Hello! My name is Stephanie Ertzberger and it’s a pleasure to be part of the Smile Train Team EMPOWER Alumni Ambassador Committee! Smile Train is important to me because of the sustainable system they have developed, which provides training, funding and additional resources to empower the local doctors in developing countries to perform the cleft surgery within their own communities. I also love making my miles count. I’m going to be training for the triathlon events either way, so it’s a great opportunity and way to give back, as well as reflect on those children to fuel the motivation!
Professionally, I work as a financial planner at Petco HQs in San Diego, CA. On the side, I am developing and launching a new women’s triathlon clothing line, Perspective Fitwear. My goal is to further help the break down in barriers to entry for female participants. I have been participating in triathlons since 2009, and got involved in the sport through my neighbor. She was an avid triathlete and even completed her own Ironman. Back then, female participants were not very common, especially in my hometown Pittsburgh, PA. She taught me what a trail blazer looks like, and I knew I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself.
Fast forward 8 years later, and many triathlon races, and I completed my very own Ironman this past April 2017 with Smile Train, Ironman Texas! Smile Train taught me a lot about the difficulties children have who suffer with this condition, and I was extremely passionate about making a difference through something I love and enjoy.
Recently, I have been relaxing and recovering from my recent race. I moved to San Diego, CA 2 years ago and have met many wonderful people and developed a great community. My support team includes my parents, sister and brother-in-law, and boyfriend!