Co-Founder & President
Before conceiving the idea for and co-founding Uplift, Leanne graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania and received a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies and Cultural Politics from New York University, and was a professional writer for most of her career: she is the author of The Perfect Manhattan and Cocktail Therapy: The Perfect Prescription for Life’s Many Crises, and her writing has also been featured in The Nation, The New York Times, New York, Glamour, and Men’s Health, among others. Leanne always knew the seeds of a female society were growing inside her: many years ago, after a big breakup, she started a Happy Hour group for like-minded women called SWIGs (Singular Women Infused with Greatness). To this day, she is always available with a word of wisdom (or a glass of wine) for her friends and clients in their times of need!
What Uplifts her? While I love the physical aspects of being a trainer, reading and writing Uplift me a LOT. I am a big nerd at heart!
Her guilty pleasure? I am not a sweets person and never really crave dessert but I cannot turn down potato skins or mozzarella sticks. Ever.
Studio Manager and Co-Community Director
Sophie moved from Sleepy Hollow to New York City to attend The New School University, where she studied dramatic arts, psychology, and creative arts therapy. As a director and writer, she knew that she would need to find a side hustle – but a job like this was beyond her wildest dreams. When a friend who worked at the desk at Uplift told her about a female fitness studio dedicated to empowering women, she barely believed her – it sounded too good to be true! Sophie is thrilled and so grateful to be a part of the Uplift family and hopes to give back to the community all that it's already given to her. When she's not #GettingUplifted, Sophie writes and directs documentaries, narrative films, music videos, and theater.
What Uplifts Her? Being surrounded by resilient, courageous, kind people.
Her Guilty Pleasure? Binge-watching stand-up specials.
Born and raised a Canadian Prairie girl, Kara has always had a desire to expand her horizons. She graduated from College, with the triple threat award, in Theatre. She has been fortunate enough to work for twenty years, in a business that took her from Moose Jaw (her hometown) to Broadway (Jersey Boys). Along the road she found a passion for fitness and more importantly, helping others find their way to strength and wellness. Sculpting minds and bodies is a pure joy. Kara loves every aspect of being a fitness trainer, from choosing playlists and creating choreography, to getting to know clients and their individual needs. She is thrilled to be joining the strong, supportive, powerful Uplift team and hopes that you will join her!!!
What Uplifts her? 50s and 60s girl group songs, coffee and you!
Her guilty pleasure? Trader Joe's peanut butter cups.
Head of Personal Training
Ivana spent more than seven years in the hospitality industry, focused on sales and marketing for some of the top boutique hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Even though fitness had always been a regular part of her lifestyle (one of her first experiences working with a personal trainer was actually at Uplift Studios back in 2012!), she knew that she was meant to be a part of the bigger movement: one that empowers women to increase their mental, emotional, and physical prowess through strength training. As of July 2017, Ivana took the leap into the world of wellness and health and hasn’t looked back! She is beyond thrilled to bring her passion for fitness and operations to the community where her journey started. She truly believes that the possibilities for Uplift's female society are endless.
What Uplifts her? Surrounding myself with people who encourage me to be better person and never settle for the mediocre.
Her guilty pleasure? Sour apple ANYTHING.
Assistant Studio Manager/Philanthropy Coordinator
Cassie is still a bit of a newbie to New York City. Hailing from Massachusetts, Cassie moved to New York City this fall after graduating from Boston University's School of Theatre with a BFA in Acting. She became interested in Uplift after reading the mission statement of the brand and falling in love with it's vow to create a powerful and safe space for women in New York City! Growing up with two older brothers to catch up to, Cassie was always running around. While she can't remember a sport that she hasn't at least tried for a season, she focused on lacrosse, field hockey, and swimming. She is excited to join the amazing team that Uplift has and cannot wait to see what experiences stretch her physically, emotionally, and mentally in this new chapter!
What Uplifts her? Being around motivated, kind, and FUNNY women.
Her guilty pleasure? Oh, chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Absolutely.
Leah, a Birmingham, AL native, studied dance at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. Leah’s enthusiasm and enjoyment for fitness started at a young age when she would run and play basketball with her dad. Fitness and healthy living are an integral part of her career longevity as a dancer, arts educator, and choreographer. Leah is thrilled to share her passion for fitness to instill healthy living through high-energy classes with positive reinforcement and motivational idioms with the clients and staff of Uplift Studios.
What Uplifts her? Building a community of like-minded people to motivate, challenge, and inspire each other. Uplift Studios is an open, nurturing environment where women can nourish their minds, bodies, and spirits to conquer their day and encourage the community around them.
Her guilty pleasure? Soul Food (mom’s homemade mac & cheese, collard greens cooked in turkey drumsticks, cornbread, and red velvet cake) and Sex & the City (I own all six seasons and both movies).
Kirsten grew up on the prairies of Canada and life always involved some kind of movement, but gym class was never a favorite! She did everything to avoid it (including an excuse note from her dad). It wasn't until grad school in Norway and the eventual move to NYC, that Kirsten found a passion in sweating and building strength on a daily basis. A complete turn around from school gym class, she now looks forward to her next sweat session and seeing the strength in her students build with each new week. Kirsten has taught yoga and teacher trainings in New York and internationally for the past 4 years. Being a late bloomer herself, she firmly believes that it is never too late to try something new and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
What Uplifts her? Dumping out a backpack of the day's sweaty clothes and playing 'kiss the tummy' with her Jack Russell, Bella.
Her guilty pleasure? Devouring TGIF potato skins and Hansen's Cherry Vanilla Soda while watching Hope Floats (yes, I still cry every time!).