Recent reports indicate half of all American adults (115 million adults) will be obese by 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Needless to say, Americans are bad at taking care of themselves both physically and mentally, usually with their professional lives to blame. Luckily, Shannon Russo-Pollack has designed a business to uplift and guide New Yorkers to lead healthier lives, learning to balance “ME time” with life’s many responsibilities.
DASHA® has two locations in midtown Manhattan, serving busy professionals with chiropractic care, physical therapy, acupuncture, massage sessions, Pilates classes, fitness classes, Yoga classes, with weight loss and stress relief programs. Both facilities offer services from independent service providers to create a unique, comprehensive program for each client. Additionally, DASHA® partners with corporations such as Citigroup, Bloomberg, Tiffany and Estée Lauder to provide wellness resources for employees. Companies can select packages or events that include seasonal wellness checkups, interactive workshops, health fairs and much more.
The experience and knowledge Shannon acquired in her early 20’s working at the family business gave her the entrepreneurial skills needed to build the health and wellness empire, DASHA®, which she founded in 2008. Shannon’s biggest competition has always been herself and is constantly looking for “what’s next?!” Her latest venture, the soon-to-be-launched DRENCHED™ focuses on building a community of like-minded individuals working towards improving his or her well-being through the carefully-curated platform. On DRENCHED™, users can find her “Daily Sha-nanigans™” – a collection of healthy tips written in a raw & honest tone, the only way Shannon knows how to do!
Read our interview with the inspiring businesswoman and wellness expert.
Why do you do what you do?
My biggest philosophy is finding “ME” time, which comes from a place of understanding that it’s ok to take care of yourself. It is the most important aspect to reaching personal wellness. As a mom, a boss, a CEO of a wellness center, I am constantly looking out for and taking care of my children, my employees, and my clientele. How can I be expected to take care of all of those people if my own personal wellness isn’t there?! I just can’t! That’s why I set out to create this wellness/lifestyle center to allow people to always put their best foot forward and gain more of that “ME” time. I am so incredibly passionate about health and wellness and enjoy finding ways to enhance my well-being. I think that’s what keeps me going throughout all the craziness that comes with running a business. I am like a burst of energy 99% of the time!
What or who inspires you the most?
I am very fortunate to be able to surround myself with creative people who are well organized, thoughtful and health conscious. The people on my team work here because they believe in preventative healthcare, helping people and taking care of themselves. I also try to surround myself with people from all walks of life—not just the famous musicians or players on the field. They have real character. One particular person who sticks out in my mind is my late stepfather. I was just shy of 23 years old when my stepfather died and I had to step up to become a partner of our family business, an automotive parts company. It was about the most unsuitable job you could ever imagine for a cute Long Island girl – I WAS Marisa Tomei in “My Cousin Vinny!” I really recall sitting in his chair after he had passed and what it meant to me. My stepfather was super intelligent and had taught me so much and always spoke to me as if I was a grown adult. He knew how to break the tension in the room and always told me smile—it’s true that smiling is contagious and it really works. “Stan the Man”, as we called him, made everyone feel good. I think of him all the time when I wear my boss hat.
What do you think most working professionals struggle with?
Personal wellness. People can be an expert when it comes to their careers, yet they make excuses as to why they can’t live a healthier lifestyle and just don’t set aside all-important “ME” time. Trusting your gut is a huge one when you are in this field because sometimes there’s too much information on the market and it can get confusing.
What are the advantages of this form of business ownership?
Having independence is a BIG advantage. I am my own boss with the freedom and ability to make decisions around my lifestyle that I choose to lead. My financial well-being is derived from my own hard work, which I love.
However, there is plenty of stress that comes with owning your own business. I worry about competition and of course the client’s satisfaction. The lights almost never go out and you truly worry about your employees as if they are your children.
Plus, there’s always a financial risk. The financial resources you need to start and grow a business can be extensive and never ever stop. Luckily, I have the luxury of working with holistic health providers, doctors, and therapists who understand how to manage stress relief.
What books have you read that influenced you the way you approach business?
I’m currently in the middle of a great self-help book called Resilience by Eric Greitens and one book that has always kept me on my toes and reminded me to appreciate the people and things that surround me is Oprah’s book, What I Know For Sure.
What is your number one goal for your business?
It’s always about adding value, making it more efficient and profitable so that my clients and employees get more from each experience. I believe in leadership, but also growing and conquering as a team. This is something that can be achieved by energizing your team to seminars or classes such as CPR or fitness. Right now, one of my main focuses is hosting more events at DASHA®. This will increase my branding in the community.