Skip to main content

Araceli Cruz |

Debbye Roman knows there’s more than one way to be strong. She’s always enjoyed running and being active, but a terrifying incident in her native Mexico showed Roman she has other kinds of strength, too.

Roman first came to the United States in 2011 for a temporary job at Walt Disney World. When that work program ended, she returned home to Tabasco in the southeastern region of Mexico with dreams of one day moving back to the States. The following year, after Roman and her family became the victims of an attempted kidnapping, she hastened her plans to leave Mexico for good.

That horrific, life-threatening experience also motivated Roman to channel her trauma into a force for good. She worked on her body, got stronger, and began looking for ways to help others do the same. Today, Roman is the owner of Thrive STL (8123 Delmar), a University City gym that offers personal training, small-class boot camps, and yoga, while focusing on positive motivation and setting attainable individual goals. She never thought she would one day own her own business, let alone a gym, in the United States. Yet, Roman is now approaching the one-year anniversary of her acquisition of Thrive STL, and still striving to help others flourish.

Thrive STL owner Debbie Roman