Sheila Shekar Pollak

At Athleta, everything we do is driven by our mission to ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to realize their limitless potential. In this time of isolation and uncertainty, community is proving more important than ever and we’ve been moving fast, and constantly evolving to meet the needs of women and girls.

As soon as the impacts of COVID19 began to emerge, we started thinking about how we could translate the powerful communities we build in our stores every day into experiences that can connect her during quarantine.  We started with #homebodies – a content series focused on tagging friends and doing remote group workouts, including offering regular live classes on Instagram so we can all workout ‘together’ – with classes like yoga flow, mother-daughter movement, cardio sculpt, and meditation led by women from our community.  Shameless plug – check out @athleta to join us!

In May, we launched Move Together, Move Forward, an emotional Power of She campaign spotlighting the power of the female collective to support each other in the face of challenge. The concept and video were created in-house in record time using creative solutions adapted for the current environment – from archive footage, to UGC, and featuring employees’ family and friends.

We brought Move Together, Move Forward to life in our (em)Power Hour experience, one of the largest events we’ve ever hosted. Thousands of women and girls came together to harness our collective power to move forward, together. (em)Power Hour was led by four inspirational powerhouses including Glennon Doyle and Allyson Felix to inspire women and girls to feel connected, hopeful, and resilient.  Typically, an event for thousands of women would take months to put together, but as a digital experience – and with a lot of hard work – we were able to pull it together in a few weeks. We’ve been moved by the powerful response to this event and our community is clamoring for more.

We’re carrying this message into ongoing uplifting content focusing on women and girls inspiring us every day through our Portraits of Strength series which spotlights those making a difference in their communities through fitness and wellness, such as Dr. Lauren Powell a doctor on the frontlines using movement to bring other female doctors together.

With so much going on, we’ve launched a new community hub as a go-to resource that brings together our content like #homebodies, (em)Power Hour, and Portraits of Strength.  We are learning fast and the connection between physical and digital communities that are being created in today’s environment will carry through to the long term.  

Of course, we are keenly focused on how our product delivers all the things she craves wearing right now- beautiful, technical, sustainable styles that give her comfort as well as extreme versatility and style.  Women’s lives haven’t gotten less demanding or less busy.  She’s moving through working from home, homeschooling kids, and squeezing in as much time as she can to work out and practice self-care, and needs pieces that will keep up with her throughout her new normal. 

This is something a lot of us at Athleta can identify with.  Most of my days are filled with video calls, and my little secret is that sometimes I turn off the camera so I can do jumping jacks or a plank to keep the blood flowing – or if a call ends early, I’ll squeeze in a quick mother-daughter dance session to infuse movement in all of our days.

Its increasingly clear that masks and will play a bigger role in our day-to-day lives, so we want to be sure we are meeting this need too.  We moved quickly to introduce our first non-medical grade masks with an accompanying donation of 100,000 of these masks to a major healthcare center.  The masks have been incredibly popular, and we are thinking ahead to future iterations of masks and other solutions that innovate for her active lifestyle.

The female collective is as powerful and important as ever in these times.  Work that the #SeeHer community is doing every day remains essential to creating a better world for women and girls.  Brands that deliver on their values will pave the way through and beyond this transformational time.