Game Changers - How Vanessa Is Shaping the Next Generation of Industry Experts

Game Changers - How Vanessa Is Shaping the Next Generation of Industry Experts


55.9 million. That's how many people in the U.S. are running.
So just imagine the impact run leaders, experts and coaches have on an entire industry.

But what happens when this group of industry leaders is made up of predominantly the same gender and the same race? What message does this send to others? What type of community does it attract?

Well - these are the questions that our next guest has been asking. As we continue our Latin Heritage Month Series - we're so excited to welcome Vanessa P. Mitchell.

Vanessa has Ecuadorian roots, grew up in New Jersey, and now resides in Philly. When she got involved in endurance sports - she was taken aback by the lack of coaches and industry experts that looked like her and talked like her. Instead of by standing - she's done something amazing about it!

She's started the Game Changers program! A program to help under-represented women get coaching certified, and find their footing in this competitive industry. Last year they welcomed 16 coaches with grants, mentors, and business coaching - and they're about to initiatie another 16 this year.

On top of that - Vanessa has a spring of energy - and is so incredibly passionate. You won't want to miss this incredible conversation.


Podcast Transcription

The following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.

[00:00:00] Guest Quote

And it was just something organic because I feel like we're going to change the game. We're going to bring in a whole new wave of experts. And really we define who people see, so that when I'm reading a book, when I'm taking a workshop, when I'm getting my certification, someone like me or someone like any gamechanger. I have someone like that is in the front of the room.

[00:00:18] Vanessa:

Someone like that is the author of a book. Someone like that is the expert that you're Googling and researching. So, you know, it might seem like a big idea, a big goal, but it's not. It really isn't, it starts with me. It starts with you. And I mean, you meaning everybody, right?

[00:00:38] Episode Intro

[00:00:38] Kevin:
Hello and welcome to the RaceMob podcast. This is episode number 70.

I'm Kevin entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd, and I'm joined by the head coach of RaceMob and master motivator, the incomparable Bertrand Newson.

[00:00:53] Guest Introduction

[00:00:53] Kevin:
55.9 million. That's how many people in the us are running.

So just imagine the impact run leaders, experts, and coaches have on an entire industry. But what happens when this group of industry leaders is made up of predominantly the same gender and the same race, what message does it send to others? And what type of community does it attract?

Well, these are the questions that our next guests has been asking as we continue our Latin heritage month series. We're so excited to welcome Vanessa P Mitchell.

Vanessa has Ecuadorian roots grew up in New York and now resides in Philly. When she got involved in endurance sports, she was taken aback by the lack of coaches and industry experts that looked like her and talk like her. And instead of standing by she's done something amazing about it.

She started the game-changers program, a program that helps underrepresented women get coaching certified and find their footing in this competitive industry.

Last year, they welcome 16 coaches with grants, mentors, and business coaching. And they're about to initiate another 16 this year. On top of that, Vanessa was a spring of energy and is so incredibly passionate.

You won't want to miss this conversation. All the show notes can be found online at https://racemob.com/podcast. And let's get into this chat.

[00:02:11] Start of the Interview

[00:02:11] Kevin:
All right, raceMob crew we're in for a real treat today. We've got the one and only Vanessa see Peralta Mitchell, or as she's better known VCPM on the RaceMob podcast today. Welcome to the podcast, Vanessa.

[00:02:24] Vanessa:
Thank you so much, Kevin. So happy to be.

[00:02:27] Kevin:
Awesome. Well, we're so excited to welcome you, especially this month, especially as we celebrate Latinx heritage month.

[00:02:33] Vanessa's Origin Story

[00:02:33] Kevin:
Tell us a little bit about your upbringing and your origin.

[00:02:38] Vanessa:
I always got to start at my parents and my parents came here from Ecuador. I was born and raised in Hackensack, New Jersey. And eventually now I'm here in near Philadelphia, but in terms of like running you know, I really didn't start writing until like an adult. It was really after our first child was born, that I started running.

But it's kind of not your traditional way of how I, you know, got into running. I would say that I was watching a documentary with my mom and it was about women in spots.

And it really covered a whole plethora of sports, but one of the things that they touched upon was running and marathons and how, you know, KB Switzer was the first woman to register for the Boston marathon and to cross that finish line, but like someone was the race director actually was physically trying to get her out of the race, right?

But we're all very familiar with the story I'm sure. But for me at that time, this was like 16 years ago. I've been running for 16 years and to me, my mind was blown. Like, I can't believe women were treated so unfairly in the world of sports and that they had to work so hard to fight for equality.

And here I am you know, at that time was probably like my mid twenties or something really unaware of the opportunity I had just to, you know, register for a race.

And so, like I said, they covered up plethora spores and it wasn't like I was going to pick up a basketball and Jones, every NBA, the women's soccer team, although those are two sports I didn't play, but I will say all of a sudden, even though I had no connection to running that day, I made a promise to myself and those are the most important promises we can keep it's I made a promise to myself that day that I was going to run a marathon.

And let me tell you guys, I had no idea what, how I was going to achieve that goal. Like I literally knew no one in my circle. No one of my friends, no family, no one I knew it was a runner, but I just became my goal. It was the least that I could do to pay homage to the women before me, the true trailblazers before me is the least I can do to pay how much for everything they fought for my rights, all women's rights, just to simply be able to be treated equally.

