Sweating on the job is a good thing, as far as Charley is concerned. As a lifelong athlete, he’s made a career of continually pushing himself to do and achieve more—whether at the gym or in the office. As the Director of Supply Chain and Logistics at EF Education First in Boston, he’s channeled his can-do spirit into creating a role focused on developing synergy among EF’s global divisions. And when he’s not busy finding smarter, faster and more streamlined ways of doing business, you’ll find him at EF’s fitness studio, leading classes that bring EFers together to burn calories and make new connections. We sat down with Charley to learn more about what keeps him motivated to pursue new goals—at work and in his workouts—while inspiring others to do the same.
What led you to EF?
After building a career in the shipping and freight industry in New Jersey, I relocated to Massachusetts to be closer to my wife’s family. Through an outside agency, I discovered an open position for a fulfillment and operations role within EF Educational Tours. I jumped at the opportunity, and 15 minutes into my first interview, I knew I had to work at EF.
Hearing my future manager talk about the entrepreneurial spirit throughout EF was the biggest hook. It was exciting to think my ideas would not only be heard, but that I would also be able to implement, drive and track effectiveness of the changes I made.
How have you been able to drive change so far?
Throughout the course of several global projects and talking with other offices, I realized EF had a need in the area of shipping and logistics. Once I identified this, I had full support from senior managers to create a role for myself that focused on global logistics.
In my role as Director of Supply Chain and Logistics, I’m able to leverage our vendor relationships across multiple countries to realize efficiencies and accomplish goals for EF’s 17 business divisions. With a background in international shipping, I’m also a resource for EF products when they encounter issues with vendors, shipping and customs clearance. My goal is to have our vendors view EF as one large company, while still allowing our individual products to make their own business decisions.
How has EF supported you in your other passion: fitness?
Fitness and exercise have been interests of mine since I was 16 years old. When I came to EF, I found a community of staff who also liked to be active. We started working out together during lunch at the playground in nearby North Point Park. Our outdoor fitness classes started as a grassroots movement that quickly gained momentum—and others at EF started noticing. Once we had the opportunity to make things ‘official’ with our onsite fitness studio, I jumped at the chance to help out.
There’s a prevailing thought that happy employees are not only strong of mind, but also of body. I feel lucky to be an instructor at EF’s fitness studio, because I think it’s incredible that EF is able to offer employees free classes at multiple times throughout the day. In addition to teaching, I’m also involved in EF’s Running Club and trained for last summer’s EF Backyard Run relay race.
Tell us about the fitness classes you teach—what was your inspiration?
I teach two classes: Weekend Eraser on Mondays, and Weekend Kickstarter on Fridays. The idea is to bookend the week with activity that nets positive fitness results, regardless of what happens over the weekend. Kickstart it, then erase it. Get it?
The classes are built on weight training principles, but instead of taking a rest in between sets, you kick up your metabolism by performing a cardio movement. I find it to be one of the most effective routines I’ve ever done since I started working out. Both classes are usually 40-45 minutes long, which allows employees time to shower, grab a bite and get back to work.
How has becoming an EF fitness instructor impacted your career?
I’ve discovered I really like helping people, especially in the judgement-free environment we cultivate at EF. The biggest thing I hear from people who’ve never taken a class before is, ‘I can’t do that. Everyone here knows what they’re doing.’ I love being able to jump in and help someone who’s never worked out before, while still finding a balance that’s challenging for everyone in the class. I’ve also found our fitness classes are a great networking tool. I love connecting with new colleagues from around the globe. It’s inspiring to see how we all share a common thread in our approach to the world and EF’s mission of opening the world through education.
Where’s your favorite place to work out in the greater Boston area (beyond EF)?
The Middlesex Fells Reservation. It’s beautiful and great for trail running or hiking. If I’m training for a race, I’ll typically go four to five times a week at 4:30 or 5:30 a.m. It feels great to accomplish a goal and then watch the sun come up. Sometimes you can even see the hummingbirds at that time of day.
Any advice for those thinking about trying something new—at work or in the gym?
EF has broadened my horizons and given me hope that anything is possible. Today my advice to others is simply, just do it. Rip off the Band-Aid. You won’t be disappointed. And if you need an accountability buddy, I’m here. The offer always stands.