The 2018 IHRSA Women’s Leadership Summit in Photos

    The first standalone IHRSA Women’s Leadership Summit was held at AB Show 2018 on November 8. Here’s a taste of the day’s events.

    The IHRSA Women’s Leadership Summit was held at AB Show 2018 in New Orleans on November 8. Nearly 80 leaders from across the health and fitness industry attended the event, which was sponsored by Club Automation, SportsArt, and Stealth Detox Performance Water.

    Building on the Women’s Leadership Summit held at the Annual IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show—a perennial favorite for going on 10 years—this day-long event featured well-known industry figures, like moderator Chantal Brodrick, and external experts, like Transformational Leadership CEO Henna Inam.

    We put together just a few highlights to give you a taste. If you missed out, don’t worry—you can attend the 10th Annual IHRSA Women's Leadership Summit at IHRSA 2019!

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    Henna Inam Inspires with Purpose

    Henna Inam, global speaker, author, and CEO of Transformational Leadership, got things started with an inspiring and interactive keynote focused on leading with purpose. After hearing Inam’s purpose story, attendees were asked to share with each other a two-minute story about when they felt inspired in an activity they were engaged in.

    “Our emotions are contagious,” she said. “The lesson I want us to get is that to inspire others, we need to start within.”

    The session set attendees on the path to define their purpose and create an action plan to experience more meaning in their work.

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    Strategies for Leading Through Change

    The Fitness Business Podcast Host Chantal Brodrick moderated the first industry leader panel of the day, featuring Franco’s Health Club & Spa Owner Sandy Franco, Active Wellness LLC Founder and Chairman Jill Kinney, and Castle Hill Fitness 360 General Manager Michele Melkerson-Granryd, M.Ed. The panelists shared their experiences and lessons on leading through times of change.

    Panelists said the key to effective leadership in times of change is identifying when there is resistance to changes, and coaching your team through a respectful transition period. Most unwillingness to change is rooted in fear, so listening to your team and allowing them to express their concerns will encourage a greater adaptability.

    The topic shifted to the importance of women in leadership roles when Brodrick pointed out that each of the “Leading Through Change” panelists had served on IHRSA’s Board of Directors. Kinney stressed the importance of getting started early on the path to leadership, and encouraged women in the room not to wait to apply.

    Serving on the IHRSA Board “grew me professionally and personally, and catapulted my career and my business,” said Franco.

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    Networking Between Sessions

    Attendees took advantage of their time during coffee breaks to catch up with old friends and network with new acquaintances.

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    Building a Business that Gives Back

    The purpose-driven leadership theme continued at the second panel, moderated by Brodrick and featuring Stone Creek Club & Spa Member Services and Marketing Manager Stephanie Coulon, IHRSA Executive Vice President of Public Policy Helen Durkin, J.D., and Franco’s Health Club & Spa Owner Sandy Franco. Panelists discussed the positive impact on club growth and business.

    They agreed that creating an impactful giving campaign should start with a cause that is close to the heart of your club and community. Partnering with a community member in need can build trust, reinforce your club’s mission, and leave a measurable impact on club members and staff. Giving campaigns should be strategized as any other program in your club—you should define goals, hit milestones, manage finances, measure, and communicate the results.

    Brodrick noted that Durkin—who offered attendees other ways, like becoming more politically active, to meaningfully contribute to the collective good of society and betterment of the industry—had recently written an article on ways for women leaders to aim higher.

    See You in San Diego!

    IHRSA's commitment to women's leadership doesn't stop there. Join us on March 13 in San Diego for the 10th Annual IHRSA Women's Leadership Summit!

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    Marianne Aiello

    Marianne Aiello is the Senior Digital Content Manager for IHRSA. While her average day includes writing articles, monitoring social media, and crafting IHRSA’s digital strategy, the best part of her job is covering IHRSA events across the globe. When she’s not at work, you’ll find Marianne at an indoor cycling class or, more likely, binging on Netflix.