Born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, Carmen Gaines embodies resilience, empowerment and strength. A personal trainer for her own fitness company Synergy Fitness and founder of Women’s Liberation Workshop, Carmen’s mission is to help empower women daily. A lover of talk radio, concerts and podcasts, Carmen grew up one of four siblings. At the age of 16, she experienced the life-changing tragedy of losing her father to suicide. Exuding resilience and inner strength, Carmen channeled this tragic experience into a catalyst for pursuing greater everyday living.
It was the “catalyst for ensuring I live my best life and do things my way”, she shares. Carmen identifies that her father was suffering from undiagnosed depression, something she partially credits to him feel frustrated and unfulfilled. “My dad was creative. My joy for music and art stemmed from him.”, she explains, “However, he wasn’t able to fulfill his goals due to the expectations and pressures that were placed on him. I make it my life’s work to live in my purpose.”
This she has. In addition to helping women achieve their best selves though personal fitness and acting as a mentor to high school graduates and college students, Carmen is facilitating the 2nd Annual Women’s Liberation Workshop this summer. Her brainchild, WLW, is an annual workshop where African-American women will participate in a day of dance, fitness, yoga, business and financial workshops. It serves as an incubator for African-American women to grow through community, entrepreneurship, connectedness and engagement.
Wanting women to reinforce the importance of physical fitness and take pride in their womanhood, WLW will offer empowering physical activities. In addition to learning a sultry dance routine and participating in fun and inclusive alternative yoga, WLW will also have panels, partners and vendors to make the event a great experience. We’ll have “a financial and business panel which teaches women the tools of financial growth and helps them learn how to create entrepreneurial wealth. “, Carmen describes. “We curate top black female vendors, entrepreneurs, panelists, and partners with an assortment of brands to provide attendees with a liberating experience they’ve never had and will never forget.”, she continues.
Carmen believes it’s important to empower African-American women because they are often forced into a box in regards to their career, ideas and capacity. This unfortunate cycle often results in them not getting the opportunity to pursue their goals. “I believe black women are the most creative creatures on the planet. We create trends, we break through barriers, we root for one another.”, she shares, “It’s important for us to build our own community to collectively empower one another.”
And what should we do if we want to stay empowered? Simple. “Being empowered is about surrounding yourself with individuals who’s in the direction you’re headed. We’re all empowered by someone, but it’s more important to have someone who empowers you and holds you accountable to ensure you follow through with your goals.”, Carmen explains.
In addition to empowerment, Carmen advocates for balance, serenity and consciously stepping away from negative thoughts. “My mantra is ‘Control what you can, the things you can’t control…send it off to the universe’. We become overwhelmed and would like to be successful with everything we do”, she shares, “but the reality is… we’ll lack/fail at something. I find balance through meditation, working out, reading in the sauna and listening to podcasts – things that will allow me to step away from the negative thoughts and energy that could consume me. When I return to the positive space with a refreshed energy, I’m able to continue to create.
Women’s Liberation Workshop will take place on July 28, 2018. To learn more, register or participate as a vendor, please visit womensliberationworkshop.com .