Faces of VIDA: New Metropole GM Ashley Banek!
A few months back we welcomed a new face to our Metropole management team – Colorado native Ashley Banek! This health & wellness enthusiast joined our team in late August, and has officially settled in as the new General Manager at Metropole. She comes from a background of both finance and biomedical sciences, which makes managing a fitness center an obvious career choice.
Ashley developed an interest of the human body around the age of 9, after losing her dad to cancer. It sparked her interest in anatomy and physiology and she discovered she had a knack for it throughout high school and college. While her passion has always been in the health field, she also excelled at finance, and she graduated in 2010 with BS in Finance and minor in Biomedical Sciences from Colorado State University.
“I like to find the happy medium between the two. I worked for a hospital for two years right after college, treating patients and trying to find that business & health balance,” she says.
After two years in the hospital field, Ashley was ready to grow professionally and decided to make the shift over to the finance world. She started as a teller for Wells Fargo, and hustled her way up to a Branch Manager in only nine months. The sales, team building and competitive environment were all right up her alley, but she found herself missing the health mindedness of the medical world.
“Complacency has never been comfortable for me. I started mentally shifting back to what I’ve always been passionate about – helping people live healthier lives,” she says.
She eventually landed a management position at the Medical Fitness Center at University of Colorado Health, a community gym that also provides medical massage, physical therapy, and therapy pools for clients with recovery needs. She quickly fell in love with working in the fitness industry, and found that helping people use physical fitness as medicine that’s preventative rather than prescriptive incredibly inspiring.
So what brings her to DC?
At the start of the summer, Ashley and three of her closest hometown friends got a wild idea. One friend plays for the Washington Spirit and was already living in DC, and the group always had a blast coming to visit the nation’s capitol. They each decided they were ready for a change, and started applying for jobs in DC. Ashley knew she wanted to be in the health & fitness industry – and when she came across a VIDA job listing she knew she had found the company she wanted to work for.
“I was really impressed with the community at VIDA and their involvement after the Orlando shooting. I read great things about how involved with important causes VIDA was and I really wanted to work here after that,” she explains.
After a series of interviews, phone calls and plane rides, Ashley accepted our job offer on the same day her best friend was offered a job in DC. They had their “this is really happening” moment, packed up a car, and headed across the country!
Ashley now lives in Potomac, MD with her three girlfriends, and says she couldn’t be happier with her new life chapter in DC! Her role as a General Manager allows her to have an impact on both our members and team members lives in a positive way, and she loves helping people take charge of both their health and careers.
“I love the family atmosphere that VIDA embodies, and I hope to be able to continue that! Being able to help coach and develop others is my top priority. I had several great mentors starting my career in Colorado, and I hope to be a great resource for my team here,” she says.
As a DC newbie, Ashley has been busy exploring her new digs when she’s not running the gym! Despite an ill-timed broken toe during her first week here, she’s been attending as many group fitness classes as she can (hot yoga and Pilates are her fave,) scoping out the District’s best Mexican restaurants, and finding new biking, hiking and running trails to stay active outside of the gym.
She misses her family (nephews especially!) back home, but is very excited for this new chapter and helping people take charge of their bodies in an inspiring, health-minded environment.
“Between my Wells Fargo, health and medical experience, I feel very prepared for this job. I’m excited to continue meeting our members and grow my team!” says Ashley.