And so, yeah, that day I made that conscious decision to do that.

I will say it took me many, many years to achieve that goal, but I did it. And, but that was the day that changed at all. It was just by simply watching that document.

[00:04:57] The First Race

[00:04:57] Bertrand:
Vanessa take us to that very first race, let alone not be pre marathon. So, you know, how did that journey

[00:05:03] Vanessa:
Yeah. You know what? I was so green to running that the very first race I signed up for, it was a 10 K. So I totally bypass the whole, like, you know, you could okay. You know, test the waters. No, I was like, oh no, we're gonna do it's. Okay.

And I literally remember throwing on some like Adidas sweats, my husband's you know, red hoodie pull over and he took me to the local track and our oldest son was like, know a couple months old and I ran a couple laps around the track, you know, it's very like, you know, Traditional gravel type check local high school and yeah, I thought I was in it.

You know, I got my sneakers on sneakers that are probably like way too old to even be getting any type of miles in. And I just kind of ran here and there and I showed up to that 10 K race. It was a, like a run, the bridge challenge. I think it was from like Camden to Philly or something like that, you know 6.2 miles.

I had no idea guy that had no idea showed up to that race that day completely under-trained, you know, probably dehydrated, you know, by myself. And I ran it, but I will say, you know, I barely ran it because like people of all ages, I mean, my knees were shot because I wasn't chained for that type of mileage.

But in my heart, I was like, no, I'm gonna finish this. Like I said, I was going to do it. I'm going to do it. I don't even know. I don't think there was even a metal, you know, back then races relates in it. Weren't big on metals. So it was just the feeling of accomplishment, right? That there I was years before saying I was going to run a marathon here.

I am years later starting that journey. And it felt like, okay, you know, this was hard, but this is doable. And if this is where my side-line is, then imagine how far I can go. So I did come home super excited, but super hurt. I couldn't walk for a couple of days, but it relates in the not to term. Wanting to achieve that bigger goal, wanting to complete 26.2 miles.

Again, still no idea how I was going to do it, but even more so determined. And the fact that feeling like I could.

[00:07:13] Kevin:
That's beautiful. And I think we all remember kind of our first race, the adrenaline rush have the, you know, the thrill of having so many people at that starting line and the feeling of accompany. Of crossing that first finish line. So you just brought all those feelings back for me personally, when you told that story, it's incredible.

[00:07:30] Training and Adapting to Parenthood

[00:07:30] Kevin:
Talk to us a little bit about training. And especially with training with, with young kids in the house, probably some tips that I might need to get here in a couple of months.

[00:07:41] Vanessa:
Yeah, right? Well, so I didn't train with anyone for that first race, but my first marathon, which was, you know, a couple of races after that, I did train with the. So it was a local group and we met every Saturday for a long run. And then they gave you training plans so that during the week you can train on your own.

But they brought in different experts, you know, to talk to us about different things, whether it was our form or stretching or nutrition. But as far as training with, you know, our, we only had one child at a time. I kind of put them in a stroller again, very green to this space and even have a jogger.

I just kind of throw them in a. Four wheeled stroller, poor kid. You know, it was like, mom is this, this is probably okay. But you know, as long as I brought snacks, he was all good. But it, it definitely was, you know, it was a balancing act, you know, a full-time job. Obviously things at home my own personal goals with running, it was a lot like sometimes I would do.

Cook dinner and then literally run while my husband and son ate dinner so then I back and then put him to bed. So things like that, but it, it didn't feel like it was a sacrifice or anything like that. It just felt. Just very tunnel vision I have a goal. What do I need to do every day to achieve that goal?

And so my husband was very supportive as well. I would say that was a big factor. But yeah, that, that was my training with consistent of running solo during the week and then running with the group on the weekend. And
I really made some long, long lifelong friends actually. Two of the women I was training with, it ended up running the, the marathon, my first marathon with.

[00:09:11] Bertrand:
Oh, that's great.

[00:09:12] Vanessa's First Marathon

[00:09:12] Kevin:
That's fantastic. Yeah. Having, having that kind of accountability group and people that are going gonna, that's going to force you to do some of those individual runs because you don't want to show up Saturday and be completely guessed. So that's fantastic. And what was the first marathon that you ran?

[00:09:28] Vanessa:
Philadelphia marathon.

[00:09:29] Bertrand:
Oh, great.

[00:09:30] Kevin:
Well, how has that marathon talk to us about it?

[00:09:33] Vanessa:
Yeah, it's awesome. I mean, I'm not from Philly, you know, my original goal that day in wa watching the documentary, my original goal was the New York marathon, but I ended up moving down here. So I gave myself the grace of like, you know, it's okay to change your goal. And Philadelphia became my first marathon.

I will say that I did eventually do New York. So another story.

[00:09:53] Bertrand:
You talk about that.

[00:09:55] Vanessa:
Yeah, but Philadelphia marathon, it's just there's a real coal to the city and the people that come out to support the runners, they just feel very. It just feels it's not my home, but it feels very home-based if that makes sense.

And the runners just feel very community driven and, you know, the signs, the yelling, I mean, I know it sounds very similar to other races but I don't know there was something not being from this city yet feeling that the people were there for you. I don't know. There's something about that.

