Jennifer Smith, 28

Co-owner, performance enhancement coach, Actualize Sports & Fitness

Jennifer Smith, “a Wenatchee girl born and bred,” headed for Montana State University-Billings to play soccer and earn a business degree after graduating high school.

“Once I took one step out from Wenatchee, I learned that I have an adventurous heart,” she said, which she tested by applying for an internship that would lead her to Bangkok, Thailand, where she spent four months working at a cafe with women who were creating a new lifestyle for themselves.

“Instead of working in the vicious Thai brothel lifecycle, we made coffee and bagels,” she said.

After the internship was complete, she returned to the Wenatchee Valley.

“I always felt like there was unfinished business. I wanted to put my roots down to be close to my family and the people who invested in me the most,” she said. “I wanted to create change in my valley, because of how much it changed me. So I decided to commit and jump into a career that I had such passion and depth for.”

She found her path through Blaine Davidson, founder of Actualize Sports & Fitness, who had been her athletic trainer through her soccer-playing days.

“I can confidently say that he changed my life for the better and I wanted to be a positive outlet for young women, just as Blaine was for me,” she said. “His mentorship and friendship were so impactful that we decided to be business partners! So we are, four years down the road!”

She is now a co-owner at Actualize Sports & Fitness, working as a performance enhancement coach, helping athletes with strength and conditioning, nutrition consulting and life coaching.

Davidson said Smith’s work with female youth competitive athletes is where she shines.

“The tangible results of her coaching is increased performance, a transformed body, and reduced likelihood of injury. But the real power in Jenny’s coaching comes from how she uses the journey of leading young women through the challenging waters of training and nutrition as metaphors for life,” he said.

Q: What accomplishments are you most proud of?

A: I am most proud of the business that Blaine and I have created here in the Valley. I am proud that we choose the difficult and fearful route of a passion job. I am proud of choosing uncertainty over security because I saw that impact could be made. It has been the most rewarding experience walking with young women through their athletic journey of failures and successes and seeing each one rise and truly know what they are capable of.

Q: Who or what inspires you to be successful?

A: First of all, my most obvious answer because I talk about it all the time would be Blaine, my co-owner. I couldn’t do this without him. He led the way, invited me in, and is the most supportive friend, mentor and co-owner. He leads by example to always choose the higher route, the route of honor. And he has always allowed me to grow and change at my own pace. He is never pushy, but still encouraging and expectant. I have room to take charge and stand in my ownership over the space that I have built with him.

The other two people who inspire me to be successful would have to be my parents. I always gave more credit to my father than my mother, but now that I am a young adult, I realize all the things that my mother did behind closed doors. Aren’t they just so good at that?

My father is dominant, but kind, and my mother is gentle, but claims authority.

My goal is to be a perfect mix of both. And what a blessing it is to have three wise, honorable authority figures to model after? I want to be just like them when I grow up.

— Nevonne McDaniels, World staff