Women in Leadership: How Perseverance and Faith Inspired Ashley DeBello and Abby Taylor | Monarch Media

Trinity Hall continued their Women in Leadership speaker series on February 22 with two inspiring female entrepreneurs: Abby Taylor, co-founder and CMO of Playa Bowls, and Ashley DeBello, co-founder of Fitness by the Sea. The panel was led by Executive Coach Jeanie Coomber, parent of Sloane Coomber ‘22 and Shannon Coomber ‘26. The three women gave Trinity Hall students valuable lessons and advice about entrepreneurship, being women in the business industry, and how to overcome the struggles of becoming a business owner. 
Ashley DeBello shared her journey to becoming the owner of a gym located in Avon by the Sea. As a former collegiate soccer player, DeBello is passionate about fitness and health, inspiring her to open a gym of her own. With the struggles of COVID-19 and the inability to remain open throughout the lockdown, Fitness by the Sea lost a multitude of members, but DeBello was able to adapt to the circumstances and begin teaching classes outdoors, helping her gain back many of the members previously lost. She emphasized how community support was critical to get the gym back in motion following the pandemic. Her perseverance along with the community’s engagement and dedication allowed DeBello to restore the gym and create a safe space for fitness.
Caitie Szyszko ‘24 said, “Ashley’s story of perseverance, trials and tribulations was truly an inspiration to me. I learned how important it is to believe in myself and my dreams and understand the impact that I can have in my community.”
Abby Taylor also told her inspiring story about the growth of her business Playa Bowls. Taylor started out with a small cart on the beaches of Belmar, selling acai bowls, a food she was enthralled by during surfing trips to Costa Rica. Taylor saw that there was a need for a healthy beach snack along the Jersey Shore, as the only available food on the boardwalk was fast food like pizza and chicken fingers. Taylor felt it was her mission to introduce her hometown to a food that would make others feel healthy and empowered. She launched her first official store in Belmar where the headquarters are now located. The store was a success and business boomed across the Jersey Shore. Taylor first opened stores across the East Coast, using social media to grow her business. Now, Playa Bowls has more than 250 stores across the United States. Taylor and her team worked through the pandemic, packaging “build your own acai bowls,” creating a system for takeout orders and keeping their followers up to date on social media. The success of Playa Bowls is a true testament to the perseverance and faith of Taylor. 
Ashley Hall ‘24 said, “As someone who is a regular at Playa Bowls, it was really amazing to see how she created such a successful business from the ground up. I have been following them since they had their first store, and it's great to see a woman achieving so much in the business world.”
Abby Taylor and Ashley DeBello’s stories impacted the Trinity Hall community. While Trinity Hall students learn the value of confidence and empowerment at school each day, hearing the success stories of two local business women has inspired the students to believe in themselves and take risks in their lives. 

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