1-25 so I’d say I’m doing A-OK.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Compass Fitness is our hard core weight lifting, kettlebell, barbell, box jumping facility with over 6000 sq feet of group exercise space. Compass Wellness is our softer side where we offer our high intensity low impact training with versa climbers and cable machines, yoga and barre as well as personal training and body work offerings as well. Compass Online is our online platform where we teach live online everyday — classes stay up forever and you can take any one of the hundreds of classes offered based upon the equipment you are working with that day. We opened Fitness 2 1/2 years ago, Wellness in June and Online started in March as soon as the pandemic hit. Easy?? NO, no, nope. The hardest I’ve ever worked — but also has brought me the most joy. When you own a business your salary is basically $3 an hour. There is never not something to do. But we also bring so much joy to so many – it’s impossible to think about not doing what we do. We’ve learned we can pivot and roll with all of the punches. We can handle being shut down for a 3 month covid break, we can handle having to cut class sizes into a third, we can handle having to wear masks and cleaning every hour…we can do HARD THINGS. Our brand is to “find your direction” — your fitness journey should constantly be changing with your body and with the seasons. We are truly living our brand — we’re finding our direction through the absolute toughest time to be a business owner!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would hit a Compass Class in the morning to earn a killer brunch at The Post across the street. We would make our way to the Island to play some sand volleyball for a few hours and then have a margarita on one of the many patios Denver has to offer.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This is kind of a backwards shoutout…but I’d love to shout out to all of the people that said we shouldn’t, we couldn’t, and won’t. Because it really lit a fire and provides motivation on the daily. Being a female business owner in the fitness industry and starting this business with another female is rare. I appreciate all of the places I’ve taught over the years that gave me no flexibility to be me and no creative rights…because my passion is to hire trainers that are GREAT teachers of movement and have the best personalitiies. We don’t hire people that can’t create a class on the fly. We hire hustlers and people with creative minds, that can change an average class to the best class just by being themselves. No cookie cutters over here. So thank you to the non-believers for giving me fuel.
Teddy Sirotek photo credits