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Entries in Industry Leadership Council (8)

Wednesday
Nov022016

8 Experts Offer Advice on Becoming a More Effective Fitness Leader 

What does it take to be a true leader in the health and fitness industry? We spoke with some experts to find out. 

In developing the IHRSA's Lessons in Fitness Leadership series, we interviewed successful club owners and fitness professionals who are members of our Industry Leadership Council. Read on to learn their top leadership tips.

'Get Outside of Your Box'

Jim Worthington of Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, PA, has four pieces of advice for anyone new to the industry: 

  1. “Make time to 'walk the talk' and work out every day.
  2. “Read industry trade journals voraciously to understand trends.
  3. “Attend IHRSA conferences every year without fail.
  4. “Network with a vengeance with everyone in the industry." 

Scott Gillespie of Saco Sport & Fitness in Saco, ME, agrees with Worthington about the importance of gaining a broader perspective.

"Never lose the very special connection you have with the market you choose to serve, but get outside of your box!" Gillespie said. "Get and stay connected to the ever-evolving bigger picture through industry associations and groups—like IHRSA and the ILC."

For Bryan O'Rourke of Integerus Advisors, a consultancy to the health and fitness industry, the key lies with being a "giver" rather than a "taker."

"All great things take time, constant effort, and most importantly, entail us all working together to reach common goals," he said. "Giving to the ILC and being a leader who seeks to do things for others first, builds the foundation for all of us together."

Business and Financial Smarts a Must

As Janine Williams of Leisure Sports in Pleasanton, CA, notes, far too many health clubs aren't built to last. The reason? Operators lack the business and financial acumen to achieve long-term success.

"While you need to have a passion for fitness, you also need a solid understanding as to what ultimately drives profitability," she said. "This includes understanding the potential threats and opportunities within your marketplace and whether these threats and opportunities are internal or external by nature."

Chuck Richards of the Sunset Athletic Club in Portland, OR, believes the health and fitness industry is about to enter a period of rapid growth. With all the changes coming our way, many health club operators will have trouble deciding what to do next.

"Getting perspective is important," Richards said. "Look at the implications. Don't think you necessarily need to go in every direction all of the time. There are so many ways to be successful. There are so many opportunities. Going in too many ways will dilute your best efforts." 

Continue reading "8 Experts Offer Advice on Becoming a More Effective Fitness Leader."

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct202016

An Open Letter to the Fitness Industry Leaders of Tomorrow

Dear Future Industry Leadership Council Member, 

Chances are you already are a leader—you just aren’t aware of it. 

You may be asking yourself “How is that true? What does being a leader truly mean? And how are other people able to identify me as one when I can’t even be sure of that myself?” 

The answers to all of those questions lie in the singular character trait all successful leaders share—passion.

Passion is the key to unlocking and capitalizing on any opportunity that comes your way, and joining forces with people who share the same passions and interests puts you in the company of those who want to use their collective power to make a lasting impact on society. After all, if a group of people can get anyone to look at the world through a different microscope—even if it’s only for a few seconds—they have succeeded in using their passion to perform good work.

So, if you have this passion and can leverage its potential for change by working creatively with others to solve problems, then believe it or not, you are a leader. 

Continue reading "An Open Letter to the Fitness Industry Leaders of Tomorrow."

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct132016

Lessons in Fitness Leadership: People Make the Difference

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.

Steve Capezzone
Healthtrax International
Glastonbury, CT


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

Being in a leadership position and having the opportunity to be a change agent is so important. To me, leadership means being directly involved in influencing public policy initiatives, having access to other operators to learn from and network with, and having the ability to call upon other leaders to help make an impact on the industry.

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?

I can’t just pick one piece of advice because I have found that there are many strategies that—if implemented correctly—can help a person improve their leadership abilities.

First, people make the difference! A lot of people talk about new clubs and equipment and that’s important, but what really makes a difference in this business is the people. They create the stickiness for our members and create the environment that can make or break your work.

So, surround yourself with the best people you can. It makes work more enjoyable and has a huge impact on your bottom line. 

Continue reading "Lessons in Fitness Leadership: People Make the Difference."

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep292016

Lessons in Fitness Leadership: It’s All About Perspective

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. 

Chuck Richards
Sunset Athletic Club
Portland, OR 


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

It is the opportunity to ride shotgun with other leaders—the folks that are out in front. 

And, if I can support the industry with time or effort, then I’m happy to do that. 

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? 

We’re about to undergo the most expansive growth that our industry has ever seen. Right now, the speed of this change gets you looking in so many different directions, so it’s hard to make a decision on which way to jump. 

Getting perspective is important. Look at the implications. Don’t think you necessarily need to go in every direction all of the time. There are so many ways to be successful. There are so many opportunities. Going in too many ways will dilute your best efforts. 

I would also say to listen to people when they speak. It is important to appreciate and listen to the disruptors in our industry because they are the ones who motivate others to go out and make a noticeable difference. 

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

The initiatives that the ILC has taken over the years convinced me to join. I rocked back and forth on the decision to join, but eventually did because I found that this group was the point of the spear to make change happen. Its pretty terrific to have a group focused on doing that. 

