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Grit + Grace: How Becky Cerroni Went From NY Marine Biologist To TX Fitness And Fashion Entrepreneur

A discussion on riding the wave of career change, leaning in to what inspires you, and the joys of balancing entrepreneurship with motherhood.

I’ve come to know Becky Cerroni through my personal fitness journey over the past few years. I realized she was the owner of JoyRide TX and that she brought the highly popular cycle studio to San Antonio from the East Coast, but I wasn’t ever privy to her full story. Becky was raised in San Antonio. She moved to the Chicago area for college, then lived and worked in New York and Connecticut with her husband Joe. Becky became a mother in 2004, and in 2013 her family relocated and returned to San Antonio.

Becky is busy raising three children, has now opened a second location of JoyRide TX, and has very recently expanded her entrepreneurial endeavors from fitness studio owner to founder of a new children’s activewear clothing line, Social Clothing Shop. What fascinates me most about Becky’s story is the part that I didn’t know before: she’s a scientist. A STEM girl with a passion for oceanic conservation and a heart for art and design, Becky’s journey is a great example of how someone with multiple interests and talents can still follow their own authentic path toward a successful, fulfilling life.

Where did you go to college, what did you study, and what was your first job when you graduated?
I went to Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. Both of my grandfathers graduated from Lake Forest. I was a Biology/Environmental Science Major and graduated in 1996. All of my best friends were studio art majors, many of whom have gone on to be interior designers. I loved traveling and working outside, so the sciences were a great fit for me.

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After studying abroad twice during my undergraduate years in the Caribbean and Costa Rica, I graduated and my first job was in Marketing and Interpretive Services (Education) at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. My work included giving a lot of tours to Shedd Trustees. The Aquarium was originally built in 1926 and has an incredible history…imagine custom Tiffany lamps and marble imported from Italy- chosen as the design to make the interiors look like waves.

In your early twenties, what was the future dream career you envisioned for yourself?
I envisioned myself traveling and discovering new people and cultures, which I did. I always loved fashion and design, but treated them more like a hobby. I even sometimes felt like my love of visual art and fashion could be perceived to be at odds with my science career. Somehow though, my passions kept intertwining.
In 1999, I went to graduate school for Marine Science at the Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at University of Miami. Miami is one of my favorite places. I love the combination of its culture, fashion, art and the ocean. After Miami, I headed to Paris, France for a fellowship with UNESCO (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission). While living in Paris, I spent every weekend getting to know every street and boutique in the Marais and the 7th arrondissement.
How did a background in oceanic conservation and marine biology prepare you for a career as an entrepreneur and business owner?
I think that anyone crazy enough to believe that they should make a career out of marine conservation is perfectly suited for entrepreneurial life 😉 In all seriousness though, after many years managing non profit programs in up to twenty countries at a time, I had developed a set of solid management and strategic skills that have served me well. Also, in nonprofit work, you often are a jack of all trades – which is very similar to small business ownership.
What was the turning point in your career that inspired you to own your own business?
I had started my own ocean consulting company in 2011, Blue Horizon Strategic Consulting, so I was comfortable with the initial idea of starting my own company. I really truly wanted to open JoyRide. That was the turning point – I simply felt like it had to happen.
One wouldn’t necessarily associate a passion for fashion with a career as a marine biologist. What influences in your life planted the seed for your love of style?
For me, a global outlook is key in both style and ocean conservation. I am a visual learner, and I’m always excited by new designers who are creating athletic fashion with both incredible design and technical functionality. The clothes I buy for my JoyRiders and for Social Clothing Shop have got to work for the active lifestyles of both the adults and children wearing the garments.
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. How did fitness and fashion come together to launch Social Clothing Shop, and what was your creative inspiration behind the line?
My three children, after whom the line is named. Sophia (age 12), Charlotte (age 10) and Liam (age 6) are my daily inspiration and are my inspiration for Social Clothing. I feel that fun, inspired and comfy athletic fashion should be available to all ages!

How do you manage career-family balance as a mother of three and a business owner?

Day by day. Every day is different and I have an incredible staff at JoyRide.
What areas of growth are you most excited about as you plan for the future of JoyRide and Social Clothing Shop?
For JoyRide, I would love to open more locations in Texas in the future (not right now though). We will keep diving deeply into San Antonio for community, fitness and style inspiration! For Social Clothing Shop, I think that it has national reach. There is nothing like it yet, and I think the sky is the limit.
If you could give your 22 year-old self one piece of career advice, what would it be?
Don’t worry, it will all work out in the end. If there are bumps, that’s okay – you can handle it.
If you could have lunch with any woman in the world, (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
I love this question! I would have a hard time picking just one, but my list would definitely include Marie Curie, Coco Chanel and Amelia Earhart. Each possessed a specific trait that I admire and all had the courage to take a chance and live life on their own terms.
Edited from an interview by Eleanora Morrison.
Follow Becky personally on Instagram @beckycerroni, follow Social Clothing Shop @socialclothingshop, and follow JoyRide TX @joyridetexas.
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