This month we meet Karen Turrell, Founder of Simply Stride. Simply Stride is a walking academy coaching health and wellbeing programmes to people of all abilities. Karen is passionate about encouraging people to take up active travel, especially walking, and would love for you to join in too!
- When did you start your current role and where had you worked before?
I was a City Lawyer and Underwriter in London until I had my children. I then wanted to develop my own business to help people like me – in pain and wanting an alternative way of living, to manage a fulfilled career alongside family and time for me. I have been running Simply Stride for 5 years now. Our Walkshops (as they were previously called) have been running for nearly 9 years.
- Why did you want to work in active travel?
To bring this alternative way of living, through movement and a work/life blend to people who love life, but feel exhausted.
- What’s the best thing about your job?
Meeting people, enjoying Southend seafront and working with my amazing team.
- What are you working on at the moment?
My blog to let people know about Simply Stride and what we can offer them. The blog will be ready in a couple of weeks, so please keep an eye out for it on the Ideas in Motion website and newsletter. I’m also promoting Simply Stride with innovative workplaces who want to evolve and retain talent. Currently, we can offer workplaces 8-hour courses (usually one hour long for 8-weeks), 1-hour long Simply Strides masterclasses and intensive 1-day team building courses. Anyone who is interested in having a Simply Stride course at their workplace should get in touch.
- Tell us about an event that altered the course of your life/and career…
My father dealing with PTSD – he retired medically from Essex Police Force after a high risk career of combating drug dealers, all from being a bobby on the beat when my sister and I were little. He is our hero – think of Arnie in “True Lies” and you get the picture! He taught me to look after myself.
- The person who has influenced you the most is…
My parents – they both live life fulfilled. Family and friends is the most important thing. Making memories, having experiences, making a difference to the people around you. My parents are so strong and they laugh loads, even in times of adversity. They are inspirational.
- Work life balance – what leisure activity you enjoy the most?
I set myself 5 tasks in a day and aim to get these done. Whether it is for me, my family/friends or work. You then feel like you are winning all round. I find a work/life blend works rather than work/life balance – keeping both separate is impossible! The sooner employers get to grips with that the sooner businesses will thrive. Work defines us (as the majority of our time is spent here) as much as leisure, so to separate the two into ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ is counter-productive.
- Something about you people would find surprising…
I chat to my older self! Finding out what I would regret doing when I am older – it is an easy way of ridding fears of doing the right or wrong thing now. So for instance, I do not worry about watching TV – I don’t think on my death bed I will wish I had watched more!
- What’s your greatest fear?
The impact of people with “throw away” attitude and “want it now” culture – it is so scary for our children’s children.
- Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Oh, Agatha Christie and JK Rowling (how interesting to get these two ladies’ insight!), Antonio Banderas (I am sure he gave me the eye when he was Zorro and is just waiting for an invite for supper!) and Norman Wisdom for the laughs.
- What would your super power be?
To fly – I wished it when I was little (when the Superman film first came out in the 70’s) and then broke my arm jumping off my slide!
- What’s your favourite/least favourite food?
I love all home-made, seasonal food (but not pre-packed processed) and good wine!
- What’s the worst job you ever had?
Sorry – all have made me what I am today so no worst job. I loved working at Sancto party store in Southend years ago. That was an interesting job!
- What thing would improve the quality of your life?
Seeing more of the world, especially the Far East and India. More walks in the countryside with my husband and Clifford our black lab! Getting back to some weight training – I practice Yoga and Pilates, but would like to take up weights again.
- What’s coming next for you?
Having a franchise assessment later in the year for Simply Stride and then launching it next year. And surfing in Devon with my family. I love it.
How to contact Karen
If you would like to find out more about Simply Stride, you can call or email Karen:
T: 07967 705547