Women Who Lead: Powered by XS founder, Karen Ortiz

Eastridge #WomenWhoLead Series


Founder of Powered by XS



Can you tell us a bit about your journey and how you began Powered by XS?

I began focusing on my passion for health and fitness shortly after resigning from my corporate job. Starting Powered by XS, a community fitness program for the community, was truly a combination of following my passion and being surrounded by amazing people, including Eastridge Center, who supported my vision and helped me make it a reality. Together, we partnered to offer affordable Yoga, Self-defense, Family Yoga and other fitness classes to men, women and children in our community. Today, we have served 150+ individuals and families at Eastridge Center.

Powered by XS does a lot to empower residents in our community. Can you tell us more about steps you take to support women and girls?

We are an inclusive program and welcome all ages, all levels, and backgrounds! The class that makes me feel most empowered is our Self-Defense class. Women and girls love this class because we get to practice safety techniques to help us feel confident, safe, and “know what to do” if we are ever faced with a situation where we need to defend ourselves! Everytime I walk out of this class learning something new and feeling more aware.

What is your favorite thing about Powered by XS?

My favorite thing is doing what I love while meeting amazing people along the way! I have met so many wonderful people along the way, our community is quite amazing. My favorite feeling is hearing students tell me how our classes have changed their life. Whether it be learning a new yoga pose or practicing self-care after a long day at the office.

What purpose do you wish Powered by XS to serve?

The mission of the program is to offer affordable fitness classes to the community. Through our class offerings we hope to develop healthier and thriving communities in East San Jose and beyond.

What are a few / some of the hardest challenges you face as a Latina woman?

I reflect on this and sometimes, but I think for me it’s more internal than it is external. I often feel like I have to ”work extra hard” because I look very very young, I am a woman, and Latina. I face this challenge most often in a corporate setting and many times it was frustrating. I value fairness and equality and I wish to be treated as such. Overtime, I have learned to speak up for myself and be my best advocate. Know your worth and don’t settle for less!

What strengths do you find in working with a group of like-minded women?

I feel like we bring out the best in each other. It is truly magical to see what happens when we work together and cultivate a community amongst each other. We inspire, empower, and are an ear and a shoulder to lean on when we need it!

Beauty brand recommendations?

I like to do exotic hair and face masks once in awhile while I binge watch something on Netflix.

Favorite ways to stay fit and healthy?

I LOVE HOT YOGA. Having a good day? Go to Yoga.

Having a bad day? Go to Yoga.

Helps me stay grounded, feel balanced, and empowered. I always learn something new about myself and feel like a million bucks after!

And I also love juicing and acai bowls.


CONNECT with Karen & Powered by XS on Instagram @PoweredByXS.



The Eastridge Women Who Lead is an 8-part series featuring the extraordinary women who are leaders in the East Side San Jose Community and pillars of Eastridge Community Programming. For more empowering content, including in-person workshops and speakers, join us for CosmeCon 2019 on April 6th. More information here. Love this story? Please consider sharing on social media or attending an event to support!