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Liz Zamagni, Lead Age Group Coach for Austin Aquatics & Sports Academy (Austin, TX)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

 

Elizabeth Zamagni (Liz) grew up in Boston, Massachusetts where she swam for Simmons College while receiving her Dual Masters Degree in Elementary and Special Education.

She was a NCAA qualifier and all scholastic collegiate athlete for all four years. She went on to coach for 8 different swim teams ranging from age group, masters and triathlon swimming within the Greater Boston Area. Liz was instrumental in saving her local YMCA’s Swimming Team from being cut from their programming. She grew the team from single digits, led them to win 3 championship titles and established a team merger with 2 other local YMCA’s to create a USA Team within the southern area of Boston Massachusetts. Liz then became an Aquatics Director leading her aquatics facility to acceded revenue goals, participation and creating new programming for those communities.

To continue her knowledge of athletics, Liz became a certified Personal Trainer/Nutrition Coach with ISSA, pursued certifications in Pre & Post Natal, Viper Training, Stick & Acumobility Trainings and became a Certified Water Aerobics Instructor with ASFA. She is a dedicated athlete within her own fitness program where she enjoys Yoga, Bare, Pilates, Strength and TRX training. Liz is a Boston girl at heart and so loves to cheer on her local sports teams. She believes with dedication, determination and commitment, anything is possible!

 

BSO: Tell us about your job. What is your title ? What are your key responsibilities?

LZ:

I am a Lead Swim Coach for 2 age groups within a 350+ swim team. I lead 2 of the younger ages (6-9 & 9-10). I also assist one of my co-coaches with 2 of their groups (11-12 & 15+). I am fully responsible in creating the groups workouts each day. The individual workouts have to come together and look at the season as a whole to include the children’s individual goals, my and the team’s goals such as winning the championship meet at the end of the season. I send weekly emails to parents about what to expect each week along with monthly emails about each child’s progress. I have 57 children in total I am fully responsible for. I also keep track of each child’s attendance, attitude and overall health and wellbeing. I then assist my co-coaches with the same goals and daily practices when I am the assistant for their groups. My company also offers a Masters Swim Team for adults which I coach twice a week, working with the other coaches to create a smooth and cohesive plan for each month with their goals in mind. I lead a homeschool workout for children twice a week to fulfill their gym requirement. Lastly, I teach private lessons for adults and children, working with them on their goals such as improving on their next triathlon or learning to swim so they can join their middle school swim team (Swimming is a huge sport in Texas).

All in all, my greatest responsibility is listening to others and helping to direct and guide them from what they shared with me to reach their goals.

 

BSO: There is no typical day in the life of talented, ambitious professionals. Share with us your a.m. to p.m.

LZ:

My schedule is different every day as we have limited pool space and each group does not swim every day. I am coaching a total of 32 hours on deck. My younger group swims three times a week while my older kids swim 4 times a week. When I assist I am helping out with five other practices a week. The young kids swim for 1 hour, then 1.5 and lastly 2 hours for the oldest groups. All of my groups swim after school so my day really goes from 4-8:30pm. I am coaching the homeschoolers and masters around lunchtime and complete about 2 hours of administration during the mornings. If we have a swim meet, I am working the weekends from 7am-2pm Saturday and Sunday. If we have no swim meet, then just Saturday practices/swim lessons from 8-1pm leaving Sunday as an off day. I have always been a morning person so I get up around 5-6am and am in bed by 9-10pm.

 

BSO: What are your ‘can’t live without’ software applications?

LZ:

I love my apple watch for personal use. I spend my time coaching on the pool deck so my watch is great for quick emails and texts if an athlete will be out. I love all google products and use the calendar for my scheduling. I use the sheets to create my workouts, log athletes goals and other data. In the swimming world, all statistics are run through a software called Teamunify so I could not live without that as that keeps my swimmers times, meets, attendance and can run all my reports.

 

BSO: What was the best advice you received when you began your career ?

LZ:

I would say that the best advice I was given was from 2 different role models at 2 different parts of my life. In college, my coach said never act as if you know anything and always ask why someone did something. This has allowed me to take so much away from other great coaches. My most recent manager said that if you want to reach the top level of competition in any sport, you have to follow and not lead. This has helped me to make friendships with other top level coaches and not be seen as a threat but as a person looking to help and learn from them.

