Small Biz Spotlight
Brenda Loube: Corporate Fitness Works
By Mark Stone
Brenda Loube, President and co-founder of Corporate Fitness Works, began her career in healthcare practicing cardiac rehab at Georgetown University. But Loube knew that her passion for wellness should focus on preventative care. “After four years there, I realized I wanted to get people before they had to come to the hospital,” she said. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could take fitness and wellness and apply it to where people spend most of their day—at work?’”
So Loube joined forces with co-founder Sheila Drohan and started the company in St. Petersburg, Florida. Over the past 32 years, Corporate Fitness Works has become a trusted provider of fitness solutions to champion people’s well-being. The company is focused on helping its clients build healthy cultures through innovative management services, facility design and equipment procurement services. “If your company wants to build a fitness center, we are turn-key and do everything in-house: design, layout, operations and management,” Loube said.
Matching Cultures And Growing With Clients’ Needs
While there are many competitors in the corporate fitness industry, Loube believes her company’s team and culture set them apart. “I want our team to look forward to coming to work and to give back,” she said. “We need to make sure we match the team we place at our client’s site with the culture of the customer. Our on-site teams at client sites have to integrate into two cultures: ours and the client’s.” By taking the time to learn about and adapt to a client’s culture, Corporate Fitness Works boasts a 98% customer satisfaction rating with its customers.
Corporate Fitness Works’ typical client engagement runs between three and five years, but they are proud to still be doing business with three of their first major clients. Two Sprint offices in Kansas City and Reston, VA, as well as Boston Properties, are still with the company today, and Loube’s team recently helped one of them with a complete remodel of the fitness center which was custom designed years ago.
Keeping clients healthy is the company’s #1 goal, and preventing health risk and chronic disease is essential. According to Loube, 80% of heart disease is preventable. “I know that healthy employees equal happy employees equal productive employees, which leads to a healthy profit margin,” she said. “If we can reduce health risk we can lower health and medical claims, employees will feel better and enjoy what they do, and that improves a company’s culture and bottom line.”
Loube consistently stresses that the greatest asset for any company is their employee population. She and her team are driven by the conviction that everyone deserves to reach their optimal health and to work in an optimal environment. Corporate Fitness Works nurtures a diverse workplace through inclusive hiring practices, extending benefits to same-sex couples and a welcoming corporate culture.
“As a women-owned business for 30 years, we are a strong supporter of Supplier Diversity and we believe strongly in diversity and inclusion within our own company,” Loube said. “We want our employees, who we refer to as our Team Leaders, to reflect the diverse population that we serve in the wellness and fitness space. Our team culture is all about developing a comfortable environment for all to succeed.”
Corporate Fitness Works has also had to adapt to shifts in the workplace. To meet the demand of an increasingly remote workforce, they’ve developed a new technology solution called WellOnTrack which allows clients who are spread out to engage in their wellness program. The service tracks activity level and creates challenges around that, providing detailed feedback on their progress. “Even when employees are away they can keep on track,” Loube said. “Technology is driving every industry, and you need to be able to serve all employees where they sit.”
The Perpetual Power of the WBE
Loube attributes much of her company’s success to WBENC. As one of the first companies to obtain the WBE certification, Corporate Fitness Works has been a certified woman-owned business for 17 years. And today, the company is set up to be WBENC’s first official WBE wellness sponsor. “Part of our sponsorship is to have a corporate fitness challenge, which will be active during the week of the WBENC conference,” Loube said. “The winning company will win a commercial grade LifeCycle spin bike. It’s a great incentive, and the top 20 companies will go into a drawing and have a chance to win.”
Loube views WBENC as a tremendous resource in which access to and opportunities with decision makers are made available to women entrepreneurs. “The network is truly amazing; I’ve learned a lot, the resources and idea sharing is phenomenal,” she said. “WBENC has provided growth, increased our visibility and has opened the door for new business.” Loube plays an active role with WBENC, serving as a member of the national board for three years, has been on the corporate membership recruitment and revenue committee, a member of the ambassador committee, has attended top executive training and just last year her company was the co-chair of the national conference.
“There is no other network for women business owners… nothing close to WBENC,” Loube added.