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This is why I train: Suzanne
An interview with bande member, Suzanne Yoon, as part of bande’s life athlete series.
“There’s so much pressure and stress… parents are ill, children are struggling, the trifecta of this pandemic, supply chain and labor issues—the body is smart, if you don’t release stress, it will show up somewhere. Training is my version of screaming at the top of my lungs. It’s cathartic! Sweat it out. Clear my head. Really, this is why I train!”
Tell us who you are? What do you do in life (work, family, volunteer, etc.)?
Suzanne: I’m Suzanne Yoon, wife, mother of 3 boys, sister, daughter, aunt and CEO. In my family, I’m the glue who keeps everyone together. My leadership skills started by keeping my family together. I’m the oldest daughter and oldest granddaughter on both sides of my family. I’m also the founder and managing partner of Kinzie Capital Partners, a control focused private equity investment firm.
Is it pressure to be the glue?
Suzanne: Yes, but I naturally gravitate to it. If I see a problem, a need, I go there. I don’t shy away. This past week, my family had a lot of needs with covid concerns, socializing, I had to keep people level headed. I start my day as a mom and wife, and then I turn into CEO.
Why do you train?
Suzanne: I am very driven by my team, by success, by my organization's success. I am fortunate to have a husband/partner, team, extended family, grandparents, and great kids. I don’t have as much to worry about at home, which makes it easy for me to work. Where is fire burning? That’s where I go. It’s a family affair to run a company.
As for training - it’s everything for me… physical, meditation, health, wellness, diet. I have to think about where I am going to be needed this day? I have to expect the unexpected. I train to be ready, flexible to be able to pivot. You can’t do that unless you’re healthy. When I’m worn out (physical, mental, emotional) - it’s hard to fight.
What are the big challenges you face?
Suzanne: Never before have I seen so much around me. Not just in my company, but in portfolio companies, people, children, teachers, medical professionals etc. A really important question is to ask how do we deal with this at the executive level? We expect leaders to have answers for mental health issues, but without considering leaders’ mental health. For the C-suite, it’s a very important question… how are they dealing? If they can’t deal, everything topples over. We expect leaders to be resilient. But how are we supporting them? And how are they supporting themselves?
There’s so much pressure and stress in the world… parents who are ill, children who are struggling, reports who are out, we need multiple redundancies now! We have the great resignation… we have the trifecta of this pandemic… supply chain and labor issues. Lots of stress that needs to be released… and if you don’t you’ll combust otherwise. Sweat it out. Clear my head. Really, this is why I train!
How does training help you?
Suzanne: Training is my version of screaming at the top of my lungs. It’s cathartic! This is why I work out. The type of workout depends on what I need, but I believe in balanced workouts and variety to get stronger and avoid injuries from redundancies. The body is smart, if you don’t release stress it will show up somewhere…. Heart attacks, strokes, or illness - the effects of stress will show up if you don’t release it.
What sets bande apart from other things you do?
Suzanne: Bande offers variety, depending on what I need. I travel quite a bit. Even in lockdown, it’s helped so much… the extra push you get from being in a live class with live people, knowing the instructor is actually watching you, is incredible. It’s really psychological…no matter how hard I work out on Peloton, I don’t get the same workout as I do on bande. Even in small spaces, it works so well. Sometimes I do On Demand when I want to be anonymous. And classes with other people are great. You get to bring people into your world. On occasion my sister will join me for restorative yoga…she’s from NYC, me in Chicago… it’s such a nice way to connect.
What are your favorite classes and modalities?
Suzanne: I love Nicole’s power yoga class. I love barre with all the instructors, they’re all amazing! I like Mindy’s HIIT classes, and others too… Bergen kicks my ass no matter what class I take with her. My favorite is Rest and Restore yoga with Ariel on Sundays. We need to take time to slow down, and move the body at same time—not sit on couch. Listen to your body, quietly move your body and you’ll learn a lot about where you hold stress.
What is your outlook for 2022?
Suzanne: I think people are resilient. I’m bullish on 2022 as an investor on the economy, and on people becoming more focused on the environment, being thoughtful about the environment. We will continue to progress as a global community. It will be slow to come back, but I’m a long term optimist. Personally, I think I’m going to have a great year because I have some key milestones coming my way, both personally and professionally. My oldest son starts high school which will be the first time he’ll have academic and mental competition. I look forward to him having to struggle. That’s the only way you get better… when it’s not easy, when it’s hard.
What advice would you give to other women who strive to live life as an athlete?
- I wish I listened to my guides when I was younger. I would have listened and understand that nothing is ever going to be perfect. You have to be ok with that. Ok is enough sometimes.
- You really have to find time for yourself. You have to replenish your body, mind and soul, if you want to serve or help anyone else. #1 most important thing I can do for anyone else is that I take care of my mind, body, soul. We’re so busy, we have to listen. When I was younger, the only way I would listen is when I would get sick. You can’t be great this way. You can only be good this way. Who wants to be just good??? 2nd place is first loser, and I don’t want to be first loser. The real competition is with yourself, at end of the day.
- Look at who’s around me and be inspired by them. I gravitate toward certain types of people who inspire me to be a better version of who I am today. I wish I had (bande CEO) Rebecca’s tenacity! I think about her a lot. Her old friends call her “glue” because that’s what she’s like when she’s defending on the basketball court. Once she told me she was playing ping pong and she lost and started crying. I love that!
- It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to get help. Whether free or paid, you have to get help, especially if you’re a working mother. Demand the help. Don’t apologize for it. As women, we feel guilt, but sometimes it’s ok to say “no” - get your own f-ing cereal. By the way, I’m giving myself all this advice. This is me really reminding myself.
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