Fabulous People: Samantha Baltierrez & Maria Lawrence

Samantha Finnegan Baltierrez and Maria Lawrence are the owners of Impact Gymnastics Academy in North Central Phoenix. Both moms and business owners, these two women have built a successful gym for kids that recently expanded to more than double in size. Learn more about Samantha and Maria…

Samantha Finnegan Baltierrez

Hometown: Phoenix

First job: City Of Phoenix Life Guard at Cortez Pool

Favorite AZ restaurant: Grimaldi’s: The thin crust pizza and the cannoli are amazing!

Person who has impacted your life the most: My Business Partner, Maria Lawrence. She has always been someone that I have looked up to. I respect her tremendously and hope that I can be 1/2 the mom she is to her girls. She has also believed in my passion for this crazy sport and by doing so, the two of us have opened this amazing gym!

Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes: My kids Jayden, Josey and Juliana and of course Impact Gymnastics. First, my kids make me a better person every day. Impact gymnastics has always been a dream of mine. I always imagined owing my own gym and being able to impact the lives of kids every day.

The biggest obstacle you have overcome: The doubters

Someone who inspires you: Maria! From a young age of 18 when I met her I had always thought she was such a strong, beautiful, smart woman who had these amazing young girls. Maybe that’s why I now have 3 of my own girls.

I was always inspired with how hard she worked at her law job and raised these amazing young women. I knew from the moment i met her that we would always be great friends. I had only wished that one day I would be the mother she was and business woman she was.

Favorite quote: “Uncoachable kids become unemployable adults. Let your kids get used to someone being tough on them. Its life, get over it.”

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Don’t do it unless you love it, its a lot of work and a lot of personalities to work with. Make sure you open a gym for the right reasons, love of the sport and the love of kids.

What makes someone fabulous: Their heart, someone who has a good heart and cares about everyone.

Maria Lawrence

Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY

First job: My first job was at a fast food seafood restaurant when I was 15. I hate seafood but it was the only place that would hire me before I was 16. I came from a single parented household so I desperately needed to save money for a car. I would come home from work each night and undress in the garage because my clothes smelled like fish! I was determined to buy my own car when I turned 16 so I endured the smell. I am happy to say that it was worth the smell as I was able to buy my own car when I turned 16!

Favorite AZ restaurant: Lucille’s Barbeque in Tempe because I am a hard core carnivore and their barbecue sauce is out of this world! They also serve warm rolls that melt in your mouth.

Person who has impacted your life the most: My mom made the biggest impact on me. She did not have a college education and ended up divorced with 3 young children and no real job skills. She was a hard worker and would do anything and everything to provide for me and my sisters. At one point in my life, she started her own cleaning business and dragged her vacuum cleaner around to make money. She was hard working, determined and always told me that I could accomplish anything that I put my mind to. She was my biggest cheerleader in life and always had a positive outlook on life.

Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes: Going to college and graduating from law school is one of the biggest accomplishments in my life. Growing up my mom was always busy working and taking care of me and my sisters. She did not pay a lot of attention to my school work, other than to know that I was a good student. Fortunately, I loved school and I loved to read. When I went to undergraduate school, I played Division II soccer and the coach told me that the odds were against me to graduate since I came from a divorced home. That thought never occurred to me and it made me mad! I graduated both undergrad and law school with honors.

The biggest obstacle you have overcome: Overcoming my past is the biggest obstacle I have overcome. Back in the 1970’s, when my parents divorced, it was not common and it was stigmatized. Not having two parents in the home left me at a disadvantage both financially and emotionally. I had to work twice as hard to achieve the things that I wanted to achieve. In the long run, it made me who I am today. I don’t take anyone or anything for granted. I am a hard worker and once I set my eyes on the goal, there is nothing that will stop me from achieving it.

Someone who inspires you: My children inspire me because they are great kids. They are kind and considerate and they have great work ethic. They are busy but able to balance school, gymnastics, work, voice lessons, piano etc. They stick up for the underdog and I love being around them.

Favorite quote: “Have fun storming the castle” from The Princess Bride.

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: The best piece of advice for someone pursuing a career is to LOVE what you do. You have to be passionate about what you do and understand that you have the ability to make an impact on someone with your passion!

What makes someone fabulous: The thing that makes someone fabulous is a person who is positive, loving and kind. Your words are powerful and many people use their words to hurt others. When you use your words to speak life to someone it can change the atmosphere. At Impact Gymnastics Academy, we are always encouraging the kids to be kind and that their words and actions can make an “IMPACT” on someone and change them for the better!

Learn more about Impact Gymnastics Academy at




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *