Jennifer Hood had always dreamt of a program that gave children the basic building blocks of physical movement, no matter what sport they chose and no matter whether their goal was recreation or excellence. Inspired by her vision and her 3 young children, she opened Jump Gymnastics in Yaletown, Vancouver in 2008.
Since opening the doors Jennifer’s business has been a favourite destination for parents. With a curriculum based on building physical literacy through fun, creative, and individualized classes that support the development of children aged 6 months to 8 years, Jennifer was able to expand by adding a second location in September 2014, this time in North Vancouver.
As business continued to grow, Jump relocated from Yaletown to a beautiful new space at 12th and Cambie In March of 2019; things were looking up. However, as a small business in the recreation and fitness industry, the impact of the global pandemic hit Jennifer’s business overnight. She went from hosting close to 1000 kids a week across her facilities to zero. When restrictions were lifted and she was able to reopen, it was at a fraction of their original operating capacity.
Concerned that her business might not make it, Jennifer considered her options. With determination to keep her business going she was looking for ways she could use the restrictions to her advantage when she found WeBC’s Passion and Grit: Build Your Resilience Toolkit Series.
I was attracted to the Passion & Grit series because it focused on resiliency. I recognized that being resilient was a key factor in my ability to lead Jump effectively. I wanted to use this series to tune up my leadership skills and make sure that I was consciously using Covid as an opportunity to learn how to be a better leader.
Equipped with new knowledge and skills, she was able to lead her team to reinvigorate areas of the business and rebuild, ensuring what they brought back would be better and stronger than before.
There were so many things that I had tolerated for years. Systems, programs, processes that were broken or just didn’t move us any closer to our goals. We overhauled our classes and programs, built an online training program for staff and new managers, revamped our business model and did upgrades to our facilities.
Month over month, we focused on what we could control and trusted that the rest would work itself out.
Thirteen months later, Jennifer and her team are emerging from the pandemic as a stronger, leaner, more focused business. A business that is providing better classes and programs for their clients, a better work experience for employees and a sustainable business model to grow on. Looking towards the future Jennifer plans to use the new skills she and her team have learned to open more locations and provide programming for more communities in BC.
Having survived this past year leaves me in a position of deep gratitude and with an overwhelming sense of responsibility to nurture the opportunities I have been afforded. The team that steered our company through the pandemic is stronger, more committed and more passionate than ever. Stay tuned for details!
Program Participant Q&A
Q. What’s the biggest lesson/take away you have learned during this series?
Firstly, resilience is a skill that can be learned, developed and practiced. And secondly, that often, the deepest and best learning for leaders comes from adversity and during periods of your greatest challenges.
Q. If you could give one piece of advice based on what you have learned/experienced, what would it be?
Stay focused on the big goal. There was a reason you started the business you did- realign yourself with that goal and take one small step towards it every day. When circumstances are chaotic or challenging, consistent, sustained movement in a focused direction can cut through a lot of the noise.
Q. Anything else you’d like to add?
The support from WeBC has been incredible. They were the first to call and ask if I needed any help- with my loan, with my business or personally. They have genuinely championed me every step of the way. Thank you for being such a valuable resource for women in our community.
Where to Find Jump Gymnastics