The Next List: Sara Latham
Sara is the owner and founder of The Cryobar.
She created The CryoBar in 2016 after personally experiencing the benefits of cryotherapy in treating her aches and pains caused by osteoarthritis and the many side effects of a hypothyroid. She has a passion for introducing Cryotherapy to her community. She is the spokesperson for The CryoBar and manages all marketing, sales, and the culture of The CryoBar.
She received her degrees in finance and economics from Southern Methodist University and previously worked as an oil and gas analyst in Dallas, in Capital Markets at JP Morgan Chase, and as a marketing/project director for a local celebrity chef’s food company.
What has your career path been like up to this point?
I graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1998 with a BBA in Finance and BA in Economics. I went to work for a privately-owned oil and gas company in Dallas. I started in accounting but was quickly promoted to acquisitions analyst and investor relations manager. I moved to Chicago in December 1999 (for then boyfriend, now husband). I originally worked as an account manager for Jones Lang LaSalle but I HATED my job. Bank One was my client and I really liked working with them. I left JLL after only 4 months to be a senior risk analyst for Bank One Capital Markets. I worked there for two years and then went to work as a project manager for Frontera Foods – which was my first leap of faith from big corporate environment to a smaller company. I was also the associate producer for Mexico’s One Plate At A Time, helping raise money for the production of the show with Rick Bayless. It allowed me to develop my creative side, and it gave me insight into being a part of a small business. In 2004, I had my first son and decided to stay home. It was a small company and I traveled a ton, working 60-80hr weeks, and didn’t really allow for part-time or flexible work. I was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years and became very involved in my children’s school. How did you know it was time for a change? Was there a defining moment that sparked you into action?
I co-chaired the Oscar Mayer School Auction for the 2014/2015 school year. I loved being busy again and using my business experience to help the school. I definitely missed “working” after it was over, but I did NOT want to run the school auction again. I was also running the parent-side of the school tours and room mom for two of my three boys. I over-volunteered at their school because I was looking for something to do. I didn’t want to go back to traveling and late nights in an office and/or with clients, but I wanted to do something. I felt a drive inside of me that I hadn’t felt in years. I thought about training to become an instructor at Bar Method or even going back to school to become a physical therapist. I was doing cryotherapy for all of my auto-immune issues and feeling so much better. At the time there was only one cryotherapy facility in all of Chicago and very few people knew anything at all about cryotherapy. I decided that I could really help people through cryotherapy. I wanted to introduce it to ALL people and really educate the community about the many amazing benefits of cryotherapy. It was time for a change and everything kind of fell into place.
Where did you find support and inspiration? My husband and three boys were 100% supportive of me branching out and starting my own business. My husband did a ton of research on all the different whole body machines and he and I did a lot of research on what cryotherapy was truly about. That’s when I really realized, we needed to educate people about cryotherapy because it was invented to help arthritis and other auto-immune diseases. It wasn’t actually started for athletic recovery. How did motherhood play a role in your career path? I stayed home for 12 years so I could raise my boys and be there for them in a way my parents were not when I was growing up. I truly never thought I would be a stay-at-home mom, but I had always traveled and worked long hours. I didn’t want someone else raising them. We don’t have family anywhere close to Chicago, so I decided I could stay home and go back once they were in school. What was your biggest challenge in changing direction or starting something new? Taking that first step and doing something completely out of my comfort zone, not having experience in the health and wellness industry. It’s scary to step out on your own and take a risk – but I knew it could be done and I wanted to do it differently.
Also, the time it took me away from home was hard initially because it was such a change for everyone. BUT, I sat down with my family and we came up with a plan on how we would all pitch in to help with the transition. When you own your own business, you are really never off the clock. I got much better at separating work from home and tried my hardest to be present with my kids and my husband when I was home with them. It’s not about the quantity of time but the quality of the time spent together that matters. What advice would you give to other women that feel stuck in their current situation? Don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith! It is scary but it is possible. Change is scary but often-times, necessary. You have to be honest with yourself and with your loved ones. As women we sometimes think we have to do it all. It’s ok to say no, to take a moment for yourself and re-focus. Sit down and come up with a plan of action for ALL involved. It really did make a difference, even with my youngest child. Everyone can learn how to make their own lunch and fold their own laundry. Do you have a favorite quote? ‘Comfort is an evil.’ It kind of goes back to stepping outside of the box and saying, no I don’t want to do this. There is something more for me, something different than this.
Also – ‘It’s not good or bad, it’s just different!’ Instead of being judgemental (and it’s easy to fall into this trap as a business owner) stepping back and learning from the way others are doing things even if it might be not the way you would have approached it. What are you reading, listening to, who are you following? I love ALL music! It makes me happy! I am not afraid to sing in my car at the top of my lungs. It can be a great release and often times helps me laugh at myself. It also embarrasses my boys and I love it, haha! I also love to read at night before bed. It relaxes me. I do not like reading self-help or motivational books. I like to escape reality and get lost in a fictional world to help shut my brain-off at night. It helps me sleep.
What’s NEXT for you? I just opened The CryoBar West Loop in May of this year. That’s three locations in three years. Right now, I want to focus on making each location the best it can be. But I never say never, so there could be a number four in 2020… But for now, I want to focus on my family and my extended family at The CryoBar.
You can find Sara here: