Life After Chase: Lauren Lindsey
From Seeking To Be Fit
To Launching Tampa Area's
Fit Girl Fitness (and Vertex Solutions)
Lauren Lindsey met a perfect storm of change and loss beginning in 2003, at the age of 37. Over an 18-month period, she left Chase in Tampa, which had given her a professional identity for 15 years, went through a divorce and lost both her parents. “The only thing I didn’t do was move,” she said.
Two jobs later, in May 2011, she found herself overweight, out of shape, unhealthy and very unhappy.
“I sought solace in working, eating and drinking too much,” she admits frankly. She’d gained 30 pounds and couldn’t bear to look at herself in the mirror.
“I would stand in front of the closet. I couldn’t button my pants, I threw them to the ground. I couldn’t button my skirt, I threw that onto the ground. My wardrobe got smaller and smaller. I refused to look like a barrel, I refused to buy bigger clothes. The crisp look I’d had was gone I was ashamed and embarrassed,” she said, “but there was no way I was walking into an LA Fitness to have a spry chickie tell me what to do.”
She found a gym that was more expensive than her self-employed income would allow, but was matched with a trainer who knew what she was going through.
Not only did Lindsey take off the weight, but she became certified as a trainer and conditioning specialist. She is now launching her new mobile personal training business in the Tampa area: Fit Girl Fitness.
The entrepreneur also owns “Vertex Solutions: Where Ideas Come Together”, a career and executive coaching firm through which she also helps design and implement business strategies, including vision and mission statements, core value determination, strategic goal setting, metric dashboards and overall communication plans – skills she learned during her time at Chase.
Armed with a BS in marketing from Penn State and a natural technical aptitude, the Pittsburgh native joined Chase Card Services in 1990 as a customer service rep. Graduating through a variety of positions on the operations side, she landed in the late 1990s in quality management, with her prior departmental bosses now her clients. When Rich Srednicki came on board as an EVP, he spearheaded a strategy change, and Lindsey worked with him for three years.
After the Chase merger with JPMorgan, she was trained in Six Sigma process improvement – earning her Six Sigma Black Belt – and led Six Sigma initatives for about two years.
When Chase merged with Bank One, she became group project manager working on opportunities and system changes brought on by merging the two companies’ card processing platforms.
A single mother of a daughter, she found herself “really burned out” and chose not to move to Delaware when Chase thought that should be her next posting. She left Chase in 2005 as a first vice president.
Lindsey spent a year trying to change careers, looking toward something more engineering oriented. She got back into call center operations, though, for four years, working with a Malaysia-based company. When they shut their doors in Tampa after a contract wasn’t renewed, she was out of work again.
“I had a short stint with another organization as an IT relationship manager, but I continued to realize daily that I was more lost on all aspects,” she said.
Then she realized how Chase had provided her “with an unbelievable opportunity to learn, grow and develop”. She identified companies that didn’t have resources in-house and launched Vertex Solutions.
While working on Vertex, she decided she needed a tool kit for fitness assessments and implementing exercise programs. She found one in 2012, completing 500 classroom hours over six months and a 200-hour practicum.
She wants to instill with her clients the message she continuously imparts to her 14-year-old daughter: It’s more important to be fit than skinny
And her daughter is proud of her. “She has seen me stick to the program and make some changes and decisions that are difficult,” Lindsey said. “When you’re at a social event, it’s hard not to have a cocktail in your hand or pick at the buffet…I will have the occasional glass of wine, but it’s easy to slip back into the wine taking the controls. In fact, I have opted not to hang out with friends from time to time because I know it could be a night of drinking.”
With Fit Girl Fitness, Lindsey will visit her clients with her own equipment (a BOSU balance trainer, exercise ball, agility ladder, jump rope and low-weight dumbbells) or work with the client’s equipment, noting some apartment complexes have their own on-site equipment. She’s trying to sell local communities and parks on a “Play in the Park” 10-station circuit course.
Her target audience is women, though she’s also been approached by husband/wife teams.
“I’m after the individual who doesn’t know what to do – who’s stuck and needs help. Many don’t want to be stuck in a contract, and even if they do join a gym, they don’t know what to do,” she said. “I can also just design a program for someone and check in occasionally. Either way, my price point is more attractive than in the clubs.”
* * *
We have invited Lauren Lindsey to share fitness tips with Chase Alumni on a monthly basis. Look for her column!
We decided to start the ball rolling with a question:
“Since so many people start out a new year with resolutions to work out and lose weight, what tips can you offer?
– There needs to be some kind of accountability from an outside source – either your friends checking in (how are things going?), a coach or a motivator.
– The bigger issue: People start out too hot and heavy and get sore and don’t want to go back to exercising. The flip side is that you go in too light, do it for one week, don’t see a change and stop. A coach can reassure you that you’re doing great and vet exercise and food frustrations. You need to unlearn and relearn.
– Be patient. If you’re so out of shape, how long did it take you to get into the situation? And you expect it to change overnight? Why?
Have a question for Lauren? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 813/789.4749.