Todd Wolfenberg – CEO, Yoga International

I’m a leader and chief executive with a passion for working with diverse teams to find innovative ways to solve complex issues in the rapidly changing digital space.

I’m currently CEO of Yoga International, a global digital media company that serves 300,000+ members with exclusive content on yoga, ayurveda, meditation, and mindful living on a subscription basis. Our entire mission is centered around helping people live happier, healthier lives by making yoga more available, inclusive, and accessible to all.

As chief executive, I’ve led the organization through a time of tremendous growth. Since 2012, we’ve expanded our user base to over 300,000 members, have established a network of 500+ expert teachers and writers who create content for our members, and have grown our in-house team from 8 to 45+ full-time employees.

Before Yoga International, I worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, where I managed a wide array of businesses from real estate to retail sales to e-commerce.

I believe in using my platform for social good and have a passion for social-impact projects. Most recently, I joined Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and other business leaders to discuss strategies for closing the digital divide.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending quality time with my family, playing sports, meditating, and outdoors activities.

Tell us about the early days of Yoga International.

We didn’t start completely from scratch because we had an existing print magazine. This made it both easier and harder—easier because we had content, but harder because we had to create an entirely new model both for our employees and our customers. When we transitioned to being a purely digital organization, we lost a lot of our existing customer base. This was hard and painful, but also necessary to go where we knew we needed to go.

Three months after we launched, we were served with a cease-and-desist letter from another online yoga platform that was patenting its camera angle. At first, this seemed like a major roadblock in that we could no longer film classes in an easy, standard way, but it actually became a blessing as we shared the patent news with the yoga community and received a massive outpouring of support.

In the early days, we leveraged everything in order to maximize growth—our contacts, our assets, our brand, everything. We had no marketing budget, eight employees, and a willingness to do anything to figure things out. We worked from desks that we had repurposed from the doors of an old barn nearby. Non-attachment was a huge factor in our success and growth. We had to iterate daily in order to figure out what was working—marketing, content, strategy, pricing, audience. This helped us organically grow our Facebook reach from 40,000 followers in mid-2013 to 500,000 followers a year later.

As we grew our team from 8 in 2015 to 45 in 2019, we have focused on three key things: culture, innovation, and values. The workplace culture is prioritized above all else. It has to be fun and lively and supportive. Reinvesting in our people has yielded amazing results. Innovation is at our core. We have launched all kinds of new digital programs, new collaborations with yoga teachers, and new technology. Plus, our marketing has to be innovative as trends and technology constantly change. Finally, we have to always keep our core mission of making yoga inclusive and available to all, and keep in mind and remember that our product is for the benefit of the end-user. We want to help people feel better and more healthy in both mind and body, and we have to stay in integrity with our employees and all of the teachers we work with.

These three focuses helped us reach the Inc. 500 list in 2018 and 2019, ranking as one of the 122 fastest-growing private companies in America. We also won “Inc. Best Workplaces” in 2019 and are planning rapid expansion in 2020.

Who else should we interview? Nominate someone!

Interviews are conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.

Check out the Books most recommended by successful entrepreneurs and executives!