The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



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ILC Update: It's Aways Your Turn

When Seth Godin, marketing guru and former IHRSA keynote speaker, published his book entitled, “What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and It’s Always Your Turn)”, he encouraged readers to become “ruckus makers”.  

When I got to the page with a photo of 29 physicists from the 1927 Solvay Congress in Brussels, I couldn’t stop thinking of the industry leaders who founded IHRSA.



Seventeen people in this photo won the Nobel Prize for Physics. But here’s the thing. They weren’t invited because they won the Nobel Prize. They won the Nobel Prize because they got invited.

That kind of greatness, fueled by association, is a recurring theme in the history of the health club industry.

I think of Curt Beusman - one of the greats of the IHRSA Founders – and all of the early visionaries in the club industry. I am struck by the debt we owe all of them. They founded IHRSA and began the legacy of learning from and sharing with each other to improve their clubs and the industry. After Curt passed away in 2015, Rick Caro said of Curt, "He was a real entrepreneur and a great sharer. He was creative, brilliant, caring, articulate and generous." (Read it here.)

Nearly every tribute to Curt notes his love for theatrics and presentation – I think that Curt was a ruckus maker, but a ruckus maker with a purpose. It is through that generous sharing and leadership of Curt and others upon which the early foundation of the industry was built.

Thinking about Curt led to thinking about another group of ruckus makers - the industry leaders who years later started the Industry Leadership Council (ILC). The ILC began with the idea that if the best operators got together to pursue common objectives, there would be nothing they couldn’t do.

In 2015, Curt’s son Rick Beusman, current head of Saw Mill Sports Management, spoke about a successful attempt to stop the passage of a sales tax on health club membership dues in New York.  Rick said, “…it can be really scary and upsetting to see a misguided state legislature look at the fitness industry as a source for increasing tax revenues without input from anyone. IHRSA rallied club owners from across the state to lobby and defeat the bill at the state capitol. It was a truly wonderful and gratifying result and a great lesson in the value that IHRSA brings to our industry.”

 Seth Godin writes:

“…the economic and technological shifts around us have created an entirely new class of ruckus makers and have given people the freedom to stand up and acknowledge that it’s their turn.

Now, more than ever, more of us have the freedom to care, the freedom to connect,

the freedom to choose,
the freedom to initiate,
the freedom to do what matters.

If we choose.“

As we give our thanks to the industry’s founding fathers and mothers and express our gratitude to the current generation of leaders, let’s also think about how we grow the next generation of ruckus makers – the leaders who, when their time comes, will live up to the legacy of those who came before them.

Here’s to a new generation of ruckus makers.



Helen A. Durkin
EVP Public Policy


It's your turn, add your name to the list of ruckus makers and join the Industry Leadership Council today.

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