Presenting the 2018 IHRSA Rising Stars

IHRSA and Club Business International are pleased to introduce our readers to 22 of the industry’s true “Rising Stars.”

Energy. Enthusiasm. Passion. Dedication.

A solid, unshakable, and unqualified commitment to improving the lives of thousands in their own communities and in the world at large.

These are just some of the admirable traits you’ll find in this year’s “Rising Stars,” a list of 22 highly motivated individuals that IHRSA is pleased to introduce to the industry this month, as we celebrate our 37th Annual International Convention & Trade Show in San Diego, CA.

We’re honored to shine a spotlight on these talented, inspiring individuals, who are all 36 years of age or under, but who, despite their youth, have already exerted a major influence on their companies and the fitness industry. They were nominated by their industry peers and colleagues as part of IHRSA’s Rising Stars initiative, and, subsequently, selected by members of the association’s staff.

The good news is that there are many more professionals just like them, and if these stories are any indication, the future looks very bright.

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Matthew Anderson
Director, Vice President of Sales
Sacramento, CA

Entrepreneurial as a youth, Matthew Anderson, 34, began working at his family’s business, Broadstone Racquet Club in Folsom, CA, in high school. Shocked at the frequent theft of towels, Anderson eventually created the AT (anti-theft) towel system that’s now used at more than 100 health clubs in the U.S., Canada, and Asia. After merging his company, MCA Towels & Textiles, with Petra Hygienic Systems in 2010, he increased Petra’s textile sales to $10 million. Then last year, Anderson brokered the merger of Petra with A-1 Textiles, forming PetrA-1, a global powerhouse in health club amenities.

Described as a “tireless worker with a vision for the fitness industry,” Anderson passionately pursues business relationships, as well as strategies that enhance the member experience, while reducing costs. “I love that our industry helps to improve lives,” he says. “Exercise may be the most effective, and potent, medicine available. It has a universally positive impact on health.”

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Zack Bell
Regional Fitness Trainer, Director of Fitness
Tampa Fitness Partners and Orangetheory Fitness
Tampa, FL

Described by a colleague as “hungry
to learn, open-minded, organized, highly capable, and popular with
members and teammates,” Zack Bell, 28, oversees eight Orangetheory (OTF) studios and 16 franchised clubs in West Florida, as well as multiple locations that are in development in San Francisco. Those franchises have a total of 40 company staff and 75 fitness coaches. He also delivers all OTF certification trainings for West Florida and coaches several group workouts each week so he can stay sharp.

“We’ve been wildly successful with our efforts to help people due to our intelligent coaching, education, and technology, and because we build a sense of community,” Bell says. As for that community feeling, his “Miles for Meals” and “Meters for Meals” workout challenges have earned 150,000 meals for the Feeding Tampa Bay charity, and he’s adding initiatives this year to support the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. “To connect with people, fitness professionals should be positive, meet every individual with openness and questions to discover who they are. Doing so can lead to very successful relationships,” he says.

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Renaud Beaudry
Vice President, 
Strategic Development
Les Enterprises Vivre en Forme, Éconofitness
Quebec, Canada

Renaud Beaudry’s father opened Énergie Cardio in Quebec in 1985. As a result, he was fortunate to grow up in the business, working as a trainer, cycling instructor, and then as a club manager. At one point, he also was director of facilities and equipment for the company’s 30 corporate locations, and then became director of marketing and communications for both the franchised and corporate clubs, which totaled 75. In 2013, Beaudry, now 31, helped launch the company’s first low- cost gym, Éconofitness, growing it to 60 units with 235,000 members.

“Making fitness more accessible means that more people can integrate exercise into their lifestyles, an innovation for our market,” Beaudry says. One colleague praises his visionary ambition to “drive opera- tional efficiency by delivering automated processes that leverage the latest technology, while focusing on optimizing the customer experience.” As for community service, he raised $3.3 million in four years for sick children in Canada through The Challenge Change a Child’s Life for Better, a 25-hour weekend event.

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Marie-Paule Boivin
Director of Marketing and Communications
Les Enterprises Vivre en Forme, Éconofitness
Quebec, Canada

In five years, Marie-Paule Boivin transitioned from a marketing intern
to the director of marketing at
Éconofitness, a large, low-cost, high-value health club chain in Quebec,
where she manages a $3 million budget for 60 locations serving 235,000
members. Thanks to her ability to
embrace change, welcome challenges,
take on market disruption, influence
others, and integrate new media,
Éconofitness is a “marketing bulldozer,” reports one colleague, indicating that Boivin yields higher sales from non-traditional direct marketing and social media campaigns.

