Meet Sarah Reid. Sarah built and runs the very successful Twisters Gymnastics Centre in Northcote and more recently her new Showgrounds location which opened in April! With a long history of recreational and competitive gymnastics Sarah is also mum to two energetic boys Wally and Toby. When she’s not busy entertaining the boys she spends most of her time running her business with husband Dan, in the office or on the floor coaching.

You have been involved in the gymnastics world since you were very young, what was your involvement and how did this lead you to open up Twisters? What was your greatest motivation?

I have been doing gymnastics since I was 2 years of age in Tasmania. I finished up my competing career at the age of 17 but I have been coaching since I was 15.

I moved to Melbourne to study dance when I was 18; to pay my way I continued coaching at an amazing club Waverley Gymnastics Centre.

Landing at this club changed my life. I worked under a wonderful mentor there who gave me an opportunity to work in administration as well as coach in the elite levels program.

Whist working at Waverley I completed my Bachelor of Contemporary Arts (Dance) with the intention of becoming a dance teacher. I just loved the gym so much both out on the floor and in the office that under my mentor’s advice I completed my Masters of Business (Sport Management).

After 10 years of working huge hours at Waverley I decided to have a break from the sport of gymnastics altogether and went to work as Operations Manager at Masters Swimming Australia. After only a year working outside of gymnastics I just missed it too much and made the decision to open up my own gym on the weekends. This is how Twisters began!!

We went from only on a Saturday at a school gym whilst I maintained my existing full time job, into a full time commercial warehouse. It was then I quit my job and threw myself into Twisters full time.

My greatest motivation for doing this was an epiphany that I have always loved gymnastics and teaching children; why not do this 24/7.

What was your role before becoming a mum to the boys?

We moved into our warehouse facility in April 2013 and I had my first son Wally in September of that year. Apart from the 2 years I worked at Masters Swimming I have always worked in gymnastics in some form or other.

How has it been juggling your business and opening of a new centre with motherhood?

It has been a hell of a lot of work. We expanded into the full time warehouse when Wally was born and our business growth was rapid from then on. Opening this new centre meant a highly organised home life. We purchased a Thermomix which has saved my life in planning and organising meals.

We do not have any family help because both of our families live in Tasmania. I am lucky that both my mum and Dan’s mum visit often so we get the help when we can.

The boys love the fact that we have two very fun and large playgrounds to go wild in whilst we try and get a few things done.

What have been some of the biggest challenges with being a working parent?

Trying to establish the work/life balance. Making sure that when I am at home I am there to play with the kids and enjoy my family. This is particularly hard when my business is running 7 days a week 9am – 8pm.

I never really had the opportunity to stop and enjoy just being a mum, there was always outside pressures pulling me away from the kids.

There is also the challenge that Dan works in the business with me which means I see my husband all day and all night. We have found our groove working together and don’t have too many issues.

Working with so many parents and children on a daily basis, what have you learnt that you can use at home?

Let the kids be kids. A lot of parents are much more afraid in recent times to let their kids explore and push themselves physically with no safety net. I have found that letting them go, kids inherently know their own limitations.

What’s been the biggest highlight in your career so far?

The opening of the new facility is by far my biggest achievement. To do the planning financially, procedurally and workforce wise was a massive deal for myself and my team. This could not have happened without Dan, who was instrumental in getting the facility up and running.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received? Both at work and at home?

I am a big believer of if you can dream it you can do it.

I hope that my boys have as much ambition in work and life as I do.

What’s next for you and your family?

A holiday!!!

We will be very happy if we can get the business to a stage where we have a General Manager overseeing both locations and allowing us to step back a bit and spend more time with the family.

You can find Twisters Gymnastics at both Northcote and Showgrounds Ascot Vale locations.

Find more amazing mama interviews here!