Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Spring 2006Kellogg School of Management
In DepthIn BriefDepartmentsClass NotesClub NewsArchivesContactKellogg Homepage
Letter from the Dean
Theory: A delicate balance of self-confidence and humility defines true leaders
Practice: A student leader reflects on lessons learned
Faculty thought leaders
Faculty Research: Angela Lee, Marketing
Faculty Research: David Austen-Smith, MEDS
Alumni Profile: Tom Wilson '80
Alumni Profile: Chris Lansing '89
Alumni Profile: John Livingston '93
Alumni Profile: Beth Kiely '98
Alumni Profile: Meredith Lincoln and Leslie Sagalowicz '00
Address Update
Alumni Home
Submit News
Internal Site
Northwestern University
Kellogg Search
  Beth Range Kiely

Alumni Profile: Beth Range Kiely '98

Going with the flow
MBA, love of yoga, puts Kellogg alum in position to pursue entrepreneurial dream

By Chris Van Nostrand

The room is heated between 95 and 100 degrees as Beth Range Kiely '98 guides her clients into a posture called Tuladandasana. The participants slowly bend their bodies forward while standing on their right legs. They lift their left legs behind them and begin straightening out like a flat board, creating a single line that runs from their toes all the way through their back and outstretched arms. It's a perfect "T" alignment: with the right leg as the stem, they've crossed the uppercase letter with the rest of their body.

The posture requires a mix of balance, strength, stamina and discipline to endure the 90-minute session. And though the participants range from senior consultants to recent college graduates, they all share one thing: profuse sweating. This is, after all, Bikram Yoga, a practice that combines standard yoga's spiritual elements with a feverish intensity. As Kiely gently leads her diverse mix of pupils, it's easy to understand why the Kellogg School graduate doesn't always think of herself as an entrepreneur.

The truth is that Kiely has melded her tremendous passion for yoga with an innovative business venture. Along with her husband, Terry (pictured), the two first helped bring Bikram Yoga to the Chicago area in 2001 when they opened Om On The Range Studio. Named after its founder, Bikram Choudhury, the practice is based on the idea that heat from the room helps stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons while moving through the routine's 26 postures. Also central to the practice is the tourniquet effect: the movements create pressure on the arteries and veins, and upon release of that pressure blood flow improves through the body.

While yoginis are rare among Kellogg alumni, the decision to open a studio was deeply rooted in Kiely's experience in The Managers' Program. She speaks frequently of finding the "flow" in her life, by which she means seamlessly integrating all the different elements of her day, whether related to business or family. This expert ability to balance seemingly disparate experiences gained additional power when she earned her MBA degree, enabling Kiely to pursue the career, and the life, she desires.

Kiely enrolled in the Kellogg School's part-time program in the midst of a successful and rewarding career as a nonprofit executive. Only 11 years after taking her first job as a development assistant in 1986, right out of college, Kiely was named vice president for development at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Kellogg leadership training provided her with an opportunity to bolster her value to the organizations she served.

As she assumed increasingly complex professional roles, Kiely also decided to practice yoga more frequently. "For me, it helped with stress and anxiety. As a fundraiser, I would take these really significant goals, and I would own them ... I found that yoga really kept me balanced with school while also helping me take ownership of things that I should, and staying away from things that I shouldn't."

At the same time, Kiely began to benefit from her Kellogg professors, particularly about how and what to market. She says Phil Kotler and Alice Tybout made a profound impact. "Alice talked to me about how if you're passionate about something, then all the marketing will come together," says Kiely. "She lit the flame of something deeper that I was passionate about," as opposed to just pursuing a career path that seemed interesting. 

Kiely's yoga practice, Kellogg experience and significant reflection led to an epiphany during a vacation with Terry. "We were in a hammock in Costa Rica, at a Bikram Yoga retreat, talking about what we were going to do in 25 years when we retired," she recalls. The couple decided they would want to open a yoga studio.

"We came back [from the trip] and we thought, 'Waiting for retirement is too far away.' That's when our plans all got very accelerated and it became clear that this is what we love."

Beth and Terry knew that the practice had much to offer a city with cold winters, active people and executives facing similar stresses to those they themselves confronted. She remembers that Terry, a former management consultant with back problems from his constant travel, used to say that all of his corporate colleagues didn't know that Bikram yoga was his "secret weapon" in staying healthy.

Om On The Range has also given Kiely the flow to her life that she deeply values by allowing her a fuller family life and removing the barriers between what she loves and what she does for work. "I never have a day where I don't want to come to the yoga studio," she says. "I never have a day where I don't want to teach. Every day is really great, and I learn a lot from students, I learn a lot from teachers. It's all there."

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University