Heidi Jenkins: A Young "Old Soul"
You might do a double-take to hear 28-year-old Heidi Jenkins call herself an “old soul.” But listen to her story and you’ll soon agree the description is apt.
She landed her current job with OnPoint Financial Management through sheer chance. “We worked out next to each other at the gym,” Heidi says of OnPoint CEO Michael Todd. Michael needed marketing help during COVID, and Heidi came on part time, ultimately leaving her full-time job as a general manager elsewhere to become OnPoint’s chief marketing officer. OnPoint specializes in wealth building and works with clients in Richmond and Beverly Hills, California.
Heidi has always been a leader, inspired by her dad, who was captain of a fire department; her mom, a MedStar flight nurse; and her sister, an ICU nurse in Kentucky. Heidi’s leadership began early: head of the safety patrol in 5th grade, drum major of the high school marching band, president of two college organizations and on the executive board of a third. For Heidi, leadership “has never had anything to do with having power. It has always been about helping people find their passion.”
At 18, Heidi was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. “Luckily, it’s a curable cancer,” she says. What happened after surgery and chemo is a textbook example of Heidi’s resiliency. “The day I got my mediport removed was my first day of college. My parents drove me there straight from the hospital.”
Her hair was grew back slowly. “All through freshman and sophomore years at James Madison, I was known as “the bald girl,” she smiles. “I refused to wear a wig. In those two years I wore a wig one time; my mom made me, for a wedding.”
Cancer at 18 is life-changing, and true to her nature, Heidi has seized opportunities to mentor others with cancer. “It’s isolating,” she shares. “You lose a year or two of your childhood. Facing mortality at that age, you grow up quickly. It’s not even the physical sickness that’s most challenging. It’s the mental challenge of being so far ahead of your peers, and then you’re back in the real world, with kids partying, and you’re so over it.
“I’ve always been an old soul,” she adds. “I’m a little old lady stuck in a young woman’s body. My ideal Friday is being home with my animals, a book and a cup of tea.” Her animals are Winnie-the-Pooh, a 3-year-old golden retriever, and Lenny, an 8-year-old rabbit. “My parents refer to me as ‘Snow White’ – animals have always been drawn to me.”
People are drawn to Heidi, too. “I’m most proud of my relationship building. I’ve been able to establish a networking system and it’s filled with women,” says Heidi, who specialized in marketing and gender studies at JMU, and who manages OnPoint’s business development and client relationships. “Look at women building their own businesses – they need and want to have autonomy over the money they’re making. Their lives not dependent on someone else’s success.”
And Heidi looks forward to what’s next. In a few weeks Heidi and husband Jack, a Realtor, will celebrate their recent marriage. They’ve just bought a home and look forward to starting a family.
“I’ve experienced more before 30 than most people have in their lifetimes,” Heidi says. “But I still have so much to learn.”
Donna Suro: Living Her Passions
Donna Suro’s passion found her at Mary Baldwin University, and never let go.
“I started teaching aerobics freshman year and ended up running the aerobics department,” she recalls.
A few years later, after transferring to and graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University, Donna set aside her nuclear medicine degree to work in marketing and teach aerobics. At 21, she became one of the youngest Jazzercise franchisees. Soon after, she opened her first gym in Richmond’s Midtown.
Her goal was to teach Jazzercise while renting space for yoga, personal training, and other disciplines. “I tried to do a boutique fitness model, but big box was still the rage,” says Donna. She ended up teaching yoga and personal training as well until it “just became too much” - by then, Donna was married, mother of one, and pregnant. She closed her gym.
The exercise bug just wouldn’t die. “I still taught,” she said. “I became a Les Mills junkie – Body Pump, Body Step, all the Bodies.”
Then, 2015. “I was innocently sitting at my computer and got an email about the first-ever indoor cycling franchise,” Donna recalls. “The flame was lit.”
The franchise was CycleBar. Donna found a business partner and spent a year finding a location – Short Pump’s Greengate plaza. It wasn’t even developed in 2016, so Donna started planning the opening to fill the wait time.
