Maybe you know her name because she's the First Lady of Jersey City. Maybe you've been to one of her physical therapy offices. The point is, you should definitely know who Jaclyn Fulop is! She's the owner of THREE busy physical therapy offices in our area and Hoboken's even specializes in pelvic floor and pediatric physical therapies! She's also mom to a toddler, wife to Jersey City's Mayor, and just an all-around cool chick! Be sure to check out Exchange Physical Therapy on Instagram here.
Ok, let’s get the big one out of the way and then we can focus on just you and only you. You are married to the Mayor of Jersey City, a man who is in the news often and isn’t afraid to say what he thinks. What is your proudest moment as the first lady of Jersey City?
There have been so many proud moments over the last seven years. To answer this question specifically, no, he isn’t afraid to speak his mind, he stands by his fundamental beliefs, and it doesn’t matter to who. One recent example is when he called the December shooting that left 6 people dead a “hate crime” even though the state's top law enforcement officials said it was too early in the investigation to reach such a conclusion. I love this so much about him, he calls it like it is! He isn’t afraid to stand up to giants like Air B&B who spent millions to block regulations and had a campaign that spread information to residents. My proudest moment was probably in 2017 standing on stage with him while he delivered his acceptance speech for re-election after the city spoke in unison. It was nice to see him being recognized for all his hard work and dedication. He loves Jersey City so much and I continue to be so proud of the work he does day in and day out.
What is your favorite thing about raising a family in Jersey City?
I’m happy about the fact that Jaxon can grow up in a city surrounded with so many different types of people with different backgrounds and ethnicities.
Exchange Physical Therapy Group is now open in 3 locations. What drove you to scale your business so much and what is your best advice to someone who dreams of scaling and opening multiple locations of their own business?
We have been building more locations due to feeling that we offer a unique product with regard to wellness and health which is reflected in the demand we have seen for our services. I would tell someone who dreams of expanding to be open minded and not put premature limits on what they can do. If you think big and push, it will manifest itself in that direction. Inversely, if you think small, it will manifest in that direction as well .
On that note, what is the best business advice anyone ever gave you?
The best advice would be to become transparent. My employees have complete access to all the books. Also, to maximize communication for the people who work with you and for you.
What is your funniest mom fail moment?
There have been so many as Jaxon and I are both learning together. Recently, I tried to give him a haircut and I accidentally snipped his ear! Thank God he didn’t really feel it because he didn’t cry, but it was bleeding a little which was obviously not ideal. Then, I had to explain to his dad what happened. It was a lesson to leave the haircuts up to the professionals and to stick with what I’m good at. I have recently found 2 great locations at Hair is Happiness in Jersey City and Dina Kiss & Makeup in Secaucus.
As a physical therapist, you work with some pretty intense injuries and people going through rough times. What is one moment you just knew you were doing the right thing and in the right career?
In 2009, I was a new graduate, practicing in Rhode Island and about 6 months into working at my first job. I had a patient who was 20 years old that came into PT, on crutches from injuring his hip. After doing a thorough evaluation, I noticed when I was trying to move his hip that something wasn’t right. It felt like his hip was cemented into the socket and would not move, something I never experienced before. Even though the patient didn’t seem to be in a ton of pain I had felt like I needed to call his doctor and ask him to write our patient a prescription for an X-ray. When I called this doctor, he basically blew me off saying it wasn’t broken and he didn’t need an X-ray, to continue PT, and rudely hung up. Even though I was a new PT, I knew something wasn’t right. So, I recommended that he go to get a second opinion. A couple days later, I received a phone call from my patient's mother that he took my advice and went to another doctor for an X-ray. The X-ray showed a complete break in the femoral neck (the top of the thigh bone into the hip) and he already had necrosis (rotting) of the bone and was being rushed to RI hospital. If someone experienced this kind of broken bone in this particular area, the bone will start to rot due to the lack of blood supply. I immediately called that doctor who blew me off days earlier to let him know the update. Needless to say, he was shocked, stuttered a bit, and this time said thank you to me before hanging up. The patient ended up getting the help he needed and had a successful surgery. I was told by his surgeon that if he waited even a couple more days, he could have lost his leg. His mom called me weeks later to say thank you and that I saved her son's life.
When you guys actually get a break from your impressive careers, where are your favorite local date night spots to unwind?
You are mom to adorable one year old Jaxon. How has becoming a mother changed your practice as a clinician? Is there something you could go back and tell your physical therapist-business owning-patient seeing- self before you had your own child?
Yes, I would tell myself how valuable time is. Every minute of my day is maximized. My office hours have trimmed back a lot so I can spend as much time with Jaxon as possible. Creating life balance has been a priority.
When your son grows up and his friends ask what his mommy does, what do you think he will say?
She helps people feel better.
A day in the life of Jaclyn…Go!
I wake up around 6:15am when Steve brings Jaxon into our bedroom (he is a saint and wakes up with him at 5:30am). We play for a little bit and then Steve and I go to Orange Theory where we run, row and lift together. After the workout, I stop at my favorite breakfast place, Wonder Bagels on Central Ave and grab a coffee and egg wrap. I go home to shower, play with Jaxon for a bit, and head to work. First stop is usually the Weehawken location then I head to our newest location in Hoboken, and then to the Jersey City clinic. By 3:45, I’m out the door to go home for some quality time with Jaxon. We have play time, dinner time, bath time, and then I put him to bed. A couple times a week, my husband will come home early to help me put him to bed and then will go back to work. I usually will unwind from the day, answer some work emails, watch a good reality TV show, a Dateline episode, or read a book and fall asleep.