We had the good fortune of connecting with Deborah Lavinsky and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Deborah, what do you want your legacy to be?
I’ve always tried to live my life by the words “be good, do good”. Whether through random acts of kindness, charitable giving, serving on numerous not for profit boards, setting an example for my family, friends, and co-workers I have tried to walk the walk. As an observant Jew, these principles are part of the fabric of Jewish life. Giving to charity (tzedakah) and healing or repairing the world (tikkun olam) are two important tenets that I try to live daily. I remember when I was fortunate to be selected as a member of Leadership Akron’s Class XVI in 2000, the CEO of Advanced Elastomer Systems gave an inspiring talk to our class about boardsmanship- in other words, what it means to serve on a board. For many, being on a board only means getting their names on the organization’s letterhead and doing nothing, only using it as a resume builder. He spoke about only joining a board if you have a passion for the mission of the organization. Those words stuck with me through the years as great advice. Sadly, I have served on too many boards with “letterhead” members. When I worked as a financial advisor, I always promoted the idea of leaving a financial legacy with my clients and not leave their final wishes to chance. Too many families are left making decisions at a difficult and emotionally fraught time. My husband and I have taken the responsibility to make those decisions now and not leave them to chance. We have chosen the organizations that are most meaningful to us; that serve our community with an open heart and transparent governance; and would most benefit from our bequest. Through active participation in trying to repair the world (tikkun olam), teaching and inspiring through example and leaving financial means when I am no longer alive (tzedakah) – that is how I want to be remembered.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
At Phoenix Pilates and Rossiter Center, we are more than a place to “do Pilates”. We are sought out as the place to revitalize self-care because most have concerns about their health, are unhappy with their body and are fed up with being in constant pain. We help them learn to move with more ease, overcome their fear of pain, gain control over their nutrition so they can live the rest of their lives feeling full of energy and confidence. We incorporate innovative mind, body and spirit techniques along with traditional Pilates to bring back the playfulness of childhood once again. We have experience working with many different conditions that often present a barrier to exercise and offer a gentle, compassionate solution. With the pandemic bringing in-person training to a halt in March, I was proud that Core to Coeur, a woman-owned online fitness platform selected Phoenix Pilates and Rossiter Center as one of their first online teachers. It’s been a fantastic experience and one of the best parts has been reconnecting with former students as well as students from as far away as Sweden. With businesses are opening up, we will continue our online offerings indefinitely as we’ve built up a lovely community there. With the obesity epidemic and concerns about co-morbidities with COVID-19, our nutritional coaching is in even more demand. We offer a full complement of customizable, affordable superfood nutrition for weight loss, athletes looking for that “edge”, seniors who need to gain lean muscle weight and those with digestive imbalances. We have lots of education, inspiration and a wonderful, supportive community to keep you motivated. We’ve been really excited to see the results our clients are getting and they have been thrilled! Phoenix Pilates and Rossiter Center is uniquely positioned to help our clients make the changes in order to remain youthful in mind, body and spirit.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If you were visiting Phoenix, Arizona for the first time and it wasn’t 110 degrees, there are so many beautiful places to visit outdoors. South Mountain Park is the largest city park in the world and is literally in my backyard. There are beautiful trails of all levels of difficulty, ancient petroglyphs, saguaros, gorgeous desert vistas and wildlife. The Desert Botanical Garden is an Arizona treasure located near the Papago buttes and has an outstanding collection of desert plants. They often have unique art installations, their museum shop sells plants as well as the usual gifts and the on-site restaurant Gertrude’s uses homegrown herbs and veggies. If it’s really hot out- go to The Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix. It is well-known for its collections of Native American Art and is always a must see. Driving further north toward Desert Ridge is The Musical Instrument Museum The “MIM”. They have just about every instrument you can imagine. You wear a headset and with the guided tour you can stand in front of each instrument exhibit and hear how it sounds. There are special exhibits and a fun hands on room for kids (and big kids too). There are so many great places to eat it’s hard to pick a few. Old Town Scottsdale is a lot of fun to walk around. Lots of restaurants, bars and art galleries. You can definitely find everything and anything there. In Phoenix, 7th Street from Glendale Avenue south to Camelback is a great restaurant area with lots of variety. It really depends where one is staying in Phoenix/Scottsdale- it’s so spread out and there are good eats, shopping and hang outs everywhere.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband, Rabbi Arthur Lavinsky who has supported me 100% for the past 37 years. I have had three career changes during this time and he has always been at my side along the way cheering me on.
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