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07: '91-92 "Manager to Partner" by Mind Map: 07: '91-92 "Manager to Partner"
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07: '91-92 "Manager to Partner"

Transition: From Girl's Head Coach to Minority Partner / Owner

Still, however, I was determined to pursue the career in an ownership or management capacity.  As part of my new "Head Girl's Coach" position, it was necessary for me to get certified as a "Meet Director".  The certification was taking place in Atlanta.  While there, I "just happened" to overhear that there was a position that might be available at The Gym Nest Inc. in Macon, GA.  I was already familiar with this company as I had attended a gymnastics camp and had spent a week with the owner Randy Carr a couple of years before.  When I returned home I called Randy Carr and asked what positions he had available. He was really not sure, so we met the following Friday when he had "just happened" to already be coming to my town. The Gym Nest in Macon had been a very successful program, which at one time enrolled almost 1000 students. But the gym had fallen on a series of unfortunate events.  The numbers had declined to around 200 and their ability to pay  coaches / managers had diminished.  This actually turned out to be an opportunity for me.  Since I was now single, young and eager to prove my abilities to "manage", we worked on a deal that would provide for both of us.  I would move into the gym storage room (ha), draw $300.00 a month salary, and receive $1,000 worth of stock per month as supplemental pay. I stayed with that gym for fourteen months. It was an incredible learning opportunity; for the gym had all the assets but just lacked the numbers.  Often I compare this experience to that of a young doctor who goes to war and is thrown into a situation where although he has little experience, is desperately needed.  The experience would otherwise never have occurred.  I had all the resources I needed to learn about managing and coaching. All I had to do was work, and everything was successful and greatly appreciated. As a team, Randy and I were very successful and it was not long before the numbers had grown back up to over 600.  While at The Gym Nest, I had the most awesome experience.  This gym was a "cadillac"  We had state of the art equipment and even a dormitory for hosting visiting teams.  Because of this our gym was selected as the training facilities for the 1996 Olympic Soviet National Team. For two weeks, I was responsible for assisting them with anything that they needed. Besides the benefits of watching them train their athletes, I was able to learn much from talking with the coaches every evening. This experience promoted my desire to stay in the gymnastics field. Perhaps the greatest part of this experience is that it helped me heal from the emotional toil of having gone through a difficult divorce.  I really feel like Job in that while there was nothing fair about my divorce, I would like to believe that God lifted me out of the pain and put me in a place not only to heal but to build me up and excel my self-confidence.  This experience continues to sustain me as I take time to reflect on it. Randy Carr was a traditional southern Baptist.  He was a strong and aggressive mentor who taught me valuable lessons in leadership.  I was always so impressed in his boldness and confidence.  I remember as we coached the teams experimenting with his style.  He certainly represented many biblical characters.  It was obvious to me why we were meant to work together.  In many ways our personalities were very different.  I definitely needed to learn how to be more like him, and I like to think he probably enjoyed my support as well.  Still, however, I was determined to pursue the career in an ownership or management capacity.  As part of my new "Head Girl's Coach" position, it was necessary for me to get certified as a "Meet Director".  The certification was taking place in Atlanta.  While there, I "just happened" to overhear that there was a position that might be available at The Gym Nest Inc. in Macon, GA.  I was already familiar with this company as I had attended a gymnastics camp and had spent a week with the owner Randy Carr a couple of years before.  When I returned home I called Randy Carr and asked what positions he had available. He was really not sure, so we met the following Friday when he had "just happened" to already be coming to my town. The Gym Nest in Macon had been a very successful program, which at one time enrolled almost 1000 students. But the gym had fallen on a series of unfortunate events.  The numbers had declined to around 200 and their ability to pay  coaches / managers had diminished.  This actually turned out to be an opportunity for me.  Since I was now single, young and eager to prove my abilities to "manage", we worked on a deal that would provide for both of us.  I would move into the gym storage room (ha), draw $300.00 a month salary, and receive $1,000 worth of stock per month as supplemental pay. I stayed with that gym for fourteen months. It was an incredible learning opportunity; for the gym had all the assets but just lacked the numbers.  Often I compare this experience to that of a young doctor who goes to war and is thrown into a situation where although he has little experience, is desperately needed.  The experience would otherwise never have occurred.  I had all the resources I needed to learn about managing and coaching. All I had to do was work, and everything was successful and greatly appreciated. As a team, Randy and I were very successful and it was not long before the numbers had grown back up to over 600.  While at The Gym Nest, I had the most awesome experience.  This gym was a "cadillac"  We had state of the art equipment and even a dormitory for hosting visiting teams.  Because of this our gym was selected as the training facilities for the 1996 Olympic Soviet National Team. For two weeks, I was responsible for assisting them with anything that they needed. Besides the benefits of watching them train their athletes, I was able to learn much from talking with the coaches every evening. This experience promoted my desire to stay in the gymnastics field. Perhaps the greatest part of this experience is that it helped me heal from the emotional toil of having gone through a difficult divorce.  I really feel like Job in that while there was nothing fair about my divorce, I would like to believe that God lifted me out of the pain and put me in a place not only to heal but to build me up and excel my self-confidence.  This experience continues to sustain me as I take time to reflect on it. Randy Carr was a traditional southern Baptist.  He was a strong and aggressive mentor who taught me valuable lessons in leadership.  I was always so impressed in his boldness and confidence.  I remember as we coached the teams experimenting with his style.  He certainly represented many biblical characters.  It was obvious to me why we were meant to work together.  In many ways our personalities were very different.  I definitely needed to learn how to be more like him, and I like to think he probably enjoyed my support as well.

Setback: Minority Owner to Coach

The Gym Nest Inc. was on its way again.  I felt somewhat healed from my divorce since over a year had passed.  As much as the experience was incredible, I was beginning to become burned out from all the work as well as anxious to make more money. Living in the gym had taken its toll on me and I really began to desire a place of my own.  But in order to do that I would have to sacrifice the rate at which I was able to buy into the business.  Our agreement would have eventually led to me being a 49% owner.  However it would have taken 4 years for that to happen.  I knew that I would not be able to sustain the 24/7 life in the gym.  After 9 monthes I decided to forego the trade in stock and actually draw a salary.  Concidering what it would take for me to become a substantial owner, I began to weigh other options.   Randy had been a great friend, but other than friends I had made at the gym, I really had not connected with any other people.  I tried attending various churches, but no real meaningful relationships came about.  At the time I remember being frustrated and dissappointed.  Now, years later, I am thankful that I did not as I see that my future would be in Columbia SC.  Since my parents and family live in Augusta and Sumter, I began to look for work in Columbia, which was midway between the two. I sent my resume out to all of the gyms there. A couple of weeks later, High Flight Gymnastics called me in for an interview. They had just let their head coach go and were in need of a coach. They could not pay the salary that I wanted, so I made a deal with them. They could pay a salary they could afford if they would allow me to do my own mobile program in the mornings. Hence, I moved to Columbia in April of '93

Next Chapter: "Partner to Owner"