Why You Should Apply to Be an IHRSA Rising Star

    The IHRSA Rising Stars initiative is back for the fourth year, and we're looking for the next crop of young and talented fitness industry professionals.

    Since 2017, the “IHRSA Rising Stars” initiative has been recognizing individuals 35 years old or younger who have made a significant impact on their business and/or the global fitness industry. This is just one of the ways we’re trying to shine a spotlight on young talent in our industry to foster the next generation of leaders.

    Previously, IHRSA Rising Stars needed to be nominated by a friend or colleague. But this year—for the first time—we’re opening the application process so anyone can nominate themselves!

    The IHRSA Rising Stars application process is quick and simple, but in case you need more convincing, we spoke to two prior Rising Stars to learn more about what the title has meant to them and their careers.

    19Rs Mutschler Kiley Column

    What was it like being named an IHRSA Rising Star?

    Kiley Mutschler, a 2019 IHRSA Rising Star, began her career with Active Wellness as an intern. Since then, she’s been promoted to senior general manager, and now oversees four accounts with a value of $2 million that collectively serve 3,500 members.

    “It was very exciting to be named an IHRSA Rising Star, I felt very honored to be recognized among other leaders who are doing incredible work throughout our industry,” says Mutschler, who was nominated by her boss, mentor, and friend Shawna DeShazo. “It inspired me to continue to bring my best self to work each day and share this with my team and our members.”

    For fellow 2019 Rising Star Lee Ann Jolly, Ph.D., being named an IHRSA Rising Star stood out as the professional highlight of her year.

    “I remember receiving the notification that I had been selected for the class of 2019 and was overwhelmed with excitement,” says Jolly, the co-director of community & culture at Little Rock Athletic Club. “To be selected from a group of so many other nominees that stand out in such a wide range of fitness related careers is so special.”

    How has Rising Star status benefitted your career?

    Being named an IHRSA Rising Star is more than just a title—it comes with exposure designed to help fast-track your career in the fitness industry. This year’s class of Rising Stars, which is selected by the IHRSA and CBI editorial teams, will be profiled in the March 2020 issue of Club Business International and featured on IHRSA.org and IHRSA’s social media.

    19Rs Jolly Lee Ann Column

    “Not only was it great recognition for my efforts, but it was a very positive highlight for my company, Active Wellness, to be recognized by IHRSA,” says Mutschler. “Of course, it was also pretty special to be featured in the March Club Business International issue!”

    Why should someone take the time to apply?

    The nomination process is easy and will only take a few moments. Just tell us some basic information about yourself (or the person you’re nominating) and write a few words explaining why you deserve recognition. And if you can, provide a reference we can contact.

    “As a young fitness professional, it’s sometimes hard to acknowledge your own hard work because you see how far you have to go,” says Jolly. “If you know you're doing great things for this industry and/or for the organization you represent, the world deserves to know about it! Nominate yourself and share the wonderful things you're doing for fitness.”

    By sharing the work you’re doing you’ll inspire others—and maybe even unlock new opportunities for yourself.

    “Not only was it great recognition for my efforts, but it was a very positive highlight for my company, Active Wellness, to be recognized by IHRSA.”

    Kiley Mutschler, Senior General Manager

    Active Wellness - Austin, TX

    “It takes a unique person to have success in this industry and if you are out there changing lives, communities, and cultures, you should absolutely apply to be a Rising Star,” Mutschler says. “I think whenever you can share your best practices and successes with others, it lifts up everyone around you and people want to hear about it. You never know what doors being a Rising Star might open for you.”

    What else do I need to know?

    To qualify, the nominee must be under 36 and an IHRSA member (or associate member) in good standing on March 1, 2020.

    Read the criteria and nominate yourself or someone else for consideration. Applications must be received by October 18, 2019.

    Author avatar

    Marianne Aiello

    Marianne Aiello previously served as IHRSA's Senior Digital Content Manager—a position focused on crafting and monitoring IHRSA’s digital strategy and covering IHRSA events.