It felt very. I don't know, very special. And maybe, cause it was my first, I will say, when you run a Philly and you hit manioc, I call it sin city personally. You know, many, like they had the brownies. I mean, they had some nice slice oranges, but they had the beer, they had the shots. I mean, you're running a marathon and people are like asking you like, you want this beer?

And I'm like, no,

[00:10:49] Bertrand:
Yeah, we do have some experience with running and shots. We do. That's another conversation. So.

[00:10:55] Kevin:
On the course on the course.

[00:10:58] Vanessa:
That's a whole different type of fuels. So I was, I call since then you, and it was just awesome. So it was a definitely a race to remember, because back then they allowed your family or friends to come on the course. Do you guys remember those days? I don't know if you guys been running that long. So this was my first marathon and literally I had like a whole group of like friends coming up with signs.

My parents were there. My God daughter was there and my husband, my best friends from childhood and the last couple of meters my husband came out Tim's and hoodie and all he's coming out like trying Rowan me is Tim's are not even laced. And he's like, man, you really run. And I'm like, yeah, really?

Like but you know, he was so gracious enough to have me finish the race with who I started with, which was. Ladies I had been training with her name is Cassandra, so we finished the race, holding hands, reaching for the sky because we, we know, we knew what we had been through. We knew what we had come from.

And looking back, you know, me being Latin and her being a black woman, it just, I guess, represented so much more, you know what I mean, than us just completing those 26.2 miles, I guess, even talking to you guys right now, it was really a reflection of what we've represented, right? Like we've represented so much more than just Cassandra and Vanessa.

We can represent it to women of color. Completing what you don't see at least, you know, especially back then. You did not see a lot of, you know, long distance runners women of color, and we're doing it together, you know? So it was a beautiful moment. And I honestly, I, I will, I will never forget it.

[00:12:38] On How Welcoming the Scene Was Then

[00:12:38] Bertrand:
Vanessa at that time, what was your take on the friendliness and openness of the running?

[00:12:43] Vanessa:
You know, I like to think of the running community. In this same aspect of when I think of circles and it just makes sense in a second. So how many time you join a run group? Do you notice how like circles are formed naturally? Have you ever noticed that? You know, and I, I found myself Bennett even sometimes.

Now when I'm joining a new group, I find myself sometimes outside of that circle, physically outside of that circle. When I am one of few or one of one, and I didn't feel that 16 years ago in, of. The inclusion of people that might look different. And now not to say that people weren't friendly and nice.

I think, you know, people have their comfort zones and when someone new comes in, I did find myself a lot of times outside of that circle. And I will say another indirect feeling of maybe being a little bit different. Yeah. I really noticed that a lot of the experts that were brought in to teach us, people we're supposed to learn from we're predominantly of the same gender and the same race.

And none of them look like me. And that's not to say that there was anything wrong with that, but it really set the tone of who I even saw as leaders and experts in the industry who I was getting my information from who I was getting the.

The, you know, the green light for yes. You know, you are a runner and you know, you've completed this course and you have this knowledge now. So an indirect way, right? Coach "B", it was kind of showing me that this expert spaces were for people that don't look like.

[00:14:20] Bertrand:
And Kevin and I thank you for sharing that, Vanessa,

Kevin and I have used this example that going back to your first day going from maybe elementary school to middle school or. Your first day in college, your first day in a new job and how open and how welcoming is that new group and putting yourself.

You know, being a community leader in the running as we're running group, when you have people that are new to the area or new to your running club, just to step out of your comfort zone and to make someone feel welcome regardless on if they've run, they're going from couch to 5k or they've qualified for Boston.

That just going up and looking somebody in the eye and have a genuine, sincere conversation, shaking hands, we're able to do that without, you know th th the pandemic and all that, those concerns.

But just being genuinely friendly and interested and listening versus trying to, well, I've done this many races. These are my PRs. Now just sit back and listen, and welcome someone into your fitness family.

And I think at sometimes that can get lost and you know, like you said you know, there's the prevalency of social media and social groups where people are communicating in person or online, sometimes those bonds and those clicks, those bubbles get a little bit deeper, but when you have.

Especially now because during the pandemic people have the opportunity to explore and find out about running and hiking. And we feel that we're seeing a, a boom to a certain degree of people being more curious and interested.

So it's important for those running communities smaller groups, larger groups to be open when you're welcoming new people into your running community. Very critical.

[00:15:56] Vanessa:
Yeah, Yeah it's absolutely.

[00:15:58] Kevin:
And to your other point. I mean, I think, you know, we do have to be more conscious about helping create more diversity amongst our coaches in the running community. I know Coach "B", you're a part of a group with Matt Fitzgerald that I'm helping advise as well. The coaches of color initiative that we'll be launching here pretty soon.

And we've talked to a lot of different leaders across you know, our sport, including the president of the RRCA who has, has really talked about how we need to be more. About diversity in our sport, because if you just let it naturally go without, without conscious thought you are probably excluding a large portion of the population just because of who is been in their incumbent land.

So I love that you talked about that. I think openly, you know, are, do we, are we setting enough examples? Are we creating enough role models? Are we creating enough experts in the field from different different genders, obviously different Democrats. Different different people across the board.

I think that only when we do that, will we be able to welcome more people across the board, into our sports, so great that you brought that up. It's really important.

Talk to us a little bit about you know, the movement that you've created. You know, I think we, again got connected through Jasmine Sanchez and w we know that you have a very powerful message.

[00:17:15] Uplifting Women of Color

[00:17:15] Kevin:
So I mean, talk to us a little bit about vcpm.com and your website, and, you know, the initiative is, as you've heard.

[00:17:23] Vanessa:
Yeah. Of course, so my business called VCPM Inc, and it's a business dedicated to using the power of the pavement to empower women to live a life without limits. And one of the ways I do that is through our Game Changers program and what that does it aims to bring in more women of color as certified women coaches so we can really redefine who people see as industry experts. A lot of what we just kind of talked about right now.

So I would say that this first started as a simple idea, you know, Being in my certification course. I don't know. But you guys, but, you know, I was one of two people of color and the other person was a man of color and it was just like a little seed

in my head in terms of like recognizing, you know,
when you walk into them, cause back then right now the courses are online. They're going to be going in person again. I think a few have started, but back then it was all in person, you know? And so when I walked into the room, I definitely recognize that.

And so I got my certification and I really realized that every "room" I was walking into in this expert space, I was the only person of color. And so I was getting different opportunities, you know, as a certified run coach. And I realized that I wanted to venture out on my own and do something.

So I was creating the all women's run panel. It was going to be five female certified van coaches, but I was really adamant about them being, you know, you know women of color. And I really had a heart. This is an in-person event. I haven't really had a hard time finding certified run coaches.

There were women who I thought we're certified run code is, but they would just, you know, they knew what they were doing and they knew how to do it. And so they would just share advice and tips and stuff about other women, but they weren't certified. Which is fine, you know, but you know, I'm going to have an expert panel.

I wanted them all to have like a certification. And so like, okay. Like another little seed, like, okay, I really can't find anybody. So I ended up with a diverse panel as much as I could. But definitely all women. I had everything in place. I had vendors, I was going to be a sports profiting, a shoe giveaway.

You know, we're going to do a group run group, warm up, everything, you name it. And two weeks before the event was to take place, you guys know what happened, the world's shut down that pandemic. And so everything was canceled. And of course there was the right thing to do, but I was like, okay, like, you know, just like everyone else, you know, you kind of throw your hands up and you take a step back and you, you know, Figuring out what you're going to do next.

And I will say during that time is when I realized that I could take my women's run panel and make it virtual. And so in doing so I realized that, you know, what, if I'm not finding these women of color, sort of five on coaches, what can I do about it? Is there something I can do about it? You know, what is it that I can do to propel this change?

And I realized that I could fund them myself. Mind you. I don't got no extra bank. I don't know about job. I don't got no extra bank anywhere to fund certifications that are a couple hundred dollars each. So I used my all women's run panel events, and I really presented it like in a way that people are getting run expert at their fingertips while paying it forward for future coaches.

And so I use a part of the registration to fund five women of color. And that was my goal. At first, I just was like, I'm going to fund five women and. That's going to be my impact low and behold, I talked to a company and she was like, the business owner was like, you know what, I'm a match your five and boom.

All of a sudden I can fund 10. And I'm like, wow, this is crazy. So know I've been running. This was just last year. At that point, it was been running about 15 years this year will be my 16th year. And so I just reached out to people in my network. I before I knew it, that five went to 10 and two 11 then to 12.

And then, you know at that point too, one of my first steps that I did, I should say is I did reach out to RRCA and I said, Hey, this is important. This is the mission. And we need to do something about it. And they're like, Vanessa, we're on board with your mission. We're going to hold these spots for you because access is a big a big barrier.

So they're holding these spots. And at first I thought I could feel fine. I went up to 12 and then I got another funder saying, well, how much do you need to fill the full 15 spots? And I was like, oh, I need X, Y, and Z. I was like, all right, you know, we'll cover that gap. It's always that we could do 15.

And then my amazing run friends, all joined forces from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and they to get a, pulled enough funds to get it to fully fund six, the 16th woman. And I went back to RRCA said, I know you're holding 15. I need 16 and they're like, you got it. And all of a sudden I was able to fund 16 game changers and the program's called game changers.

And it was just something organic because I feel like we're going to change the game. We're going to bring in a whole new wave of experts. And really we define who people see, so that when I'm reading a book, when I'm taking a workshop, when I'm getting my certification, someone like me or someone like any gamechanger. I have someone like that is in the front of the room.

Someone like that is the author of a book. Someone like that is the expert that you're Googling and researching. So, you know, it might seem like a big idea, a big goal, but it's not. It really isn't, it starts with me. It starts with you. And I mean, you meaning everybody, right?

This goal, isn't going to be achieved just by those who were in the program. It takes brands, it takes companies, it takes fellows like Coach "B" and Kevin Chang. You know what I mean? We all play a part in it. And so I went from that small goal to this, you know, 16 game-changers and it's really grown into a full program with the three main components are the funding of, of these ones.

Mentorship by fellow women of color coaches and then a business strategist, because we've learned that it's not enough to provide funding for someone, right? You don't want to just bring them to the starting line. Right? You want to see them through to a full, successful journey and business strategy.

A lot of people don't realize is important because you have the certification and you're all gun-ho and you're having, you're excited, but it's like, okay, now what, what are you going to do with it?

You're gonna do a business, a side hustle. You just try and help your community. And so we'd bring a business strategist in to help them with that structure. So those are the three main components of my program. And that's where it is right now. I will say one big thing if I can just share. I really felt that at the beginning of this, it was very simple.

I just wanted to fund women and then that grew into. You know, run coaching. Isn't just about run coaching. I feel like these women are community leaders, they're health advocates. They are examples to the next generation of, you know, runners and people of color coming into the sport. And then even throughout this last year, I really even taken that even bigger because I read this book.

It was a a book about Bernay brown. And also Bernay brown book. I can't remember the name of the book, but the simple line in that book and towards the beginning, talks about her husband asked, what do you want to do? What's your next step? What's your next move? And she's like, you know what? I want to have a global conversation.

And her specific topic was more centered around, I think of like shame and figuring and how to talk through that. But her answer to her husband to have a global conversation blue. Oh, who thinks like that? You know what I mean? Like who thinks that I'm going to have, or start a global conversation? Most of the time we have our head down and we're found to check off our to-do lists.

And that really expanded my mind to go from this little seed, to these couple of certifications, to these different roles, to like industry impact. And that's why I say we're here to redefine the industry because imagine. What you can achieve when you're thinking at that level if you're thinking she's going to have a global conversation, I salute that.

And at the same time, I'm a reflect that because it's in me, it's in you, Kevin is in your clothes. You'd be like, we all have that capacity to think like that. So if we can start thinking like that and act like that, we're going to be about that. Right. And that's what the whole program is about. To get these women, not only a starting line, but a successful journey and in a way too, like I keep saying just to redefine an entire industry.

[00:25:53] Kevin:
If you like our podcast and sign up for our newsletter, where we give you weekly tips on how to run your best race and have fun in the process, just go to RaceMob dot com and sign up today.

[00:26:05] The Progress of Mentorships and Apprenticeships

[00:26:05] Bertrand:
Wonderful. Incredibly profound. So can we share some where we stand with some of the people who've gone through the certification and are making their impact and being mentored in an apprenticeships and things along those lines.

[00:26:18] Vanessa:
Yeah, absolutely. It's really a beautiful that. For these first 16 game-changers I was able to get fellow RRCA one of color certified run coaches. So it really becomes a whole internal community. And, you know, some of the opportunities that our mentors have had have been through getting quoted as experts cited experts like on self.com and we've gotten a mention in women's running magazine.

I think it was the spring issue. So just that alone has really been amazing to see women's From our group being cited as expert sources, you know, I would say the new game changer is coming in. The ones that came in last year. A lot of them are at different levels. So some might see the progression in terms of what organizations or groups they're a part of.

They're able to be in those DEI conversations. They feel more empowered and calm. Talk about their role in their community. Other coaches have had their business already, and they're just looking for this certification. But they're more able to kind of paint a picture of what their journey is now, right?

They're not just about running and training plans, but they represent much
more than that, you know, in terms of women of color and their culture and how they can tie that into what they do as a coach. Other women are a part of the RRCA. We have one woman who is a club president, and she feels more seen value in heard as a black woman in the industry.

And we have another woman who started her business. While she was in the program. So she has after she got the RSA certification, she also got her nutritionist certification. So now her program and her company is a combination of running and nutrition. Which I think is cool because they go hand in hand.

[00:28:08] Bertrand:
They do. They, do.

[00:28:09] Vanessa:
Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, that's just the glimpse of, you know some of the, the goals and, you know, it's not something. In terms of the 16 women, it's only their first year as well. So they're, you know, still trying to figure out different things. But I think at the same time, it's a lot to be applauding.

There's a lot to apply to accomplish in a year. Let alone just their intentionality about doing something within the running industry as a, as a woman of color. So that's just a little bit, but yeah.

[00:28:41] The RRCA

[00:28:41] Bertrand:
Wonderful. Are there any other organizations as you look at that sort of occasion that you're looking maybe next level to kind of round them up, or was RRCA you where you found the best source for running code certification?

[00:28:55] Vanessa:
RRCA is where I got my certification. So it just became kind of like naturally to bring in more women through the organization that I have. That in my certification from, I do know there's a bunch of others out there. I can't speak to the best only because I haven't taken other people's certifications.

I don't want to, you know, downplay anything like I will say. You know, RRCA is definitely one of the largest and oldest organizations within running.

[00:29:19] Bertrand:
Big fans, big fans, Kevin.

[00:29:22] Vanessa:
Yeah. Oh, okay, cool. So they're very well known and things of that nature. I do believe I would like to believe, there's other organizations that are at the same caliber that are in the DDI space, looking to be more inclusive of who they bring in as coaches because coaches essentially are seen, heard and valued as.

And I hope I would hope that other organizations are on a similar mission as.

[00:29:50] Kevin:
How you had the vision to not only get them certified, but then offer so many services after that certification. I know that we've talked to a number of different coaches who have gone through the RRCA certification. And sometimes the question is okay, now what next? What can I do next? And how do I, how do I actually turn this into a business?

Coach "B", I mean, I know that you were certified for a number of. Before, starting to take on clients and, and understanding how do you take on more clients? How do you, you know, not trade time for money, but start, you know, building programs or building businesses and, and other things. So I love that you had that vision.

[00:30:26] The Challenges After the Certification

[00:30:26] Kevin:
What, what do you think are some of the, the major challenges that, that some of these coaches face kind of coming out of certification what, what are some of the things that maybe your your business strategists has helped them through or some of the major things that, that, you know, being part of this program has afforded some of these coaches that may have not had you know, some of this coaching,

[00:30:46] Vanessa:
Yeah, I would say the two biggest things are support and not feeling alone.

You know, a lot times you take a certification and you do. Put into like a bigger group in terms of like a Facebook group is I thought, which is really helpful. I would say on the flip side of that, it's also can be a little bit intimidating, right?

If you want to pose a question to. Thousands of people that you don't know. So that can definitely get a little bit intimidating, but you know, when you can find a smaller group, a smaller community, that's supporting you, not only what questions, but through your journey I think that becomes crucial.

So I think that's a, a major part in what the program from. And the mentorship alone. I like to think of it. My mentor is going to attest to this, but like it's a two way street so I think that we are helping the game-changers who are coming in, but it's also reigniting and refueling the light within current coaches.

That they can give back and then they can take something from the mentorship as well. So it becomes like this full circle, right? Helping and supporting the women coming in it. And then we're like refueling and reigniting that flame and current coaches. And so that way it becomes like its own little like oiled machine to some extent.

[00:31:58] Vanessa's Mother as Inspiration

[00:31:58] Kevin:
talk to us a little bit about your mom's impact and influence on your life. And, and VCPM.

[00:32:05] Vanessa:
Oh, absolutely. So both my parents I've played a big role in like who I am from everything to my stubbornness. It's to my I, you know, my I can do attitude, pull up my sleeves, work hard. And everything in between, but I would say my mom played a crucial role because not that long ago she shared with me, so my mom to six step back, my mom came here.

Well, my dad, I'm from Ecuador. And she came here, very goal driven to finish her studies. She put that all aside to raise my older, one of my older brothers and one of my older sisters and then eventually. So she put her goals, her dreams to finish your studies aside when she came to this country so that she can, you know, be a wife and a mom, and to help my dad with his business too, actually.

So, you know, so that's like whew, many years ago, right? What, like 40 something years ago, maybe. But just like in the last year or so she came to this revelation where she realized that. She never got to fulfill her dreams. She came to this country was so much to hope and desire for, and she never fulfilled those shoe.

And it wasn't, it was not a place of regret it was just a moment of realization, but a tearful moment that she was sharing with me, I'm her youngest daughter. And I've seen my mom go through a lot all these years, but it was honestly a courageous moment like that level of vulnerability. It was so courageous because what she was doing was she was telling me, this was before I owned my own business.

This is before I even thought about this whole game changers. VCPM Inc. All of it. She was telling me that I don't have to wait to fulfill my goals or my dreams. I don't have to wait and put my desires on hold. I don't have to shelf anything, whatever it is that I feel in my heart that I can do, I can accomplish it right now.

And in that moment, it's like without saying it, she was like pouring all her hopes, all her dreams, all her desires into me. You know what I mean? I'm the youngest daughter like, and let me tell you this real quick. So my dad owns his own business. So if he was on this side of the spectrum, I was on the opposite.

I was the only person in my whole entire family that never worked with my dad because of my mind business and family just don't go together. And I grew up in that. So to have this moment. Before I even thought about wanting my own business. I have this moment at the foundation of what I was doing, my mom telling me, you don't have to wait to fulfill your hopes and dreams that the time that she passed me that day, that Baton of knowledge and empowerment.

Was crucial to what I do, because I was able to take that and literally write, run with it. I just didn't know that that that was happening. I can look back and see it. And that moment, I just felt like I needed to be there for her. And I felt. It was a very vulnerable moment, but it was just so crazy how courageous of this woman who is epitome of strength.

And respect to kind of like have this vulnerability to share with her daughter, but in the sense, giving me a message and I can look back and say like, wow, that, that was the turning point that I didn't even realize was happening. But that, that's the part that my mom played. And then to find out when I told her I'm going to start a company and I'm helping women and, you know, She's, she has a strong belief in God as I do.

And she was just like, oh, I'll pray for you every day. And she's just like, she thinks the whole the impact is a true blessing and I couldn't agree more with her.

[00:35:45] Plans for the Next Races

[00:35:45] Bertrand:
Fantastic. Fantastic. Now, Vanessa, back to your personal fitness journey, what does running look like for you now days? And the library's thing is back you know, New York marathon on the horizon. You share with us during an earlier conversation that you completed the New York marathon share with our listeners about.

[00:36:04] Vanessa:
Yes, absolutely. So the New York math at, oh my goodness. It's a race and the lifestyle that was the race I wanted to do. It was like the creme de LA creme for me now. But, you know, I guess I did Philly first, but it always kept New York on my mind. So I, you know, and to the lotto, didn't get in that first year.

And then when I did get in actually was pregnant with our second child. So I had to defer no, you know, no biggie, although at the time, like maybe I can run, like, but no, that was more reasonable. And I deferred, but when I deferred Our second son was born in March. You know, that race was in November. So I basically had him and like started training and you know, that year Superstorm stat, a super storm Sandy happened. And so if you guys might be that. Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah. So that's the year they actually didn't cancel the race into, I want to
say like two days before. And so it was crazy fellows. Like I was because you're still in training mode, but there's like this hurricane type thing happening as I literally, so in my home, like the, this is don't laugh at me, but the living room, the hallway, the kitchen and the dining room, all connect.

