She’s Her Own CEO® Guest Interview: Wellness Innovator, Marjolein Brugman

She’s Her Own CEO® Guest Interview: Wellness Innovator, Marjolein Brugman

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SHOCEO® Reading for Success: Seven (7) Minutes.

In this edition of the She’s Her Own CEO® Guest Interview, we bring you Boston-based Marjolein Brugman.  If you know and love the Pilates methodology, you will want to learn more about the mastermind and face-behind-the-brand. 

Marjolein is a true pioneer in the world of lifestyle and fitness.  Her practices are a blend of holistic living principles developed in part by her upbringing, and part by her continued education and world travels.  Because her practices are so innate and second nature as sourced from her upbringing by Dutch parents in Australia, she not only practices what she preaches…she knows no other way!

  In addition to being the face of the Pilates and AeroPilates® brands, Marjolein has recently launched a natural lifestyle brand, lighterliving™, and her coaching platform,  Marjolein’s motto is “Eat, Move, and Feel more simply.  ‘Don’t just live.  Live Lighter.’”

If you haven’t yet met Marjolein, we’re so excited to introduce you to her here on!  If you are already familiar with her work, here is a deeper look into her life and career.


Kathryn Brooks, She’s Her Own CEO®: Marjolein, please share with us your “behind-the-scenes”.  What are the personal and professional experiences that have made you into the fabulous and successful CEO that you are today?

Marjolein Brugman: I grew up in Australia as one of four children.  My parents are Dutch and moved to Australia after World War II.  They held many jobs, were very hard working, and instilled strong values in their children.  My mom was a nurse.  She provided a diet for us based on whole food, with simple, home-cooked meals.  Canned foods were not a part of our diet.  Dessert was fruit.  There was a strong interest in the practice of the wholeness of health.

My American friends have often asked me, “How do you do it?”  The answer is inherent to me and my upbringing.  Fast-forward to today, and my “How do you do it” practice and methodology is on  Stay tuned for our January focus, where we’ll discuss “Seven Days of Simple Living.”

I seemed primarily left-brained when I was younger, and gravitated more toward mathematics, chemistry, and physics.  I was very interested in the sciences throughout high school and university, but when I didn’t want to pursue science as a career, I became a teacher.  College was fun and easy for me, and I received a scholarship.  I completed a BS in Zoology at Melbourne University, but my passion continued to be in art, physiology, and psychology.

I didn’t really read or enjoy fiction growing up.  I preferred books on the topics of wellness, how to become healthier and a better person psychologically, and the anatomy of movement.  My go-to book was Dr. Jensen’s Nutrition Handbook: A Daily regimen for Healthy Living by Bernard Jensen, PhD.


Kathryn Brooks, She’s Her Own CEO®: Marjolein, please tell us your favorite example of how you Lead, Provide, and Create in your professional and/or personal world!

Marjolein Brugman: First and foremost, I am a strong believer in wanting to affect change.  I want to make things better for others using my experience and insights.  Motivation is a topic I think and read about very frequently.

After university, I gained High School teaching credentials.  Given my interest in science, teaching became a whole other thing for me.  I taught Biology, Mathematics, and Science at the 7th through 12th grade levels.

In Australia during the 1960s and 70s, there were no Junior High or Middle Schools.  Essentially, junior schools ran through 6th grade and senior schools were 7th grade through 12th.  That model did not serve rising 7th graders who were not quite at the maturity level to be successful in high school.  As a result, a large number of 6th graders were held back in the junior school.  I developed a program comprising an interim year, so that these students could graduate and be catered to in a more positively reinforcing way preparing them for success in their later years.


Kathryn Brooks, She’s Her Own CEO®: Being the CEO of your world can take many forms (for example, volunteering in your community, holding a formal corporate position, engaging in creative pursuits, or being a reliable mom/sister/daughter).  In your opinion, what is the best way to achieve success and to become the boss of your world?

Marjolein Brugman: I firmly believe that Entrepreneurs are born, not made.  Entrepreneurship starts in the brain.  I respect the art of making money and have always been proud of hard work and the success it generates.  Even as a little girl, for example, I made and sold perfume from my mother’s roses and staged plays while charging the parents admission!

I like to participate on teams and work with others.  After teaching I became a freelance TV producer and perfected the art of bringing in a finished film, on-time and on-budget.  When I had my accident in 1995 and discovered Pilates as a remarkable rehabilitation tool, I saw a huge entrepreneurial opportunity.  Pairing all of my education and talents in the health and wellness space with my teaching and TV production skills, I was able to build a strong, positive, and life-changing business.

I partnered with Stamina Products, developed the first home Pilates reformer, produced an infomercial, and have been the face and sage of the Pilates® and AeroPilates® brands for over twenty years, mostly on QVC.

I also believe in the spiritual and creative part of entrepreneurship.  Money has never been my motivation; instead, affecting change is what drives me.  I try to research and recommend the best solution for the person.  I’ve been freely offering advice my whole life, and now on my new website, I can mentor, motivate and consult on all matters relating to how to EAT, MOVE, and FEEL.  One of my other favorite pastimes is encouraging young entrepreneurs.  I help artists, fashion and graphic designers to pursue their success.

I have always adored all things creative, from sewing my own clothes to designing my garden.  I have collected art my whole life and I know most of the artists from whom I purchase.  While I recognize that I could easily be the person who can talk about and sell it, I now want to pursue a hidden craving to make it!

My mom made us learn to sew at a very young age, but I can’t draw or paint. I had an opportunity later in life to study Fiber Arts at Parsons School of Design in NYC, where I first nurtured my more artistic and creative soul.

More recently, I began making collages from magazines.  This has grown into tissue collage, with which I am totally in love.  The soft lines and surprising layers of color become landscapes and images that so inspire me.  Some of my works can be found in the Diary section of my website.

Kathryn Brooks, She’s Her Own CEO®: Any additional advice you can share with motivated ladies with high aspirations?

Marjolein Brugman: Yes.  To successfully complete a project, whether it’s for your company or in your day-to-day life:

1. If you’re going to do something, do it the absolute best way you can. Otherwise, don’t bother.  For example, make your bed.  Put your heart and soul into making the best bed you know how to make.

2. Most importantly, don’t give up. And don’t take no for an answer.


Kathryn Brooks, She’s Her Own CEO®: Thanks for joining us, Marjolein!  In addition to health and wellness fans, many aspiring entrepreneurs will be inspired by your spiritual and holistic approach to making a living and making a life.


Do you practice Pilates, but are looking to deepen your journey to achieving a balanced and healthy life?  Have you put any of Marjolein’s practices to work for yourself?  Subscribe to the blog, and share your thoughts below!

xo Kathryn