We can’t brag enough about our biggest competitive advantage: Our people. They’re some of the smartest, most talented, most interesting people on the planet – and we’re not exaggerating. In fact, if you knew even half the things our employees are up to in their spare time, it would blow your mind.
The Secret Life of RV reveals some of the coolest things our employees are doing outside of work. (Read: THIS is where we blow your mind.)
Secret Life: Marilyn Brown
RV Yoga Instructor/Former Ballet Star
Though she’s originally from New Jersey, Marilyn has lived in Charlotte for more than two decades. (So, she’s basically a native.) She has been leading Red Ventures’ free, onsite yoga classes for as long as we can remember – and she’s become a local celebrity around campus. Outside of the studio, you can find her hanging out with her husband or walking her 100-lb black lab.
Did we mention she’s also a full-time instructor at Enlighten Yoga, just down the road? Or that she used to be a professional ballerina? This is the Secret Life of RV’s favorite yogi.
Q: Hi Marilyn! Thanks for chatting. Let’s get started.
A: Alright! First, find a seated position…
Q: Haha! Your studio, your rules. What do you do here at Red Ventures?
A: I come to RV three days a week at lunchtime to teach yoga. Tuesdays and Thursdays are what we call a “mixed level” class, and Fridays are more of a “basics” class – to attract some newer faces.
Q: So you’re telling me… RVers really drop what they’re doing and practice yoga in the middle of the day?!
A: Yes – and for good reason. I know you guys work really hard here. These classes give you a chance to take some time for yourself and do something healthy. I always hear things like, “this is the part of my day that I really look forward to.” It feels good when you look back at your day and can say that you took time to take care of yourself.
Q: Great point. How long have you been teaching at RV?
A: I’ve been teaching here for 5 years. It’s crazy how much has changed. I used to teach back when the RV campus was just two buildings – waaay before this studio was built. Back then, we all crowded into a tiny room next to the basketball court. You keep inviting me back, so I keep coming!
Q: That’s probably not a coincidence. You’ve become something of an icon around here – you’re especially well-known for your words of wisdom. What was your mantra for today’s class?
A: “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” -Anais Nin
Q: Ah, I see. How do you come up with these messages?
A: Most of the mantras I use are not mine – they’re borrowed from other people. I try to have something for people to think about that sticks with them beyond the yoga class. Sometimes I talk about general concepts like happiness or love or compassion. Sometimes I teach from yoga philosophy. I might even find inspiration from what I read or see on social media. I just choose ideas that resonate with me.
Q: You really seem like quite an expert. How long have you been doing this?
A: I’ve been teaching yoga 10 years and practicing… for a long time. I’m way older than most of you guys (laughs).
Q: What got you started?
A: Well, I was a ballet dancer growing up…
Q: Ballet to yoga?! Sounds like a stretch…
A: I danced from when I was six years old until I was pregnant. So, I did dance and perform for a long time. After I had my kids, ballet was harder to find. A friend introduced me to yoga, and I immediately recognized many of the things I loved about ballet – it’s very graceful, very disciplined, very creative. And different styles of yoga can tap into ballet musically.
Q: So, you became a yogi. What inspired you to teach?
A: Teaching allows me to create my own sequence, which is like choreographing dance. It’s about creating a pattern that moves the body in a healthy and balanced way – and keeping people safe with alignment and awareness.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to teach?
A: Honestly, I really like teaching here at RV.
Q: Oh, stop. We’re blushing. (But do go on…)
A: I’ve seen a lot of growth from the people who’ve been consistent. And that’s so much fun. Lots of my students who have stuck with it are now doing amazing things they would never have dreamed of the first time they walked into class. I can see that more clearly here at RV because I have so many students who come regularly. It takes a special person to be so disciplined. To dress, get ready for work, be in work clothes, work all day, come here, change their clothes, work out, change back. It would be so easy to just go out to lunch, or stay at your desk. I really give the students a lot of credit for their dedication.
Q: That’s pretty impressive. How about those of us who aren’t regulars?
A: That’s what our Friday classes are for! We’ve really tried to make that a slower class for beginners. We’ve had a nice show of people who have never tried it before – and that always impresses me, too.
Q: Well, we learned from the best. Thanks for your time!
A: Thank YOU!
Want more Secret Life? Read all about award-winning photojournalist Riley Arthur‘s social media side project.