In The Spotlight: Karpenko Gymnastics Academy
Helmed by husband and wife team, Liam and Victoria, Karpenko Gymnastics Academy (KGA) was founded in 2015, specialising in competitive and recreational rhythmic gymnastics.
As a former gymnast who started the sport at the young age of four, Victoria is driven by passion and a firm belief that Singapore is home to a pool of talents waiting to be discovered and groomed.
We had a chat with Liam as he shares more about the motivation and his hacks on staying productive on a busy day.
Tell us more about yourself and Karpenko Gymnastics Academy
Liam: KGA is run by my wife and head coach Victoria Karpenko and myself. Victoria is from Moscow and started doing rhythmic gymnastics at the age of 4 and never stopped. During her career she was a member of the Russian national team for 4 years and twice Russian national champion. After retiring at the age of 19 she started her coaching career which saw her coach members of the Russian, USA, Spanish and Singapore national teams to tournaments such as European championships and Olympic games.
I am Irish and spent most of my life in banking and finance working with Ernst & Young in Dublin and Barclays Investment Bank here in Singapore. I gained some experience running a medical device startup here also before deciding to make the transition to run KGA full time. I serve on the Board of Singapore Gymnastics to try and build and promote the sport here in Singapore which I really enjoy. KGA has around 300 members, 50 of which are competitive level across two locations and we are opening our third location this summer in Bukit Timah. We have a very high standard for coaches to join us and the vast majority of the coaches have represented their country at international level such as the SEA Games.
What was the impetus for starting KGA
Liam: While coaching the Singapore national team, Victoria had a long standing wish to own her own academy teaching the Russian principles of gymnastics and building up a team of competitive gymnasts to compete here. The rhythmic sport is quite popular here and she has always maintained there is huge talent here which should be doing better at the competitive levels like our neighbours in Malaysia do. In 2015, knowing I have a business background, she came to me with the idea to set up the business and shortly after we started by renting a studio by the hour on Orchard and slowly built it up.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt from this journey
Liam: Focus on building a quality product or offering and outstanding customer service, whatever business you are in and word of mouth will do the best. Until we opened our 3rd location we really did not have much of a marketing budget or strategy as our happy clients did it for us!
What is one thing you would do to ensure you have a productive day
Liam: I like to get up early and get some exercise and find it a lot easier to focus after that. We have a young child so once he wakes up all the attention goes to him before leaving for the office.
How do you relieve stress
Liam: I play with my son or get out in nature. East Coast park or Changi beach are two of my favourites
What do you like about having a workspace at Gather
Liam: Everything really. Its really chilled out here and some really interesting people rent here. There are lots of spaces for meetings and the location right above Common Man couldn’t be better.
Find out more about KGA and what they do in the links below: