Katie Michel, Orange Shoe Personal Fitness

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Katie Michel, president, Orange Shoe Personal Fitness Holdings Co.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The most challenging aspects of my career are helping people believe they can do more than they ever thought possible, not only from a physical perspective but also from a mental/emotional perspective. I’ve been a part of Orange Shoe for 15 years and helping people dig for dreams, accomplish lasting change, and develop their self-confidence is what we do every day. It never gets old seeing someone experience a win!

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I admire Deb Kusmec, one of the founders of Girl Wonderful. She does an amazing job running several businesses and is incredibly present with family life. I also look up to Rich Lynch and Dave Beck-Engel at Findorff, as they, too, have developed teams of people that have grown a highly successful company. They also promote healthy lifestyles in the work place and lead by example every day.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

Whether it is helping a 62-year-old man learn how to do a headstand on a paddleboard or helping a woman stay fit and confident through her first pregnancy, seeing people succeed and win never gets old! Currently, my focus has shifted from helping the individual person succeed to helping Orange Shoe owners and their teams succeed. When these people are succeeding, we know their clients are succeeding. It’s a great feeling!

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

I would tell myself to slow down and be intentional with my choices. Seek relationships with people who lift you up, not drag you down. Associate with people whom you aspire to be like. You’ll know who they are — they make you feel excited about life. Also, when I was younger, I wanted to solve problems and make changes in a “NOW” way. I have found that most great changes take planning, strategy, and time.

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What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

I really enjoy the fact that Madison is one of those “big-small towns.” From the farmers market to the Overture Center to the all the amazing restaurants, Madison really does have it all! If you want to escape downtown and head out to the country, you’re only a five to 10 minute drive from the countryside, where there are amazing parks and lakes. Oh, and Dane County has some of the best personal training studios in Wisconsin, so it’s convenient to stay in shape!

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I have a very strong 80-20 rule that sometimes surprises people. Eighty percent of the time I truly am the positive difference maker, being the change I want to see, motivating and uplifting people who I encounter on a daily basis. The other 20 percent I am incredibly positively aggressive! I strive to protect and enable our clients so they succeed at their goals and dreams.  I’m protective of our owners and their teams of trainers. I want them to experience success in their businesses. I’ve been referred to as acting like a “mama bear.” Call it what you may, but it definitely comes out with passion!

What are your guilty pleasures?

My guilty pleasure is adventures on the beach. Anytime I get the chance, I want to be on a beach. I have taught wellness classes in seven different countries. Each winter — sometimes twice — I enjoy a working vacation and teach at all-inclusive resorts. I have taken the four kids along and it is always a true adventure.

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