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Daily Inspiration: Meet Amanda Rees

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Rees.

Hi Amanda, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Bold started with my grandmother, Nana, who I lived with for most of my twenties. A few years after I moved in with her, Nana began to have a series of falls that led to injuries and urgent care visits. Our family got her a fall monitoring necklace and installed grab bars in her bathroom, but it didn’t stop her from falling. What was even more disheartening was that her growing fear of falling meant she started to avoid her favorite activities like gardening or leaving the house at all. For me and my partner, Hari Arul, who I started Bold with, it meant exhaustion and anxiety from worry that she might hurt herself every time we left her alone to go to work or were out running errands. We all needed a solution, one that would give me peace of mind and one that would allow Nana to reclaim her independence and return to the activities that she loved but had given up.

That experience, along with being a trained dancer and fitness instructor who worked with many older adults, led me down a long rabbit hole of research on fall prevention. I was shocked to discover there was tons of scientific literature about balance and fall prevention exercises for older adults, but no easy way to access these programs digitally. We saw an opportunity to use technology to make research-based exercise programs more accessible and personalized for older adults. Not only could we prevent falls, but we could also use exercise to address arthritis, diabetes, and other common chronic conditions. Now, our company, Bold, is providing our members with personalized and rigorous research-based programming that builds strength, balance and flexibility and makes it possible for anyone wanting to age better to stay active and care for their bodies at any age. With the new funding we just announced as well as new partnerships that with healthcare companies that are in the works, we’ll be able to expand and offer services to even more members.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I’m not going to lie. Building a company from the ground up is just hard. And when you factor in being a caregiver while doing it and the stresses of a global pandemic, that job becomes even more challenging. While I could anticipate many challenges in building our business, one thing that I vastly underestimated was the ageism I would encounter along the way. Unfortunately, so many people have bought into ageist stereotypes about older adults, even people who fall into those age categories themselves – namely that older adults don’t like technology or aren’t savvy enough to understand it and use it frequently. So, over the years, I have spent countless hours trying to combat common biases and misconceptions people have about older adults. The reality is, the majority of older adults are digitally connected today, and as we all age, it is imperative we build and design our digital spaces to be age-inclusive and accessible. It’s better for our society, and it’s better for our future selves.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
At Bold, we believe that movement is medicine and that getting older does not mean doing or living less. That’s why we build tools that make it simple for anyone to stay active, care for their bodies, and chase the life they want at every age. Using scientific assessments, we create personalized exercise programs led by a team of trainers who are experts in active aging to help our members improve their strength, flexibility, and balance. We also provide our members with a community to discuss the unique challenges of aging and figure out solutions together. I’m proudest when I think about how we’re connecting with and supporting Bold members to build strength and resilience as they age.

My favorite part of my workday is reading comments and feedback about Bold classes and programs and hearing people share their personal stories about how Bold has helped them to feel better in their bodies & enabled them to do more. Bold’s unique perspective on aging sets us apart from your average fitness offering. Too many conversations about aging begin with the premise that an aging body is one in decline. At Bold, we begin with the belief that it’s never too late to get active and that gains can be made at any age which translates into improved overall health that allows one’s life to expand as they age rather than contract. That mindset really resonates with our members and has allowed us to build a product that doesn’t feel like it’s age bound or stiff and clinical. Bold’s product is research-based, but at the end of the day, it’s fun and puts the power for improving health directly into the hands of our members.

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
When you’re an entrepreneur, you will get advice from so many people. Some of that advice will be really great, and you’ll want to implement it right away because it will help you build a better company. And other advice may sound reasonable, but at the end of the day won’t help you build the company you want to build. For anyone starting out, I’d say there’s a fine balance between knowing how and when to incorporate other people’s feedback and guidance and when to be daring and just go your own way. That means really owning your ideas so that you have the confidence to disregard advice and stick to your vision when it matters most. So, in those moments when that doubt begins to creep in, I think it’s important to remember that your vision and creativity is what has led to this point and that you are working not to build someone else’s company but to build your own, on your terms.

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