"STAY HEALTHY THROUGH THE HUSTLE."- ED BUCKLEY, PhD, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, PEERFIT
I grew up as a military kid and was taught the value of discipline and structure really early on in life. I went to the University of Florida on a scholarship from the Navy ROTC program (#gogators) and went on to earn my Master’s in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Digital Health Behavior, focused on human behavior and how community can help influence.
During this time, I launched my first company Wellness2Go, a corporate wellness program that gave employees access to gyms and healthy eats, paid for by their employer, with Atlanta Public Schools as one of our first clients. This company was the inspiration for creating Peerfit in 2011.
I was teaching classes at Gainesville Health and Fitness and other fitness facilities and would hear from my students how they wanted to be able to follow me to the different gyms and facilities. In order to do so, they would have to pay out of pocket. This was extremely inconvenient, as no one wanted to juggle multiple memberships just to take one class. So, we thought of creating a “pass” that would allow them to take classes from their favorite fitness instructors no matter the location.
As both a fitness instructor and a grad student, I was connecting what I was hearing out in the field to what I was studying.
People came to me with a problem – they wanted to do something and couldn’t. I became obsessed with providing a solution by figuring out how to solve their pain points and friction. It wasn’t just about starting a company or the glamour of being an entrepreneur. I was set on making life easier by solving one seemingly small, but significant problem.
We joined the 2014 Healthbox Accelerator Program (funded by Florida Blue) in Tampa, and that is when we pivoted into corporate wellness. We knew if we wanted to help solve the challenges of being active and healthy we had to go to the source of who administered wellness benefits.
We’re fortunate as a company that by solving their problem, we’re also keeping them healthy and active.
As an entrepreneur, I encourage others to ‘stay healthy through the hustle’. It’s important to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy whether that be through exercise, meditation, or through reading a good book, because when you feel your best you are at your best for your company and your employees.