Introducing Taylor Welsh – Our Superb CEO
If you ask our customers to share adjectives that describe their Walker Tracker experience, you may hear words like “supportive” and “inclusive.” We empower organizations and communities to build wellness into their cultures, and that is in no small part due to the leadership of our CEO, Taylor Welsh. “For a long time, wellness has felt really exclusive, like you belong to a club, and I do not like that mentality around it. Wellness is a basic human right. Everyone has the right to be healthy and well,” she says.
Taylor’s wellness journey began in Portland, Oregon as an ambitious athlete who competed in soccer, basketball, gymnastics, and dancing as a kid. “I was a very active child, and I’ve always been an athlete at heart. Athletics taught me discipline, self-motivation, and drive.” Taylor continually pushed herself through injury and adversity, never missing a practice. “ It taught me what it means to want something so bad that you are willing to sacrifice for it.”
She attended Portland State University and majored in Community Health Education. Her goal was to impact people’s lives by preventing heart disease, obesity, and other chronic illnesses. She also worked as a personal trainer, yoga teacher, and kickboxing instructor during her time in school. “I didn’t have a huge social life. I was very regimented, and I lived by my calendar,” Taylor says. Her life changed when an academic advisor forwarded a job posting at Walker Tracker. After applying for the position she met founder Ben Parzybok at a coffee shop, where she learned more about the mission and vision of the company. “I was really excited about what Walker Tracker was doing. It felt like a more impactful and meaningful way to touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. I dove right into the job, and I fell in love with Walker Tracker and the idea of what it was and what it could be.”
For six years, Taylor did a little bit of everything: sales, customer support, customer success, marketing, writing newsletters, and building collateral. She knew Walker Tracker like the back of her hand, which enabled her to step into a new opportunity. “Moving into the role of CEO, I never envisioned that for myself. However, it felt really natural, and I learned so much. It’s been an exciting, unexpected journey.”
Like so many young girls, Taylor did not grow up with access to women mentors in C-suite positions, advisory roles, or on boards of directors. This lack of access can discourage girls and young women from envisioning themselves in leadership roles. As a woman CEO, Taylor is helping to change this narrative. “A lot of young girls grow up with this insecurity about who they are and what they’re going to do. They question if they belong here, or if they should be in these roles. The more exposure we give young women to seeing women in powerful positions and leadership roles, all the better.”
Now four years into her role as CEO, Taylor’s imprint is all over Walker Tracker. She presides over a team of ambitious, entrepreneurial, self-starters. She helps team members feel included, empowered, and supported. Walker Tracker partners with several inclusive community based organizations, and has created an internal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. Walker Tracker is led by a CEO who believes in creating a better world for all. “Impact is important to me, and a legacy is important to me. I want to do something that affects people in a positive way.”
We had a chance to ask Taylor a few fun questions, and this is what she had to say..
What is the last book you read?
The last book that I read was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, who is a spiritual teacher and Mexican author. He writes about the Toltec wisdom of his ancestors. It’s a lovely book.
What kind of things are you doing to stay physically active?
Hmmm…lots of yoga, and lots of walking.
What are three things on your bucket list?
Mainly it is all travel. I want to do a huge walk, whether it’s the PCT, the Appalachian Trail, or the Camino in Spain. I want to do something where i’m living out of a backpack and walking for a few months, so that’s one thing I want to do. I want to take a year and travel to every single country that I can in the world. And I’d like to build a home – whether it’s a tiny house or a cabin – but i’d like to build a home from the ground up.
What has been your favorite place to travel to?
I’d have to say Indonesia. It’s absolutely gorgeous there, and you’ll never find a more beautiful beach. The people were so warm and welcoming, and I’ve never felt that safe and that touched by people. They’re so amazing and so grateful. They’re grateful for breathing, eating, having a place to sleep. These are things that we take for granted every single day, but the people of Indonesia are grateful for this.
If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you’d do with the money?
It’s been my dream to create a microfinance nonprofit. When I was 21 I had the amazing opportunity and experience of working in Oaxaca with a group of women starting a natural medicine company with a (relatively) micro loan. This small amount of funding meant they could provide for their family and gain some level of independence. I would love for my next venture to be in funding underserved entrepreneurs. I would run it like a business accelerator with education, training, and legal, finance, strategy resources.
Could you share a fun fact about yourself?
I’ve traveled to and lived in several countries, always by myself. Every time I go to a new city or country, one of the first things I do is walk until I get lost and try to find my way back, so I can get the lay of the land.
Are there any quotes that have impacted your leadership style?
“A leader sees greatness in other people. He nor she can be much of a leader if all she sees is herself.” – Dr. Maya Angelou