I literally ran three miles in my home.

[00:37:21] Bertrand:
Oh, wow. Yeah.

[00:37:26] Vanessa:
going to cross that finish line hurricane or not like, let me tell you like, yeah, it was just not playing. And so I ran one of my last training runs in my house because again, I didn't cancel it. So two days, I think it was two days before, so I was devastated. They made absolutely the right call. I mean that doesn't really take away your no 12, 16 weeks that you're training.

So I would definitely was devastated, but you know what? It all happens for a reason and that next year. So technically it was my third time now. Right? That next year when it happened, it was November 3rd, 2013. Time trying to get in. And it was my third marathon and later I found out there's some type of like, meaning behind the word three or something it's like, meant to be, or I don't know something to that extent, but it, yeah, it was literally meant to be, and I was able to do it.

And it was really was a race of a lifetime. It just. Like, I was almost watching myself, you know, like I was watching myself complete this unbelievable goal and I remember close to mile 21. I don't know if they do this anymore, but you know, when you pass the mile markers, like there's a screen that pops up and like your friends and family can leave you a message.

Do they send, I dunno.

[00:38:34] Bertrand:
Again, some races. I saw that in Chicago a couple of years ago.

[00:38:38] Vanessa:
Okay, well, New York definitely did that. And Jeff and 13 and a mile 21, my husband's messaged upon. I had crossed the, and mind you, they don't do this. Like for every runner, Christmas, thousands upon thousands of runners, but yeah, mile 21, my husband's message came up when he was like, yeah, whatever he said.

And I'm like, it was amazing. I, some of my family came out. Like I saw them Brooklyn, and then I saw them in New York. And then right at the end, I saw my younger brother and my husband and I told him, I said, I ran this race, but you made it worth it. Just, you know, be able to share. Everything was someone there's something special about that.

And you know, to tie it in with the game changer, I think that's why the program is so special because we're able to share it with each other. You're not left alone. You're not there unsupported. You know, with the back to the New York marathon. Yeah, that was to me, that putting me of all races and I I loved every, every moment of it.

It's, it's a bit of a blur. Right. But um, the moments that I do remember they're, they're irreplaceable.

[00:39:40] Times and PRs

[00:39:40] Bertrand:
Wonderful. And we sometimes, we say, we know we're chasing finished times or finish line. That was all about the experience, but I'm sure some of our listeners would love to know what was your finishing time before.

[00:39:49] Vanessa:
Well for the New York marathon, it wasn't that great. I think it was like what relative. I'm talking about own journey. I think it 4 55.

[00:39:58] Bertrand:
That's great.

[00:39:59] Vanessa:
Yeah. Yeah. So but now it days I am still running, you know, life in person racing as back. And I've done three, like in the last month, which is not recommended as a coach.

Right. I would pick been been that, but yeah, it's been so much fun. I did place in a 10 K

[00:40:18] Kevin:

[00:40:18] Vanessa:
Around here. I got third overall females, so that was fun. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. So, yeah, I'm excited. You know, I'm taking, I just did a half marathon two Sundays ago, so I'm taking time off giving my heel and my body some rest.

And, but yeah, no, I'm looking forward to many more races. I think the next one would be the, for me at least would be the Philadelphia half in November. So Yeah.

[00:40:46] Hydration and Nutrition Tips

[00:40:46] Bertrand:
We have several athletes that have been in training towards a talent. Michael, as we look at fall and winter marathons namely Chicago, Boston, New York, LA marathon from, we've and there's been a lot of conversation regarding new nutrition and hydration. We love to get some of your feedback, coach Vanessa on hydration, tips and nutrition tips for running.

[00:41:09] Vanessa:
Yeah. I would say that. You have to practice what you're going to do throughout your training. And I will add a third part of that Coach. "B" just not like hydration, nutrition, but also I would emphasize your mental game. You know, a lot of people oversee that they think they can go into race day and kind of talk themselves through it because you know, running is what they, what do they say?

90% men. So you can't rely on just race day mentality, you know, if you're gonna practice hydration and nutrition, I would add a third one, which is your mental game from the beginning of your training and map out what that looks like. But as far as nutrition and hydration, I mean, it's very, it's very, it would be very specific.

I here's a It depends. But I would say, you know, you definitely want to. Let me see what overall tips can I give? I would say, you know, definitely drink at least an hour before your long run, you know, drink like a full bottle of water, take a couple steps beforehand, get an, a breakfast that you're going to practice.

Right? So, whatever practice you're going to, what are breakfast you're going to eat for your long run, you know, make that your race, date, breakfast, you know, nothing new on race day. And hydration. I mean, I definitely am no hydration expert. I know you had Jasmine on here, essentially. awesome tips, but I would say focusing on race week, don't wait the day before and the day of to drink it's a whole week process.

He don't want to wait to that last day or the day of, for that I will say for racing as well. The best day to get sleep is not the day before. Race is the day before that day before. So let's say your race is, you know, Sunday, you're not going to get much sleep Saturday. So definitely aim to get the best sleep by Friday.

