Lisa Zobian Lindahl

Time Period

1940 to Today

Notable Facts

Inventor of the first sports bra, "Jogbra." Co-founder and President of Jogbra, Inc., the original maker of the "Jogbra" women's sports garment. Designed and marketed a specialty compression garment for breast cancer survivors. Educates others about epilepsy and received the National Personal Achievement Award from the Epilepsy Foundation.

Personal Information

Date of Birth

1948

Primary Residence

Burlington

Ethnicity

Caucasian

Historical Significance

Lisa Zobian Lindahl is co-founder of Jogbra, Inc., the original maker of the "jogbra" women's sports garment. Lindahl jumpstarted another Vermont business, Bellisse; she helped Lesli Bell to design and market a specialty compression garment for breast cancer survivors. She has also devoted her time to educating the public about epilepsy, a disease she has lived with since childhood.

Lindahl grew up in Montclair, New Jersey and took secretarial courses at the Katharine Gibbs School. She moved to Vermont and attended the University of Vermont, where she received her BS in Education in 1977. She quickly began her graduate studies, but they were interrupted when she came up with the idea of a bra designed especially for running and began developing it with Polly Smith, a costume designer and life-long friend. The first truly workable prototype was two jockstraps sewn together. Lindahl met her future business partner, Hinda Miller, that summer at the Royall Tyler Theater, where she was Smith's assistant. Together they built the company that has made sports bras a wardrobe staple. One of their early designs is in the permanent costume collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and another is in the Smithsonian.

During Jogbra, Inc.'s formative years, Lindahl served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. Playtex Apparel purchased the company in 1990 and Lindahl continued as Co-President of the Jogbra Division of Playtex. In 1991, Playtex Apparel was purchased by the Sara Lee Corporation and the jogbra is now marketed as Champion Sportswear.

Lindahl has worked tirelessly to educate others about epilepsy. She served as Senior Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Epilepsy Foundation, where she established The Women and Epilepsy Health Initiative, which creates opportunities for research studies about gender differences in epilepsy. For her efforts with The Women and Epilepsy Health Initiative, the Epilepsy Foundation gave her the National Personal Achievement Award. In 1999 Senator Jeffords of Vermont also bestowed Lindahl with a Congressional Commendation for her work in epilepsy education. Lindahl has written various articles about epilepsy including a chapter in the book, Women with Epilepsy: A Handbook of Health and Treatment Issues.

Lindahl's other talents including teaching and community development. She has taught marketing at the Women's Small Business Program at Trinity College in Burlington, Vermont and was the co-author of the course's text, Minding Your Business. Lindahl has also taught at Champlain College and served as a Trustee of the Vermont Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving Vermont's landscape. She was a member of the Mountain Group, a support network for entrepreneurs and has been nominated for the Boss of the Year Award by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers' Association and Entrepreneur of the Year Award by Inc. Magazine.

In 2001, Lindahl teamed up with Lesli Bell to develop the Vermont based business, Bellisse. Together, they designed and marketed a specialty compression garment for breast cancer survivors. This project was aptly suited to Lindahl because of her design experience, and the two women created the Compressure Comfort Bra.

Lindahl received her Masters Degree in Culture and Spirituality from Holy Names University in California in 2007. In addition to being a visual artist and doing motivational speaking, Lindahl also continues her research and studies into philosophy and is writing a book about current cultural paradigm shifts. She divides her time between homes in Vermont, South Carolina, and California.

Organizations or Movements

  • Vermont Land Trust
  • Mountain Group
  • Epilepsy Foundation of America
  • The Way of Beauty.

Occupations

  • Co-founder of Jogbra, Inc.
  • President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Jogbra, Inc.
  • Co-President of the Jogbra Division of Playtex
  • Senior Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Epilepsy Foundation of America
  • Taught marketing at Trinity College
  • Co-author of text "Minding Your Business"
  • Helped design a specialty compression garment for breast cancer survivors
  • Motivational speaker
  • Secretary
  • Stained glass artist
  • Author
  • Artist

Education

  • Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School
  • BS in Education, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont (1977)
  • Masters Degree in Culture and Spirituality, Holy Names University, California (2007).

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Dorschner, Cheryl. History-Changing Garment Born in Theater Costume Shop. March 30, 2005. Link

  • The Jogbra Story Link

  • Bastone, Kelly. The Sports Bra Turns Thirty. Link

  • Pennebaker, Betsy. Two Vermont Women Tackle Breast Cancer's Dirty Little Secret. Link

  • Epilepsy Foundation Award Raises Awareness of Challenges Women With Epilepsy Face Link

  • El Nassar, Haya. "They Took an Idea and They Ran With It." USA Today. September 25,1985. 5B.

  • Jogbra creators Lisa Lindahl and Hinda Miller are unlikely partners. Burlington Free Press. July 4, 1988.

Additional Images

Polly Smith, Lisa Lindahl and Hinda Miller. Photo by Sally McKay
Polly Smith, Lisa Lindahl and Hinda Miller. Photo by Sally McKay
Lisa Lindahl
Lisa Lindahl
The Jogbra. Photo by: Tara Striano
The Jogbra. Photo by: Tara Striano
Lisa Lindahl and Lesli Bell
Lisa Lindahl and Lesli Bell