The Spin Cycle: Catching Up with Mallory Houston Nieman ’99

In our most recent issue of Brookwood Magazine, we caught up with Mallory Houston Nieman, a Brookwood alumnus from the Class of 1999 (pictured above, front row second from left, with field hockey teammates and Coach Wellington in 1999). Mallory is the Founder and CEO of Velocity, Switzerland’s first dedicated indoor cycling studio. Following her graduation from Brookwood, she attended Middlesex School in Concord. Upon earning her B.A. from Cornell University, she moved to New York City and worked at Hill Holiday Advertising Agency and then at Digitas Advertising Agency. In 2011, Mallory moved to Switzerland and assumed the role of Head of Marketing for Nexus Telecom. In June 2016—after earning her Executive Masters of Business (EMBA) degree from the Swiss Business School—she opened Velocity in Zurich, and is now looking forward to opening a second studio in Zug this November.

Brookwood: How did competing in the Zurich Ironman in 2012 lead you to opening Velocity?
Mallory Houston Neiman: I didn’t discover the bike until I moved to Zurich in 2011 and signed up for the Zurich Ironman in 2012 thanks to my boyfriend (now husband). I participated in a lot of spin classes as part of my training. It was clear to me that a lot could be accomplished indoors (in fact, it can be more efficient than outdoors) but at the same time I was uninspired. The generic gym concept just wasn’t doing it for me. A friend asked: “Have you tried SoulCycle?” And so I did, many times, when I visited New York City. I started an EMBA program in 2013 and then it just sort of unfolded from there.

Mallory Alumni

Brookwood: As you reflect on your time at Brookwood, is there a specific memory that stands out as a source of inspiration?
Mallory Houston Neiman: Sports and competition were always a magnet for me— I played lacrosse and field hockey, rode horse, and skied. As left wing on the Brookwood fieldhockey team, I remember running my heart out to get the ball to friends Jenna Wade and Jackie Ross near the goal. Determined to win every game, I made myself “Queen of Assists!” Mid-season, Mr. Wellington gathered the team before practice to name me a co-captain along with existing captains Hallie Brox and Annie Peterman. This was one of the first lessons of ‘hard work pays off’ that really stuck.

Brookwood: How did Brookwood faculty encourage you to become your best self?
Mallory Houston Neiman: Barb Liston, David Southworth, Mike Wellington, Jane Pirie and B.B. Wright were all so inspirational. I think it’s their commitment to others that has been so impactful. So many teachers give decades of their lives to children during their most formative years. The importance of teamwork, celebrating others and above all, being a good person simply can’t be underestimated. I have a team of 16 instructors and hundreds of riders walking through the door every day. Brookwood instilled in me, maybe even indirectly through my teachers’ examples, that successful leaders rarely take any of the credit. My instructors are the absolute stars of the show and every customer’s ride is an accomplishment for them. I don’t take this for granted.

Brookwood: What advice do you have for Brookwood students?
Mallory Houston Neiman: Don’t be afraid to fail. Adversity makes you stronger. And define success on your own terms. In today’s social media-driven world, the pressure to be one way or another can be overwhelming. Brookwood provides the tools to develop a strong sense of self. Use this confidence as a springboard into a life defined and lived by you.

View the full issue of Brookwood Magazine here!