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.
Expand the Depth and Breath of Your Knowledge to Lead Effectively
"While you need to have a passion for fitness, you also need a solid understanding as to what ultimately drives profitability," says Janine Williams of Leisure Sports.
Vice President of Human Resources
What is the most fulfilling part of being a business leader in the fitness 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 the fitness 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.
“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.”
Janine Williams, Vice President of Human Resources
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 onto 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.
Shannon Vogler is the Communications and Public Relations Coordinator for IHRSA. Shannon writes articles, press releases, and the IHRSA Advocate newsletter to make IHRSA members aware of policy issues that impact health clubs. She also speaks with media influencers about the benefits of working out and joining a gym. When she's not writing, Shannon enjoys running and cheering for the New England Patriots.