 

BSO: What are your proudest achievements, professional & personal?

LZ:

Attending and graduating from Simmons College in Boston. This was the hardest for me as I have a learning disability called Dyslexia. I was told my freshman year of highschool that I would be lucky to attend a community college and, after that, not to expect much.

Getting into a private school like Simmons was my way of showing everyone who said I was unteachable that they were wrong. Then choosing to attend Simmons College where I swam all 4 years and spent an extra year and a half to get a dual masters in teaching has opened so many doors for me. I found my love for coaching and education there in my sport of swimming. I proved to myself that my limitations are nothing more than self doubt and I am capable of anything.

 

BSO: What are you currently reading?

LZ:

I am currently reading “High Performance Habits” How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard; #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author.

 

BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

LZ:

Working for the YMCA of Greater Boston.

I came in to a swim team that was going to shut down because they did not have the funding or numbers to keep it. I worked with people within that community, local business and the Thomas M. Menino Family to re-create their swim team. We offer a 100% financial aid system for families in need. This included the yearly team cost and fees, a Swimsuit, Team shirt, Water bottle, covering all their meet entry fees and anything else they needed such as swim caps and goggles.

 

BSO: Who has influenced your career the most?

LZ:

My Two Swim Coaches. My Boys and Girls club coach Sherrel Farrell for showing me that the sport of swimming can and should be accessible to everyone, no matter your age, ability, background or finances. Then, my college coach Melinda Williams for making me a true athlete with a love for the sport but also giving me my first lead coaching job and teaching me what it means to be a coach, leader and role model  in someone’s life.

 

BSO: What is your advice for young professionals?

LZ:

My advice is that life’s meant to test you, to push you down and make you fall or fail. We all have our problems and challenges. Our responsibility is to push back each and everyday. To show up better than you were yesterday. To rise in that testing moment for you never know that impact you could have on someone else through your experiences and challenges.

Istvan Barath |Videographer |Freelancer|Networker (London, England)

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

BSO: Tell us about your passion for personal branding.

IB:

I’m very business oriented. I would say, since my childhood, I had this inside me.  I was selling my old clothes and toys on a market. I visited many carboot sales hunting for deals, although I was about to start a lot of different types of businesses, but none of them worked out as working model.

Currently, I’m in the process of launching a video production company, also involved with a software development company, plus building my personal brand which is about giving value. Needless to say, the latter doesn’t make any money. I also have a full time job as a Bar Manager in central London. So my mind is quite busy !

BSO: There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Share with us your a.m. to p.m.

IB:

I wake up and take my little one to the nursery.  After,  I go to work from the morning till late night 3 times a week. The rest of the days,  I’m making videos, building relationships on mostly Linkedin, and also,  if I can,  I attend some meetups. I’m always searching for potential business opportunities and trends. It’s one of my biggest passions.

BSO: What are your ‘can’t live without’ software applications?

IB:

Obviously, it’s Linkedin ! Otherwise,  I’m also a crazy fan of Workapp but I like to make notes about my thoughts so any sort of application allowing me to do that I’m a fan of !

BSO: What was the best advice you received when you started your business?

IB:

Have some money on the side, never be on the edge, and always be prepared.

BSO: What has been your strategy for building awareness of your business?

IB:

Buiding awareness is not easy although if you engage with the right people, its certainly possible, so my advice is to be loyal to your community and engage. Building relationships is what matters in the long term. Always see the bigger picture.

 

BSO: What are your proudest achievements, professional & personal?

IB:

My daughter definitely.

Professionally , I have always been trying to be the best on anything I was doing. I received employee of the month award and, another time, a trip to Holland with all the expenses paid as a nomination for my hard work. Also,  I built a community on Linkedin nearly 8000 people in a matter of months, influencing quite a lot of people as I share my story of how to move to a new country and all the struggles I went through. I became a storyteller suddenly. I’m quite proud of my mindset change. My video creation skills have improved considerably. 3months ago, I didn’t even know what acmirrorless camera is !

