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Martha Gamboa

Episode 134

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Making Frendiis as you Grow

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About Martha Gamboa

Martha is the Founder and CEO of Frendii, a Los Angeles County based early stage, technology startup working on a solution for women over 50 that builds community and facilitates frequent social and human connection. She is a second time entrepreneur. She also launched Yaya Fitness, a mobile personal training business for women over 40. Prior to the start of her entrepreneurial journey, Martha worked in financial services in corporate America for fortune 500 companies like Allstate and AIG. She worked in various capacities starting in entry level marketing, Sales Manager, and Director of Sales for the Southern California region.

 

Website: www.frendii.com

Email: info@frendii.com

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Martha Gamboa Quotes

  • “I ran my 1st 5k with them. Then my coach asked,  ‘Are you going to go ahead and sign up for that 10k?’ I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness. That’s double the distance. I don’t know if I can do it.’ But I did because my friends were going to sign up for it. After that, they asked, ‘Are you going to sign up for the half marathon?’ ‘Oh my goodness, that’s double the distance. I don’t know if I can do it,’ But my friend signed up for it, so I did it, too. Then, ‘Are you going to sign up for the LA marathon?’ ‘Oh my goodness. That’s double the distance.’ And, again, I keep going on about the community and friendships because they motivate you. And so I signed up to run the LA marathon. That changed my life.”
  • “The power of community is in acknowledging change and being open to learning new things from friends.”
  • “A friend is someone who knows you, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and still wants to spend time with you.”
  • “Being in nature has a physiological effect and allows for different experiences, such as observing what children enjoy without highly organizing or crafting activities.”
  • “The need for human connection is a basic need, similar to food and shelter, and is included in the hierarchy of needs.”

In this episode, Scott and Russell welcome Martha Gamboa. Martha shares her experiences growing up in the San Gabriel Valley, navigating challenges like crime and gang problems while embracing valuable life lessons from her parents. 

After a career in financial sales, Martha began to pursue community development and establish Frendii, a platform for women to connect through organized events. The discussion covers the founding of Frendii, its impact, and Martha’s vision to expand it nationally. The episode also highlights the importance of human connection, the evolution of friendships, and the importance of in person recreational activities in the San Gabriel Valley.

YOU FOUND US ON INSTAGRAM. IS THAT HOW YOU FIRST CAME ACROSS OUR SHOW?

It must be someone I follow who follows you because it comes up in my feed and says, This is someone you may be interested in following. And so, I looked it up, came across your content, and reached out.

 

WHAT IS FRENDII?

Frendii is a community platform for women over 50. We are creating a safe space for women to come together and women looking to connect with new friends because as life unfolds, we mature, we go from work to retirement, we move into a new area, or perhaps our significant other dies. There are various reasons that suddenly, our social network changes, and we may not have that group of friends to go out to dinner with or to go out for a walk or see a movie with. 

That is actually now a big problem in our society. As a matter of fact, months ago, the US surgeon general said social isolation, the lack of spending time with friends or face-to-face connecting, is actually an epidemic in our society. So Frendii focuses on creating a safe space for women over 50 who want to connect with other women to go out for dinner or breakfast. So, we curate social events throughout the community to do that.

a-group-of-women-from-friendii

WHAT IS A FRIEND TO YOU?

For me, a friend is someone who knows you. The good, the bad, and the ugly, and still wants to spend time with you. It takes time to develop a true friendship. Frendii is about organizing regular events. And what happens when you spend time with someone regularly? You bond and build trust, and friendships may come out of that. Frendii is allowing women to connect regularly for social events.

 

WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY?

I’m originally from Mexico, and my parents came here to the San Gabriel Valley, specifically the city of San Gabriel.

Then we moved to El Monte, then Covina. My brothers and sisters are still in the area. It’s the only home I’ve known since I came here.

 

WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP IN THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY?

It’s all about the experience that you have. My parents were very humble people. They instilled values in you to be good to people, respect them, and work hard. If you live in a community like El Monte, people will treat you that way as long as you do that. 

I grew up in an area that was violent at times, with a lot of gang problems and crime. But if you follow the advice that your parents instilled in you, you can actually navigate that without getting into too much trouble. I am grateful for the foundation that my parents provided for us.

 

WHAT HAPPENED AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?

My siblings and I went to work to help out the family. I went to PCC and Cal State Los Angeles while I worked. I studied US history, then went into business administration, and that got me a job with a big Fortune 500 company, Allstate, where I did financial sales for over 20 years.

 

IS IT A CULTURAL ASPECT WHERE ONCE YOU’RE 18, YOU WORK TO SUPPORT THE FAMILY?

I think it’s a cultural thing. In my family, they didn’t say you need to go out and do this. We just noticed that this is what we needed to do. In a lot of families in the area where I grew up, children like me end up going to work so that we can contribute financially at home.

 

DID YOU ENJOY WORKING AT ALLSTATE?

Yes. It takes a lot of people skills and a lot of soft skills to work in a lot of fields, but specifically in sales. I enjoyed it because you get to work with various types of personalities, and it allows you to grow as an individual. 

 

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT SHAPED YOUR PASSION FOR THE COMMUNITY?

I was doing a health assessment for a big corporation; many corporations do health assessments. They started doing this several years ago, wanting the employees to be more aware of their health. 

I had to do a health assessment. It was part of the open enrollment And a bunch of questions. Do you smoke? Do you eat vegetables? Do you exercise? Do you have a lot of stress in your life? And at the end of those questions, you get some results, and they’re either green, yellow, or red. My results after answering 40 different questions were all red. It said that I was predisposed to heart disease, high blood pressure, premature death, and all these great things.

So I figured, okay, only a few things are within my control. I can eat more greens, and I can start to exercise. I joined a running program in the city of Monrovia. 

That was my experience with the community and how the community can have a positive social impact because you would meet three times a week and train to run a race. 

This group was training to run a 5k, and I was afraid. But just meeting with a group of people keeps you accountable, and you get to know them and form friendships. 

I ran my 1st 5k with them. Then my coach asked, ‘Are you going to go ahead and sign up for that 10k?’ I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness. That’s double the distance. I don’t know if I can do it.’ But I did because my friends were going to sign up for it. After that, they asked, ‘Are you going to sign up for the half marathon?’ ‘Oh my goodness, that’s double the distance. I don’t know if I can do it,’ But my friend signed up for it, so I did it, too. Then, ‘Are you going to sign up for the LA marathon?’ ‘Oh my goodness. That’s double the distance.’ And, again, I keep going on about the community and friendships because they motivate you. And so I signed up to run the LA marathon. That changed my life.

I loved the way I was feeling, and I wanted to share that feeling with women because I started to really pay attention to the conversation that was going on around the country about how we’re not as healthy as we could be.

So, I started to think about changing careers, and I wanted to go into health and fitness. It took me three years to make that decision because being an employee has perks. 

I started researching and learned that women over 40 and baby boomers were investing in their health.

I became a personal trainer or health coach and worked with women over 40. I joined an educational program to become a personal trainer and a health coach. Three years after that, I decided to leave my job and launch my personal training business to work with women over 40. Four years into that career as a personal trainer, a woman asked me if I would walk with her, and she would pay me. She wanted to lose 30 pounds, but because of her medical history, she wasn’t cleared to exercise. 

This experience inspired the idea for Frendlii because I was getting paid to walk an hour, four days a week, for several months. During this time, this woman was retired, divorced, and an empty nester. Her closest friend lived 45 minutes away. I realized the regular social connection and the positive social impact because she looked forward to the walks. She was smiling more, and I thought to myself, what about all the other women who may not have someone to show up every day and say, ‘Hey? Let’s go for a walk and talk. Tell me how your day was.’

There was a void, and I wanted to do something about it, so I set out to learn what I could do and talk to women to see what they were looking for and what some of their challenges were. I learned that many women were looking for a solution for a community that they could be part of. And so that’s exactly what inspired Frendii.

 

WHAT DOES FRENDII DO? WHAT IS ITS PURPOSE?

Currently, it is an app, and we organize weekly, curated events. For example, there’s breakfast on the 2nd Wednesday of every month. There’s dinner on the last Friday of the month.

We meet in person. And that’s the goal, in-person regular social connection to create that community where women can actually make friends if that’s exactly what they’re looking for.

 

WHERE DO YOU MEET?

Right now, we are meeting in Monrovia for breakfast. So we’re still supporting the local community. Dinners are also in the area, but we are launching a chapter in the Long Beach and Huntington Beach areas. So, for women who live in that area, we have breakfast and dinner, but we go on hikes. 

We do different activities like museum outings, and I’m always looking for feedback from the members. What is it that they would like to do? What I’ve really enjoyed learning from the members is that some of them are doing things that they’ve always wanted to do, but they didn’t have someone to do them with.

 

WE ASK EACH GUEST TO BRING AN ITEM OF SIGNIFICANCE WITH THEM. WHAT DID YOU BRING WITH YOU TODAY?

I brought a small turtle. It says be happy, and it used to be orange. I love the color orange. According to a researcher, it’s a happy color. It makes people feel warm and happy. But it says be happy. These are very simple words. A dear friend who started as a personal training client but she became a dear friend gave it to me. 

She had no idea what I was thinking about; the idea of Frendii was already a seed in my mind. But the idea of being happy sounds simple enough, but it’s not. You have to be an active participant in living a happy life. This is why I carry it all the time: It is about taking ownership of your life, making decisions, and being intentional about achieving that life.

 

ARE YOUR FRENDII OUTINGS CENTERED AROUND A TOPIC?

It’s free-flowing. The goal is to have those events scheduled so that women come together by having these events on the calendar I’m hoping that the women are motivated to get up and get out and go out there and meet with someone and share a conversation and connect face to face.

 

WHERE DO YOU GUYS GO HIKING?

We go to Laguna. We have Crystal Cove coming up. We also go to the redwoods in Yorba Linda. 

 

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF FRENDII?

I didn’t have any expectations because it was something new to me. I knew what I wanted it to be but didn’t know how it would turn out. So the fact that women are responding in a very positive way, I get women from different areas who say, is there a Frendii chapter over here? Is there a Frendii chapter over there? So, I have been planning and thinking about what that will look like over the last year. As I mentioned earlier, our core events are a breakfast and a dinner. And then, in between that, we have various other things. 

I’ll be going to San Diego tomorrow. I’m meeting someone there who has expressed interest in helping launch the chapter in San Diego. This week, I was on the phone with someone in Reno, Nevada, who wants to do that. 

And I get emails from women around the country who want a Frendii chapter or are looking for something like Frendii. So there’s a lot of planning that goes into that, but that is the vision to be able to take Frendii nationally. 

 

WHAT IS THE FRENDII APP LIKE?

You create a profile with some basic information and your interests. You know? Do you enjoy walking? Do you enjoy museums? Crafts? 

The ability on the app is if you’re a member, you can text another member and post. We have a community. 

There’s the calendar of events so that if you RSVP to the breakfast, you can see who’s going. 

It’s keeping each other accountable to make sure that you’re out there spending time connecting face-to-face. 

 

MARTHA GAMBOA’S SGV III

  1. The Pasadena Norton Museum: It’s a beautiful place. I can never get tired of visiting it.
  2. The Arboretum: It’s another beautiful place. You’re outdoors and enjoy the colors during the spring. 
  3. The Pasadena Community: I love Pasadena. I love the restaurants.

 

IF OUR LISTENERS ARE INTERESTED IN JOINING FRENDII OR LEARNING MORE, HOW CAN THEY REACH OUT?

They can visit the Frendii website or email me directly at info@frendii.com.