Rolling Out

From the classroom to CEO: Meet Zakia Blain

classroom to ceo
Photo credit: Ricky Codio

Every unappreciated, underpaid teacher’s dream is to walk away from the grip of the classroom and grow a business. Whether you are physically in the classroom each day or not, you’ll always be an educator at heart and have a strong skill set to take into other endeavors.

A prime example of how to use what you’ve got to get what you want is Fck Being Fat Fitness creator Zakia Blain. A former educator of 11 years, she is using her education experience to empower people around the world to focus on their health. Blain’s story is truly inspiring to anyone who knows there is something bigger and better out there if they can believe long enough to get to it.

Rolling out sat down with Blain to find out how she walked away from the classroom to create her own company.

How did you end up walking away from your teaching career?

I was caught between leaving due to being diagnosed with a brain disorder and staying because I really loved my work as a teacher, but with the changing climate in the classroom. Then, one day, after multiple violent incidents I decided my sanity and health were top priority!

How were you able to move past the opinions of others to pursue your purpose?

Funny thing is I’ve always known my purpose in life was to teach and help people by being an example! I became a teacher because I wanted kids from the hood to know they could be successful no matter what hand they were dealt! I didn’t start #FCKbeingFAT as a business, I wanted to help people, again by being an example! People gravitate to FBF because they can see themselves in me, so opinions don’t matter when you have werk to back it up! 

What was the biggest lesson you learned in your transition from the classroom to CEO?

I’ve learned that you can’t please everyone, you have to be authentic to who you are and your mission otherwise it will get lost trying to please everyone. 

What is your advice for an aspiring entrepreneur who is afraid to give up their comfortable career?

Work hard, have faith and everything will fall into place! I left my job with two kids, a brain disorder, and no health care … but not once did we need anything while in transition.

In essence, you’re still an educator. What programs does your brand FBFFitness provide to educate women and young girls?

Every Monday I present #MotivationMondayWithZa, where each week I give a mini pep talk to get people off on the right foot. I have an assembly program for girls focused on self-love, self-esteem and body image that we present at schools, clubs, etc., called #TheILVHERProject! 

Where you are now has no bearing on where you can potentially go! Despite the difficulties you may face, there is always a way to find the silver lining if you shift your perspective. Whether you want to go from classroom to CEO or employee to entrepreneur, Zakia is a shining example of what will happen when you are willing to work for what you want.

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