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Entries in Debra Siena (11)


How The IHRSA Institute Will Amp Up Your Health Club Management Game

There are several barriers that can stop your health club management game from reaching its full potential. Club managers have to juggle so many daily tasks it can be difficult to see the big picture, let alone find the time and resourses to sharpen your skillsets. 

If the situation we just described sounds familiar, the IHRSA Institute is for you. 

Continue reading "How The IHRSA Institute Will Amp Up Your Health Club Management Game."

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Unleashing Your Health Club Team’s Talent

The reasons for developing the talent within your health club are limitless; bolstering your employees helps to improve retention, foster a positive culture, and increase productivity. And, in the wise words of business writer Tom Peters, “Leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders.”

However, like most things that are worthwhile, talent development is easier said than done—especially for the busy club operator.

Continue reading "Unleashing Your Health Club Team’s Talent."

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3 Forces Changing the Corporate Fitness Landscape

The vast majority of American companies with 200 or more employees offer some kind of workplace wellness program, but studies have shown that a low percentage of the workforce actually take advantage of programs aiming to increase physical activity, boost smoking cessation, and assist with weight loss. 

This, of course, represents a major missed opportunity for businesses, individuals, communities, and the nation as a whole. 

Recently, however, the dialogue and the landscape have begun to change in significant ways. Here’s an overview of the three main forces changing this brave new world of corporate fitness. 

1. Impact of the ACA 

The 2012 Review of the U.S. Workplace Wellness Market was part of a study of wellness programs that was required by the ACA, a federal statute designed to improve the quality, affordability, and accessibility of health insurance. It was enacted in January of 2014. 

In an attempt to reduce costs, the ACA established new incentives and built on existing wellness program policies to promote corporate wellness initiatives, whether offered at the worksite or in clubs. In doing so, it also acknowledged that clubs are a legitimate and valuable part of the healthcare continuum. 

“What the ACA has done is to bring a level of accountability to corporate fitness and wellness programs,” said Allison Flatley, the chief strategy officer at Corporate Fitness Works (CFW), a wellness and fitness program provider based in St. Petersburg, FL. CFW currently serves some 165 client sites. 

2. Documenting Outcomes 

The new emphasis on outcomes means that club operators must be able to document results—by, in part, gathering all of the requisite data. It also means working with insurers in a different way. 

Midtown Health, a corporate fitness center management and wellness firm, and a division of TCA Holdings, LLC, is a leader in the field. It manages 22 centers for such clients as Kraft-Heinz, General Motors, Underwriters Laboratory, and McDonald’s world headquarters. And the company, based in Chicago, tracks everything from participation to outcomes, including biometrics, well-being scores, and health improvements. 

“We track these outcomes and present them in aggregate formats for insurers,” said Debra Siena, the president of Midtown Health. “That’s the biggest change we’ve seen over the past few years. Today, we’re communicating directly with insurers, so that employers don’t have to get involved from a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) compliance perspective.” 

3. Program Proliferation 

While a corporate membership might, at one time, simply have meant an all-access pass to a club, today, employees can choose from a lengthy list of possibilities. In addition to the type of services that Midtown Health proffers, there are also boot camps, personal training, mind-body classes, and remote online access to classes. 

Asked how the ACA has affected corporate wellness in terms of new offerings, Flatley ticks off a long and comprehensive list: telemedicine; on-site clinics; active meeting rooms; standing work stations; employee challenges involving wearables; Web-based social media for blogs and videos; and healthy stairways, bike share programs, and smoke-free campuses. 

“We have several clients who are subsidizing group personal training as a path to greater health benefits,” said Flatley. “Group personal training participants are highly engaged, and it’s much easier to track their progress with data. And because the pricing tends to be below market value—as compared to standard personal training—it’s more accessible, and, thus, more popular.” 

Read the full “The Fresh Look of Corporate Fitness” in the April issue of CBI.


Midtown Health President Talks Health Club/Hospital Partnerships, Women in Leadership

Debra Siena, president of Midtown Health, a division of TCA Holdings, LLC, in Chicago shared her insights on employee wellness and health care/health club partnerships in the January issue of Club Business International.

CBI: Midtown Health manages facilities for hospital wellness centers, corporate fitness centers, and office building amenity clubs. What sort of special skills does that require?

DS: We’re a leader in customized fitness center management and employee wellness solutions, with 40 years of expertise. As the managed club division of TCA Holdings, we’re the 13th-largest club operator in the U.S.

We offer strong central services, a management team, and operational support, as well as the ability to maximize a club’s profit potential. Our 50 associates provide clubs with services encompassing facility design, equipment selection, purchasing, information systems, sales and marketing, accounting, human resources, insurance, risk management, and associate learning and development. We also have national directors in facilities, sales, operations, fitness, tennis, and spa.

CBI: Your best advice for club operators who want to align with physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers?

DS: Sometimes, commercial clubs try to enter this space to drive memberships. But health systems see right through a membership promotion that’s disguised with a lab coat. Instead, you should find out how your club can best serve a health system. By doing so, you’ll lay a foundation of trust, and create a mutually beneficial scenario. Is the health system looking, for instance, for an extension of their physical therapy, or for a prediabetic weight loss solution? Your club can play a huge role in the continuum of care.

CBI: Could you describe one of your health care-related offerings?

DS: Our ongoing Wellness Discovery Program provides movement, healthy eating, and well-being tips in a group setting. Physicians refer their patients for everything from prediabetic counseling to problems with high blood pressure. We create a communications loop through the physician’s electronic medical records to report their patients’ data. The results are impressive, and allow Midtown Health to serve as “physician extenders.”

CBI: You’re going to be facilitating the Women’s Leadership Summit at IHRSA 2016 in Orlando. Tell us a bit about that.

DS: The summit started six years ago in honor of the late Julie Main, the co-owner and president of the West Coast Athletic Clubs, and a past president and former board member of IHRSA. The goal of the summit is to provide women with leadership inspiration, education, and collaboration.

Over the years, we’ve transitioned from presenting a panel of industry speakers to inviting an outside guest
speaker to address the leadership topic, which, this year, is well-being. Our speaker, Dr. Beth Cabrera, is the author of Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being, and a senior scholar at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. She encourages women to focus on improving their well-being, instead of always trying to find balance. I concur.

CBI: What women’s concerns do you feel still need to be addressed?

DS: Our industry is still dominated by men who tend to hire, mentor, and promote other men. Women need the same opportunities. Women bring unique strengths and perspectives to bear—expressiveness, flexibility, and intuition. True leaders understand that diversity offers the greatest opportunity for a business to succeed only if everyone gets to play to their strengths.

The ideal? When women become leaders, not businesswomen, and have the confidence and support to achieve their career goals. And I’d like to see accomplished men and women make it their personal mission to help others along the way.


Art of Reinvention at the Women's Leadership Summit

"We are designed to evolve. We are always becoming. Follow what’s tugging at you." - Cecily Sommers


Cecily Sommers, Author & Founder, The Push Institute took the stage today at the 6th Annual Women's Leadership Summit. Facilitated by Debra Siena, President, Midtown Health. The Women's Leadership Summit was sponsored by American Council on Exercise (ACE).


6th Annual Women's Leadership Summit at IHRSA 2015

6th Annual Women's Leadership Summit, sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). It begins at 9:00am in LACC Room 151.


The 'Excellence' challenge

The camaraderie within the health and fitness industry is a special thing.

Be it supporting a member's cause, knowing when to put the learning and networking aside in order to have a good time, or sharing experience and knowledge, time is always found.

Joe Moore, IHRSA president and CEO, talks about this in his CBI magazine Last Rep column, from a dance-off at June's IHRSA Institute to participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of Augie's Quest.

Check out Last Rep here.


Work and hire eagles, not ducks

Debra Siena led stretching in the middle of her session.One of the main tenets of Debra Siena’s afternoon educational session “Staff Hiring, Training & Retention” was hire eagles and not ducks. For those of you who have never heard the comparison before, eagles soar while ducks waddle along.

She had five keys she laid out to be successful in all three areas:


Key #1: Be a Leader Worth Following

  • challenge status quo
  • empower and inspire
  • have a vision

Key #2: Recruit and Hire Eagles, Not Ducks

  • prepare for an interview
  • look for team players
  • clarify your expectations
  • watch for pitfalls

Key #3: Build Employee Loyalty and Value

  • launch with care
  • restate expectations
  • set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Acvhievable, Realistic, Timely) 
  • watch for pitfalls

Key #4 - Nurture the Company Culture

  • share your vision
  • ask their expectations
  • keep them informed
  • don’t avoid coaching in order to avoid conflict
  • inspire them to motivate themselves
  • recognize them, let members recognize them
  • create a great work environment
  • walk your talk
  • never be a seagull manager

Key #5: Realize Human Capital is Your Greatest Asset

  • team retention = member retention

Debra Siena can be reached at




Women's Leadership Summit: be mentally strong

Guest speaker Amy Morin, right, and Debra Siena.When Amy Morin became an Internet sensation many people probably thought she caught lightening in a bottle, like many who get their 15 minutes of fame on the web.

Despite being a trained therapist, those who say her 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do list didn’t think much of it.  She said that a large majority of comments were negative.

Morin was the guest speaker at the 5th Annual Women’s Leadership Summit during IHRSA 2014 33d Annual International Convention & Trade Show, March 12-15 in San Diego. She discussed each of the 13 categories and how women - and men as there were a couple among the 60 or so people in attendance – can use them in their professional and personal lives.

To see her list and how it can help you be mentally strong, read on.


Women's Leadership Summit speaker announced

Photo courtesy of Amy MorinThe guest speaker at the 5th Annual Women’s Leadership Summit at the IHRSA Annual Convention & Trade Show has been announced. 

Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker whose name is on the tip of many lips following her article, "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," will kick off the event. The article has become an internet sensation with more than 735,000 shares from its original publishing on Lifehack in November.

The Summit is a facilitated discussion and networking event designed to help women club professionals learn from one another. Moderated by Debra Siena, president of Midtown Health. it is Wednesday, March 12, 8:30 to 11:15 a.m., at IHRSA 2014, from March 12-15 in San Diego.

Visit for more on the Summit and the Convention.