We caught up with the inspiring founder of Netwalking®, Jessica Tunon. Jessica walked her way to a happier, healthier life and is building a career getting more people to walk with her. Find out more below & walk on!
"Netwalking® reinvents the way we hold meetings by walking together -- in order to boost our mental and physical health."
Name: Jessica Tunon
Location: Washington, DC
Occupation: Founder and CEO, Netwalking®, LLC
What inspired you to start Netwalking?
I was given a daily walking prescription from my orthopedist in 2001 and my boss was on board with it. Years later in a move, I was doing advocacy work and attending over 100 events. I felt that the event agenda was all too familiar. Networking opportunities felt forced, seated for extended periods of time moving from 4 walls to 4 walls, and I rarely saw wellbeing breaks. I began asking new friends to go for a follow-up walk and talk after meeting them and noticed how I retained more of the conversation, felt more organic than forced, and more productive after. Too they thanked me for the suggestion, said that they felt better afterward and found that we built trust earlier on than if we sat for a beverage or bite to eat. That was powerful. I began suggesting the concept to event planners piloting a group walk at a few events here and there and they did. I have tweaked it over the years and now include speakers, stops at local businesses and share insight into the neighborhoods and how to incorporate walking into every day.
Could you lead us through a typical Netwalking event?
The route is pre-mapped by time, location, ADA accessibility, and happiness. We start in a circle and go over what to expect, introductions from the speakers, sponsors, and Netwalkers. We facilitate networking by having everyone paired up with one other person they have not yet met, stops at local businesses that I have spoken with beforehand so that they too know when to expect us and we have more stops along the way to meet a new partner, stop by another business and hear from the speakers. The event ends near public transportation and a local business generally hosts us for light refreshments or discounted menu.
This sounds fantastic! How do we find out about the next one?
The events are posted on netwalkglobal.com and social media – IG handle is @netwalk.ing .
What is your favorite pair of kicks to walk in? Adidas Stan Smith and have at least 8 pairs on rotation. I find them to be both comfortable and stylish as I daily walk 5-8 miles. When the temperature is cooler, I wear ankle boots. Too its important to have a really good cobbler and socks.
Why do you walk? I now have a purposeful and better quality of life. I commute by foot even when the weather isn’t ideal because I feel so much happier when I am outside walking in nature - refreshed, energized, productive, creative, less stressed and maintain my weight.
Which Vespertine item keeps you shining? I am currently wearing The VESPERT REFLECTIVE VEST, Eco Flame. It is so portable, lightweight and easily fits into my smallest bag.
Do you have tips for incorporating more walking into one's lifestyle? I pick my shoes first. I choose the shoe by what surface I will be walking on (sand, brick, grass, dirt, concrete, tile…). I found this helpful as I deal with chronic lower back pain and do not always have another pair of shoes to take with me. In addition, I prepare the night before to ensure that I have snacks, protein bar, water, toiletries, fresh breath spray, Vespert Reflective vest, extra pair of socks and cash– to save local businesses from paying the credit card transaction fee. Too – I spray my shoes and bags before wearing them with water repellant spray. Walk safely by wearing reflective gear even when walking and knowing your surroundings. I have been known to explore new areas during the day first and asking around what areas are more walkable.
There has to be more you want to tell us- Any awkward walking moments? Walking stories or jokes?
One day, I walked 10 miles. I was traveling and the weather was perfect. Needless to say, I walked so much during the day that by the end of a night – I also went dancing - I was too tired to walk the 3 blocks back to the hotel and took a cab. I went back to the room did my Legs Up the Wall Pose put on a pair of compression socks and called it a night.
Thanks, Jessica, you inspire! Until we netwalk again®...