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Meet Wyatt Chapman of VeraVia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wyatt Chapman.  

Hi Wyatt, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
As the CEO and Founder of VeraVia Health and Wellness, I have learned to embody VeraVia’s comprehensive mind, body, and spirit approach to health. My work experience has taught me the importance of discovering the relationship among one’s internal elements (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) and mastering them to achieve the highest self, allowing for true success and an optimal life experience. 

Prior to starting VeraVia, I served as President and Principal Architect of an award-winning architectural design firm. During this time, I led the cutting-edge sustainable design and construction of numerous large-scale projects across the country, including recreation and fitness facilities, comprehensive physical and mental wellness facilities, rehabilitation centers, dormitories, aircraft hangars, and maintenance facilities, and more. Over a relatively short time, the firm grew by over 300% and I managed the extremely competitive proposal phase as well as the design and construction of over 130 projects that were awarded to the firm, with a cumulative total of over $2.5 Billion. 

While finding “success” professionally and financially, my health, energy, productivity, and personal life suffered. The constant stress and burnout from working seven days a week and constant lack of sleep left me with extreme fatigue, lower productivity, missed time with my family, and severe chronic back pain which took away my single most favorite hobby and stress reliever working out and lifting weights. 

I’ve always loved exercising and eating healthy! But I just wasn’t able to maintain any of my normal healthy habits, and my health continued to suffer. Doctors only wanted to prescribe me medications to mask the pain. I struggled with anxiety and depression. I sought out numerous alternative healthcare practitioners, and while they were helpful, they sometimes contradicted each other, and I just wasn’t able to figure out how to get back control over my physical and mental health. I didn’t have enough tools for how to balance what I thought were my work responsibilities and commitments to other people with healthy habits that were good for me. 

In architecture, I enjoyed creating buildings using sustainable strategies that are proven to improve people’s well-being, quality of life, and productivity. But I came to realize that even if a person’s external environment were designed for optimal wellness, this external focus would not be able to have a significant impact if a person’s internal environment were not consciously being created to promote optimal happiness, productivity, or quality of life. 

I realized that in order to have true lasting health, you must treat all aspects that make up a person’s well-being including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. 

From these experiences, I became more and more interested in how a person’s internal elements (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) might be designed for that person to achieve their highest self, allowing for true success and an optimal life experience. This set of skills is not only rarely taught but also receives very little focused attention, yet prioritizing this as a mission would have the most significant potential to impact one’s quality of life. Nothing could be more important than this! Mastering these parts of yourself would be like creating the strongest most resilient foundation from which all the rest of life’s experiences can be built upon and experienced! 

These overarching concepts, as well as a lifelong passion for health and fitness, led me to leave a successful award-winning career in architecture and sustainable design to start a new kind of company, a comprehensive integrative wellness retreat where people can go and have a multidisciplinary team of health and wellness professionals empowers them to regain control over their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I wanted VeraVia to be a place where people with different health goals could each go and experience a personalized wellness program that addressed their specific goals. At VeraVia, we help our guests discover their true path to wellness and achieve their highest potential! 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has been an exciting a rewarding path, but definitely not a smooth road! As a start-up company in a completely new field, I had to quickly learn a lot of new business skills. The first hurdle I ran into was with our name. I thought of a great name for this new business and designed a great logo and branding identity, only to learn that if I wanted to use that name, it would be difficult to expand the business because I wouldn’t be able to trademark the name I had chosen. So, I immediately had to work with our new marketing company to come up with a new name that could be trademarked. 

Then the marketing and sales side of the business was completely new to me and proved to be the biggest learning curve (and still is!). At first, I thought that if I created a great website that described (in detail!) all of the reasons why VeraVia was the best choice for someone wanting to transform their health and wellbeing, then guests would naturally want to come experience our wellness retreat. Well, I quickly learned it was not going to be that easy! It took years of trial and error and working with different marketing companies and business coaches to learn the basics of marketing and sales. I also had to learn a whole new industry, which was travel and hospitality. In the beginning, since we were providing a high-end luxury experience, I thought that we had to accommodate any request that a guest had no matter what. I learned very fast that this approach would not be sustainable or scalable, so we had to implement a number of standard operating procedures to manage client expectations and learn how to say “no” without offending our guests. 

There were a number of other “bumps” along the way, but the biggest one by far was having to shut down our business completely due to the Covid pandemic. Just as we were gaining consistent traction and year-over-year growth, with a team that was best-in-class and all of our standard operating procedures running smoothly, we had to completely shut down our entire business and lay off all of our staff due to Covid. We were closed for one year and that was probably the most stressful and uncertain time in my career because I didn’t know if we were going to be able to reopen and survive or not. Then when we finally did reopen, we experienced all of the ongoing struggles with staffing and fears around traveling, and fears around spiking positive Covid cases that many other businesses did. 

Thankfully throughout this long journey, I’ve had the blessing of having some amazing people that work with me at VeraVia. Their passion for what we’re doing and their loyalty and commitment to our overall mission have made all our success possible! 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
VeraVia is an award-winning integrative wellness destination dedicated to empowering our guests to find their true path to wellness! 

VeraVia is the most comprehensive, all-inclusive health and wellness retreat in a luxury setting. Our boutique size allows us to create customized programs for each guest based on their unique health goals. We are located in Carlsbad, California (Northern San Diego), in the Forbes Five Star, AAA Five-Diamond Rated Park Hyatt Aviara Resort and Spa. 

Our innovative program is a highly structured and immersive approach, providing comprehensive scientific, evidence-based solutions that result in lasting behavior and lifestyle change. We integrate the most effective Western + Eastern philosophies in a holistic approach that treats the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. 

Our programs are designed with a wraparound approach to wellness with a fully integrated multidisciplinary team of professionals and more one-on-one individual attention than any other health retreat. We are a boutique program and accept a limited amount of guests per week to provide exceptional individual attention. This approach guarantees that we get the best results possible by targeting each guest’s unique goals with a laser focus. 

Our programs specialize in four main areas: Weight Loss and Wellness, Executive Health, Stress Management, and Specific Medical Challenges. 

Each plan incorporates our Four Pillars – Fitness, Nutrition, Naturopathic Medical, and Behavioral, and includes one-on-one consultations with each of our clinicians (fitness, nutrition, behavioral, and medical). Also included are a variety of small group fitness classes, educational workshops, yoga, guided meditation, complete medical labs, farm-to-table organic meals and snacks, personalized nutrition plans, signature massage treatment, credit for wellness add-on services, and comprehensive after-care plan and coaching. 

Our guests come from around the world, including Fortune 500 CEOs, celebrities, professional athletes, and highly successful professionals. They stay anywhere from 3 nights to 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks or longer. We’ve even had guests stay up to 15 weeks. 

So maybe we end by discussing what matters most to you and why?
What matters most to me is being able to do work that I enjoy, and that makes a positive difference in people’s lives while working in collaboration with a team of professionals that are passionate and that I can continue to learn from. Having the ability to balance my professional career with my family and personal time for self-care and fun experiences is most important. 

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