In the “never a dull moment” department, just weeks later Donna was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I thought, I just signed my life away with a lease for 10 years,” she recalls, but “the timing was pretty perfect, actually. I finished my last chemo in March 2017, and opened in May 2017.”
CycleBar proved popular. “We were hitting the three-year mark when Covid hit,” she recalls. “We rented out bikes and did virtual classes. I was the first franchisee in CycleBar to do this.”
The studio reopened in July 2020 and after a slow start due to distancing requirements, quickly recovered. Covid also inspired Donna to install a hospital-grade air filtration system at both locations – CycleBar opened in Midlothian in October 2021.
Now five years cancer free, Donna remains a fitness fanatic. “I tried Orange Theory recently and loved it,” she says. She teaches several cycling classes a week and runs the two locations with a staff of about 50, including her daughter, who works part-time at Greengate. “I might start putting my son to work here,” she laughs.
Besides fitness and CycleBar, Donna is passionate about her kids (“my main passion”), travel (a trip to Italy is planned this summer) and just recently, meditation.
“One reason I’ve loved exercise is how it helps to manage anxiety – it’s such a release,” says Donna. A retreat helped her reach advanced levels of meditation. “It’s been life changing. I can meditate for an hour and a half, and have an app that tracks my heart rate and helps me stay in ‘coherence,’ which is what you try to achieve in meditation.”
Donna’s passions extend to her staff. “My staff is passionate about their causes, and I donate the studios to help,” she says. In addition to supporting official CycleBar charities, Donna’s studios regularly host private fundraisers, recently raising money for the Powhatan Christmas Mother.
“We love working with the community,” she says.
Dr. Mariana Keener: Physician, Runner, Traveler
Dr. Mariana Keener loves travel and running, and found an elegantly simple way to combine the two.
She travels with one or more of her three siblings to different cities, runs in marathons there, and then stays on after the event to explore the area. With this approach, she’s visited Toronto, Minneapolis, Ft. Lauderdale, and Orlando (the Disney marathon); she’s also run the Richmond marathon for the past eight years in addition to about a dozen half-marathons.
“After a marathon, you don’t feel as bad eating the way you do on vacation,” she laughs.
Dr. Keener enjoys a healthy dose of work-life balance often uncommon in the field of medicine due to her selection of the family practice specialty and her partnership with Dr. Kenneth Qiu in EuDoc, a direct primary care practice in Midlothian. EuDoc doesn’t bill health insurance but instead charges a monthly membership fee. In return, patients get 30- to 60-minute appointments and a suite of additional benefits, including after-hours access to doctors who know them all individually.
Dr. Keener says she learned in residency, operating under a traditional “bill-the-insurance” system, that she wanted to get to know her patients and families, and provide continuity of care.
“You can’t really get to know a person in 15 minutes, let alone diagnose and treat them,” she says. “By cutting out insurance, I can give better care to patients.” Along the way she educates her patients about the health insurance industry. “They can see the value and they can save money this way,” she says. She and Dr. Qiu do recommend high-deductible or catastrophic health coverage, for illnesses and injuries requiring surgery and hospitalization.
Dr. Keener is a Doctor of Osteopathy (or D.O.), trained the same way as M.D.s but with added training in Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy (OMT). This mix of massage, physical therapy and a bit of chiropractic medicine looks at the body holistically and involves spinal and muscular manipulation that facilitates healing. OMT begins with a complete patient evaluation and exam, followed by shorter visits for hands-on treatment. “The way a person walks can really tell you a lot about how they’re compensating, where they’re weak,” Dr. Keener says. Follow-up visits taper off to monthly or every other month as patients heal and gain strength.
When she’s not doctoring, traveling, or running, she spends time with her parents and siblings, all but one of whom lives in Virginia (one sibling is in Florida). She also loves hanging out with Kona, her 55-pound standard poodle. “I’m a certified dog mom,” she laughs. “He generates a lot of attention as we walk around the Fan and Meadow and Byrd parks.”