Meet The Colleagues
How Tom Is Impacting Communities
Quiz: What do you get when you bring together four passionate entrepreneurial leaders including two Krista Colleagues with hearts transformed by volunteer service? Answer: Vera Fitness, a business crafted to empower women, value employees, and embody an ethic of stewardship that reinvests in local and global communities.
"The trend in the fitness industry is really discouraging," explains Tom Norwood, co-owner and Krista Colleague ('99). "Passionate qualified personal trainers are instead trained to push supplements and products. Many are deeply frustrated and leaving." Vera's philosophy differs. Instead of membership and supplement sales determining income, Vera's fully salaried employees participate in emotional intelligence training to hone their client-centered coaching skills. "They will be better able to listen, encourage, and cater to a woman's individual uniqueness as she strives to reach health and fitness goals," says Krista Colleague Ryan Schmid ('01), co-founder and director of the innovative non-profit Rainier Health and Fitness in Seattle's inner city and recent MBA graduate.
Early on, the four owners agreed they wanted to give money back, so 4% will be donated to their significant areas of interest including the Krista Foundation, community health, global women's concerns, and environmental projects. Tom and Ryan, who have both worked in formal ministry positions, have received comments that they have compromised their principles by going for-profit. But their belief is Vera Fitness is poised to be an example of the values of global citizenship lived in the business marketplace.
Tom's Service Bio
I worked in Men's Ministry through the local church in Kenya.
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