Good Fitness Industry Leaders Give More Details & Direction

People do not operate the same way. Give your staff the details and tools they need in order to succeed, advises ILC member Karen Raisch-Siegel of LifeWorks of Southwest General.

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.

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Karen Raisch-Siegel
Executive Director
LifeWorks of Southwest General

Karen Raisch-Siegel has been an Industry Leadership Council (ILC) member since 2016. She has attended numerous IHRSA Conventions as well as the IHRSA Institute and is passionate about advocacy as it allows her to focus on the needs of her business.

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

The most fulfilling part for me is that I have the privilege to make a positive difference in the lives of my employees, members, and community. It is quite humbling and surreal how the decisions I make affect so many lives.

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 would tell myself to calm down, slow down, and that everyone is doing the best they can. I have learned that people don’t operate in the same way I do—and that’s OK, and that I need to provide them with more details and direction.

What prompted you to join the ILC?

I attended the ILC meeting at the IHRSA 2016 Convention in Orlando, FL. I was very moved by the advocacy initiatives that IHRSA pursues and all that the Industry Leadership Council does for our industry. I didn’t even know it existed in the past, I’ve been so busy in my world that I feel like I’ve been living in my own small bubble.

IHRSA does a significant amount of advocacy work to Grow, Promote, and Protect clubs across the country. How do you feel that work benefits your business or the industry at large?

The benefits of advocacy work are invaluable. To know that IHRSA is closely watching what is going on is reassuring. It allows me to focus my attention on what I want to focus on. The benefit of the advocacy to me is like having my financial advisor. My advisor is an expert watching my assets, communicating with me and taking care of my needs. This allows me to spend my time in other ways.

What has been your most memorable experience as part of the ILC?

One of the most memorable experiences was listening to the 2016 ILC Summit keynote speaker Ann Handley. She spoke about how our story is what makes us different, and that we need to find a way to tell bolder, bigger, and braver stories. It was an excellent session on marketing and very useful. I’m looking forward to taking advantage of the ILC sessions once again this year.

The Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) is legislation that would make access to physical activity more affordable. How will passage of this bill help America get fit?

  1. This legislation removes one more barrier for so many people. This is huge.
  2. PHIT reinforces exercise as part of the benefit packages for employers.
  3. PHIT helps exercise to become the “norm.”

Founded 20 years ago by a group of concerned industry leaders, the ILC exists so that IHRSA has the funds to stop or amend legislation and regulations that would be harmful to club operations, as well as to have the resources necessary to take advantage of opportunities—like PHIT and financial incentives to exercise—that would grow the industry.

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Emily Gluck

Emily Gluck is IHRSA's Executive Assistant. On average her job consists of scheduling, supporting the executive team, and planning events, while the best part of her job is getting to work with a great team on a daily basis. If Emily is out of the office you can typically find her kayaking, hiking in a national park, or rafting on a remote river (ideally she likes to get out of cell phone range).