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Personal Elevation™ Close-Up: What Shelley Sharkey Can Teach You About the Correlation Between Your Personal Brand and Your Businesses Brand 

It has been four years since I opened my email and read that first message from Shelly Sharkey. While I was familiar with her reputation as the owner of a local women’s gym, Miss Fit, we had never had the opportunity to meet. But on June 13, 2013, she reached out to introduce herself, let me know who had referred her and let me know her intention with possibly working together, “I'd really like MissFIT to grow and be recognized as a high-quality service brand. I know in order for that to happen, I also need to reflect that image.”

Pause for a moment.

Please go back and reread that last line because Shelly understood from day one, what so many women fail to recognize. There is an absolute direct correlation between her personal brand and her organizations brand. And, she was willing to do whatever it took to ensure they were both in alignment.

From the moment, I walked into her facility and we began our bi-weekly brand strategy sessions, I was blown away. Shelly embodied what it meant to be Undeniably Fierce. She was smart. Savvy. In control. She was also young. But her youth hadn’t gotten in the way from her climbing the ranks of a gym in which she worked as the manager and then turning around to buy it.

She was adamant about investing in herself and took classes and worked with people who helped her elevate her skill-set in the gym and in the office. But here’s the thing. Like so many Boss women, Shelly couldn’t see how ridiculously fierce she was. She was blind to it. But she was adamant about helping her brand become a high-quality service brand.

A few years ago, I heard someone say that you can’t compare someone else’s front stage to your back stage. Meaning that most people know how to show you only what they want you to see—the good stuff and you are never privy to the hot mess behind the curtains.

For the past four years, most people had no idea that the beautifully talented trainer on the stage was dealing with a crazy landlord, juggling staff personalities, and trying to make payroll. She paid the price of being the boss. Yet, she persisted.

Shelly Sharkey knew that she had what it took to provide a health and wellness oasis that her community needed. A place to help motivate, inspire and unleash the potential of every woman who walked through her doors.

But she also knew from early on that to do that, she had to be that. And so that is who she became. Shelley Sharkey is in the process of opening a brand-new studio in the historic Ellicott City,MD. Here is what you can learn from her:

1.     Elevate Your Mindset: There is no way to emphasize the amount of time Shelley puts into making sure that her “mind is right.” The moment I mentioned a book or resource, she was writing it down. She was always open to looking at things a different way and she recognized that it was imperative for her to be cognizant about her thoughts.   

2.     Seek Outside Sources: You are not a “jack of all trades,” so stop acting like one. Make sure that you partner with the right people in your life to fill in those gaps. Shelley fundamentally understood where she was strong and where she was not and she adjusted accordingly. You should do the same.

3.     Keep Your End Goal Front and Center:  The reality is that owning a commercial property is not easy. Shelley had to endure a lot of gut-wrenching nights and situations, but she knew what she was working toward. She preserved and now she is about to debut her dream studio in the heart of what Money magazine rates as one of the “best places to live.” Not bad.

Check her out:




Jennifer Ransaw Smith, a Personal Elevation Strategist™, is the owner of Brand id| Strategic Partners. She equips women professionals, executives and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to elevate their visibility, credibility, influence and impact. Clients hire her when they are ready to “make a name for themselves,” in their organization and industry. She can be reached at or