NetWerk founder Jen Ngozi. Photograph courtesy of Jen Ngozi.
Jen Ngozi is the founder of NetWerk, a group that hosts dance fitness classes for women that also double as networking events.
Ngozi, who is 30 and lives in DC, started dancing as a child. It played a large role in building her self esteem, she says: “I remember spending hours—which felt like minutes—in my room dancing. During my solo dance parties, I was convinced that I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up.”
Now, Ngozi uses dance to bring women across the world together and inspire that same confidence she found as a kid. NetWerk hosts events, but also certifies women to become instructors so they can run their own workouts. “Studies show that a lack of confidence and access to networking opportunities can explain the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles,” says Ngozi. So she created the group “to give women a playful, less intimidating alternative to grow both their confidence and network.”
Between running NetWerk and prioritizing her own fitness, Ngozi is busy. Here’s how she gets it done:
“I start my days around 7 AM with prayer and gratitude exercises. This sets the tone for my entire day. It helps put my problems into perspective. I typically begin work around 8 AM. I don’t count my hours, as I’m in love with the work I do. It’s truly a privilege to not watch the clock as I work. I dance a few times a week in the evenings. With all the news surrounding the pandemic, I’ve made it a priority to maintain my fitness routine as an outlet. I converted my office into a dance studio for my home hip-hop dance-cardio workouts. I even set up my flashing party lights to set the mood. Before bed, I wind down with my nightly skincare routine. I wear a clay mask twice a week before I shower to remove any toxins from my skin. I then apply a Vitamin C serum to my face and neck before my moisturizer.
“When it comes to diet, balance is key—I focus on fresh, homemade meals. Sundays are my meal prep days, [and] I cook and plan out my meals for the entire week. As a Nigerian, our cultural dishes are my favorite to make. Nigerian dishes have lots of spices, protein, and rice. I top my meals off with lots of veggies to keep things balanced. For breakfast, I like to start my days light with fruits like bananas and mangoes, as well as cereal with lots of whole grains and fibers. For lunch, I usually have heavy stuff like my Nigerian dishes with rice, chicken, and veggies. And for dinner, I like to end my days with a light meal. My favorite is baked salmon with a side of salad and mashed potatoes and gravy. Fridays are my wine days. I allow myself a glass of sweet wine at the end of the