Hi, my name is Amy and I’m one of the founders of Pole Sport Organization. My dance journey began in Seattle with dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer. After an injury in high school, I decided that dance may not be the best career choice for me, so I enrolled in university in Los Angeles. For my birthday, I went to Hollywood to take a pole dancing class because it sounded like a silly thing to do with my friend for the evening. I was totally surprised by how much I loved it. I’ve been a member of BeSpun ever since (13 years!).
My pole career has spanned many of the different types of ways that you can be involved in our industry. I’ve been an intern at a studio, studio manager, instructor, competitor, judge, volunteer, corporate events performer, traveling pole star teaching workshops, and now business owner with PSO. I think that being involved at so many levels has helped me shape PSO to make it an event that rides with the times. We are constantly evolving to bring in new ideas and update the events so that they stay fresh and fun.
Pole Sport Organization started because I was a competitor who had some bad experiences at pole competitions gone wrong. While pole events at that time brought an incredible group of pole people together, many had logistical issues that I felt I could solve. PSO began in 2012 with 2 events, and we’ve now expanded into 30 events annually, in 10+ countries.
PSO (and me!) believes that anyone can be on stage. I really don’t care if you’re the worst poler the world has ever seen, or the next Jenyne Butterfly. I want you on our stage! I want you to have your moment, the excitement of an applauding audience, the experience of the community backstage, the photos that make you look like a goddess in shiny lights. That moment shouldn’t only be reserved for those professional performers, the moment should be available to everyone. Only with practice can one get better at anything. Everyone in our community who wants it should be able to practice performance and being on stage. That’s what competition means to me.
Our two company values that mean the most to me at the moment are “do the thing” and “it takes a village”. To me, “do the thing” is saying that we don’t do the show because we’re ready, we do the show because it’s 7:30pm and that’s when the schedule says it starts. We believe running our events on time and in a well organized way is the best way to respect the work of the competitors, volunteers, judges, audience members, and staff. Problem solving on the fly is a must! Our team excels at this. They are ON IT and I love them for it.
My other favorite value at the moment is “it takes a village”. No one has success in a vacuum. We need everyone’s participation, from competitors, volunteers, staff, judges, and audience members to make the experience come alive. I don’t run PSO alone, I have a huge team of people who are dedicated to making this thing work!
The best part about my job at the moment is turning myself from an integrator into a visionary. In the entrepreneur world, there are considered to be 2 kinds of people, integrators and visionaries. Integrators are the doers. We take ideas and turn them into reality. We’re big problem solvers and we are obsessed with processes and operations. I’m most naturally an integrator. I operate really well, am really organized, and can get shit done. I don’t wake up every day with the next big idea or lightbulb revelation that will radically change the industry forever.
However, as PSO gets older and I hire other people to operate, I’ve had to transition into a different kind of leader, a visionary. Visionaries are the ones who set the dream, and set the goals for the company. I’ve had to get more comfortable being creative, problem solving in a big picture way (how will our company grow) versus in a micro way (how will this one single event run). To be honest, it was very intimidating because I felt like I didn’t have any great ideas. Everyone else in this industry seems so artsy, creative, and cool, and that just wasn’t me. After having some practice at visioning, I do think that visioning is a skill that can be acquired. As I have put more time aside to do this work, the ideas and thoughts come more naturally now. I’ve gained confidence in my abilities in this area and I am excited to keep innovating.
This is what I love about being an entrepreneur, the practice of the uncomfortable things. I think as polers, we can all relate to the joy of getting that next new trick, of being successful at something that you didn’t think you could do. Running PSO gives my brain the same kind of joy. I have grown as a dancer, leader, and human from running this company and I am grateful to all of your competitors, judges, volunteers, spectators, and PSO staff for allowing me on your journey.
I love this community very much and cannot wait to see you all on stage!
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