Name: Erica Willik
Occupation: CEO of GORGO Women’s Fitness Magazine, Senior Financial Maganger, Wife & Mother
Erica Willick is the CEO of GORGO Women's Fitness Magazine - an online publication named after the ancient Spartan Queen GORGO. The women of Ancient Sparta trained for battle alongside the men, and were famously independent. GORGO is based on a similar premise and believes that modern women are everyday warriors.
Erica and her partner Valerie Solomon have coined the phrase “GORGO Girl” to describe a growing subculture of strong, empowered women who don’t fit the mold created by your typical fitness or fashion magazine.
At GORGO we aren't catering our magazine to advertisers or newsstand sales, we are publishing articles that everyday real women are craving to read about. We also use images that few fitness magazines would use...they are unedited and spotlight everyday fit women.
There was a time in Erica's life when "athletic" was not a word that she would have used to describe herself. Erica credits her success in the fitness world not to natural ability, but to an incredible work ethic.
I wasn't much of an athlete growing up. I played team sports but the only awards I ever won were for "Most Improved" or "Team Spirit." You know, the awards the person who tries hard but isn't very good gets? Trying hard has always been a trait of mine, and this trait translated into results in academics. I went to the top business school in Canada on a scholarship, and graduated in the top 10% of my class. As a result I always saw myself as a "geek" (not a popular or pretty or athletic girl).
During her second year of University, Erica's family suffered a terrible tragedy. Her mother was killed in a car accident and Erica moved home to be with her father and siblings.
I didn't deal with my feelings and in the years that followed, had bouts of depression which developed into an eating disorder. Instead of pursuing my dream of becoming an entrepreneur or traveling the world, I chose the safer path of accounting. I joined a large accounting firm in my hometown after I graduated and earned my CPA designation. I quickly progressed in my career as a heads-down, hard working finance professional. I currently hold a senior financial management position at a $110M national engineering firm that has over 700 employees.
Looking at Erica' photo, you may be surprised to learn that it was a mere three years ago (after the birth of her son) that she decided to dedicate herself to health and fitness and become the GORGO Girl you see here. She applied the same work ethic that she had practice in her professional life to her fitness life.
My son was born in 2010, and my post-baby body brought back all my old "baggage" of body image issues I thought I had dealt with. This time though, my love for my son was so strong I knew I had to deal with them for good....for his sake. I wanted nothing more in the world than for my son to have a healthy & happy mom.
So I did what I do best...work hard. I read every fitness magazine, book, and internet post that I could find with the aim of finding out how to make healthy nutrition and exercise a LIFESTYLE. Oh yes, and this lifestyle needed to be accomplished by a full-time career woman who balanced her family.
In a crazy (for me) move, I signed up for a bikini competition in the Fall of 2011. Fitness became the thing that allowed me to push my limits both physically and mentally.
I gained confidence and was amazed by the empowerment I felt through real health & fitness. My passion is now fueled. I made myself into what I wanted to become...a strong, confident woman who loves herself...and I knew it was my purpose to share this feeling with many other women.
In addition to GORGO, Erica also runs Sisters In Shape, a website dedicated to "the revolution of empowered women in fitness" which helps women obtain their fitness goals.
I really believe in teaching women & group support. Therefore we run 60 Day Challenges that TEACH healthy diet & exercise as well as foster support in a group setting. I also do one-on-one competition coaching, but I put every competitor through a series of nutrition seminars because we believe in teaching life-long lifestyle skills.
We get results, you better believe it...but we don't rush the process and arm women with knowledge & build their confidence so they can be successful long after they stop working with us.
As a new mom myself, I had to ask the questions that are always on my mind when I meet a woman like Erica who seem to have it all figured out.
What advice do you have for other "busy moms" who want to get or stay fit?
Drop the "do it all" mentality. You can really only do a few things in life really well. Decide what those are for you & say no to the rest of the noise. This isn't easy & it will be challenged everyday. A busy life demands a lot of energy & vitality, so an important piece of every busy woman's life is a healthy & fit lifestyle.
How do you make time for everything? (fitness, work, baby, etc) What does a "day in the life of Erica" look like?
I don't do everything. I work daily at not getting bogged down & stressed about the many things that demand my attention. I have a life filled and motivated by love & stay focused on my life purpose.
I wake up around 5 or 6 am, have a cup of black coffee and read a thought provoking/ self development book for 20 minutes...getting myself focused for the day ahead.
We eat a quick but healthy breakfast as a family and are out the door around 7 am for work. We carpool together as a family so spend time together during our commute too.
I pack my gym bag and all my meals to take to work with me. I don't waste time in the lunch room. I eat at my desk and hit the gym on my lunch except when meetings prevent me from my noon workout. I'm home usually by 5:30 pm for family dinner and family time. My husband and I prep & clean up dinner together. We talk about our days and cherish this time together as a family.
I sit down at my computer every night at 7:30 pm once my 3 year old goes to bed and work for 2-3 hours on my fitness projects (GORGO and/or Sisters In Shape).
I do this consistently day in & day out. Weekends are focused on family time, though I continue to work on my fitness work for several hours even on weekends. Still have to do chores around the house, meals, etc. So yeah, life is busy. But life is good.
What's your "5 Year Plan"?
Be working full time running my own business.
Have a family who loves each other and spends a lot of time together.
Through my leadership & strength, empower thousands and thousands of women around the world.
We are very proud to welcome Erica to the Fashletics family. Erica is receiving a sterling silver Faith charm from the Pep Talk Collection as a token of our gratitude. She is the perfect example of what it means to be a "Fashlete" and we hope that this charm will remind her of the important choices she has made and the path that she has chosen to follow - changing people's lives starts with having faith in yourself. Congratulations Erica!