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Faces Behind the Features: Brittany Howard

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You’ve read our stories, seen our bylines and maybe even hung out with us at an event or two, but who are the people behind Community Rec? Faces Behind the Features is a series to help you better understand the writers who bring you industry news and best practices daily.

Brittany Howard is the editor of Community Rec Magazine, a free business resource for YMCA, JCC and community recreation centers, published bimonthly by Peake Media. She also works with the other Peake Media brands as a writer for Campus Rec Magazine, social media manager for Club Solutions Magazine and guest author manager for each brand – all dedicated to educating and empowering health, fitness and wellness professionals.

Learn more about her —  in her own words — below.

How long have you been with Peake Media?

Three years and eight months. I started in December 2018.

What is your favorite story topic to write about?

Being able to capture what someone is passionate about and sharing it is incredibly fulfilling. I love telling the journeys of how leaders got to where they are today and the many lessons they tend to learn along the way. I also love sharing about unique community programs and services that are making a difference for the people living in those communities. The people I speak with about these programs are often some of the most passionate I’ve ever met.

What is your favorite thing about the community rec industry?

Honestly, the passionate people. I know it’s the nature of the industry, but also the people who choose to pursue community recreation generally have a reason, whether it be from their experiences growing up as a member of a YMCA, JCC or local community center, or just the desire to help people live healthier lives. Usually, it’s multiple reasons. But overall, hearing their stories and their desire to help others keeps me inspired.

How do you live a healthy lifestyle?

I took up running outside when COVID-19 shut down all the local gyms and fitness facilities. At that time, running was a combination of physical and mental health. More recently I tweaked one of my knees and have resorted to cycling, which I’ve come to enjoy. I also have a background in yoga teaching training and completed a 200-hour certification in 2011. I still practice when my knee allows. Other than exercise, I’ve been a pescatarian for about 12 years now. I love being outside, taking my dog on walks and hiking. And I keep a great group of friends I’ve met from many different states who have all ended up in Louisville, Kentucky, like myself. For me, a healthy lifestyle is keeping up with feeling good inside and out, and sharing what you can with others.

What’s your process for turning a bad day into a good one?

Definitely getting outside, if the weather allows. I’m a very routine person, so most often turning a bad day into a good one starts with a curated playlist, a drive to one of my favorite walking/hiking/exploring areas, and just getting lost. Maybe not literally lost, but allowing myself to not worry about the time and instead to self-reflect and feel thankful for feeling alive and in awe of nature itself. A good day usually involves pizza at some point, too.

What are you currently reading?

A few things actually! As a group, our editorial team is reading “The Advantage” by Patrick Lencioni. Personally, I usually have one personal development and one fun book going – I like to pick which one to read based off my mood. Right now these are “What Happened To You” by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey, and “The Club” by Ellery Lloyd.

What’s your go-to podcast?

This is hard to pick because I also base it off my mood or what’s going on for the week, so I’m going to name a few. “Almost 30” with Krista Williams & Lindsey Simcik is probably my main go-to and great for all the women out there aging into their 30s and navigating life like a boss. I also love “Office Ladies” by Earwolf with Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey – because I love The Office. And if I’m looking for more educational resources I tune into “WorkLife with Adam Grant,” “TED Business,” or “Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris.” Honestly, I’m always trying out new shows, so if you have a suggestion, please send it my way!

Share the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you.

Right before I went off to college, my late grandpa told me “Remember, you have to take care of yourself first.” I definitely didn’t understand exactly what he meant by it at the time, and thought it came off as a little selfish honestly. It took me many years to realize what he meant by his advice, but I get it today and it guides how I live my life and how I seek to understand others. I always think about the analogy of using the oxygen masks on planes. You can’t help someone else if you are not OK yourself. I especially think of this advice with the heightened mental health crisis. It’s so important to take care of yourself first so you can then give your best effort in helping others.

What is something people in the industry may not know about you?

Before coming to Peake Media, I actually used to work in veterinary clinics. While I had no formal training prior, I learned so much from my time there and developed the utmost respect for those in the veterinary industry. I am a huge animal advocate, which is how I got into the field originally, and now I’m a huge animal and veterinary advocate. The doctors and staff I have worked with have the biggest hearts, are the hardest workers and truly went into the field for the sake of helping animals. Aside from being a huge animal and veterinary advocate, I’m also a huge deaf dog advocate thanks to my deaf pup, Zoey. If anyone ever wants to talk about animals and pets, I’m all ears!

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Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor of Community Rec Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com.

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