Her team has increased the chain’s Facebook performance by 80%, launched an interactive Instagram account, and created a new membership presentation tool that has increased sales by 9%. “It’s important to think differently, and find new ways to improve your work,” Boivin, 28, says. “I like to innovate and find solutions to complex situations, and, my versatility, critical mind, and organization make me a good leader.”

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Paul Bowman
London, United Kingdom

In pursuit of one of his life goals of reducing obesity worldwide by 1%, Paul Bowman, 30, joined Wexer to make fitness accessible to more people through technology. As CEO, this visionary has grown revenue by more than 300%, doubled the number of licenses in one year, maintained a 95% annual license retention rate, expanded clients to almost 50 countries on five continents, and introduced multiple new innovations and initiatives.

A colleague describes Bowman as “driven by passion, yet guided by strong commercial insight, and endowed with leadership skills that ensure his team shares his ambitious vision, limitless enthusiasm, and incredible work ethic.” His experience includes various leadership roles at Virgin Active, Gymbox, and Fit for Sport, in addition to being a professional volleyball player in New Zealand. A colleague enthusiastically acknowledges, “Paul is the best, most natural leader I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”

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Chris Bratina
District Fitness Manager
Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Clubs
British Columbia, Canada

A former professional ice hockey player, Chris Bratina, 30, now channels his perseverance and passion into helping people make lifestyle changes. At Steve Nash Fitness Clubs, he’s responsible for $8 million in annual personal training revenue, while supervising seven clubs, seven managers, six assistant managers, and 100 trainers. In five years at the chain, he has turned around a failing club, dramatically increased revenue at another club, and consistently delivers record-breaking results.

Regarded as a “highly influential leader,” Bratina also led a 90-day challenge, during which 100 participants shed over 600 pounds. “Our ability to create an experience, community, and home for members is something I strive for,” he says. In his community, Bratina was captain of Motionball, an annual event that raises money for Canadian Special Olympics athletes, and he serves as a volunteer youth hockey coach. “Helping others reach their potential continues to drive my success,” he says.

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Luke Bush
Sales Manager
Auburn Racquet & Fitness Club (ARFC)
Auburn, CA

Describing Luke Bush as a
“people person,” ARFC owner
Jack Drimmer says,
“I’m convinced that he’s
responsible for the success of
this club.” Entering his 10th
year there, Bush manages
member questions, concerns,
and complaints; has increased
1,283 memberships representing 3,000 individuals to 2,300 memberships representing 5,000 individuals; and is credited with “being solely responsible for the growth and retention of members.”

A regular attendee at local health fairs and senior living centers, Bush, 32, serves as the face of ARFC, implements wellness programs in the community, and has expanded services to the club’s two largest corporate partners. “The greatest opportunity I have is to reach even the most unlikely members of our community by rebranding health clubs as a place where everyone belongs,” explains Bush, already a 15-year industry veteran. “It gives me so much joy to see people set, and conquer, their goals for a healthy lifestyle.”

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Brian Calegari
Regional Manager
San Francisco Bay Area, CA

At 36, Brian Calegari has already been working in the fitness industry for 20 years, starting his career as a front desk specialist and basketball coordinator for 24 Hour Fitness in San Ramon, CA. Today, he manages three 20,000-square-foot Crunch facilities in the Bay Area, encompassing 20,000 members and 180 employees. He also serves as vice president of operations of Cowboys Fit, a 60,000-square-foot, cutting-edge facility in Frisco, TX, where members can train like the Dallas Cowboys players and cheerleaders. Previously, he helped grow UFC Gym from one location to 130 in just seven years.

“I’ve been fortunate to be mentored by industry pioneers including Mark Mastrov, Jim Rowley, Mike Feeney, and Derek Gallup,” Calegari says. “I share their commitment to excellence, and to increasing the number of individuals living healthier lifestyles. Since day one in this industry, my goal has been to have fun, build relationships, and enjoy the journey.”

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Logan Dube
Fitness Manager

Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Clubs
British Columbia, Canada

In almost 20 years, Logan Dube, 35, has held 10 different positions in the sports and fitness industries, at 14 health clubs and studios. According to a mentor at Steve Nash Fitness World & Sports Clubs, Dube advances her career “through diligent work and consistent self-learning and self-development in all aspects of the business—service, science, and sales.”

As fitness manager, Dube has achieved the company’s President’s Club honor for sales three times, and holds one quarter of the Top Ten monthly revenue records. She also works with the education team to dynamically deliver comprehensive training to 350 personal trainers, and presented at the company’s Trainer Roadshow in June 2017. “I love to learn and teach, and be part of the trans- formative process in working with clients,” says Dube, a former NCAA athlete. “I will passionately continue to build great teams, implement new technology and trends, and inspire and change lives every day!”

