A Q&A Between Every Mother’s Leah Keller and Allison Rapaport
Many of you know Every Mother as the clinically proven and life-altering fitness program for every stage of motherhood that it is. Whether you’re a current member, a reader looking for invaluable information, an enthusiastic follower on social media, or someone who’s been thinking about joining but hasn’t yet, Every Mother offers an opportunity for women to take control of their health and wellness while providing a community of thousands of like-minded mothers who are there to support and encourage one another daily.
But the success behind the mission of any program can only be achieved when the foundations are strong, genuine, and laid out with the best of intentions. This is how Every Mother came to be—when Leah Keller’s private fitness practice in Manhattan began yielding incredible results with both her pre and postnatal clients. Witnessing their strength and resilience ignited a passion in Leah to bring her transformative work to women everywhere. And when Allison Rapaport, CEO of Every Mother, began working with Leah, she couldn’t have agreed more. These two friends and collaborators set out to build the program into a business, and Every Mother’s success was sealed through two mothers’ dedication.
In observance of National Women’s History Month, Leah and Allie sat down—virtually—to reflect upon Every Mother’s growth, mission, and their own journeys as mothers and entrepreneurs. Watch their conversation, below!
*For a full transcript of the video, see below.
Allie to Leah: What feedback were you getting from your clients in the beginning?
They were just really floored with the results. Two of my earliest pre/postnatal clients were Orthodox Jewish women—one had 5 children (and would go on to have 6), including triplets. The other was her friend and neighbor, with 4 children and twins. Within a few months of training them, they dramatically reversed abdominal separation and related symptoms. Good news travels fast among moms in New York.
Allie to Leah: How did you come up with the foundational exercises of Every Mother?
The foundational exercises grew organically out of my private training practice. Prior to working with pregnant and postpartum women, I had taken a weekend workshop about prenatal exercise and I learned that diastasis recti is a thing. Not only can the abdominal muscles separate, but they do so in a majority of pregnancies!
Thankfully I also learned there was some evidence it could be prevented and maybe even reversed with deep core exercises that correctly activate the transverse abdominis muscles. I dove into the research and found myself digging into physical therapy journals published in Australia in the 1970s—they had done a lot more work on this topic. I read everything I could, and I applied what I learned to my teaching and training.
Every Mother’s program is a distillation of all that I learned and continue to learn from coming beside women as a coach and a friend during their healing journeys.
Eventually, an OB at Weill Cornell took notice of what was happening when one of my clients birthed her first baby in 15 minutes of pushing. That OB ended up conducting a retrospective study of 63 women who followed my program—100% of them fully resolved DR, and it took them on average less than 12 weeks. Those findings were published in the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. More recently, the Hospital for Special Surgery conducted a prospective trial of women following Every Mother’s Reclaim program (publication of those results are in peer review at a medical journal).
Leah to Allie: And what made you want to partner up with me and create this vision for Every Mother?
After my time as your private client, I was hooked. I wanted everyone in the world to have the privilege of understanding their pre and postnatal body in a way that alleviated and prevented pain and created confidence. I had such a different experience than my friends pre and postnatally, and it felt unfair and motivated me to change that. I knew you were on a quest to help reach Every Mother with this information, and I wanted to join. I also wanted to keep using the EM method and needed more workouts! Lastly, I also thought you were an all-around amazing, talented, and brilliant person, which didn’t hurt.
Allie to Leah: I’d like to ask the same of you—what made you want to partner up with me?
You were like a beacon of light and optimism, and you reached out to explore partnering at a critical moment when I needed to figure out a different way forward…or give up on that dream, which I wasn’t prepared to do. I knew I could trust you to follow through on your commitments and act with integrity.
Your MBA, your track record founding the Columbia Start-up Lab, and so on were impressive qualifications. But mostly, I knew I could trust you to do the right thing, that you shared my passion and conviction that every woman deserved to know and understand how to safely navigate the physical challenges of pregnancy and postpartum. I could see us achieving our grand vision for Every Mother together, so I dove in.
Leah to Allie: Who were your early influences or mentors in entrepreneurship?
Back when I started my career in investing, I spent most of my time trying to convince everyone I deserved to be there. My background wasn’t similar to my peers, and I constantly fought to prove myself. However, once I went to a small fund that was just starting, I caught the entrepreneurial bug. I was captivated and invigorated by the work of building this business, but also with the strong women I worked for, one of whom worked to help me succeed versus fight to prove my place.
Later in Business School, I met a classmate who was also trying to launch an entrepreneurial program for graduates. We teamed up together and built a ground-breaking program. I had the university’s support but she knew how to build communities and taught me the importance of this, which is what led to our success.
Lastly, I had one female mentor who constantly showed up 110% prepared and dedicated to helping Every Mother succeed, using her free time to help define our strategy. Today she is our Head of Marketing, you know her as Deepti.
Allie to Leah: How has motherhood influenced you as an entrepreneur?
We’ve prioritized flexibility from the start. We wanted to be there for our families and to be there for our work. We also understand that we need each other, that it takes a village to grow a child and to grow a mother, and so we built the EM Village for our members: a supportive in-app community of women lifting each other up—moms supporting moms. The Village nurtures our community and provides a safe space for women to share their struggles and wisdom, challenges and victories, and to encourage each other with accountability, motivation, and inspiration.
But also, on a more personal level, when I think about how motherhood has shaped me as an entrepreneur, I am aware that love is the strongest power. When we do what we do out of love, we have the strength and perseverance to keep on keeping on.
Leah to Allie: As a mother of three yourself, how has being a mom shaped you as an entrepreneur?
I was forced to prioritize at work and delegate more in both my personal and work life. Especially once I became pregnant with baby #3, I knew the task ahead of me was not to prepare to take on even more (as I would have been inclined to in the past), but to get better at trading off. And what this meant was building Every Mother’s competencies at hiring and paving the way to grow as a strong, innovative, and equitable company.
Motherhood also greatly affects the way I have built and run the company to be supportive of motherhood at its core. Our product supports mothers through the ups and downs, the challenges and the wins, and our company does as well.
Lastly, I have 3 young girls and their future drives me to be a better person and to create a better world, especially for young women. I want to show them that if you have big dreams, you can take the leap. I want to show them that you can have children and be stronger than ever!
Allie to Leah: What advice would you give mothers thinking about becoming entrepreneurs?
Choose a good partner!!! I learned the hard way that choosing a business partner should be done with the same degree of care (possibly more!) as you put into choosing a life partner. I could not have chosen a better partner than you, and I’m not even trying to butter you up.
Leah to Allie: Any last words of wisdom on how to make your dreams come true?
Share what you know. Don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid to have opinions. When things seem insurmountable, just focus on the next step and never lose the vision.
Every Mother unlocks a scientifically proven method to strengthen the body during pregnancy and rebuild it after birth, regardless of how long it has been since you became a mother. We’re a knowledge circle, a community, and a celebration— of the mother you’ve become, and the woman you’ve been all along. Learn more about the EMbody Program™ here.