BSO: What are you currently reading?

IB:

There are some ebooks I’m reading normally. Currently, I’m listening to podcasts instead.  I like Jay Shetty and Gary Vaynerchuk

BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

IB:

I haven’t had a chance to get involved in any big charity yet, but my aim is to help the homeless people and families in Hungary.

BSO: Who has influenced your career the most? 

IB:

I found Shane Wallace, founder of Workapp, really influential, as well, as Cory Warfield,  the founder of Shedwool.

BSO: What is your advice for starting a business?

IB:

Find the right people with the right mindset.

Have enough cash to start.

Execute, test, test and improve.

Most importantly, have a plan and stick to it. Never lose focus and you will be successful.

Thank you very much!

Sanjay Shah, Managing Director of Visionary Digital Studios Pty Ltd

Sanjay Shah’s Bio

 

 

I’m an adventurer at heart. Both in my personal life and professional life. This has had me performing a diverse range of leadership roles in various capacities throughout my career, from managing technical teams at Top 4 corporate consultancies, to leading tours of 20-somethings all over Europe. At the peak of my IT career, at Deloitte, I was running a 24 x 7 Australia-wide technical delivery team servicing large government organizations and multi-national corporations.

In between, I’ve traveled all over the world, both in professional capacities as well as solo adventures, cultivating my interest in people and cultures – slowly developing the hunger to harness the digital era and work with people all over the world.

This experience has led me to my current passion, running Visionary Digital Studios.

We are an Australian company, with our team working in different cities across Australia’s East Coast. But we currently have a small network of partnerships and suppliers from India, London, Philippines and the US. We’re a young company, and have a long way to go – but I am loving every minute of it. The stress is so rewarding, and the triumphs are amazing.

Lots of hard work to come for me! But life is good ..

In the Spotlight Interview

1. You are the Managing Director at Visionary Digital Studios Ppy Limited in Brisbane Australia. Please share with us your path to this role.

Sanjay Shah : My career over the last 10 years has had me managing senior technical teams all over Australia, in both small IT companies and large household consulting companies like Deloitte and Capgemini.  In all honesty, I loved the corporate environment! But during the last few years I felt that I wanted to use my skills to build my own business – I wanted to implement a culture, and a brand, that represented more inspiring values. This is often very difficult to achieve in corporate environments which are driven by sales targets, outdated mindsets and status quo. I was able to use my sales, copywriting, project management and leadership experience to build the right team required to produce premium Animated Explainer Videos.

Of course – I’ve been lucky with some amazing mentors all the way – in person, online and formal education (I’m a graduate of timothymarc.com entrepreneurship training) – who’ve taught me how to build a business, how to lead and how to enjoy the process as it unfolds. We are now over a year into starting up, and really enjoying the roller coaster. Our core product is still custom Animated Explainer Videos. But we’ve also branched out into eLearning modules, and formed alliances with some exciting partners who share our vision. Looking forward to seeing where the path takes us!

 

2. Take us through a typical day, start to finish.

Sanjay Shah : I like to keep my schedule as fresh as possible. I’ve found that having a rigid, set routine makes me feel bored and gradually erodes inspiration from my thinking. So I switch it up often – but currently my typical Monday involves:

Morning (6am – 8:30am): Early start with a meditation session, and then a Spirulana green shake on the balcony (which overlooks the Pacific Ocean!). From there, I’ll either go to the gym or have a quick swim at the beach. Before I work, I read through a “manifesto” I’ve written for myself called a “Life Gyroscope”– this details a set of objectives and mindsets I have for both my personal vision and my vision for our company. It helps me to keep perspective on the bigger picture while going through the chaos of the day.

Business Day (9am – 5:30pm): Focus on project production activities, sales and team management tasks during the day, when I’m more likely to be able to easily communicate with our team/customers/potential customers. I’ll either work from my balcony at home, or at my co-working space, which has a super-inspiring group of people all working towards inspiring things.

