Originally Published 10 September 2020
Zumba has played a huge role in my mental health during the lockdown this year. It helped me stay active and healthy as I was moving for at least 1 hour every day. After a long day of working in front of a computer and going to meetings, my Zumba time in the afternoon was my way of forgetting about this pandemic, and it helped me to end the day with a big smile on my face.
My name is Noelia Sierra – I am originally from Spain, but I have been living in Ireland for the past 14 years, where I have developed my career in sales & marketing, working in tech companies. I fell in love with Ireland and its people – I am privileged to live in a country that gives an opportunity to everyone, no matter where you are from. Currently, I work as a Sales Manager in LinkedIn Talent Solution for the Spanish market.
When LinkedIn offered me this job opportunity, I did not think it twice! I am now part of a team that impacts our society by helping people to find their dream job. We work closely with companies in Spain, helping them to put in place long-term strategies to attract the right talent.
Outside of my job, I am a Zumba Instructor. I first heard about Zumba about 8 years ago. In the beginning, I did not really understand what It meant – after joining a class, I understood that it was something I would like to practice often. The combination of cardio exercises with happy music put me in such a good mood that Zumba became my favourite part of the day. When I joined LinkedIn over 4 years ago, I found out there were Zumba classes twice a week – since then, I did not miss one!
I do dance almost every day. After work, I attend a class with some of my favourite teachers to keep practicing – I also dedicate a few hours during my weekend to prepare my Sunday class, as well as attending stream sessions regularly with the best Zumba instructors in USA or Spain. Building and learning choreographies requires a lot of practice – the more you practice, the better you become at teaching. As I love doing it, does not matter how many hours I invest per day – I do not feel the pain!
What I love the most about Zumba is the connection I get with people. I admire my students and thank them for being there, giving me the chance and privilege of sharing one of my passions with them. When I talk about connections, I refer to two things:
- Being connected to people during this lockdown was so important to me, as I’m a social animal.
- The connection I get from my students – having them follow my steps, sharing my energy with them, smiling at them, telling them how much I love them, laughing together, etc. That connection is priceless!
A few years ago, I started looking at options in Dublin to become a Zumba instructor, as I thought I could do well with my years of dancing salsa and other styles. The problem for me was always the same: finding the right time. With Covid-19, Zumba creators gave students the possibility to do it online. It was a 10 hours online course where I had to study theory about how to set up a class, legal stuff, and learn signs to make it easier for students to follow your steps, as well as extra hours of practice. I set up a goal to complete it by the end of April, which I accomplished. By May, I was already teaching.
I teach at team events in companies, such as special huddles or team meetings. They love doing it as it is an activity not everyone does – they also love seeing their managers dancing! I get family members and pets to join in, and it so much fun! I also do classes on Sunday mornings – I call them the ‘buzz for the week’ classes as it helps people to start their next week full of energy. After this summer, I’m considering adding some other classes during the week.
The most important thing I try to teach my students is positivity! My classes are full of smiles, fun, and good energy. Regardless of whether you know how to dance or not, the most important thing is to move and have fun! I’ve had students tell me that they woke up sad that morning, and after my class, they were smiling and looking forward to the day ahead. This is the best gift a teacher can get. Just for these comments, I know I have to keep doing it as I am having a positive impact on other people.
I have also just created a Zumba community which I named ‘ZoomBa with Noe’ (because I teach on the Zoom platform). I would like to set up a website where people can access my choreographies. At the moment, I use social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Living the experience of teaching during the lockdown made me keen to continue doing it and bring it to companies for their fun team activities. I have done it at LinkedIn, and people loved it, so I would love to continue doing that too.
I do see similarities between Zumba and my current occupation. As a manager, I lead by example, the same as I do in my classes, where everyone follows me. They will listen to me and take advice when needed. My management style is focused on coaching – through coaching, we “dance” together through the problem. Finally, the person in front of me finds answers through my questions and ends up working on a solution – if it works on his own pace and style, he can only get better by practising. It is the same when I teach Zumba – I show directions, and my students build their own way by practicing and doing it over and over again.
Becoming a Zumba Instructor brought so much joy to me – it definitely had an impact on many aspects of my professional and personal life. I believe when you feel good, you are more open to receiving positive things. Zumba helped me to build more confidence in myself, and confidence is an aspect that we need in life to become successful. When you feel good about yourself, you become more creative and you get more ideas to solve problems. By becoming a Zumba instructor, I could see all of these improvements happening during the time I was in lockdown.
My advice to any beginners looking to take up Zumba is that you shouldn’t feel embarrassed because you think you are not good enough. Everyone is different, and that what makes it unique! After a Zumba class, feel proud of what you have accomplished by having the courage to put yourself in front of people you might not necessarily know and dance your heart out! Smile, don’t compare yourself to others, keep practicing, and just have fun. Believe me, by repeating the choreographies after a few classes, you will be an expert and feel so motivated that you will not want to stop attending Zumba classes!
There is always more than tech – sometimes, the simple things in life are those that make us happier; we just need to acknowledge them. We live in a world that moves so fast, so it is very important we dedicate time to the things that give us energy and make us feel good. By doing that, you will be better at whatever you do.
If you’d like to message Noelia or find out more about her Zumba classes, be sure to check her website, Facebook, and Instagram pages: