Updated: Jan 29
In an 80-minute YouTube livestream, Eric Roza CrossFit CEO and Director of Training Nicole Caroll presented the now quarterly Town Hall event, discussing some of the main issues, topics and talking points of CrossFit's leadership.
Eric Roza took over from disgraced CEO Greg Glassman in 2020 and made waves in the CrossFit community as almost no-one knew who he was!
2020 was a difficult time for many individuals and businesses around the world and CrossFit was one of them. They had a hard time figuring out how to run a worldwide fitness competition during the midst of a pandemic, a real, systemic problem was highlighted with the Black Lives Matter movement which caused the then founder and CEO Greg Glassman make light of both in an offensive tweet and reaction to affiliates response.
Then Eric Roza stepped in...
Who Is Eric Roza In CrossFit?
Roza was formerly CEO of Datalogix, a consumer data collection startup that sold to Oracle in January 2015 but is also the owner of CrossFit Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado.
In his opening statement upon taking over CrossFit, Roza said that he and his team have spoken to hundreds of CrossFit community members over the past month and that "change is needed" at CrossFit.
"Through the dialogue, the team and I have become acutely aware of the alienation and dissonance felt by a number of current, former, and potential members of the community," Roza said. "I've heard your message loud and clear: Change is needed and we must think and act out of the box to reach those who don't feel welcomed by CrossFit."
CrossFit Sanitas is repeatedly recognized one of the country’s top-five CrossFit gyms, and as Chairman of TrueCoach, a leading SaaS platform for personal training, Roza serves on several boards and is an active investor in and mentor to high-growth leaders in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors.
Eric is also a graduate of the University of Michigan and Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
From what we have seen so far and his participation in the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games, we are excited to see where Roza takes CrossFit under his new leadership.
CrossFit's New Mission Statement
Eric Roza presented CrossFit's new mission statement that is "to be the world’s leading platform for health, happiness and performance.”
Breaking this statement down, Rosa went further to build on the inclusion of the many different countries involved, he wants a focus on a global methodology, using the term platform to describe CrossFits mission. Roza went on to say “Here’s what’s important about ‘platform’ is people build shit on top of CrossFit, right?”
There are so many other businesses, groups that operate in the CrossFit space that using the CrossFit platform, athletes can access nutrition, apparel, publishers, equipment manufacturers, box owners and event operators, meaning CrossFit has to be used as a stepping stone to build on.
Also using the terms health, happiness and performance to describe the mission he described as being “pain-free” and living a long life, being able to do the things you want to do and get better at them and "it’s gotta feel good”!
In addition to the increased focus on global domination, Roza also mentioned he wants to break CrossFit Open participation records in 2021, and reached out to CrossFitters around the world to make that happen.
Diversity and Inclusivity in CrossFit
Another progressive and powerful announcement Roza made was a further focus in inclusivity and diversity within CrossFit. With the different movements around the world at this time, this comes at exactly the right time. Especially with Glassmans exit from CrossFit.
CrossFit have hired a leader of inclusivity and diversity, Trish Gerlitz, to manage and gather information around inclusion and diversity within CrossFit and report directly to Roza. Roza reiterated a point he’s made previously. “Racism and sexism are absolutely abhorrent. I find them abhorrent personally. There’s zero place for them in CrossFit.”
He also iterated “If CrossFit stands for something, and we know it does…It stands for — we see people’s common humanity, and we are not gonna discriminate against people. We’re going to affirmatively reach out and make sure people feel welcome.”
CrossFit's COVID-19 Response
This town hall also, inevitably had a portion dedicated to CrossFit's COVID-19 response and how the pandemic has impacted those around the world. Rosa outlined that the impact may be felt well into 2021 and that affiliates and members of the community should recognise this.
Roza announced the launch of the COVID Rx fund which “We have decided and we’re working with our Board of Directors now on establishing a COVID Rx fund…we are still working through the contours of it, but…within about two months and hopefully sooner, we’ll be launching a plan to help — to try to help gyms who have had closures due to COVID.”
Affiliate owners, after struggling to keep doors open for almost 6 months now across the world will welcome this news with open arms, however more details are needed.
He then went on to say “Don’t succumb to magical thinking. Don’t succumb to blind hope…Don’t try to make things as least bad as possible. Figure out how you’re going to get a win out of this. There is one for you. There’s one for everyone here…because we are going to come out of COVID, and it’s likely that we’ll come out by the end of 2021, and you want to come out guns a-blazing.”
CrossFit has also responded by changing the set up of the 2021 CrossFit Open season. There are now 3 weeks instead of 5, there are also workouts that can be done equipment free at home.
The impact of Social Media on CrossFit
Rosa and Carroll also talked about the impact of learning through social media. With the previous leadership in Glassman, there were constant battles between Glassman and social media. After Facebook deleted a group of his, Glassman shut down all Facebook pages and profiles and then later did the same to Instagram. This caused a huge stir in the CrossFit community and I think were the beginnings of the rift between CrossFit and Glassman.
Rosa went on to say that he's "not an instagram guy, Usually [he's] just like, whatever!" but after a seminar he went on, followed CrossFit on Instagram and got immediate value. He said he wants to change and he wants to get better and certainly sees the value that social media has on followers. A refreshing and powerful change for Crossfit.
This open dialogue is a big step in the right direction not only for members of CrossFit gyms and affiliate owners but all members of the CrossFit community. Never before has this open dialogue been held with other CrossFit HQ leaders in such a public fashion and CrossFit members of the world will relish in this. Especially in a time where strong leadership is needed now more that ever.
Eric Roza CrossFit CEO looks forward to a new time for CrossFit with a refreshing direction and leadership.