10 Things You Didn’t Know about Gympass CEO Cesar Carvalho

Valor Group

Cesar Carvalho is the CEO of Gympass. His company embodies channeling good health. Like a lot of people who have either founded or co-founded their own companies, Carvalho perceived a need in the marketplace before rushing in to fill it with his corporate fitness program.

1. Comes From Minas Gerais

Carvalho started out in the Southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. It is interesting to note that the state is very extensive, so much so that it is bigger than Metropolitan France. Besides that, Minas Gerais is an important producer of milk, coffee, and a number of other agricultural commodities, which is on top of a booming tourism sector based on both historical and natural sites of interest.

2. Multilingual

Based on this, it should come as no surprise to learn that Carvalho is multilingual. To be exact, he can speak three languages, though both his English and his Portuguese are better than his Spanish. This makes sense because Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, with the result that about 98 percent of Brazilians are capable of speaking it. Meanwhile, Carvalho’s career presumably means that he has made much more use of English than Spanish, which would explain why he is more proficient in the first language than in the second language.

3. Studied In a Number of Countries

Carvalho received his education from three schools in three countries. First, he went to Tilburg University, which is a public research university that can be found in the southern part of the Netherlands. Second, he went to the Universidade de Sao Paulo, which can claim the honor of being the best university in Brazil and thus one of the best universities that can be found in the whole of Ibero-America. Third, Carvalho went to Harvard University for his MBA. Said subject is perhaps unsurprising, seeing as how he had gone for business and international business before that.

4. Came Up with the Concept for Gympass As a Consultant

It is interesting to note that Carvalho was a consultant for McKinsey & Company when he realized that there was a problem. In short, he was traveling on a constant basis because of the nature of his job, but he was having a hard time finding fitness options that weren’t either too expensive, too time-consuming, or a combination of both. Having said that, it wasn’t until Carvalho was at Harvard University that he came up with a potential solution to the problem in the form of a shared economy for fitness facilities, with the result that he proceeded to collaborate with a number of ex-colleagues to secure enough funding to get the idea off of the ground.

5. Sees Physical Inactivity As a Global Issue

A lot of companies have some kind of higher calling as a sort of beacon for their revenue-earning operations. In the case of Gympass, this seems to be combating physical inactivity, which Carvalho sees as a serious global issue. This makes sense because obesity is an epidemic in industrialized countries, industrializing countries, and non-industrialized countries, which is particularly devastating because it often co-exists with undernutrition. Beating physical inactivity won’t solve this epidemic on its own because obesity is a complicated issue with more than one potential cause, but it is nonetheless an important step towards curbing it as well as its very dangerous consequences.

6. Says That He Made Suboptimal Hiring Choices At the Start

Start-ups face a wide range of challenges. In Carvalho’s case, he has commented upon the serious errors that he made when he was hiring candidates or his start-up. In short, he said that he never expected Gympass to see the kind of growth that it has seen. As a result, Carvalho hired people who could perform the necessary functions when he made those hiring choices rather than people who could continue performing the necessary functions for years and years into the future. This became a problem because he had to hire more and more people when his start-up outstripped the capabilities of his initial hires.

7. Acknowledges that Hiring For the Future Is Tough

Having said that, Carvalho has acknowledged that hiring for the future is tough. First, more talented individuals come with higher price tags, meaning that a start-up might not have the resources needed to pay for them. Second, choosing to hire for the future means predicting whether the candidate can continue performing well in the future or not, which is much easier said than done. Third, the whole thing requires the entrepreneur to have the confidence that their start-up will still be around in the future. Something that is very much a leap of faith considering the inherent challenges of running a start-up. Still, when everything comes together, the results can be remarkable.

8. Believes That Implementing a “Culture of Health” Takes Leadership

Carvalho has voiced the opinion that the successful implementation of a “culture of health” is something that takes leadership. Moreover, it isn’t something that the top leaders can push through on their own but instead needs the support of other leaders at other levels as well. This makes sense because while business cultures are very much living things, they possess their own sense of inertia. As such, making changes to them is never as simple as just having executives say so.

9. Stresses the Importance of Leading By Example

On a related note, Carvalho believes that leading by example can be a very useful way for executives to convince their employees to exercise on a regular basis and otherwise live in a healthy manner. Visible participation in the relevant initiatives is critical for showing everyone that they are indeed taken seriously by the leadership.

10. Stresses the Need For Variety

Speaking of which, Carvalho has noted that it is common for health initiatives to see an initial surge of interest that soon fades out. To combat this, he believes in variety to keep things fresh for their participants. For example, this could mean fun challenges. Likewise, this could mean a wider range of options for interested individuals. Of course, these options are not mutually exclusive, meaning that it is perfectly normal for them to be used in combination.


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