NEWaukeean of the Week

Laure Gelis-Diaz

"Coming from Paris, France, I used to walk EVERYWHERE…"

By - Jan 26th, 2015 03:32 pm
Laure Gelis-Diaz

Laure Gelis-Diaz

What is your job and its responsibilities?

I am a pro-athlete on the side and a certified trainer from the French N.S.A. of Paris, France. I work at the Milwaukee Athletic Club for Fitness Professionals and I also have my own business on the side (Pro-Active Bootcamp), which is specialized to design on-site corporate fitness and wellness programs for bigger companies.

What strikes you as the most unique thing about Milwaukee?

I fell in love really fast with the city of Milwaukee and especially its people. I was welcomed right away and would describe Milwaukee as unique in its “extraversion” and “agreeableness”. People who live here are healthy, friendly, socially outgoing, down to earth and practical.

What is your favorite Milwaukee event?

That’s a tough question… Milwaukee has so much going on, ALL YEAR LONG… with breweries, sporting events, river walk events, performing arts and exhibitions, jazz in the park, multiple concerts during summer (like Summerfest!) and race or sports rec league events that you can be involved with for fun or for a cause… so I would say depends on the season!

What is one thing you’d like to change about Milwaukee?

Coming from Paris, France, I used to walk EVERYWHERE… Your car doesn’t make much mileage a year if you live in Paris! This luxury is due to an amazing strategic access to public transportation made easy and convenient for the whole community. I think Milwaukee is lacking of a tremendous metro/train/bus transit system. Especially knowing that it gets below freezing temperature during winter, it makes it really hard for people that visit the city for example without a car to adventure in the city or to simply go to work!

Is there an issue you believe all Milwaukeeans should turn our attention to?

I think the lack of public transportation might be a big hidden issue. There is a study of transit-oriented neighborhoods in Charlotte, North Carolina, that found that light-rail users weighed on average six pounds less than those who do not use light-rail. Transit users typically walk to and from the transit station. Fitness can add six to eight years to an individual’s lifespan. Also, as weird as it may sound, your address can play an important role in how long you live and how healthy you are. Building communities that provide sidewalks, bike paths, parks, trails, open spaces, and fitness facilities help people make healthier choices easier. Milwaukee needs to take charge and provide all communities those improvements for a healthier community and to lower obesity levels in adults and kids.

What do you think of Milwaukee as a place to work and do business?

Milwaukee is a “relax” city! It is a city that allowed its residents to easily obtain a healthy balance between work and life. In average, nobody has a huge work commute, less than an hour in general. The quality of life is amazing. We have incredibly talented, nationally recognized performing arts groups and diverse, world class attractions that appeal to any age and interest, from the Milwaukee Art Museum to the Harley Davidson Museum. To sum up, Milwaukee has the charm of a small city, feeling of safety, friendly and family oriented but the opportunity and potential of a big city for a career. Well, like Walt Whitman would say, “A great city is that which has the greatest men and women!”

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