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HALO Talks

HALO Talks

Author: Pete Moore

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Entrepreneurs in the Health, Active Lifestyle and Outdoor ("HALO") sector sharing their stories
250 Episodes
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"There's this race to the bottom, which is doing everyone a disservice. If your value proposition has to be driven by the fact that you can give the cheapest access to your solution, I have to question . . . do you even deserve to be in this business!? I could replace you with equipment from Amazon," states 25+ year industry veteran Jason Stowell. This pull-no-punches podcast discusses everything from selling solutions versus 'packages,' the fact that you're never going to outsell sincerity and genuineness, the role of technology in the HALO sector (the "and/or" syndrome,) the necessary paradigm shifts that need to happen now for the benefit of all, and more!
Dr. Elizabeth Stanley

Dr. Elizabeth Stanley

2020-10-1531:08

Dr. Elizabeth Stanley earned her B.A. from Yale, her M.B.A. from MIT, and her Ph.D from Harvard. She's a former Army Intelligence office and author of the recently published (and very timely) Widen The Window: Training Your Brain and Body To Thrive During Stress and Recover From Trauma. "In our culture, we spend so much time turning stress on, and never turning it off," she states. This broad discussion touches how the nervous system can be trained, the negative implications of too much technology on the brain, and some tips on handling anxiety and stress. "The fact is, loneliness and isolation have been linked to epigenetic changes towards chronic inflammation in the body, which is the root cause of a whole range of illness . . .Now more than ever, it's critical to be vigilant about investing time in our social networks," she continued. Listen to learn more and also check out her Mind Fitness training course (which was tested in the military) being released this month.
"We help first, and we hunt second," states Co-Founder Matt Adey of their newly rebranded company, Good Soul Hunting. (Formerly Pipeline Partners.) Along with veteran HALO sector Co-Founders Lucy Adey, Emma Barry, and Andrea Perugini (Director) this broad discussion touches on everything from the current state of recruiting and how it's changed, to interview hints, what differentiates a good management team from a great one, how to know when you need a new hire (and the process involved,) blending into a culture for new employees, the future of Good Soul Hunting and more! 
"The Confess Project is America's first mental health barbershop movement. Currently in 14 cities, it is a grassroots movement committed to building a culture of mental health, particularly for young men of color," states Founder Lorenzo Lewis. Lorenzo was clinically diagnosed with depression and, having grown up in his aunt's beauty salon, he knew he "needed to reach people where they already were." Barbers receive training to become Mental Heath Advocates and learn skills to engage properly in order to increase access to further mental health treatment. Lorenzo secured a national partnership with Gillette to aid in furthering this incredibly worthy initiative. Listen to hear more about the state of mental health care in America, future plans for the Confess Project and more.
"It's not about the exit. It's about working with the right people who recognize that this brand stands for something and they're prepared to put the resources behind it," states Todd Waks. A self-described, "serial brand marketer," Todd was diagnosed with stage 3A melanoma and moved into the HALO sector. As the CEO of  AKESO water (named after the Greek goddess of healing and curing) AKESO is the world's first and only odorless, colorless, tasteless broad spectrum CBD water. It's also the first and only fully verifiable food or beverage in the history of that industry. Todd discusses the current status of the CBD world, where it's going, how they've become the gold standard in their space, their plans for the future, and more!  
"I don't think the brick and mortar gym business is going away, but I do think the connection to the client is going to get much deeper outside the gym," states Jim Crowell. As a former athlete and coach with a background in finance, Jim has worked in all levels operationally of the HALO sector, as well as seen how deals are done from the outside. He chats with Pete Moore about how boutiques and big box gyms are positioned post-COVID, his approach to growth, working within the franchise model, thoughts on influencers and digital platforms, why hyperlocal marketing is more important than ever, and more. 
"It's the travel channel meets wellness," states Greg Commins, CEO of the three year old company, Three Sages Wellness. He continued, "Particularly where we are with COVID, I think there's going to be a phased approach to coming out of this." Greg is a former professional rugby player, performance coach, owner of a training business, and a designer of wellness spaces turned tech entrepreneur, with over 20+ years experience. This wide ranging chat touches on the future of the design industry for the HALO space, how his content differs from everything else available, the trajectory of Three Sages, and more. 
Scott Welle is a #1 international best selling author, speaker and founder of Outperform The Norm, a leading program for business leaders and athletes looking raise their game and perform at the highest level. His one common goal is to help people improve and to be better today than they were yesterday. He states, "You learn your greatest lessons when you're going through some amount of adversity. Instead of asking--why me--ask yourself--why this?" This wide ranging discussion touches on everything from the take away's of high performing executives, managing the current climate, how to better manage uncertainty (hint: structure & progress!) and more.
Originally from the finance and wealth management world, Physique 57 Founder Jennifer Maanavi states, "I always wanted to get into the business world, and I was always a dancer growing up . . . I never thought I could combine both!"  After purchasing the well known Lottie Berk Method studio on the Upper East Side, Jennifer brought things to another level. She discusses their (very careful) expansion, the early days of the brand, the difficult question of "whose client it is" (teacher or the brand?), their intensive 200 hour training program, (the average length of service for an instructor is 4 years!), the pro's and con's of external capital, maintaining quality control as you franchise, discussions of the losses of being an entrepreneur, and more! 
