When a CEO leaves a local giant like Valpak, the business community pays attention. Like watching stocks, many turned to see where the St. Pete EDC past chair might go - and therefore, where economic development might be going. Despite their roots in Columbus, Ohio and Austin, Texas, Mike and Beth Vivio decidedly cemented St. Pete as home and surprised everyone when they bought Corporate Fitness Works, a 30 year old St. Pete-based company that serves more than 80 companies in 140 cities nationwide. Inspired by their own journeys into fitness, the Vivios are showing the world that it's never too late for a fresh start and it's the perfect time to make St. Pete home.
Years in St. Pete
Organizations involved in
Beth: John’s Hopkins All Children’s Foundation, St. Petersburg Free Clinic, Shorecrest Prep School.
Mike: Civic work in and around economic development, immediate past chair of St. Pete Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Executive Committee of St. Pete Chamber.
What gets you out of bed every day?
Beth: Our dogs: we have a collie and a pug who wake me up. Aside from dog walking, we’ve got kids and a great new company we’re running, so lots that motivates me to get up in the morning.
Mike: We’re midcareer, we’re both 52. To start something something new, and to have the world of possibilities be completely fresh at this point in our career is enough to get you out of bed and it’s really exciting.
Why St. Pete?
Beth: We’re originally from Ohio, and so one of the things that I love about being in this part of Florida is that pretty much everyone is from the midwest, or more specifically from Columbus, Ohio where I grew up. The minute you come to St. Pete, you’re welcome. I felt right at home and that’s one of the reasons we love it here.
Mike: We moved here from Austin, TX, and when we had the opportunity to move to Tampa Bay, I lived at a corporate housing out by the beach and it really didn’t feel like home. And we looked at other places to live in Tampa Bay and nothing felt quite like being near St. Pete.
What is one habit that you keep?
Beth: About three years ago I started working out with a personal trainer, and that is not something I have done very consistently prior to that and it has made such a huge difference to me and that’s an appointment I won’t break, so that’s a very important part of my daily routine.
Mike: We’ve always been active in our life and I’ve always been active in my life but to set that regular workout schedule and adhere to it has really been something that has carried me through stressful times and I see where it matters in our life. I listen to audiobooks always, if I’m walking the dog or in the car by myself I’m always listening to an audiobook.
Who are some people that influence you?
Beth: In broader terms, I enjoy listening to podcasts, and my favorite podcast right now is How I Built This and it’s all these entrepreneurs who talk about their companies and things like that I find so incredibly inspiring. And I love to understand what motivates people and learn more about the work they’ve done.
Mike: I don’t know if I can give you a who either, but I can tell you a type of person that always motivates me. The kind of people who are always curious, always have high energy, are always optimistic and always loooking for the new and creative in things.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
Beth: A book that I just recently read is a book called The Four Agreements. It is the playbook for our executive team in terms of how we promise to interact with each other. I think it’s a great tool for any business.
Mike: Focus on what you’re doing right now and what you’re doing today. Be as great as you can and the things in the future will tend to take care of themselves.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
Beth: One thing I wish I knew is that it’s very personal to trust in my own abilities and feel confident in what I’m capable of doing. And realize that even the most accomplished individuals are just like you and me. We’re all human and we all learn as we go and make mistakes and hopefully learn from our mistakes.
Mike: I’m actually kind of glad that I didn’t know the change that was coming down the road, because the opportunity that happens when life gives you a curveball and the ability to take a fresh look and the find that you have energy you might not have thought you had. I’m not sure I could have appreciated it three years ago as I do now.
Beth: Continuing to learn about our new company and make some growth happen.
Mike: We are making a plan and working a plan, and that’s going to bring opportunity. We don’t know necessarily what that opportunity is going to be we just know the direction it’s going.