Evening (5:30pm – 9:30pm): Focus on marketing and business improvement tasks after hours as this is often work I can complete on my own. I make sure I play at least 30 mins of Guitar a day (keeping my dream of playing lead guitar
in world-touring band alive!). During the week, I have dinner in front of a laptop, following content from my favourite online mentors (currently Timothy Marc, Gary Vaynerchuk, Simon Sinek).

Night: Half an hour or so of “Pleasure reading” which I’ve found gets me nicely tired. These days I’m loving Eastern Philosophy, but always have time for some intense fiction!

 

3. What was the best advice you received when you created Visionary Digital Studios?

Sanjay Shah : I was taught about the concept of “Resistance” – the emotion of fear that stops you from taking on massive endeavors, and blocks your productivity when you need it. Business is SO CHALLENGING – being able to recognize the resistance, that comes every step of the way helps me to embrace it and move through it, rather than succumbing.

 

4. What are your strategies for building awareness of your company, short and long term?

Sanjay Shah : We are building a brand of “helping innovative people get exciting ideas into the world” around EVERYTHING we do. This means that we want to work with customers who have innovative ideas and see themselves as unique beyond their industry-norm. But we want to take this mindset a step further and ensure that the staff, suppliers and business partners we choose also have a vision beyond the mundane. Designing our marketing, processes and communications around this concept ensures that our company resonates with the exact type of people we’d like to have in our network, allowing us to work with people we love – both internally and externally. We’re still a young company, so infusing this mindset into everything we do is a continuing challenge, but one that guides our decision making processes every step of the way.

 

5. What is your proudest achievement?

Sanjay Shah : 5 years ago now I had a job as a Tour Manager, taking groups of 50 people all over Europe. That first tour, as I was pulling away from home-base in London, was probably the scariest experience I’ve ever been through! I was in charge of this group of people I’d just met, taking them through countries where I didn’t speak the language, and had barely even been to! Every day of that first tour around Europe was an absolute ordeal. But I miraculously got through it, and everything was fine. From that moment, I was addicted to the euphoria of leaning into my fear and living intense experiences (like running a business!).

 

6. What are your top 3 book recommendations?

Sanjay Shah : As I learn and grow, my favourite books change often. At the moment, my current list, in no particular order:

“Start With Why”, Simon Sinek – So many entrepreneurs are building businesses just to “get rich”, or even worse, to be “financially free”. Unfortunately, this generally means their current decisions are made through the lenses of “I don’t have enough” or “I’m financially-tied”. I’d like to see more business owners have a clear vision of WHY they do what they do – this book (and all of Sinek’s talks) showed me the value of this.

The War of Art, Steven Pressfield – not the easiest one to get through. But a great book to show you how to get through the difficult, boring and stressful times in business.

Anything written by Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferriss, Osho – 3 very different authors, who write about very different things. But I find that whenever I’m reading their works I get amazing insights and tangible breakthroughs in
running Visionary Digital Studios.

 

7. What other charitable causes are most meaningful to you & why?

Sanjay Shah : Currently I have a mandatory monthly “giving” fund – an amount of money I have to give away to charitable causes each month. To be honest, it’s no massive amount, but will continue to grow with the company. This allows me to keep my mindset on always looking for ways I can give money away (to use up the fund), rather than my old perspective of “how can I give the least and still get away with it!”

Longer term, I’m looking to connect to my heritage (Indian) and work my way into some humanitarian causes over there. I’ve grown up very Australian (like my accent!), but over the last few years have felt an increasing yearning to understand India and be involved in its evolution.

 

8. Who has been most influential toward your accomplishments, professional & personal?

Sanjay Shah : I have been so lucky to have a handful of AMAZING mentors – both in life, and from books/content. None that I’ve ever formally asked for – but people who have been in my life and provided me with IMMENSE value, just because that’s the type of people they are. I’m a firm believer that “when the student is ready, the master appears” – and this has happened consistently for me over the last 10 years.

 

9. What is your advice for entrepreneurs who are 1-3 months away from launching a digital marketing business?

Sanjay Shah : For me, the business journey so far has been simply AWESOME, while consistently pushing my limitations.  I have found the cost of all glory in life is a balancing amount of sweat and tears. So be mentally prepared for INTENSE challenges and remember to love every second of it, regardless of where you’re at.

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