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Former Mindbody CEO reflects on 20 years with company

Courtesy of Mindbody
Posted at 7:11 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 02:59:13-04

A milestone for Mindbody, one of the world's leading technology platforms for integrated software and payment, as CEO Rick Stollmeyer stepped down Wednesday.

The company primarily serves fitness studios, salons, and spas. The globally recognized company has made its mark here on the Central Coast, after Stollmeyer founded the company in his garage nearly 20 years ago.

"I couldn't find a job so I had to create one," Stollmeyer said.

The announcement of his departure as CEO came as a shock to many in the local community. Stollmeyer says the decision did not come easy.

“It's a big change. So my emotions are kind of all over the map. But I want everybody to know, I really want this. This is the transition that I hoped for," he said.

Stollmeyer will continue his work with Mindbody as an executive chairman.

He says he will still remain a public voice for the company, staying involved with strategy and managing relationships with some of Mindbody's biggest customers.

"It's been thrilling, it's been an amazing two-decade ride and I feel incredibly privileged to kind of stumbled into my life's work more than 20 years ago."

Beginning Aug. 1, Josh McCarter, former CEO of Booker, one of Mindbody's former competitors will be taking over as CEO for Mindbody. McCarter says he will remain at the company's Scottsdale, Arizona location.

"We made the announcement yesterday. Obviously, Rick and I've been working together very closely over the last couple years, really more so in the last year after our acquisition by Vista, where we started building out the new strategy for the business, implementing a lot of their best practices, and then COVID hit," McCarter said.

Now, Mcarter says his main focus as leader is to guide the company through the pandemic.

Both Stollmeyer and McCarter say the pandemic has opened their eyes to the capabilities of remote working.

"Now more than ever, given that we now have all gotten a crash course on how to use tools like Zoom, you can collaborate with anybody in the world," Stollmeyer said."You don't have to live in downtown San Francisco or in New York or some high-density place to have a successful startup... San Luis Obispo is a great place to do it."

Like many businesses, Mindbody was hit by the economic impacts of the coronavirus.

Nearly 700 company employees were furloughed globally, about 500 of those local employees, according to Stollmeyer.

"It's the single hardest thing I've ever had to do. It was gut-wrenching," he said.

With the company in new hands, some question if the headquarters will relocate.

Mindbody sold to Vista Equity Partners in February of 2019 for nearly $2 billion.

The former CEO and U.S. Naval Academy graduate says he is not worried. The Central Coast location, he says, has been a secret to their success, with talent right around the corner.

“I was recruited out of a Cal Poly career fair, entry-level sales position," said former Mindbody Team Member Seth Lagrosa. "I knew I wanted to get into tech. And obviously, they're a huge employer and a really big brand.”

Lagrosa was let go this past spring.

"February 2020 was literally like one of the best times in my life," he said. "The company was doing well, the industry was great. People were thriving and getting like their career advancements and we're having entry-level employees and we're doing a lot of great things. It's heartbreaking that 700 of us were let go."

A tough goodbye for the employees who dedicated their work to keeping Stollmeyer's vision alive. Now, an even harder goodbye for the company he built from the ground up.

But Stollmeyer says he is ready for the next chapter of his life, where he can focus on the things that he feels he can add the most value to the company and community.