Thursday
Aug182016

Lessons in Fitness Leadership: Resonate with Members’ Hearts and Souls

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. 

Mike Alpert
The Claremont Club
Claremont, CA 


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

It is being able to innovate and create programs for people that need us the most and can afford us the least. You must be able to see past the bottom line and see what moves the bottom linewhich is people. 

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?  

Don’t ever be complacent. Think outside the box, and think about how you can make a difference in people’s lives. 

It takes good people to create and maintain meaningful and purposeful work. Because of this, we have really been able to resonate with members’ hearts and souls. We offer programs for those afflicted by paralysis, cancer, and other chronic conditions. Making programming all inclusive has unintentionally proven to be a direct link to member retention. It was absolutely never about the money to begin with, but this model has proven to be very successful for us.   

And, nothing meaningful or great comes without failure. You need to be able to anticipate the difficulties and when they will arise. 

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

We all have a responsibility to support the efforts that IHRSA is making in legislative advocacy. It’s all of our responsibility to support them as a club operator, and that means lending support through financial means.

Thursday
Jun232016

Janine Williams Shares Her Advice on How to Be an Informed Leader

To show our appreciation for the industry leaders who support IHRSA's efforts to Grow, Promote, and Protect the industry, IHRSA has launched the “ILC Spotlight series.” We hope this series will help you get to know more about our industry's leaders, what they've learned along the way, and how they view leadership. 

ILC Spotlight: Janine Williams
Leisure Sports, Pleasanton, CA


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

First of all, as a company, Leisure Sports has been an industry leader in design and operational expertise in both the health club and hospitality industries which provides us with the platform to highlight the excellent work that we do and the accomplishments that we achieve. I appreciate having a voice at the table with IHRSA and our lobbyist in Sacramento when it comes to impactful legislation that is making its way through Congress. While the process can be tedious and slow, the small victories along the way make it rewarding. I also enjoy the connections I make with other club operators and the knowledge that I can impart due to my experience in the legislative arena.

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

The advice that I have followed, and would give to others, is ensuring that you continue to expand the depth and breadth of your knowledge; not only in the health club industry but in business and financial acumen as well. While you need to have a passion for fitness, you also need a solid understanding as to what ultimately drives profitability. This includes understanding the potential threats and opportunities within your marketplace and whether these threats and opportunities are internal or external by nature. Far too many health club operators open their doors only to close their business shortly thereafter. This detracts from our credibility and is often the reason why viable operators are faced with onerous regulations and statutes. 

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

Leisure Sports has been an active member of the ILC for many years, as we believe it is important that we unite together to fight off potentially harmful legislation while also promoting legislation that would help our industry grow. As a California-based company, we are continuously faced with burdensome regulations and new laws that substantially increase our costs, and subsequently, the fees passed on to our members. Many of these laws are in direct conflict with one of our primary goals as a country in reducing obesity and rising healthcare costs.

I have taken a very active role in attempting to protect the recreational programs that we provide to our youth, as the obesity epidemic in young children continues to skyrocket. Health club operators are well poised to make a significant impact in a critical area, but not when we are constantly held to regulatory requirements that are not imposed on others.

 

Thursday
Jun092016

Learn How Jim Worthington's Leadership Style 'Walks the Talk'

To show our appreciation for the industry leaders who support IHRSA's efforts to Grow, Promote, and Protect the industry, IHRSA is launching the “ILC Spotlight series.” We hope this series will help you get to know more about our industry's leaders, what they've learned along the way, and how they view leadership. 

ILC Spotlight: Jim Worthington
Newtown Athletic Club, Newtown, PA


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

This industry has offered me the opportunity to improve people’s lives by providing health and fitness programs and facilities.  There was never any doubt that the product we offer benefits the lives of every single individual. 

Over and above that, being a leader in the industry has given me the chance to mentor employees as well as colleagues at other clubs. Even more importantly, the relationships I have built through the industry have allowed me to learn each and every day. 

As a leader, I am able to network with global thought leaders who inspire and motivate me to push the envelope of excellence in our field even further. I truly believe that we are changing the world, one step, one push up, and one Zumba class at a time. In doing so, we are poised on the continuum of healthcare to provide disease prevention programs and services to the masses through healthy lifestyle changes. 

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

This is what I tell anyone starting out in the industry: 

  1. Make time to “walk the talk” and workout every day;
  2. Read industry trade journals voraciously to understand trends;
  3. Attend IHRSA conferences every year without fail; and
  4. Network with a vengeance with everyone in the industry. 

There is something to be learned from everyone, not just from the leaders and large club operators, but also from the small club operators. Innovation and inspiration comes when it is often least expected and often it can be found in unusual places. 

Continue reading "Learn How Jim Worthington's Leadership Style 'Walks the Talk.'"

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr122016

A Video Crash Course in IHRSA's Industry Leadership Council

The Industry Leadership Council is a group of club operators and industry professionals—competitors and friends, independent clubs and large chains, franchisors and franchisees, individuals and suppliers—who work together, contributing time, expertise and funds, so that IHRSA and the industry have the resources needed to achieve common goals.

Learn more about the ILC and find out how you can become a member.