If you’ve been to labarre studios recently you have certainly been welcomed by a smiling face that also wears many hats at 1445 The Alameda.
Born in South Korea, Kellen Zunich was adopted by her lovely family that started her on a lifetime journey that brought her to the Bay Area.
Spending her younger years in Eugene Oregon, Kellen called Ohio home for a little more than a decade before she headed west to live in Santa Clara. Her parents’ career in higher education was the catalyst for the move and her mom was the Dean of the Santa Clara University Law School as well as the acting President of the University for some time.
A graduate of Santa Clara, Kellen majored in communications and has put her education to work in the marketing world as a writer, digital marketer, and more! (As a matter of fact, some of the brilliant imagery you see on our Instagram page is a byproduct of Kellen’s marketing chops!
Labarre’s location, a mere mile and a half from the beautiful Santa Clara campus happens to also be Kellen’s connect to the equipe. It was at school where Kellen learned of the studio by way of our resident rockstar, instructor Sarah Hays!
“She is one of my favorite humans. We worked together at the school of education and counseling psychology… Sarah was the mom of the office, she was wonderful, everyone was able to run to her for advice and more.” Kellen continues to shower love on one of her mentors and a studio-favorite, “She often would wear her labarre sweatshirt and noted she had to teach a class or run to the studio and so it naturally came up. I was then in touch with Lisa Alberino (labarre’s owner and founder) to do some of the photography for the open houses and with that I was able to enjoy the employee benefits and it kind of just launched from there!”
Photography and creativity were only the beginning for Kellen as she quickly decided that teaching at the studio was going to be the next step. You can often see her at the front desk when she’s not delivering shakes and quakes on the studio floor.
“This was the first time in any capacity that I have taught…I never even saw this for myself. It’s been really fun… the community itself, people are so welcoming and kind and everyone chats with each other before class. If anyone struggles in class, we make sure people know we are all in this together, it’s been quite a comfortable transition and a great morale booster.”
Kellen has brought that air of acceptance and kindness to her class… but don’t let her fool you, with smiles, comes a little pain as well! “One of my top goals is to get a chuckle out of you, I want to make people comfortable and laugh. But on top of the you will 100% drip and sweat and get a fantastic class in without a doubt every time!”
Away from the studio she’s a “Cat-Mom” (Sherlock and Watson), she loves to catch happy hours with her friends, sampling new restaurants with her crew around the Bay Area. In Hayward, CA an oasis of family resides. Kellen enjoys passing time connecting with and at times, spoiling her goddaughters. That family connection is seen in every interaction guests have with Kellen. She brings a positive and open vibe to match the one she feels every day at the studios.
“When guests walk in, they exhale, their shoulders drop, they lock their phones away, and its 45 minutes of just you, your friends, and the ability to relax and get healthy movement going. Whenever I am there, I don’t have to overthink, and that translates to a lot of the guests as well.
Greeting guests is part of Kellen’s overall work with labarre as she is not only an instructor, but also our front desk lead and plays the part of training and overseeing our new front desk staff. Kellen is our “hostess with the mostest” striving to deliver the best guest experience every time a guests walks into labarre. Her optimistic view isn’t fleeting or manufactured, its expressed in everything Kellen does. A great example is evident in her favorite saying.
“It’s a good day for a good day!” That kindness is shared in wonderful, square remembrances. You see, Kellen is one of the wordsmiths behind the sticky notes often found in peoples footwear post workouts! Although she humbly notes that she can’t take credit for the innovative way to touch hearts, she has certainly fueled the fun.
“The front desk started it while I was a guest, but after seeing some extra pieces of paper, I decided to pick it up and continue it on!”
As a part of the labarre community across the board, Kellen works hard to assure she can take her mentor, Sarah’s Friday classes, but notes “She kicks my butt! Her class is hard, but amazing!” We have taken Sarah’s classes as well and double-stamp the rating of “butt kicking.”
If you haven’t taken a class with Kellen, treat yourself! She is a wonderful presence at the studio and a reflective part of her incredible family. Speaking of family, you can catch Kellen’s mom in class… and shoutouts are a regular occurrence if mom is in attendance, so get on the floor and be sure to say “Hi!” to Kellen and her divine mom!