Introduced by

Have you met Karen Hill?

Dream builder. Entrepreneur. First Wind Cycling.

Hi! Have you met Karen?

My friendship with Karen began as many others do…on the kickball field. It’s funny really, we needed a new player and after a few sarcastic quips at the expense of the opposing team, I knew that Karen and I would be fast friends. My favorite thing about Karen is her determination. Period. She is determined to be a successful businesswoman, a friend and a contributing member of our growing Charlotte community.

To overcome so many things to be where she is now is really inspiring, it takes a lot of courage to open a business and she’s done it. I’ve been watching Karen build her dream for the last year or so and she’s worked so hard to create First Wind Cycling. If it weren’t for her, I never would’ve gotten on a bike, especially a stationary one. Her studio is a direct reflection of what Karen is, bright, encouraging and challenging. Fitness studios can be intimidating when you’re trying something new, so Karen makes it a point to welcome everyone with a reassuring smile and helps her students feel comfortable. First Wind offers a variety of classes and I am working my way through all of them while trying to get used to a bike that once upon a time scared me, it doesn’t hurt that her bikes move and turn so I don’t feel like I’m peddling to nowhere. I’m a better person because I know Karen, I’m motivated to work-out and to do some awesome things in my professional life too. It’s good to have people like her around.

You can find about First Wind at or even better you can visit the studio at The Design Center in Southend.

I asked her 6 questions. Her answers are below.

What are you most passionate about?

So, so many things… My mom always tells me that one of my greatest qualities and biggest problems in life is that I am TOO passionate. I want to make the world a better place and I basically spend all of my time trying to be a superhero even though I am just a regular human. I guess if I really had to nail down my ultimate passions it would be bringing awareness to heart disease and saving animals. You can usually find me plucking homeless dogs and cats off the street and finding them homes or relocating injured birds to hiding places under trees while they rest. My friends make fun of me saying it’s only a matter of time until I start pulling animals that look lonely or sad out of people’s backyards. It could really happen.

What frustrates you?

You know when you go to pull a drawer out and something is stuck and you can’t open the drawer?? AAAHHHH… It kills me. For real though, I think the one thing in life I can never get over is when people aren’t there for each other. Be a stand up kinda guy/gal! Don’t expect anything in return. Just be cool.

Why do you love Charlotte?

Charlotte is my home. I spent my formative years here (I think this is still happening actually) and I came back as an adult. I love it here because of the lifestyle we can all enjoy. I have 2 dogs and I can take them so many cool places to play. I can also be outside almost year-round for activities and I really love outdoor activities. I love that I was able to open a boutique fitness studio here with the help of other Charlotteans. I don’t think I could have done this anywhere else. I also love that we have really good Mexican food, Ranch dressing, and sweet tea. I lived in New York for a few years and I stayed up at night thinking about these three things. They serve sweet tea in a can everywhere! It’s gross.

What do you think is missing from Charlotte?

I would love to see our lovely city grow into a more diverse place. I think over the past ten years or so, we have really come a long way, but we have room to grow. When I was a kid, Charlotte was nothing like it is today and I am proud of the strides we have made as a city to be progressive and encourage diverse growth. Can’t wait to see how everything changes over the next ten years.

What would your last meal be and why?

I own a fitness studio, so, grilled chicken, veggies, and a glass of H2O. Just kidding… A cheese enchilada, stuffed shells, a cheese platter, French fries with a side of Ranch, and a dirty martini. Am I in the wrong business? Don’t judge me… This is a last meal!

Who do you look up to and why?

My family – pure and simple. When you start your own business, you really see who the people are in your life that care about you without boundaries. My family brings tears to my eyes on a regular basis with the depth that they love me. I also spent a good chunk of time as an adult struggling with the realization that I have a heart condition and my family has spent way too many hours rushing me to the hospital. They don’t care where I am or what time it is. My dad will literally run from the cops to get to me in less than ten minutes. I want to be a perfect combination of my mom, my dad, and my brother. My mom has enormous strength. My family has been through a lot and she inspires me to persevere and get sh*t done. She has accomplished so much, fought her own battles, and always has more than enough time for everyone else’s problems. My dad is my rock. He built the life that my family has. He is the first person in his family to go to college and he has always made it clear to my brother and me that we are never to accept less than we are capable of. My brother is only a year older than me, but he’s always been my hero. I will never forget the grace and power he showed when he had life-changing surgery in high school. I want to be strong like my mom, unrelenting like my dad, and forgiving and graceful like my brother.

Again, you can find about First Wind at or even better you can visit the studio at The Design Center in Southend.

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