Meet the women who won the Athleta Contest: Kelly, Samantha, and Juliet. These lovely ladies posted incredible photos of their adventures on Instagram and were given the opportunity to visit Baja, Mexico. Their guests: Grace, Sherri, and Marian were the lucky friends that got to tag along, and it turned into such a wonderfully powerful group.
Colleen Nipkow from Polygiene, Katie Dougherty from Athleta, and Colleen Cannon from Women’s Quest lead the group of women, all on a quest for adventure, and created a memorable experience to last a lifetime. Days were filled with yoga, stand up paddle boarding, surfing, snorkeling and more.
All six winners were gifted Athleta outfits for the entire trip.
We made sure to give them styles that travel extra well and included Polygiene odor control products that allowed their garments to stay fresh and stink-free. Learn about how the fabric technology works here.
Baja California, Mexico is the perfect paradise for nature lovers, and these women felt right at home.
Kelly works in the Bahamas with an organization called Cape Eleuthera Institute, dedicated to researching marine environments around that area. She’s also the Dean of Students and a Marine Ecology Teacher for the Island School Summer Term. This fall, she’s attending the University of Washington to earn her Master’s Degree in Marine Affairs. Grace, Kelly’s friend from college, is a graduate student at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, working towards her degree in biology and loves all things “neature”.
Samantha lives in Austin, Texas, works as a software engineer, and is an aspiring social media maven. Her mom, Shari, is an IT Project Manager in Boulder, Colorado, and recently placed 3rd in her age group in a half marathon.
Juliet is originally from a small island in the Philippines, Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu. She now lives in New Jersey with her husband and two teenage boys. She loves her women’s gym groups and Zumba. Her gym-buddy, Marian, is a freelance English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese translator. She is an avid whitewater kayaker, loves mountain biking, and hiking.
What was the most memorable part of your trip in Baja?
Kelly: I was in awe of the amount of live, healthy coral that we saw (something you don’t see in the Bahamas). Snorkeling with the California sea lions was also amazing (they are the fastest of all sea lions and seals, reaching speeds of up to 25 mph!). The Bryde’s whale encounter was heart-stopping (I’ve seen whales before but never so many together in a pod). The surf lessons at Mario’s Surf School was also another highlight. After years of hearing “you’re a marine biologist from California and you don’t know how to surf?!” and years of wanting to learn, it felt amazing to get up on wave after wave, cruising along with the power of the ocean.
Juliet: My highlight on this trip was learning how to surf and paddle board. I never thought in my life I’d do any of these activities. I’m scared of waves, but I conquered my fear and managed to actually stand up! Another memorable part was when everyone surprised me with a birthday cake on the island. It was amazing to celebrate my birthday with all the people who’ve inspired me on this trip.
What did this trip to Baja help you to discover?
Grace: It helped remind me that I’m happiest when I’m outside, being active, and enjoying the outdoors or underwater. It’s so easy in life to get cooped up behind our computers, our desks, or in our houses, and I want to spend as much time outside as possible. One of my favorite quotes is by John Muir, “The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” This trip helped me discover that I have so much to see and it is best to be surrounded by friends and people who make me happy.
Sam: This trip has helped me rediscover my love for travel and adventure. It has also helped me realize how much I enjoy meeting new people and learning about their lives of others and appreciating our differences. I learned so much from them and in turn they taught me a lot about myself. I plan to stay in contact with a bunch of these awesome new friends.
What does Power of She mean to you?
Grace: It celebrates the incredible energy, power, and impact women have in our community, society, and all over the word. We would be nowhere without women and we should always work together to celebrate women and be supportive of each other and all of our potential. Women should be strong and confident because of our limitless capability and potential.
Shari: All women, no matter who you are, where you’re from, age, or race — we are all one. We can all enjoy each other’s company, learn from each other and share experiences with love and joy.
Sam: Power of she means lifting other women up and encouraging them to live outside their comfort zone and try new things. Just like we did in Mexico!
Kelly: The Power of She means that no matter where we come from or what age we are or what we do for living or whatever our other differences may be, it is so easy for women to come together and empower one another. The six of us on the trip could not have been more different in so many ways, but whether it was Grace and I sharing our passion for the ocean, Marian giving us “kids” life advice, Juliette brightening everyone’s day with her smile and her strength, or Sam and Shari with their sense of humor and showing us the strength of the mother-daughter bond:
We all brought something to the table that helped each other and made us closer as a group.
Want to learn about their trip? Check out the Adventure to Mexico post!