Doing Well by Doing Good
Robert Jackson and Mandana Nejad share a devotion to health and fitness that extends far beyond the walls of their Forma Gym business. Business and community, they insist, go hand in hand, and they’ve found both purpose and success in keeping that philosophy front and center.
Forma Gym started out as a small training studio before the Jacksons purchased the former Walnut Creek Sports and Fitness in 2012. “With a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck,” Robert recalls, we transformed the gym into a preeminent community fitness facility.” That same year, the couple took over the operation and sponsorship of Forma Turkey Trot—an event that has raised over $628,000 for Walnut Creek public schools and the Food Banks of Contra Costa and Solano Counties. Proceeds from the race also help fund Forma’s annual donation of 500 Thanksgiving meals for hungry families in Oakland.
For the Jacksons, social action, like their business acumen, seems woven into their DNA. When asked why they do it all, they instinctively look at each other and simultaneously answer, “Why not?” They launched the Forma Kids Foundation in 2013 with the mission to “improve the health and wellness of children in our community and our world, and to instill in them the values of physical activity, healthy nutrition habits, and giving back.”
With children aged eight and four, they hope to set a good example for them and educate them on what it means to be engaged, kind, and generous citizens. Forma members, they believe, value the club’s civic engagement, and employees take pride in working for a company committed to doing well by doing good.
Never resting on their laurels, two years ago, Robert founded Fitness BI, an innovative software application dashboard that provides health clubs with data-driven insights to better manage club operations. And he hopes to increase sponsorship for the paralysis victims receiving rehabilitation at RISE: Paralysis Recovery Center at Forma Gym. Mandana, now responsible for the gym’s day-to-day operations, recently brought on a new COO, allowing her to focus on the Foundation. She also hopes to expand the Turkey Trot and bring a similar event to Forma Gym in San Jose. And she has her eye on new ways to support the needs of children in the foster care system. Together they are a dynamic duo for good.