For the past few decades, Kakalina Kanani “Nani” Hilbert has guided individuals to healthier lifestyles and motivated them through productive workout regiments.

Since her first group fitness class at the University of Tennessee in 1993, Hilbert has been driven to aid people in their hope for more of a wholesome lifestyle, both in the gym and at home.

“I absolutely fell in love with it and truly enjoyed helping people reach their fitness goals,” Hilbert said. “I love that I was able to get my hooks into people for one hour a day and make them move, sweat, de-stress, cuss me and, ultimately, leave with a smile.”

Hilbert grew up in a very structured family environment, even though the location of their household changed rather frequently.

“My early life was spent as a military brat,” she said. “I’ve lived in California, Virginia, Georgia, Massachusetts and also traveled internationally when my father was stationed overseas.”

Hilbert eventually settled in the Tri-Cities area, where she graduated from Daniel Boone High School in 1993. She then went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee in 1997 and then received her master’s degree from ETSU in 2008. Hilbert has stayed here at ETSU ever since, leading programs in Campus Recreation for the last 11 years.

She is currently the Fitness & Wellness Coordinator for Campus Recreation, where she oversees group fitness classes, personal training program, wellness initiatives, and the Casual Care Child Care Center.

“Day-to-day, I am pretty busy plotting and planning ways to get and keep our ETSU community engaged, healthy, fit and well,” Hilbert said.

Hilbert is always motivated to help others and draws satisfaction out of the progress of the students and faculty that she works with.

“My position provides me a wonderful opportunity to work with faculty, students, and staff,” Hilbert said. “I love hearing their stories and successes, and I most love being a part of their fitness and wellness journey.”

Hilbert works every day to provide a positive impact here at ETSU, which she wants to continue to do for the foreseeable future.

“I adore east Tennessee, and I’m so thankful I can raise my children here,” she said. “Even though I have about a 40-minute commute to work, this ETSU community is my other home and am absolutely thankful to be a part of it.”