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  • Awkward Networker

Hally Bayer is Helping Kids Namaste in School

SMP’s mission is to bring yoga and mindfulness to students and teachers in Philadelphia’s underserved schools, paving the way for greater physical and emotional well-being.

Meet our Awkward Networker #Networking4Good honoree:

A New Harvard study reveals that mindfulness education in the classroom can reduce the negative effects of stress and increase students’ ability to stay engaged, helping them stay on track academically and avoid behavior problems.

Hally found a way to integrate her passion and skills with an organization whose mission taps into a new method of development for Philadelphia’s youth.  She also uses her network and connections to help this organization achieve it’s vision.  Below, she teaches us about SMP, shares some of her motivations, and explains how networking is a key component to her philanthropic success.  Also, fun note: her and her husband are like totes Philly’s #powercouple – making her awkward networking story an interesting one.

You know the format = 5 Questions + a plug for your charity…  here we go!

1.) Name and mission of the organization and why it’s important to the community and you personally.

Mindfulness, meditation and yoga are an integral part of my life. As a recovering type-A perfectionist with a history of autoimmune disease, these practices have been a game changer for me. My overall health, happiness, productivity and success at this moment in time can largely be attributed to my yoga and meditation practice. Since I’ve experienced the profound benefits of these practices, I feel it is my duty to share them with as many people as possible. Specifically, I’d like to share these benefits with those who need them the most. That’s where SMP comes in. SMP’s mission is to bring yoga and mindfulness to students and teachers in Philadelphia’s underserved schools, paving the way for greater physical and emotional well-being.

2.) How long have you been involved and what your role within the organization?

I have been a board member of SMP since November of 2017.  I’m currently the Secretary and member of the Fundraising Committee.

3.) Who are you outside of SMP?

Nothing feeds my soul more than connecting with others through my passion for healing and movement. I live out my passion each day with my family (son Luke, 5 years old and husband Nick) and with my business, Thrive.

Thrive was born out of my love for healing and movement, specifically Pilates. Teaching Pilates allows me to combine my background in dance ( I grew up dancing and performing, have a deep appreciation for the mechanics of the body and sustaining a mobile, flexible, strong and stable body) with my background in psychology and counseling (I have a B.S. in Human Development and an M.S. in Counseling). By combining these skills, I’m able to be fully present with my students and provide them with a holistic, well-rounded workout.  Over the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of hiring a staff of 20+ teachers to instruct private lessons and classes 7 days/week from 6am-8:30pm, helping me broaden my reach and bring the benefits of Pilates and mindful movement to more students.

4.) How do you use networking to further your organization’s mission and cause?

Thrive has given me the platform and allowed me the space to promote and further SMP’s mission in many ways. I have hosted Karma classes and events at Thrive to raise awareness and funds for SMP.  Our sister studio, Philly Power Yoga hosts a weekly community class free for students with a suggested donation towards SMP.  Additionally, we are working with lululemon’s Walnut Street store on a big event in honor of SMP on International Day of Yoga (6/21). We are planning a Summer Solstice Sunrise Class followed by a meditation to kick off the summer on the Bok Building roof top.

5.) The fun nugget: your most awkward networking experience.

Hard to pinpoint one! Honestly the most well-meaning people often look past me when I’m with Nick [editor’s note: Nick Bayer is the Founder/CEO of Saxbys Coffee whom I interviewed in Episode 1 of the Podcast]. We attend a lot of events together and he is simply a star. Everyone wants to talk to him and be in his presence. I get it. He’s amazing, charming, smart, genuine, generous, accomplished-not to mention super handsome and deserving of all the attention.

Those who don’t know me are quick to make assumptions and fail to consider my accomplishments. I think a lot of it is sexist assumptions about male/female roles, which makes me have to work that much harder to earn respect and get recognition. For example, recently Nick and I were at a networking event and the individual we were talking to said something to the effect of how hard it is to run a business, followed by a nod to Nick and the comment, “Nick you know all about that.” I could have waved my hands high and said, “AND SO DO I!!” But, I took a deep breath and allowed the conversation to unfold and reveal the truth without embarrassing the individual and making a scene.

It was a true moment of mindfulness played out in real life!

6.) Any additional plug for The School Mindfulness Project while you’re here?

Please check out our upcoming fundraiser!  We are holding a Summer Solstice Sunrise Class on June 21.

On June 21st, people across the globe celebrate the importance of movement through International Day of Yoga.  Whatever your yoga is— however you choose to move your body and mind— is honored. On this particular morning, we have a unique opportunity to rise with the sun and stand for the children of Philadelphia moving them closer to greater access to mindfulness and movement.




Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized as our next #Networking4Good recipient?  Submit an application to Awkward Networker’s #Networking4Good campaign below.

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