Corp America February 2017

CORP AMERICA / FEBRUARY 2017 43 , Fit 4 the Cause, Inc. is a local charity that provides fitness training and nutrition education for those who cannot afford these services or cannot attend gyms under normal circumstances. Founder Cindy Rakowitz talks us through the firmand how it works to ensure these vital services are provided to the highest possible standards. Combining Personal Change with Community Commitment Initially established in 2010 to raise money for causes through sporadic kickboxing classes, Fit 4 the Cause appealed to the Thousand Oaks community, and since inception this philanthropic fitness fever concept captured the hearts of many. Founder Cindy caught the fitness frenzy and became a licensed fitness professional certified through American Council on Exercise. She recognized that a combination of proactive fitness and nutrition regiments are critical to an individual’s well-being and strength. She discusses how far both she and the organization have come over the years. “After only a short period of operation, Fit 4 the Cause improved vital signs for fragile seniors, at-risk teens and low income communities. Our licensed fitness professionals and nutritionists serve over 200 beneficiaries across the mobility spectrum in Southern California. “Personally, transitioning from the Fortune 1000 corporate world into more entrepreneurial ventures, I finally had time to enjoy the benefits of physical fitness. Immersing myself in the fitness industry, I received certification from American Council on Exercise. After formally ascertaining the desperate need for fitness and nutrition education in our post-affordable-care act world, I attracted an impressive board of directors and filed our application with the IRS. The mission, vision and business plan along with the right legal team won us our determination in only 90 days. I run every facet of our small non- profit organization as a serious business. As such I am the face, the voice and the chief fundraiser for Fit 4 The Cause. Along with the Board of Directors, I create the programming, the events and oversee compliance and administration. Additionally, I lead our weekly community classes and train some of our beneficiaries with special needs. “Fundamentally, a true corporate leader transitions easily into diverse positions and situations. At the ripe age of 24, I became Publicity Director of a New York independent television station. Six years later, I am the Corporate Vice President and Division President for Playboy Enterprises Inc. With a proven record of accomplishment, 30 years of corporate leadership became a part of my identity, but I never envisioned moving to non-profit leadership, especially in wellness education. Interestingly, every skill set mastered in traditional business applies to legitimate philanthropy.” Looking ahead, Cindy has big plans for both Fit 4 the Cause and her own personal career which she outlines in her concluding comments. “Ultimately it is my belief that extraordinary leaders always look for their best successors. Over the next few years, we will raise the funds to afford us a dedicated executive director who can take this sustainable business model to the next level. In five years’ time, I hope to be an active founder, perpetually supporting the growth and sustainability of Fit 4 The Cause, Inc. In 2019, I will have completed my master certification in exercise therapy from American Council on Exercise and will continue my journey as a fitness professional. In my spare time, I will continue to consult as a “CEO 4 Hire” and crisis communication management. “As a veteran corporate leader with quality brand experience, I never settle for anything less than extreme perfection in the packaging and delivery of services. If you personally command a commitment to excellence, it will resonate with your clients, staff, beneficiaries and colleagues. It truly surprises me when business professionals settle for mediocrity, and therefore this dedication to excellence will remain my core focus moving forward.” “As a veteran corporate leader with quality brand experience, I never settle for anything less than extreme perfection in the packaging and delivery of services.”