"If you ask my parents, they'd still say I'm crazy--jumping from banking to an early start up!" laughs Kal Jamshidi, former investment banker turned entrepreneur. Kam formed onPodio 15 months ago out of a personal frustration experienced at Equinox. onPodio is for independent fitness pros to give them all the tools they need to get online quickly and easily. He provides an "insiders"view on the nuts and bolts of start up life, the evolution of the tech available in the sector, the skill sets that carry over from banking to the day-to-day of running a company (and those that don't) and more! 
Primo Fitness is a 20+ year company in the refurbished equipment space representing multiple brands and works with top chains internationally and domestically. A former pro Australian footballer and coach, Cam took his extensive background in fitness and is now their Western Sale Manager. Here he discusses the current state of the industry, what he sees happening in the next few months, what goes into refurbishing equipment, discussions of margins, buying "as is," and more. This is a must listen for anyone looking to learn more about the (critically important) equipment side of the HALO sector. 
"We're a platform for a life well lived . . . being a big, multipurpose facility you're always trying to reinvent yourselves and stay relevant," states CEO Frank Lawrence of the Little Rock Athletic Club. With 25+ years in banking, and having entered the HALO sector 10 years ago, Frank knows the "realities" of running a club versus "just looking at spreadsheets." Here he talks about rebranding during COVID, the positives (and challenges!) of running a larger facility, what's been occurring with their membership base during these challenging times, and more! 
"You can't just plug someone in to a vacuum. You've got to think about how they fit into a bigger picture," states Pete Leibman, author of Work Stronger, and founder of his recently launched executive search firm specializing in the HALO sector, Stronger Talent. This wide ranging chat touches on the latest in executive search and how the profession has changed, the positives that carry over from athletics into the workplace, what Pete took away from his time at the NBA working with the Washington Wizards, the problems that result from a bad hire, and more!  
"Many entrepreneurs--especially returning entrepreneurs--want investors focused on what's best for the company, not what's best for the VC's portfolio . . .they don't want the goat rodeo, as I call it," states Geoff Schneider, Founder of Cava Capital. As an investor and operator for the past 30 years in the HALO sector, Geoff is also the Founder of Lymbr and investor in Fit Lab. Cava is currently raising a $40m pooled early stage capital fund. Pete and Geoff chat about the direction of fund, what they look for in new companies and entrepreneurs, why the typical VC "shoot the moon" strategy is problematic, different funding strategies in the VC world, and more. This is a must listen for any entrepreneur looking to learn more about early stage funding. 
"The first time I went to an Orange Theory, it was amazing! It was really inspiring!" says Mike Lewis. Mike and his son Jake own the Tuckahoe Area Developer license and are currently searching for their second location in Yonkers. With an impressive history of sports running through the Lewis family, Jake and his Dad discuss why they decided move forward with a smaller studio versus a big box facility, how Jake worked in two other OTF's prior to them opening their own studios (and the significant advantages that offered,) why OTF is such a great franchisee to consider, and much more!
After 20 years serving as a Fortune 500 executive in various public companies, Joe Burton founded Whil, the leading enterprise digital solution for training mindfulness, stress resilience, well being, sleep and performance. "I didn't build this company to flip it, I built it to help people . . . What if someone found out I was meditating? That wouldn't go down well with a Board back then!" he states. "Fast forward 10 years . . . mindfulness is now in the conversation." Whil has deals with CVS, Magellan Health, SABA, Cornerstone On Demand, Virgin Pulse, and many others. The importance of employee's physical and mental health is something all employers know is important, but many take far too long to do anything about. Listen now to learn more. 
Denise founded Muscle Mixes in 1988 and was selling cassettes back then. "We were pioneers because nobody was doing it legally at the time!" she jokes. This is an extremely timely discussion considering what's been going on with Peloton and as more fit pros use music for online workouts. It's critical to know what "royalty free music" is, how it's used, the differences in license types, the needed convergence of fitness and the music industry, what the easiest and most cost effective ways are to legally use music and more!  
"Most people back their way into the insurance business . . . but I got into it on purpose," jokes Lester Morales, Founder of Next Impact. Lester's family was one of the 67% of bankruptcies caused by healthcare expenses. "We were a normal, middle class, family. We were there. This shouldn't have happened. It's absolutely a broken system and I played at the highest levels," he continues. In this wide ranging discussion on the "misalignment of incentives" that pervades the industry, Lester talks about how things can change, what his firm does to save employers and employees hundreds of thousands of dollars while still getting the best care, and much more. This is a must listen for anyone concerned about healthcare costs for themselves, or for their employees. 
"A lot of people . . . just look for a platform. We say, pause a second, think about what's your content strategy and what you're trying to achieve . . . Once you're set on content, the platform and tools are just the delivery mechanism," states Mike Hanson, Managing Partner of Endorphinz.  Mike & Ann Marie discuss the push toward omni channel marketing (now more important than ever), thoughts fitness pros should consider before they go into video, the relationship between the studio and the instructors, revenue sharing models, brands establishing a "digital footprint" and more!
ReWire is a full neuro-performance solution that's not just for professional athletes, but definitely for amateurs as well . . .a hardware/software combo that allows you to workout while layering on additional mental load," states Co-Founder, Sun Sachs. Along with his fellow Co-Founder (and Scientific Advisor) Walter Staiano, this next generation technology is currently seeing impressive results with Division 2 and 3 Italian soccer players, Olympic badminton athletes from the Danish Olympic team, and more. ReWire aids in boosting your resilience to fatigue, as well as monitoring actual fatigue and cognitive load. The "price to value" is quite high and the possibilities for this type of training in a variety of verticals down the road is extremely compelling. 
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