International Women’s Day – Amy Smith
I’m Amy Smith and I’m the owner of Dragonfly Pilates with Amy. I’ve lived in wonderful Worcestershire for my whole life – in Droitwich, and now Ombersley. I’ve been blessed with a diverse working life, spending most of my professional working life in Project Management and Change Management (a little off the pathway from my original degree studies in Sport and Exercise Science!)
In 2017, whilst working in my ‘dream’ job at Audi UK as a Modern Retailing Transformation Manager, I experienced some strange symptoms (numbness, loss of sensation in limbs); fast forwards a couple of months… I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. MS is a lifelong neurological condition that affects your nerves and the immune system attacks itself. There is no cure.
Working in change management brings about its own level of resilience to change – I tried to carry on as ‘normal’ but couldn’t. I was hit with extreme fatigue, and every time I was in a meeting, it was as though my head was in a washing machine or goldfish bowl – I couldn’t keep up. I knew life had to change.
After much soul searching, grieving and acceptance I knew what I needed to do. I needed to do something that I loved and something that would benefit me physically and mentally. I had practiced Pilates for several years (experience box – tick), I had coached gymnastics for nine years (teaching box – tick), I had studied Sport and Exercise Science (anatomical knowledge – tick).
I set up Dragonfly Pilates with Amy in 2019 after studying for 18 months to gain my level 3 Mat Pilates, Adaptations for Older Adults and Pre & Post Natal Pilates. Pilates has given me the opportunity to re-calibrate and reconnect with my mind and body, but also gain strength and balance. I feel blessed that I now support a plethora of clients. From able bodied people to clients recovering from cancer or joint issues right through to fellow MSers with varying degrees of mobility issues, Pilates can, and does help! I’ve even stepped back into project management again and work part time for an amazing organisation that support my needs, support my Pilates business. I have found ME again!
Living with a condition (it is a disability) that is unpredictable and degenerative has many challenges. However, I am determined not to let it define me. I’ve chosen to share my story for International Women’s Day to encourage you to not put off until tomorrow what can be done today, and to hopefully inspire and motivate a couple of people to have the confidence and belief to do what’s in your heart.
Creating opportunities through networking, events and peer support for female business owners and company directors in Worcestershire.
Surround yourself with a positive, supportive and inspiring network.