International Women’s Day: Meet Alli

March 8th is International Women’s Day and we’re celebrating by featuring some of Downtown Burlington’s female business owners & managers! With so many incredible business owners downtown we turned to our community to help us in the selection process by nominating a female business owner that inspires you.


Meet Allison Arruda, co-owner & personal trainer at BENCHMARK Fitness  who was nominated for “Her fearless passion for health, wellness, mentorship and downtown Burlington. She is driven by collaboration and positive – the keys to success! Her support of all local businesses, dedication to bringing people together and her alone makes us all healthier.”

We asked her a few questions:

What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?
After my husband and I got married, my dedication to pursing my passion for fitness became a much more serious plan.

I had been coaching group fitness on the side (before or after my corporate job) for about a year, and then I just DID IT! I resigned from my corporate career and started working full time as a personal trainer at a gym. Then the opportunity to buy our (now) gym presented itself and we went for it! It was a massive decision, with a lot of hard work but oh my goodness is it fulfilling. I honestly couldn’t be happier or more in my element.

Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?
To be honest, it was losing my brother when I was 18, about to start a new life in Toronto at Ryerson University. It was the most heartbreaking, awful and life changing experience, yet it has shaped me so much into the woman I am today. It has inspired me to live life on such a different level and with such a different appreciation and has been a massive motivator in my career path.

I’ve always had extremely supportive parents throughout my childhood and adult life as well as the most incredible husband who is not only my business partner but also my biggest support system and fan club. I feel so grateful to have a strong support system with my life partner, family and close friends.

As a celebrated successful female, what advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?
To honestly just GO FOR IT! Life is too short to sit back and watch. We need to get out of our own way and follow our dreams. What’s the worst that can happen? You make a mistake and learn from it! I’ve had a few of those in my life and I look at those experiences as lessons… they’ve often helped me find bigger, greater things.

The magic doesn’t come from your comfort zone….

Follow Allison @inspireandmove & BENCHMARK Fitness @benchmarkburlington

View all female nominees here.