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How She Got There: Gia Marakas, Pilates Instructor

Name: Gia Marakas
Job Title: Pilates Instructor/Small Business Owner
College/Major: Loyola Marymount University/Spiritual Psychology
Email: [email protected]
  
Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Gia Marakas: My job entails Pilates instruction at both a Pilates studio and private residences. I also counsel many of my students about proper nutrition. A typical day begins at about 5:00 am. My first student is usually at around 6:00 am and I teach 55-minute sessions throughout the day until 8:00 pm. I schedule a break in the middle of my day for lunch and my own workout.
 
HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
GM: I am a classically trained Pilates instructor, therefore your first job is an apprentice position with a seasoned instructor for about a year. After that you can begin teaching students on your own.
 
HC: What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
GM: I wish I knew how entrepreneurial my job would become the more successful I became. When you work for yourself. You are basically working all the time.  You have to constantly be thinking about bringing in new business and maintaining the excellence of your teaching at all times.

HC: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
GM: My father works for himself and he has always encouraged me to keep going even when the road is bumpy. All businesses are cyclical—good times and bad times come with the territory.
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HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable? 
GM: My father’s favorite quote is “There are no problems only opportunities.” I try to live by that sentiment.
 
HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
GM: When I first started out building my business, I had to learn diplomacy. I can be very direct and that can alienate students.
 
HC: What is the best part of your job?
GM: The best part of my job is my amazing students! They are constantly inspiring me to be a better instructor. I feel so fortunate to be able to help people transform themselves through the Pilates Method.
 
HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
GM: I look for excellent training first off. A Pilates certification from a classical Pilates training program is a must. I also prefer someone with a college degree. It tells me that they care about their all-around growth. I also look for genuineness and authenticity—Does the person have a sense of purpose and self?
 
HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
GM: I would say study Pilates for at least a year on your own. Take lessons at least three times a week with an instructor that inspires you. Then decide if you want to enroll in a certification program.

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Gennifer is the Branded Content Specialist for Her Campus Media. In her role, she manages all sponsored content across platforms including editorial, social, and newsletters. As one of HC's first-ever writers, she previously wrote about career, college life, and more as a national writer during her time at Hofstra University. She also helped launch the How She Got There section, where she interviewed inspiring women in various industries. She lives in New York City.
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