Amy Parvaneh, founder and CEO of Select Advisors Institute in Irvine, started running in Upper Newport Bay with her kids, Hudson Scotti, 9, and Valentina Scotti, 6, when her gym closed last year.

This CEO’s personal trainers are just 6 and 9 years old

by TOM BERG

“If you have a goal, nothing can stop you,” says Amy Parvaneh, CEO of Irvine-based Select Advisors Institute, a wealth-advisory firm whose clients manage $25 billion in assets.

That’s why she now runs 6 miles a day behind her kids as they pedal bikes along Irvine Ranch trails. “The first day was not pretty,” she says.

Now? They challenge her to round one more corner, climb one more hill and go one more mile.

“I’ve never felt stronger,” she says. “I’ve never felt more like an athlete.”

And it all started because her gym closed.

Challenges

Parvaneh has always craved exercise to alleviate stress — ever since her parents emigrated to New York with a single suitcase when she was a child.

It helped her rise through the ranks of financial-service giants Goldman Sachs and Pimco before founding Select Advisors, which now employs 25 financial advisers.

“Exercise is my salvation,” she says.

So when the pandemic closed gyms last spring, she piled her two children and their bikes into the car and drove to a trailhead at Upper Newport Bay.

You start riding, she told Hudson, 9, and Valentina, 6, and I’ll follow.

“At first, they were kicking and screaming, but I said, ‘This is my medicine. If you want your mom to be healthy and happy, you have to do this for me.’ ”

That day, they barely made a mile. But being together as a family, outside in the fresh air, something clicked.

Parvaneh lets her kids set the pace.

A new awakening

They now go 6 miles, with the kids pushing her to run a little farther and a little faster each time.

“They set the pace,” Parvaneh says. “And it’s just so beautiful out there. Every problem you have just glides away.”

In this natural setting, she gets many of her best ideas for articles (she writes for Barron’s), social media posts and her staff.

She also finds that her midday run, from noon to 2 p.m., is rejuvenating.

“After that, I can work till 9 p.m.,” says Parvaneh, who’s been headquartered at UCI Research Park for seven years. “It’s almost like a new awakening.”

She and her kids have logged more than 400 miles.

She feels the experience has taught them all persistence. And it has brought them together as a family.

“Sometimes I look up and hear the kids saying, ‘Mom, you can do it,’ ” she says. “I may be all tired and sweating, but you know what? I’m running up that hill.”


Running tips from an OC triathlon coach

  • Warm up with some brisk walking and a few old-school jumping jacks to get the heart rate up.
  • Run slow at first and increase miles by no more than 10% per week.
  • Your face is your gas pedal. Extend it as if you were giving someone a peck on the cheek. This will create a more forward lean and you’ll run faster.
  • Use a walk-run strategy. Walk for 3 seconds after every
  • 1-3 minutes of running to allow the muscles to reboot, prevent injury and delay fatigue.
  • Save the stretching for after your run.

– Coach Ingrid Miller