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Barry’s started in 1998 as a one-studio, Los Angeles-based boutique gym concept that went on to become a global fitness phenomenon.


At the helm of the company is Joey Gonzalez who started as a client, in 2003, but quickly embarked on a unique journey that resulted in CEO status as of 2015.

Gonzalez has dedicated his life to expanding the brand around the world, fostering diverse communities across four continents. Barry’s now has more than 80 studios within 30 cities, throughout 14 countries, (including the US, Mexico, Europe, Australia and South East Asia). Each week they welcome over 150,000 clients through their doors.

In 2018, Gonzalez was named to Fast Company‘s list of the “Most Creative People in Business” and in 2020, was named “EY Entrepreneur of the Year for Greater Los Angeles”.

Here are excerpts from my interview with the man, himself, detailing how he made it happen in an epically small amount of time…

Related: Jason Khalipa Grew a $10,000 Fitness Start-Up into a Business Goliath

Servant leadership and overall values

“My 4-dimensional journey from being a Barry’s client [in 2003] to instructor/manager, COO, and finally Global CEO [in 2015] had a huge impact on my style of leadership, which I refer to as servant leadership. I learned that you need to create a working environment that puts the needs of clients first and also supports the development of our instructors. This servant leadership style has resulted in a trustworthy employee base that is highly passionate about their jobs, which helps drive overall business success. I also dedicated a significant amount of time, effort and resources to developing Barry’s mission, vision and values which acts as a compass for the business. This…provides clarity to the entire employee base around expectations and path to success.”

Related: Austin Cohen Makes Fitness Accessible To Everyone

Hire people that challenge you

“Who you surround yourself with is who you become, so choose wisely. I’ve always tried to hire key players who I believe I can learn from, share a positive outlook on life, have a hard work ethic and are passionate about Barry’s. This resulted in me not falling into a comfort zone but, instead, maintaining a growth zone. It has also impacted the way we recruit.”

Related: How the Leaders of Trip Tribe Wellness Grew a Business Based on Their Shared Love of Health and Travel

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