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.
Alicia McKenzie, 33, wasn’t overly confident when she founded McKenzie Enterprises, LLC, in 2016. “I started my company way before I launched my biggest project, which is LLAM Amplify,” the mom of four recently told HeyMama. “So I made space for the company before I was fully ready or confident in my mission.”
But when COVID-19 came to the United States and a subsequent public health crisis that forced Americans indoors ensued, McKenzie found the “push” she needed to fully commit to her entrepreneurial endeavors.
“The pandemic and all the turmoil in 2020 was just what I needed to make the jump into Amplify and social entrepreneurship,” she said. Now, McKenzie runs a successful “health and wellness platform that is dedicated to lowering the barrier of entry to fitness for the underserved and underrepresented populations,” she explained, and at a time when access to gyms and other health and wellness services are stifled as a result of COVID-19. “I also offer health and wellness business consulting services and virtual training classes,” she said.
McKenzie had her first of four children, who is now 13, when she was only 20 years old. “I was not prepared to take on that much responsibility at such a young age, but I did it,” she said. “I worked as a contractor for the government when I met my now husband.” After three years of marriage, McKenzie and her spouse opened up their first gym. From there, she said, McKenzie Enterprises and LiftLikeAMother were born.
“I love being able to control my own destiny,” McKenzie said. “I work when I want and don’t when I can’t. I also love challenges and growing things. It’s probably why I went on to have three more babies after I met my husband.”
And like any entrepreneur, McKenzie has faced her fair share of challenges. “The most challenging aspect of business is allocating resources both time and monetary,” she explained. “ It’s definitely an ongoing process and struggle.” And of course, the ongoing global pandemic isn’t helping. While more people than ever before are working out at home, the economic turmoil and financial crisis caused by the pandemic has disproportionately impacted women —moms in particular. In an attempt to shoulder the burden of at-home e-learning, child-rearing, and other household responsibilities, moms are cutting back their work hours more than dads.
“Work never stops,” McKenzie explained. “COVID has completely blurred the lines between work, family, and personal time. It doesn’t exist. Finding a balance is impossible and I don’t think it will change until we get on the other side of COVID.”
While it certainly added more to McKenzie’s already full plate, she said she’s thrilled to be part of our 2020 Mama Mentor program, a virtual event in partnership with Lincoln that pairs like-minded entrepreneurial and working moms together so they can find even more support, encouragement, and knowledge within the HeyMama community.
“I know there are questions that I have answers to and problems that I have solutions to,” McKenzie said. “We run three different businesses out of one household and have been successful doing so. I’m always open to sharing knowledge whenever possible.”
As for the remainder of 2020 and beyond, McKenzie says she will take the lessons she has learned in a tumultuous year — resilience, adaptability, and that no matter how bad things seem, they can always get worse — and apply it to her business going forward.
“Amplify membership is definitely unstable as gyms begin to open back up, but my hope is that the community and the mission of LLAM and Amplify speaks for itself,” McKenzie said. “When women support one another, we can do amazing things. There are several that have paved the way and I love nothing more than to learn from them.”