The Future of Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion For CrossFit

August 23, 2020 by
Photo Credit: Eric Roza (https://www.facebook.com/eric.roza.1)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D.E.I.) was a topic at the forefront of Eric Roza’s first Town Hall meeting last Wednesday and for good reason. Besides the obvious importance of D.E.I. in the current socio-political landscape, the mishandlings of the subject by former CrossFit owner and founder Greg Glassman is the very reason Roza stands in possession of the company today.

The fallout from Glassman’s tweet about George Floyd in conjunction with a leaked email response to an affiliate owner, and multiple leaked audio clips left a sour taste in the mouths of many as the community has gone through a period of critical evaluation, and there is an understandable amount of pressure on Roza and his team to course correct.

Roza reiterated his sentiment that racism and sexism are abhorrent and will have no place in CrossFit under his administration, and detailed ways that his team will be working to improve in those areas through identifying unconscious biases, and working to “seize the moment, but do it in a way that is enduring, and that is authentic to what you’re going to live.”

  • Trish Gerlitz, a former colleague of Roza at Datalogix who has served as the Head of Human Resources for the city of Boulder, Colorado, has been hired as the head of culture and inclusion at CrossFit LLC and will report directly to Roza.
  • Roza also publicized a new email address where anyone can provide feedback and contact the company regarding issues of D.E.I. Anyone interested can email [email protected] 

One of the interesting things Roza touched on was the importance of role modeling and the need for diversity in both the sport and the organization of CrossFit in order to provide inspiration for a diverse group of people to get involved within the community as well.

  • “We’ve started hiring some amazing people of color on the board, on the leadership team, in other facets already,” Roza stated, “It’s really exciting, I’ve never before had this as a motivating principle, as a leader.”
  • The CrossFit Foundation is also starting a new program, via a 7 million dollar endowment from Roza and other investors, to focus specifically on public health with an emphasis on underserved communities.
  • Roza: “You’re going to see us funding research, but also actually operating, if we get to what I want to do, which we will, we will be operating boxes in underserved communities in ways that will become sustainable over time.”

Considerable work will also be done overseas as Roza — who has dual citizenship in France as well — stated his belief that eventually 80-90% of affiliates will be outside of the United States and the companies international efforts need to be expanded.

  • Gary Gaines has been hired by CrossFit as the new General Manager of International, to help expand the focus of the company outside of its home country. Gaines has worked in global operations for companies like Soul Cycle, Lyft, Tesla, and Enterprise Holdings.
  • Affiliate fees will get a facelift and Roza committed to revealing at the next quarterly Town Hall how fees will be restructured based on a given country’s economy to better suit the independent circumstances of each gym’s locale.

The development of D.E.I. is clearly a priority for Roza and his team, and with multiple hires and significant money already set aside to tackle the issue head-on, the first Town Hall meeting provided some promising pieces to the puzzle.

We see people’s common humanity, and we’re not going to discriminate against people, and we’re going to affirmatively reach out and make sure people feel welcome, and we’re conscious also that we’re not starting from a blank slate.”