But Posner-Mayer never forgot the training she received as a student, even as she built a successful business promoting Swiss Balls for therapy and fitness in the United States. She has endowed a PT scholarship and has committed to endowing a chair in the program.
“My whole adventurous, successful life revolved around being a physical therapist,” she said. “It’s a career that opens doors to whatever you imagine it can be.”
“I was always interested in the body and how it works.”
To market the balls, she made three videos, wrote a book and did national interviews, including ones published in The Wall Street Journal and Shape Magazine and traveled nationally and internationally teaching seminars. Initially, Posner-Mayer focused on training physical therapists, but increasingly innovative fitness instructors found their way to her classes. She started a second company—Fitball, Inc.—to transform ball exercises for worldwide fitness use in health clubs, gyms and sports training programs. Posner-Mayer’s passion for the potential of Swiss Balls is still evident today, when she discusses how the balls transitioned from hospital therapy to health club training.
“You can buy all kinds of fitness equipment, but each machine only addresses one or two types of exercise,” she said. “Working out on a ball changes your relationship with gravity. It takes away the pounding while always challenging your balance. It’s great cross training for any sport.”
“You give people hope, you come to make them better, you can see progress.”
Posner-Mayer remembers her earliest days of physical therapy as “isolated.” She likes the way the Anschutz Medical Campus has changed the nature of the physical therapy program. “Now, this program is integrated into the entire medical campus,” she said. “It’s interdisciplinary and so you meet pharmacy, nursing and medical students.”
She praises the faculty of the PT program for their dedication and commitment. Their hard works pays off in the success of their students—99 percent of graduates pass the National Physical Therapy Exam on their first attempt to become licensed physical therapists.
Posner-Mayer is a devoted alumna of the Physical Therapy Program. She helped the alumni association in its infancy and later served as its president. She has always been a strong advocate for the program and remains committed to its development.
Today, she is helping to build student scholarships by serving on the program’s Scholarship Endowment Advisory Board. Last year, she created the Joanne Posner-Mayer scholarship through a $250,000 endowment, which will fund student scholarships in perpetuity. She has also committed to establish the first chair in the Physical Therapy department through a legacy gift.
By funding the future of physical therapy, she is supporting the profession that has given so much to her because she believes in the work physical therapists do. “You give people hope, and you come to make them better. Working together, you can see their progress,” Posner-Mayer said.