MF 167 : Jeannie Koulizakis on Moving Forward with Better Posture and “Spine and Joint Hygiene
Updated: Jun 17, 2022
Jeannie Koulizakis is a physical therapist and founder of ErgoRX, a company specializing in ergonomic office furniture. Today, Jeannie will share how you can move forward with better posture and “spine and joint hygiene.”
Successes at a glance:
Physical therapist and product entrepreneur.
Founder of ErgoRX, a company specializing in ergonomic office furniture.
Jeannie is a physical therapist by education and her father was an orthopedic surgeon, which meant that Jeannie had an early awareness of muscular skeletal issues that many people face. In her early-to-mid 30s, Jeannie transitioned from clinical practice to a teaching position. As she went from being on her feet and moving to sitting at a desk with a computer, she experienced severe back pain. The pain continued even when she worked at home, sitting at the dining room table or on her couch. After 3-4 months of enduring this horrible back pain, Jeannie realized the problem was her posture. Her “aha moment” came when she was sitting at home, laptop on lap, and she saw her reflection in the window. She immediately identified the problem: hunched sitting, slouched forward. Jeannie decided to build a solution by first, identifying the correct posture and second, by building a new chair. What Jeannie didn’t know at the time was that she was building the prototype for her future company, ErgoRX. Shortly after Jeannie got married, she moved from Chicago to Florida. Jeannie’s brother-in-law gave her an audio book, The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Jeannie listened to it during the road trip. The big takeaway Jeannie gained was working smarter not harder, which is the essence of ergonomics. The other revelation, Jeannie learned was Tim’s recommendation for InventRight, a 12-step program for product entrepreneurs to go from idea to execution to licensing.
Jeannie’s big why:
Helping improve the postures of every person who sits behind a computer for hours on end by creating solutions that are ergonomic and facilitate better spine health.
Biggest challenge today:
Being part of the “sandwich generation,” taking care of parents and kids: 3 generations in one house. Time is the issue and a tough resource to manage.
Moving forward past that challenge:
Streamline by knowing your exit strategy. This helps you prioritize what’s important on your to-do list and for your long-term goals. Business-wise, Jeannie is focusing on a project called “living labs.” Thus far, she has concentrated on the house office market. With living labs, she wants to branch out to corporate offices.
Book or resource for moving forward:
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss: this was the book that inspired Jeannie to become a product entrepreneur, embracing the “work smarter, not harder” principle which is the basis for ergonomics.
One Simple Idea by Stephen Keys: Jeannie recommends this for product entrepreneurs who are interested in developing projects that they can license.
One tip for better posture and wellness throughout the workday:
How to sit (“brushing”): in an office seat, there are three postures: forward, upright, and reclined. It’s important to choose reclined: your butt all the way back in the chair, without slouching.
How long to sit (“flossing”): Take a 1-2 minute standing or walking break for every 30 minutes that you sit.
Favorite tool or practice:
How Jeannie is moving forward today:
Reach out to OSHA and take the steps to make ergonomically designed furniture an employment requirement.
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Who is Jeannie in five years?:
Jeannie is the subject matter expert on children’s ergonomic furnishings for schools and for homework stations in the home. Jeannie is a positive force for educating children on spine and posture hygiene health, from an early age, to develop good lifelong habits. This is a big challenge given how handheld devices are counteracting good posture! Jeannie could also see herself as a Director of Design or Pediatric Posture at OSHA.
“There are problems all around us that need solutions. Take inventory, where you have problems in the day and see what kind of solution you can come up with because every one of us has creativity within, especially when it comes to the necessity of invention.”