Mama Mentors is powered by Lincoln. Learn more about our partnership here. To us, our partnerships with brands are about so much more than business. We carve out relationships with brands whose values reflect our own and those of our members, and work together to thoughtfully tell stories and create experiences that speak to moms’ real lives and real interests.
Through projects like this one, HeyMama endeavors to enhance the professional success of our members by bridging the gap between those who have already arrived and the ones who are still on their way. We hope this journey will keep us all moving forward, just like Lincoln.
After 20 years working at the same company, Julie Cartwright, president of fitness startup P.volve, had hit a career milestone: her company was acquired by Lionsgate, and she found herself working for one of her dream corporations. But during a meeting in 2017, she realized something was missing, and took what she considered to be the biggest leap of faith of her life.
“Within this new team structure, I had an opportunity to move into a larger leadership role,” Cartwright told HeyMama. “Serendipitously, I was meeting a woman in my network and was introduced to the two co-founders of P.volve. It was a meeting that undoubtedly changed the trajectory of my career and my life. The chemistry was instant and the desire to work with them in some capacity was innately strong .I told a close friend that same day, ‘Oh man, I think my life just changed today.’”
Cartwright had no idea how P.volve would come to life, but she knew she had to be part of it. So she took the project on as a side-hustle, adding to her proverbial plate at a time when she was simultaneously caring for two kids under 7. “I was an executive traveling weekly to Los Angeles for her day job and working nights and weekends to help grow a small fitness empire,” she explained. “It was one of the hardest yet rewarding eleven months of my life.”
The end result is P.volve as it’s known today, a direct-to-consumer tech company rethinking fitness for people whose health and wellbeing are not being served by traditional fitness. “P.volve differs from traditional fitness companies by offering an ecosystem of accessible, convenient and effective fitness treatments that enhance the bodies’ abilities to reduce pain and transform,” Cartwright said. “We have three in-person studios in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, patented pieces of equipment to use during training, and a global streaming app and web based platform to provide maximum accessibility anywhere, anytime.”
At a time when more people are working out at home than ever before, what P.volve offers has certainly changed the way people are moving their bodies, practicing self-care, and living healthier, more well-rounded lifestyles — something Cartwright is particularly proud of. But building P.volve into a business that can grow during a pandemic wasn’t easy, and those early months were difficult on Cartwright.
“It took a toll on my health and after trying to be three people — an executive, a mom, and a consultant of a startup — I almost broke down,” she said. “The stress and anxiety caused a serious flare up of my auto-immune disease and we also learned that my father-in-law, whom I loved dearly, had very little time left with us. When he died in December of 2017, I sat in the guest bedroom of my husband’s childhood home and the struggle I was facing of balancing my priorities suddenly felt different. Death reminds you instantly that life is short and you need to live it to the fullest — even if that means taking huge risks when you are risk-averse by nature. By January, I quit my job at Lionsgate and that same month, I took on the position as president at P.volve. And I have never once looked back.”
That difficult time also made Cartwright realize and take advantage of the power of community, a vital lesson she is now paying forward as a HeyMama Mama Mentor. HeyMama’s Mama Mentor program, powered by Lincoln, partners one up-and-coming entrepreneur or corporate working mom with a seasoned vet to foster connection, support, and solidarity — all something Cartwright needed when she left her 20-year job and started anew.
“I learned to talk about what I was feeling and the fear that I was facing as I managed this immense change,” she explained. “And allowed myself to be that vulnerable with my husband, my inner circle, and even my new business partners at P.volve. I felt so honored to be asked [to be a Mama Mentor] and realized that this is exactly what you need to do — help other women become their best selves. What you put out in this world, you get back!”
Cartwright knows firsthand how difficult it can be to take that leap of faith and help build a company from the ground up. For anyone wondering if now is the time for them to do the same, she has some advice: “Make sure you are doing what you love and know your strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “Surround yourself with others that build you up and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”