These Two CEOs Totally Crossed The Line
And how yoga allowed them to do it...
Sure a lot of the cool kid companies like Apple, Google, and many others are jumping onboard with offering wellness options as a benefit to their employees. But how often do you actually get barefoot with the head honcho, his pup, and sometimes even his wife?
Ok I know what you’re thinking...these guys are probably millennial CEOs of renegade startup companies. Well you guessed that dead wrong!
Meet Bill & Joe. Bill Chetney is the Founder & CEO of Global Retirement Partners based in Carlsbad, California which manages over $231B in retirement plans across the country. Joe Baird is the CEO of Rumiano Cheese Company a 100 year old company that is committed to producing the highest quality cheese and other dairy nutrition that is better for you, better for our farmers and the planet.
I met Bill on January 1, 2019 when I answered a Thumbtack ad stating “looking for a yoga instructor 2-3 times a week in a dedicated yoga studio in an office gym.” Wow, was I immediately impressed when I saw his dedication to providing his employees with an incredible workout space - a gym with all the fixin’s including a golf simulator, climbing wall, sauna, and even a stand alone hot yoga studio.
Bill mentioned he chose me over the other yoga teachers he interviewed because of my background off the mat as a veteran in sales & marketing for large CPG companies. He stated “the team will connect with you better because you know what it’s like to be us.”
I couldn’t agree more - I know first hand the toll on both body & mind that the pressures of a high paced, high stress corporate job can have. I know intimately how hard it is to shed that competitive ego in trying to be the best in everything (even on the mat). I also know how intimidating it can be to try yoga for the first time especially around coworkers - I couldn’t touch my toes, I did not want to do that weird OM thing, and what the heck were all those strange words? (I first discovered yoga through a free class when I worked at Kashi).
BUT most importantly I have witnessed the transformation yoga can have on your life as it has rescued me time & time again from the depths of too much anxiety & stress.
So from that first meeting with Bill, a commitment was made to break in the new corporate yoga studio. Two to three times a week I would teach a group of various levels (accompanied by some four legged friends) an assortment of yoga formats ranging across power, sculpt, & restorative yoga. The benefits both Bill felt & heard across the organization gave him the idea to take it to a bigger scale and I was asked to teach at the annual Women In Pension National Retreat as well as at the GRP Annual Sales conference.
Although I met Bill through my yoga business, I met Joe in a professional atmosphere as a consultant to his company. After a year of working corporately together, Joe recently inquired about a new business initiative for his employees - corporate yoga.
At the peak of Covid-19 he wanted to offer his team a means to connect, exercise, and ground themselves.
Hence Rumiano online Zoom yoga classes began twice a week. Can I tell you how much fun they already are? We have had people practicing from their farms in Northern California with roosters crowing as well as Joe’s retriever sidekick, Emma, always ready to extend her savasana.
Sure many people have heard that yoga has long proven to provide many mental and physical benefits. Some of the benefits of corporate yoga include:
Reduces stress, anxiety & depression
Increases energy & decreased fatigue
Alleviates common pain from desk jobs
Improves concentration & focus
Strengthens muscles & increases flexibility
Promotes morale & team bonding
However it seems like both of these CEOs have unlocked a powerful secret. Enjoying yoga WITH your employees creates a new sense of team. It unbinds the barriers of titles, it creates a judgement free space, and it emphasises the importance of mental well being. By standing barefoot to barefoot a deeper rooted bond is formed. And from my observations these two CEOs have some of the closest relationships & happiest employees around.
Have you seen corporate yoga or a similar initiative benefit your organization? If so I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
If you would be interested in setting up corporate yoga for your own company please drop me a note firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are an employee & have no idea how to get this across the line let’s chat!
About The Author:
Ally Wettengel is the owner of The Spirit Bird Life, a yoga & life coaching business located in Encinitas, California. Prior to this Ally worked in marketing & sales across the CPG industry for Kashi, Kelloggs, Kimberly-Clark, & 3M.