Diana Navarro, Buyer/Merchandise Manager, Delivery Agent Co-Founder and Director of Marketing, Sweat Republic
Diana Navarro grew up in Tucson. “I always thought I was a southern Arizona and southern California girl at heart,” she said, but she ended up going a little farther north.
Navarro joined Macys in San Francisco with a store assignment and buying office internship. Upon graduation, she started full time as a buyer in the juniors department. “Then in 2009, the economy crashed,” she said. “Macys was one of the first companies to do a major restructure in response to the crash. 6,000 of us lost our jobs.”
She had six weeks to decide her next steps. “The company set up a small centralized buying office in New York and gave us the chance to reapply for our jobs and relocate,” she said. “I started looking for jobs. It was really tough, there were not a lot of opportunities, even in the techie startup world.”
Navarro had always been active person—she’d danced for years—but in the middle of this stressful time, she took up running. “Running kept me grounded, literally,” she said. She trained for a half marathon, then a full marathon, and got involved in Team in Training. “It’s been a great experience,” she said, but it took a toll. “I had multiple leg fractures, so I started TRX Suspension Extension training for rehab.”
By that time, she went through a second corporate layoff. “Physical fitness and wellness was still a focus for me and a good escape,” she said. Earlier this year, she and a friend—fellow Eller alumna Gabby Pavelko—opened a group fitness studio, Sweat Republic, in San Francisco’s Marina District. “We are a community-based group fitness class studio offering Yoga, TRX Suspension Training, and are the only boutique studio in San Francisco that offers SurfSet, which is a high-energy and dynamic workout based on the foundations of surfing.”
“I still have my day job in corporate America,” Navarro continued. “I work in e-commerce, and everything from my day job translates to launching and growing Sweat Republic.”
Earlier this year, Sweat Republic was recognized as the Best Alternative Exercise Studio in the Best of SF Weekly 2014 and one of “America’s Coolest Alternative Exercise Studios” by SPRY Living.
Navarro stays connected to her fellow Wildcats through the alumni community in San Francisco. “We recently worked with the board of the BayCats to arrange a private SURFSET class for UA alumni,” she said. “We had UA decorations all over the studio and people came in their Wildcat gear. We had a great event and are looking into hosting again!”
Navarro credits the UA with her success in the Bay Area. “When I moved to San Francisco, I had a career path because of Eller’s recruiting relationships and I had a big community because of the UA. My community completely translated outside of Eller into the real world.”