Please note that this article was originally published in March, 2021, and has been updated with information about Women That Fight 2022.
In 2015, Cissy Chen founded Rumble Boxing Studio with the mission of creating a space that everyone, especially women, would feel welcome. In 2021, they have successful studios in both Vancouver + Calgary and are launching Women That Fight — an initiative for the month of March dedicated to uplifting women + giving back to their communities.
Christie Buono, Director of Marketing + Community Partnerships at the Foundation, talked to Cissy about giving back, women supporting women, and the importance of community.
Christie: How will Rumble Boxing #ChooseToChallenge the inequities experienced by women this March?
Cissy: Through our Women That Fight challenge this March, we are dedicating the entire month to women and challenging inequities. We’re motivating our members to participate in our 30-Day Challenge and encouraging them to fight for another WTF (Woman That Fights) in their lives; while partnering and highlighting local women-owned businesses in our communities. Not to mention giving back proceeds from the sale of select items to our local charity partners: BC Women’s Health Foundation in Vancouver and Fast and Female in Calgary. All these layers for our WTF Month are rooted in encouraging and supporting all women while raising awareness and funds for a foundation like yours.
Christie: How do you feel your values align with the BCWHF’s mission?
Cissy: BCWHF’s mission includes igniting change, inspiring individuals and being champions of healthy women everywhere who are capable of anything – Rumble Boxing’s values completely align with this.
One of my purposes in creating Rumble Boxing was to be an advocate for everyone’s physical and mental health. I wanted to offer a product that is welcoming to everyone at all levels and prove that everyone can be a boxer. Rumble is a strong community and we will always #fighttogether.
Christie: Why does women’s health matter to you and Rumble Boxing?
Cissy: I wanted Rumble Boxing to be a medium to help empower individuals; from those who are members coming into our studios, to our motivators and personal trainers. It brings me so much joy and happiness when I’m able to provide a place where our motivators and trainers who are women are able to inspire and support the next generation of women. Where boxing is typically known as a male-dominated sport and industry, I wanted to create a safe space where we can empower everyone, especially women.
Christie: Why is it important for you to uplift and invest in your local community?
Cissy: As a small business, without our local community, we are nothing. It is through nurturing and bringing value to our local community that we are able to grow and have a larger impact. More than ever, after the unprecedented and challenging year we’ve all experienced, supporting one another in the community is so important in ensuring we all survive this and come out stronger together.
Christie: As a community leader, boxer, and woman in business, are there any tips or lessons you can share about finding success and staying empowered?
Cissy: Absolutely! Here are some tips and lessons I’ve learned along the way:
- Things take a lot more time than you may think. Success is built on a bunch of little failures…and nothing happens overnight.
- Stay true to your brand and be patient; things happen slowly.
- Create a good team around you and make them your community.
- It’s tempting to change your brand when things aren’t going right – but keep fighting.
- Pick a moment where you felt most proud of yourself – remember that feeling. Now keep it – stay focused, stay empowered.
Christie: You are a trailblazer in the world of boxing and inclusivity. In spaces that women are not typically included, how do you think men or others leaders can step up to help create more welcoming environments?
Cissy: Simply put, hire more women. Hire more women in all aspects of the business and watch the environment thrive.
Christie: Is there a woman in your life who has helped you get to where you are today?
Cissy: I’m going to highlight my best friend Scarlet even though I know she is going to hate this, because that is the type of person she is. But it is largely because of her that I am who I am today as she constantly pushes me to be better and a stronger advocate for our local community and those in need. She is my guardian angel and the sister I never had.
Christie: Do you have a personal story you’d feel comfortable sharing that inspired you to support women and their health?
Cissy: Growing up in Harbin, China my father worked as a lawyer and my mother took care of the family home. As an only child, I was raised to be hard working and self sufficient. My father always raised me to be independent, in a culture where many women get stuck with traditional gender roles being a homemaker. At 17, my parents encouraged me to pursue a post-secondary education in Canada and the rest is history.
Christie: What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve fought to overcome in the last year related to the pandemic?
We opened the Vancouver studio during the pandemic last year, meaning we unfortunately did not qualify for any type of government financial support. In order to stay open for our community, we were forced to adapt, change and pivot our business. The uncertainty is hard for any business to manage and plan for. Seeing the resilience of our team just gives me more drive and hope to continue fighting through this together.
Christie: Looking back, is there anything you have learned that you hope to integrate into your work after the pandemic?
Cissy: The biggest lesson to come out of the pandemic has been that no matter how much you plan, things can change in an instant. But as long as you keep your community and team as the primary focus, you’ll be able to adapt, change and maintain running your business. We will reflect on this challenging time as a period of growth and learning. We will come out of this stronger, I have no doubt.
For the month of March, Rumble Boxing Studio is dedicated to all the WOMEN THAT FIGHT in our community!
Participate in the 30-Day ‘Women That Fight’ Challenge and fight for yourself or a woman in your life. Proceeds from Vancouver challenge sign-ups will support BC Women’s Health Foundation to ensure women have equitable access to the highest quality healthcare when, where, and how they need it.
Learn more at rumbleboxing.com/women-that-fight-2022
There are so many ways you can #ChooseToChallenge women’s health inequities with the BC Women’s Health Foundation this International Women’s Day.