Learn to Lead by 'Staying in Rock-Solid Contact with Positive People'

Midtown Athletic Clubs COO Jon Brady gives advice on working in the fitness industry and shares what the most fulfilling part of being in the fitness industry is for him.

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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Jon Brady
COO
Midtown Athletic Clubs

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

We get to work in a dynamic, innovative industry where we have the chance, every day to help change people’s lives for the better. This is such a fulfilling and purpose-fueled business, and I am grateful to be a part of it. As a leader, I get the chance to guide others on their journey and to give back what I have learned, so the mission to make our communities healthier and happier places has an ongoing and far-reaching impetus.

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?

Stay nimble, be curious, and ask lots of questions. Stay in rock-solid contact with all of the positive people who will inevitably cross your path, and never accept the status quo unless you have gone through all the options and/or logic in detail.

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

I love the opportunities to get closer to the keynote speakers…to ask all of the questions that bounce around in my mind during the main address, and to dig a little deeper into how the things they have done or are doing can influence our business, our people, and our performance. It is also a great environment to meet industry leaders, most of whom are happy to share advice and to share ideas about how to deal with certain market challenges.

“We get to work in a dynamic, innovative industry where we have the chance, every day to help change people’s lives for the better. ... I am grateful to be a part of it.”

Jon Brady, COO

Midtown Athletic Clubs

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

The ILC Experience provides such an exclusive opportunity. This year I had the pleasure of spending time one-on-one with Seth Mattison after his keynote speech. Once questions were asked, I had the pleasure of eating lunch with him while we talked about his insights, our business, and the opportunities that he sees with respect to leadership, talent management, change, and innovation. It was 30 minutes of discourse and learning that I remain incredibly grateful for.

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

The PHIT Act is like opening a doorway to health for so many people who for whatever reason cannot move forward in the current environment—the old adage that exercise is medicine has never been more true or more needed. I believe that we have a duty of care to our communities and to the people who join our clubs with the intention of leading a healthier life—unfortunately as an industry we have not always responded positively to the responsibility that comes with accepting that duty of care and this piece of legislation should help to cultivate that change.

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 work that IHRSA does often goes unseen but the legislative support, the purchasing power of the whole, and the opportunity to get together, share stories, ideas, and experiences are all incredibly valuable and allow us all to improve and deliver memorable member experiences. A rising tide raises all ships is an apt mantra for the benefits that IHRSA offers the health and fitness industry.

Author avatar

Shannon Vogler @vogler_shannon

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.