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Hayley Galver
Field Marketing Coordinator II

Precor, Inc.

Woodinville, WA

Following a stint in retail, Hayley Galver, 29, describes her current role at Precor this way: “I’m always looking for new, exciting opportunities to enhance the fitness industry, and I’m dedicated to helping others make tomorrow better because of my actions today.”

As an enthusiastic marketing team member, Galver manages all elements of key national accounts request for proposal (RFP) creation, management, and submission; provides go- to-market support to North American sales reps and strategic accounts; creates lead-generating campaigns and advertisements; and collaborates to plan direct events. Colleagues describe her as a joy to work with; an incredible project manager; a self-starter, with an amazing work ethic; very gifted with graphic design; and always placing Precor in a strong position. According to Galver, “The fitness industry is always changing, moving, and evolving, and I’m extremely glad to be a part of it. I’m driven to ensure that people live the lives they desire.”

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Ted Gilsinger
Assistant General Manager
Club Fit
Briarcliff Manor, NY

“Nothing beats the feeling of providing emotional support, education, and empowerment to another person,” says Ted Gilsinger, as he explains the fuel behind his enthusiasm in the fitness industry. Quickly climbing the ranks at Club Fit, today, Gilsinger, 33, manages a membership of 5,000 and a staff of 400, and is described as someone who “consistently displays outstanding management and leadership qualities, and helps the organization add new programming and revenue streams.”

Among his accomplishments: creating an outside partnership with a basketball program, improving a club camp, and implementing an after-school program. Gilsinger is dedicated to creating programs that encourage more people to proactively take care of their health, as well as expanding professional education to make trainers better resources, acknowledging that he thrives on coaching and mentoring team members. “I love what I do, I’ve had phenomenal mentors, I’m passionate about influencing others to healthier lifestyles, and I persist to be better.”

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Ori Gorfine
Vice President, Strategy & Business Development
U.S. Fitness
McLean, VA

“To me, life is about constantly challenging yourself, surrounding yourself with great people, and always learning and developing,” Gorfine says. As partner and COO of Balance Fitness for eight years, he grew the company from a small personal training studio to four full-service health clubs, and four CrossFit affiliates in the Washington, D.C., area. Now at U.S. Fitness, which has 46 locations, Gorfine, 32, has launched new revenue programs in group fitness; revamped the food and nutrition programs, including a healthy meal delivery system; created an analysis system for new markets; and is developing seven clubs to open this year.

Praised for his analytical and strategic thinking skills, he’s clearly passionate about the fitness industry. “It’s amazing to be part of a community that’s dedicated to helping others. We provide people with hope, and the opportunity to be the best versions of themselves, and to live happier, healthier lives.”

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Jean-Sébastien Grellet-Aumont
Concept Director

Keep Cool
Marseille, France

Attributing his success to hard work, strong beliefs, attention to detail, and a commitment to customers, Jean-Sébastien Grellet-Aumont transformed the Keep Cool health club chain from a low-cost to a smart-cost model, and engineered the growth of the business to 200 locations serving 300,000 members.

By implementing a value-based strategy and restructuring product pricing, Grellet-Aumont, 32, increased the average price-per-user by 10%; he also managed the development of a customer member management system; sponsored service excellence training; established an innovative retention system; and implemented four-star, hospitality-grade service. Other accomplishments include creating new, modern club layouts; coordinating the development of a mobile app; and using the Net Promoter Score as a management KPI. “We design trendy and comfortable clubs, with state-of-the-art equipment and innovative training systems, so the member journey is carefully tailored, and the experience is unique. We do this with the help of intensively trained staff members,” he says.

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Joe Hall
Head of Customer Engagement
Leeds, United Kingdom

Attributing some of his professional expertise to reading best-selling author and digital expert Gary Vaynerchuk, Joe Hall grew the social media presence of U.K. health club chain Xercise4Less from 1,000 to more than 140,000 subscribers across three social networks. “A long-term strategy is key, which involves adding genuine value to your audience, while stimulating viral potential and increasing engagement,” he says.

Now responsible for 48 clubs and approximately 300,000 members, Hall, 27, also executed an app launch that attracted 150,000 downloads in three months; he formed a team of social media executives and assistants; he developed mobile marketing strategies; and he created an email series that improved gym membership conversion by more than 20%. In October 2017, Hall presented on the 4Rs in marketing (Recruitment, Revenue, Retention, and Reputation) at the Modern Business Meetings (MBM) conference in Stockholm, an experience he called “a pinnacle moment.” He aspires to launch a social media advertising agency, at some point.

