Coming from the background of competitive swimming, Mel Berry is very athletic. Not only is she taking part in a half Ironman triathlon and a Tour de France stage this year, she has also founded a new business with her co-founder Holly Woodford.
Being passionate about fitness, Mel and Holly found a way to share this passion with others. They founded company Her Spirit, an initiative that helps women build body confidence and develop healthier eating habits.
Can you tell us a bit about you and your career:
Wow, it’s one with a few twists and turns. My starting point was the health and fitness industry and working in gyms. That all changed in Dubai with a set of circumstances that led me into the world of big brands. Brand No.1 for me was Reebok and then Speedo and re-connecting with my love of swimming.
The last 2 decades have been running my own businesses and I am still in this entrepreneurial world so must be doing something right. My last business Her Spirit is a life’s work and passion for making a difference. In this case for women and challenging the diet and fitness industry.
What made you choose this career/industry?
Luck I guess... I was a swimmer who fell into health and fitness as I could combine it with my training. From that, I again fell into marketing and sports marketing in the Middle East. It’s not about being lucky but taking a path and grabbing hold of it.
How did you get to where you are now and did you face any challenges along the way?
Getting to the place I am now has been through grit and determination as I don’t believe in luck and I think “hard work” is a very overused word!
I faced a lot of challenges! But that helps to shape and form you. You have to find a way and it’s all about problem-solving. That’s what makes it fun!!
I have always had to work for everything I got. For me, swimming helped to give me focus and an attitude to be resilience. Resilience and vulnerability are a powerful combination.
What is an important initiative that you feel passionate about in your role?
Making a difference to women’s lives. I have seen how what we do at Her Spirit changes the paths of so many women. I worked in elite sport for many years, but someone who has so little and then so much but an intervention you create is much more powerful.
What’s great about being a female in your role?
Helping other women to succeed and grow and then support others. The culture we create is so very important to me and one not to be underestimated.
Outside your work, what are your favourite hobbies and pastimes?
Being outdoors and in the water. Being active is important to me as it’s been my way of life so decades. Water gives me that space to escape to and the outdoors a chance to feel so much more alive.
I am a triathlon coach and that’s my sport now. This year has a few big challenges such as a stage of the Tour de France, a marathon with lots of wine stops called the Marathon du Medoc and a half ironman in Marrakesh! That’ll keep me busy…
Do you have a mantra you live your life by?
How hard can it be? We debilitate ourselves but thinking too often I can’t do that because...! I believe anyone can do anything they want to. You just need to find that way and surround yourself with the right people.
What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?
Be honest and open
Be venerable and as that’s exciting
Look for strong partnerships
Help Mel to make a difference to women’s lives through Her Spirit. Become a founding member and help us change the world for some many women.
To read more about action women heavily involved in sports and fitness, read our blog about entrepreneur and personal trainer Gemma Spackman.