Brittani Rettig

MBA 2010

Management consultant and fitness guru Brittani Rettig on living a life of service, the lessons she learned at HBS, and why Texas most definitely rules.”

Your Twitter bio reads like that of a superhero ("Management consultant by day, fitness instructor & wellness blogger by night"). Can you tell us about your day and evening jobs?

"By day I'm a manager at Deloitte Consulting. I work with clients in the health care and life sciences industries on large global transformations and M&A integrations. In any free moments I have, I write a fitness and wellness blog called Grit by Brit. I also teach group fitness classes at the W Hotels and 24 Hour Fitness."

How is each role similar, different?

"The roles are similar in that they both require an insane amount of energy. To ensure that I can handle everything on my plate, I have developed a routine of prioritizing what really needs to get done. Another similarity between these jobs is that they both are in the spirit of service—whether it is serving the client or serving my blog readers. Living a life of service is one thing that keeps me very motivated. I succeed when those I serve succeed.

"The differences are countless. My consulting role allows me to drive formal project management and lead my engagement teams to guide organizations through change. With Grit by Brit, I am very entrepreneurial and get my hands dirty—I develop fitness choreography, select music, work with graphic designers on the look and feel of my blog, and write all the content."

How did Grit by Brit come into being and what are your goals for it?

Grit by Brit started simply as a way to keep me accountable for staying fit during weekly work travel. I was just posting my hotel gym workouts online. Once I started to see how the blog could help others live life more abundantly, I made Grit by Brit a dedicated effort. I just celebrated my two-year ‘blogaversary’! My blogging has led to other opportunities to share my healthy tips and inspirational stories on major media outlets like Good Morning Texas, Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In online community, and on Greatist.com. In addition to the blog, I have also launched my signature fitness method and DVD as well as a small line of fitness apparel.

"The year 2014 will see the launch of my first brick and mortar fitness studio! I'm partnering with a friend who is a respected entrepreneur to transform his current fitness studio located in New York City's Lower East Side. The ultimate mission for Grit by Brit is to use fitness to help people develop the mental grit needed to live their best lives. We can't always control life's circumstances, but we can control how we respond."

How do you use what you learned at HBS in your work with Grit by Brit?

"The most important thing I learned at HBS is to be confident. Getting cold-called the first day of Financial Reporting and Controls was the one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. But that moment prepared me for situations I currently face in my Grit by Brit work. You would be surprised by the pressure I feel having to make quick, on-the-fly decisions in front of classes of more than 80 students as I lead them through a workout. In both the HBS classroom and my fitness class, I never fully know what to expect, but I do the best I can to remain confident and give it my all."

What HBS case (or cases) are most memorable and why?

"Several cases in Leadership and Corporate Accountability are the most memorable. Particularly "The Fall of Enron" and the Harvard Business Review article by Charles Handy, "What's a Business For?" I got so passionate in LCA class one day that I cried while making my comment—so embarrassing. However, it sparked a really interesting discussion among our section and brought us together in a sort of familial way. Business leadership is more than generating a profit; it is adding value to the lives of others. HBS taught me how to thoroughly evaluate business purpose from both a moral and monetary perspective."

What advice do you have for current HBS students?

"Completely immerse yourself in the HBS experience; don't hold back on any of the opportunities you encounter. Looking back, I wish I would have spent more time going on trips with classmates, having coffee chats with professors, and simply taking risks. HBS is a great time to explore that business venture that's been heavy on your heart or to just think about how you want to leave your mark on the world. You have incredible resources at your fingertips and infinite possibilities, so take advantage!"

In a Cornell Daily Sun interview (Rettig played college basketball at Cornell, http://cornellsun.com/blog/2005/11/30/10-questions-with-forward-brittani-rettig/), you said that, 'Texas is the best state ever.' That's a bold claim! What, in your opinion, are five things that make Texas the best state around?

"Having been born and raised there, I'm a Texas girl to the max. Five reasons that make my home state great are:

  • We're big and proud—Don't mess with Texas!
  • We're business friendly.
  • We're family and community oriented.
  • It's football heaven—Go, Cowboys!
  • It's full of sunshine.

Can you finish this statement? My perfect workout is…

"An hour of moderate- to high-intensity hiking on some beautiful outdoor terrain followed by an hour of vinyasa power yoga. It's the perfect combination of strength, cardio, and flexibility training. Also, being outdoors is great for my mind and my soul!"

Follow Brittani Rettig on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GRITbyBrit

For more information on Grit by Brit, go to http://gritbybrit.com.