The day we met Mara Schiavocampo, so many ideas about how we could collaborate with this impressive woman swirled around our heads – but the one that shone through was that we are all passionate about community and the integral role health and wellness plays in the lives of busy mamas like ourselves.

SoulCycle Charity

You probably know Mara as a leading, three-time Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News, who’s covered nearly every major news story in the last decade, but she’s also a best-selling author (go read her Thinspired –  her journey of losing 90 pounds after the birth of her first child has us truly inspired), a former international contributor and commentator for news outlets ranging from NPR to UPTOWN magazine, long-time member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and – of course – a New York wife and mama to her two children and rescue pup.

SoulCycle Charity

We decided to pull all these big beliefs together and partner on a SoulCycle ride to benefit The Fistula Foundation. Our kick-ass instructor Olivia Ward was a winner on the Biggest Loser, where she lost 128 pounds throughout the course of the show. She had us not only sweating but tearing up as she related how her biggest accomplishment was getting healthy enough to become a mama, a long-time dream of hers that became a reality 2 years ago. The pumping music put us all on the path to setting a great intention for the day.

SoulCycle Charity

SoulCycle Charity

Style Reform

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Heymama right image

To boost our healthy fitness vibe, Supergoop! provided goodie bags stocked to keep us safe when we get active outside. Little Spoon mixed up some delish fruit quenchers for us post-ride, created with a dollop of their purées. Adorable Stripe leggings on the heymama team and Mara are from Style Reform.

Heymama left image
Heymama right image

Read on to find more inspiration from our interview with Mara on her career, getting and staying fit, and giving back…

Mara, you have been dubbed “the next Diane Sawyer” by Marie Claire and are currently an ABC News correspondent. Did you always know this was the career path you wanted to take?

Not at all. I wanted to be a writer, which led to journalism. I thought I wanted to be a print journalist, but then I got an internship in television and loved it. I thought I wanted to be a producer, but a reporting opportunity came up, and I jumped at it. Basically, nothing has gone according to plan! But I’m a big believer in serendipity. I try to pay attention to where the universe is leading me.

What advice would you give to young women wanting to follow in your footsteps?

First, examine your reasons for wanting to work in television. If it’s because you think it’s glamorous, or a shortcut to wealth and fame, then you just won’t last. The sacrifices are too great unless your motives are pure. Second, buckle up. It is a tough, tough industry. That’s not meant as a discouragement. I just want others to be prepared for a wild ride. Third, be a consumer. Watch everything, be active on social media, read as much as you can. Know what you like and don’t like. Identify who you think is talented and why. Last, the best media training is watching your work. Watch your work over and over. It can be very uncomfortable, but it’s the best way to grow.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?

The non-stop cycle. The moment you’re done with one thing, and then you’re immediately onto the next. At times it can feel like trying to fill a cup with a hole in it.

You wrote a book titled, Thinspired, about your journey of losing 90lbs after the birth of your daughter. What would you tell other women who are struggling with weight? What helped you during this time?

Be patient with and loving to yourself. Weight loss can be a maddening journey. Expect that it will be slow. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. But the good news is, once you change your habits, it becomes much easier. What helped me tremendously was setting small goals, and really celebrating those victories. I recently launched a podcast with ABC News called “Motivated” that addresses these very issues. I created the kind of podcast I want to listen to; something that will keep me inspired, motivated, and informed. We all need some encouragement every now and then! P.S. – it’s available on iTunes and Spotify!

How has your approach to fitness changed since losing the weight? Did having your second child impact your routine? What is your current fitness regime?

My motivation has changed completely. I used to view fitness solely as a vehicle for weight loss. Now it’s about so much more. It empowers me, it de-stresses me, it challenges me. I exercise about eight times a week. I do something pretty much every day. My staples are running, spin classes, and yoga. I don’t strength train as much as I should. I find it very boring! But I’m working on that.

Having a great support system is so important as a working mom. What has your mama community been like for you? Can you recall any instances where women have really come through for you and made a difference in your life?

It definitely takes a village. I’ve been very lucky to encounter amazing, like-minded mamas from all different walks of life with different interests and personalities. Recently, I was out of town on a day my daughter had a ton of party invites. I felt terrible that she’d have to miss out because no one could take her. Another mom volunteered to have her tag along with her daughter. She picked her up from school and they went to all of the different parties together. She even dropped her off that night. It’s a small thing, but I was so grateful. No one wants their child to be disappointed.

We loved partnering with you and SoulCycle in our most recent charity ride to raise money for The Fistula Foundation. Can you tell us more about the organization and how you got involved?

This organization performs life-changing surgeries for women with fistula, a childbirth complication that leaves women incontinent. As a result, they are often ostracized and ousted from their villages, at times even abandoned by their husbands. I’m a big believer in women helping other women. If I’d given birth in a different part of the world, that could easily be me. My mom introduced me to it. It’s her favorite charity.

How would you encourage moms to make a difference? What actionable things can they do to “change the world”?

First, be kind to others. Spread light where you can. Try to live up to the standards that we hold our children to. Say “please” and “thank you”. Apologize when you’ve hurt someone. Play nice. Beyond that, on a practical level, donate as much as you can afford to. And you can probably afford more than you think. Sacrifice a little. Plus, it’ll come back to you. A closed fist gets nothing.

What are your 3 Pearls of Motherhood Wisdom?

  1. Hang out with your kids. Nothing is more valuable than your time.
  2. Don’t take everything so seriously. They’re kids. They are absurdly, ridiculously hilarious.
  3. Make yourself a priority, and don’t make any apologies for it. If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
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