It’s not easy to start your own business, especially in the crowded health and fitness space, but Eleasa Du Bois has thrived in Washington, D.C. with creative programs and partnerships by being authentic—and out—in all of her interactions. She is a board member of the Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CAGLCC) and many of her clients come from the LGBTQ community. Du Bois says, “Once I created opportunities to work in my community, my business really took off.”
Once she joined the CAGLCC, it also became much easier to connect and form strategic alliances and partnerships with personal trainers, gyms, and the beauty industry to be able to help them serve their clients as well.
Her journey began with her own struggles to lose weight. She now teaches the system she used herself to lose 65 pounds and eight dress sizes in 11 months. After years of struggling with her weight, it was a life changing accomplishment. Before Tight Body Makeover, she was at the point where her health and quality of life was affected. She says to be successful over the long-term, you must, “change your mind set about eating and have a different relationship with food; to actually affect your palate and get excited about eating healthier.”
Being out was a deliberate decision on her part, but not a foregone conclusion. For years, she hid the personal part of her life.
“I got to the point where I wanted to live out loud and be who I was 24/7. To say, ‘This is who I am. Take it or leave it,’” says Du Bois.
Beyond living her own life honestly, she wanted to serve the community. “I really want to serve people I have a connection with and need my help. Many women in the LGBTQ community don’t have mentors or people who can work with them on health and wellness,” she explains. Serving this community and living in the closet were not an option for her and it has paid off. Both she and her business are thriving.
She looks forward to 2015 being her biggest year yet. She’s formed several partnerships with apartment and condo communities. In addition to her personal coaching, she’s also a group fitness instructor and partners with a chef to teach residents about healthy cooking. She also teaches Zumba and kickboxing. Du Bois is all about making fitness fun and staying healthy. She’s also excited to be working with small businesses on workplace wellness initiatives. She’s introduced things like walking meetings where everyone grabs tennis shoes, one person takes notes, and they hold a meeting on the go.
She also plans to expand her work with the CAGLCC. She’s been named the new director for women’s initiatives. She wants to transform monthly events to focus on networking and educational programs.
“I’ve been blessed to get to do what I do every day, serve the community, make health fun, and change peoples’ lives,” says Du Bois.