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Interview: VoyageATL

View Original Interview Here

 

Today we’d like to introduce you to Quyionah Wingfield.

Quyionah, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My passion to create Cool Moms Dance Too (CMDToo) with my 9 and 11-year-old daughters were ignited by a traumatic personal experience. In 2013, I lost my mate and the girls father to suicide leaving our family hanging on by a thread emotionally and physically. It took time, effort and engaging through dance to reconnect us as a family and to find an outlet to help encourage healthy dialog. I went on a journey to find answers to what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. Throughout this process, it was not my intention to create anything I simply worked on finding ways to better myself and to be a better mother. Dancing in our home I gained a stronger bond with my two daughters and lost 43 pounds in the process.

During this time, I was introduced to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor and became a mental health advocate learning how mental illness affected my family and millions of other families. I discovered dance movement therapy and realized through creating a class including our core hip-hop dance fitness and expression, not only could I be an advocate but I could facilitate programming which promotes physically active, emotionally engaged, empathetic and communicative families. This has been our family mission since.

In the process, I became a group fitness professional, developed a specialized family dance fitness and expression format, mentored by esteemed professionals on program and business development via Emory University’s business school Start: ME accelerator and built an advisory board for our organization. I’m all in because it’s personally important to me that we keep our families and communities connected. Music and movement have been proven as a way to connect, inspire and heal.

Now we conduct classes in a dance studio Downtown Decatur, GA, started a summer youth choreographer program collaborating with Re: Imagine/ATL and Notes for Notes and about to launch our EduTech platform with instructor training certification to add value to communities in the United States and abroad.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The journey of building Cool Moms Dance Too has not been easy. I can say if I chose to start a business in accounting and finance it would have had it much easier with my background. The challenges that accompanied this process stretched me as a person, mother and professional. First and foremost, I started the business with my children.

There were days I battled between being mom and co-founder. No one teaches life boundaries and it was a trial and error process. I was a dancer as a child and teenager but I didn’t have knowledge of the fitness world as a professional so I spent two years on professional development working to understand my limits, safety rules and what our clients really wanted. Managing personal and business finances was a different ball game when you are using your own funds as capital for the business. Raising capital is very difficult for startups especially women-led businesses. I was grateful to join two organizations that changed the ecosystem of my mind, EnrichHER founded by Roshawnna Novellus and Start: ME accelerator with Emory University.

I’ve been knocked down 9 times but like Cardi B says, I was able to get up 10 times dust myself off and pivot. I’m grateful for every obstacle because I’m trained to take every experience including the loss of my mate and to find a way to help others and help myself in the process. I’ve learned life skills that only entrepreneurship can teach. I tested our classes and found a formula that works, stimulates and used it as the model for our first certification. This work is my passion, it will come with its issues but I wouldn’t have it any other way but to keep pushing and driving more awareness with every class, post and message.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Cool Moms Dance Too (CMDToo) – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Cool Moms Dance Too (CMDToo) is a family dance fitness and expression company. We specialized in family dance fitness and expression classes, education and curated programs. CMDToo is the first to market with programming to meet the needs of caregivers and school-aged children who are underserved in the fitness and engagement markets.

Our mission is to engage, connect and grow families and communities in a healthy lifestyle to address the 2 in 3 inactive children and 350 million children and adults affected by depression. We decided to be proactive about creating practical programming to assist with the associated issues to help create awareness, change and dialog.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Our future plans are to provide an EduTech platform for educators and community leaders to learn how to keep their schools, program participants, companies, and youth physically and emotionally active starting with our CMDToo Fit Fam Instructor Training Certification.

We are currently gearing up to live stream our classes and make our edutech instructor/educator platform available to all. We would like to build an international community of engaged youth, caregivers, parents, educators and instructors to advocate for intergenerational health and wellness education and activities. We are launching the #CMDToochallenge in the fall to encourage families to use dance to get fit.

Pricing:

  • Classes are $7 per person
  • Livestream classes will be $5 per class $15 with a monthly membership

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Digital Jedeye; Zach Hawkins

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