And then another tip would be as far as nutrition, there is a myth that I like to debunk, which is people rely on pasta the night before. I have never relied on pasta. Ooh. I don't know. Maybe in five years. And I've only gotten not to say this is a correlation, but I've only gotten a fast or is I can't, you know, I can't say not eating fat has slowed me down, but I eat. So my chosen carve is stupid status. I would like to aspire to nutrition. I like to debunk the whole passable night before, and I would definitely encourage people to try something new during your training. Right? Because I don't want you to try something new the day of, or the day before. But I mean, those are some overall tips.

If anyone wants something specific, of course can reach out to me. But I would be asking you a whole load of questions in terms of getting to know you and where you are. I gave you something more specific. Yeah.

[00:43:53] Bertrand:
Great tips. No. Thank you for that.

[00:43:55] Kevin:
And as we know most of the time coaches, you know, the most important thing that you can give athlete is that motivation to get to the starting line to get to the finish line and the way that you describe New York. I mean, it, it just gave me chills. I

t just gave me that feeling all over again of running one of these races with a big group of people and the impact that you're having, not just on your athletes, but then paying it forward and realizing that a Coach can have so much more impact on athletes.

And you just have, have made an exponentially significant impact on our community by helping more coaches get certified, more coaches go through training, more coaches, get their businesses up and running, and we just have to applaud you for all of the effort, all of the vision, all of the behind the scenes to get all of that started.

[00:44:45] Ways to Support the Game Changers

[00:44:45] Kevin:
It's just incredible. And how, how can our audience help your game-changers? How can they help you? And how can they help this program?

[00:44:53] Vanessa:
Yeah, support is always needed. You know, right now we just brought in our 16 new Gamechangers. We just they've all been notified. I would say about two weeks ago, they just took their certification this past weekend. I definitely want to clap it up to them.

[00:45:08] Bertrand:

[00:45:08] Vanessa:
Yeah. So so support is needed year round, I would say.

If you are a woman of color certified van coach reach out to me, we're always looking for mentors. If you are someone in the community visit my website, vcpm.com. There is a link there to donate. And I would say if you are a brand or a company or a representative of a business, reach out to me, because what we need is a platform.

You know, we need a spotlight, a strobe, light highlight, and I always say any light you got but we need that to showcase the important. Oh, of women of color coaches. And so you bring in someone that already has an established platform that can amplify what we're doing. And our voices giving us two more know for us to be seen, heard, and valued.

I welcome that conversation and I welcome that funding as well. VCPM Inc is a for-profit business and I'm not shy about that. And so it does take a. Funds to have a full blown mentorship program to bring in a qualified business strategist to provide certification alone. I mean, certification is our CA and we cover the cost of their CPR and first aid certification,
which is a requirement to be a certified run coach.

So all of this takes money. It, you know, it takes a lot of contracts. So we definitely welcome not only those conversations, but the monetary support as well. And then if someone is just wants to support by, you know, applauding what we're doing, they can always again visit my website. vcpm.com.

Sign up for emails. Find me on Instagram, VCP Mitchell with two. But yes, any amplification of what we're doing is is really a big help. And I will say too, we have every month on the 16th, we have the female coach lead that's L E a D, which stands for leveraging, educating, amplifying diversity. And so what we do is we spotlight a Coach every month on the 16th, and it's on the 16th because we have an honor of our 16 game.

And we just really hone in on that one Coach, who's a woman of color, her specialty, right? What's her specialty as a run coach within the industry. And then we showcase her and then we do a short IAG live and then people can ask questions and then we do a infographic at the end. So people can see all the tips that this one coach has shared.

And they're going to kind of have to take a snapshot and, and kind of grab and go. But at the same time that also. Needs funds, because one thing I like to say is if we want to be valued as experts, our coaches should be paid as such. And so that takes funding as well. And again, I'm not shy about any of this.

This is the truth, right? Experts are compensated and we, we want to do the same here. So all of that, you know, that's very, a lot of different ways you can support. But they can always reach me directly Vanessa, at bcpm.com and I can break this all down for them in a nice.

[00:48:13] Kevin:
Fantastic. Thank you so much, Vanessa, for joining us on this podcast. I mean, I think this'll probably be the start of hopefully a beautiful friendship and partnership and you know, anything that we can do on the RaceMob side to help support the Game Changers. Help our athletes or our audience coming through, get connected with the coaches that are coming through your program.

I think, you know, we're all for it. Like we said before, I mean, I think we all benefit when we can raise all boats. And we can only raise all boats when we are inclusive and to make sure that we have a diverse set of experts and coaches. So thank you so much for all of your effort. All of the behind the scenes really have enjoyed chatting with you this evening.

Thank you so much.

[00:48:53] Bertrand:
Yeah, keep up the fantastic work.

[00:48:55] Vanessa:
Yeah, thank you so much for the opportunity. And just for, like I was saying in the beginning lot of times she's so busy in the work that you don't really talk about it. So this was. Really nice for me to kind of share out loud what's going on. So I really appreciate the, the platform that you both have not provided just for me.

I know you guys do this for tons of other people, so thank you too, for the work that you're doing as well.

[00:49:19] Bertrand:
Yeah, our honor and pleasure without a doubt.

[00:49:21] Episode Outro

[00:49:21] Kevin:
Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the RaceMob podcast. Check out all of the show notes or find a running buddy online at RaceMob dot com. Please subscribe to us on apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts and leave us a review until next time. Keep on moving.