Dream 10 Profile: Stephanie Karlovits
by Kylie Kendall
The Dream 10 is a group of extraordinary people and organizations who have invested in the Dream, Girl premiere in New York City on June 9th, 2016.
Stephanie Karlovits wakes up every day on a mission to empower the people around her. Whether it’s through fitness, holistic health, or self-discovery, Stephanie thrives on helping people be the best versions of themselves. And the way she does that is through EPIC Fitness + Lifestyle, a fitness and lifestyle center in Ottawa, Canada; her professional education company, Catalyst Conferences; and through business consulting.
Having studied psychology in school, Stephanie’s always approached health and fitness with a mind-first approach. In other words, you need to know why you want to feel better in and about your body before you can actually get there. That’s why EPIC Fitness + Lifestyle is more than a gym — it’s a hub where people to come together and celebrate themselves and the people in their community — everyone from six-year-olds to 93-year-olds, cancer patients and people with muscular dystrophy to every-day joes, moms of four, fellow entrepreneurs and professional athletes.
And as a female entrepreneur herself, Stephanie knows how desperately the world needs media that tells the stories of women like her, women who are building communities and movements of their own, and that’s why she’s a part of our Dream 10. This week, we chatted with Stephanie about all things entrepreneurship and girl-power!
What’s your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?
The ability to affect change. I think I don’t see any other arena where you can make a difference so quickly. You can really elevate your community, because you can find things that aren’t being offered. You can find problems in a community and you can solve them. I just think that is so incredibly cool. If you’re in a small town and you know there’s no convenience store or they need a laundromat, if you’re an entrepreneur, instead of just accepting or tolerating that that’s the way it is, you can stand up and say, “We’re not going to just be okay with that. We’re going to make something happen. We’re going to give people a service that they didn’t have before, or a service they didn’t even know they needed.” I think that’s my favorite part.
Why is it important to you to support other female entrepreneurs?
I don’t identify myself as a struggling female entrepreneur. I feel like a year ago, I probably wouldn’t have been all that attracted to Dream, Girl, because for me, the way I was brought up was that it was never an issue. My father was an air force military major and I was brought up like a tomboy, so there was never any talk about me being held back because I was a girl. And I think that was really powerful. Unfortunately, it kind of worked against me because when people would come to me and say things like, “I run this women’s entrepreneur group and I’d like you to be a part of it,” I would kind of be like, “Oh, no thanks.” Because I’m an everybody’s person. I didn’t feel like I was all that connected to that.
I really had to go through that and figure that out. I had to realize that I may not identify as someone who has been subject to inequality as an entrepreneur, but it’s not that it didn’t happen to me. I just didn’t recognize it. Once I started getting into that, I realized all of these different scenarios — a ton — when I had been touted as less than. There was a lot of judgement surrounding me as an entrepreneur.
So I feel a bit of a moral obligation now to open myself up to that place where I hadn’t opened up before. If I can inspire someone to think differently, that they can be as successful as they want to be in their career, I think that’s really great.
How did you get involved in Dream, Girl?
I heard Komal speak in Ottawa a year ago and I thought she was a very strong woman. I thought she lives from a place of possibility, which I really loved. And I think the message of Dream, Girl is a beautiful one. I think it incorporates many different kinds of people — women of all ages, all walks of life. I love that the women showcased are so different, and it’s not a cookie-cutter approach. It’s just highlighting different people and what they’ve been through. It’s this place of inspiration. I think that’s really powerful.
And mentorship is so powerful. I would not be anywhere close to where I am now if I didn’t have amazing mentors, male and female, in my life. So I think it’s important to showcase the success stories of women who’ve done amazing things. We need more of those stories. We need them to be more mainstream, and I think Dream, Girl is the perfect platform to do that. And I know it’s just the beginning. I know it’s going to be a huge movement.
What would you like to see for the future of the Dream, Girl movement?
Follow-through. It’s one thing to put out a documentary, but I think, what are we going to do about it? And how can we affect different people in different cities all throughout the world? And that’s what I love about Dream, Girl, too, is that it’s global. It transcends culture, it transcends circumstance. It is just the beginning. Dream, Girl should be synonymous with female power, and a place of supportive mentorship, as a go-to hub for young girls and women to feel inspired and to feel like they can do it, whatever they want to do. Conferences, mentorship programs, business programs, videos, interviews — I see it all.