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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Lessons in Fitness Leadership: Treat Customers and Employees Well

The Lessons in Fitness Leadership series highlights IHRSA’s industry leaders and thanks them for their continued commitment to growing, promoting, and protecting the health club industry. By sharing their business expertise, we hope that you will get to know them, what they've learned along the way, and how they view leadership. 

Phil Wendel
Charlottesville, VA

What is the most fulfilling part of being a business leader in the fitness industry? 

This is a feel good way to make a living. At ACAC, we say that we help people “live their best.” We’re part of the solution to America’s healthcare crisis. So, while we’re making a living we’re also helping other people live.

If you were able to go back in time, what is one piece of leadership advice you would have given your younger-self about working in the fitness industry?

1. Focus on sales, sales, sales. I’ve had two jobs. The first was at a student travel company, and the second was in this industry. I started a fitness center (ACAC) in 1984. When we started, we focused on tremendously building the top line. I had a piece of advice I would always give to anyone that put a great idea on my desk; I would ask them—do you have someone that can sell this?

2. If your business is based heavily in sales, make sure there are an equal number of people working to manage the expense side of your business.

3. Treat your customers and your employees extremely well.

What prompted you to join the Industry Leadership Council (ILC)?

Any industry is far more effective if it has somebody that represents your common interests. IHRSA’s most effective tool and their best work—other than providing an A+ convention every year—is their work on fighting sales tax battles.

One of the best IHRSA member benefits is allowing individual club operators to contribute to legislative outcomes. Collectively we are stronger. Together we have a broader and more effective voice than any of us can have individually. 

Reader Comments (1)

Zachary 😴 zz zzz, xz%:'' :
July 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterZ, zx

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