Mike Dalliday is carrying on the entrepreneurial vision of his late wife, Jessica (Jess) Dalliday, by assuming the reins as CEO of her successful business Pilates on Demand and launching a completely redesigned website with upgraded features for members.
Jess passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 32 on April 6, 2021, five days after the death of her newborn daughter Angeline, due to a rare complication of childbirth. Jess and Angeline’s deaths devastated Mike and the couple’s two-year-old daughter Rachel and left the Peterborough community in shock.
The outpouring of support from the community, including a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $200,000 within two weeks in support of the Dalliday family, inspired Mike to honour Jess’s legacy. He eventually decided to step away from his career as a physician assistant in emergency medicine at Campbellford Memorial Hospital to become CEO of Pilates on Demand and carry on the family business.
“When Jess passed away, I knew I wanted her story and passion to continue on and be passed along to our two-year-old daughter,” Mike says. “And while learning to operate a business, single parenting and grieving the loss of a spouse and child has made for an exceptionally challenging year, it has always felt like the right decision.”
With an education in athletic therapy and kinesiology and health science, Jess founded Pilates on Demand in 2018 as a safe space for anyone to find pilates, yoga, barre, and meditation classes without the fear and judgment associated with going to the gym. After battling an exercise and eating disorder for many years that affected her health and fertility, Jess felt compelled to create a platform and community that was accepting of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds — a platform “designed for real people with real bodies.”
Between the high monthly cost of traditional gym memberships and the growing demand for online alternatives because of the pandemic, and with its core values of body acceptance and positivity, Jess’s business saw much success. In 2020, Pilates on Demand received the business excellence award in health and fitness from the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. In August 2021, Jess was honoured posthumously as a recipient of one of the Chamber’s 4-Under-40 Profile, which recognizes business and community leadership in people under the age of 40,
Having no previous entrepreneurial experience, Mike’s decision to carry on his late wife’s business was supported through mentorship and expertise provided by the Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas, including the launch of a redesigned website and platform on February 8.
“During the times of the pandemic, Pilates on Demand has seen exponential growth and has been able to pivot their business to focus on the growing demand for virtual exercise,” says Innovation cluster president John Gillis in a media release. “With the launch of the new website, new and existing members will be able to experience a new and convenient way to exercise. Pilates on Demand is not only a place to exercise, but also a place to be part of a strong community.”
According to the media release, Pilates on Demand’s new platform is more accessible, intuitive, and provides a more engaging member experience. Along with hundreds of on-demand classes from beginner to advanced, the platform has added an array of new member features including the ability to easily track progress, a personalized account area for easy access to favourite classes and challenges, a member discussion forum, and rewards for accomplishing goals and milestones.
“We are beyond excited to introduce this all-new experience to our members and to anyone new to our service,” Mike says. “Since losing Jess last spring we’ve been working hard to ensure her legacy is carried forward.”
“We continue to pride ourselves on being an online exercise platform for everyone. We don’t focus on pounds, inches, or appearance. Our goal is for our members to feel comfortable and confident in the body they have right now, and we really feel our new design and user experience will help us and our members achieve that goal.”
For more information and to become a member, visit the Pilates on Demand website at pilatesondemand.ca. All memberships include a free seven-day trial.