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Evan Hugall
Senior Sales Executive
Impact Cryotherapy
Atlanta, GA

At the end of his pro golf career, Evan Hugall sought a profession that would leverage his passion for athletics. He found that as a senior sales representative with Impact Cryotherapy, Inc., a full-service manufacturer and supplier of whole-body cryosauna equipment, which uses extreme cold to enhance healing and recovery. Currently, he’s responsible for approximately 40% of the company’s overall revenue, including sales to the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Maple Leafs, and more.

Colleagues say that Hugall, 29, “goes above and beyond for every customer,” and, as the top sales producer for 2017, he has helped the company grow from two clients to more than 20 in the professional and collegiate sports markets. A quick study in the complex world of nitrogen gas and local suppliers, Hugall credits his work ethic and passion to his parents and coaches. “These core traits can propel an individual to the next level of success,” he says.

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Amanda Konigsberg
General Manager
Active Wellness
New York, NY

Amanda Konigsberg
recognizes the value
of surrounding herself
with good, professional people. “I have
phenomenal mentors
now, including Bill
McBride, Michele
Wong, and Deb
Heisler, and previously
in my career, Jim
Worthington and
Linda Mitchell of
Newtown Athletic

 In her role
today, while overseeing a $12 million budget, Konigsberg increased earned revenue in the fitness center by 41.5% between 2014 and 2017, and raised EBITDA 39.6% for that same period. She also developed an employee wellness program that boosted fitness center usage by 15% in one year. In addition, Konigsberg served as a panel expert for the creation of the medical fitness facility/ fitness facility director certification for the Medical Fitness Association (MFA), the Amercian College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and the American Council on Exercise (ACE). A frequent presenter at IHRSA events, Konigsberg, 31, appreciates the association’s vast networking and educational opportunities. “My goal is to become part of the IHRSA board of directors to effect industry change, and give back.”

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Jacquelyn Lofaro
Senior Account Manager
Corporate Fitness Works
Beltsville, MD

An energetic mother of two boys under the age of two, Jacquelyn Lofaro, 34, is a master multitasker both at home and work, committed to regular workouts and a healthy diet. “I want to set a good example for the people we try to help to make fitness a priority every day,” she says. “Finding the right way to keep them engaged is a huge opportunity for our industry.”

Lofaro currently manages six contracts for Corporate Fitness Works, with a value of $1.25 million. She also directed the Group Exercise Member Engagement Team to create a best-in-class company program; she developed the Succeed with Safety program; she led the pilot for Healthy Start, a membership recruitment program; she served as the company’s internship coordinator; and she is a member of the Coaching for Leadership team. Holding several certifications, Lofaro has won multiple awards from the Mid-Atlantic Club Management Association (MACMA), and recently was named to its board of directors.

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Mindy Lopez
Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor
Athletic Club of Bend
Bend, OR

Mindy Lopez, 31, knew her calling early, following along as a child in her mom’s Jazzercize classes. Now a 12-year industry veteran, she’s thrilled to be changing lives daily through the multiple, popular group exercise classes she teaches, the one-on-one personal training sessions she conducts, and the Cross Fusion children’s fitness classes that she developed to keep kids active. The membership director at the Athletic Club of Bend notes that many people join the club, or pay non-member fees, solely to train with Lopez, and that members love her kindness and fitness knowledge. They even complain when she takes a vacation.

A former competitive bodybuilder who started as a personal trainer in 2006 at 24 Hour Fitness in Irvine, CA, Lopez says: “I’m grateful to be a part of the movement to improve the quality of life for so many people. The industry is always changing, with new things to keep exercise fun and delivering results.”

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Kelly Lynn
Vice President of Sales and p.r.e.p.
acac Fitness & Wellness Centers
Charlottesville, VA

A former collegiate lacrosse and field hockey athlete and youth lacrosse coach, Kelly Lynn pursued the fitness industry in 2006. “I realized that I could have a much greater impact on the population in the fitness industry than in just one sport,” she says. “acac was a perfect fit, because we serve those who already exercise, as well as the inactive and older adult populations.”

A 12-year veteran of this 12-facility health club chain, which has clubs in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, Lynn, 35, led the sales team to generate more than $15.5 million in membership sales in 2017, and earned $3.5 million in revenues through the club’s physician-referred-exercise-program (p.r.e.p.), establishing key partnerships, and recruiting 4,000 physicians and almost 24,000 participants to date. In the first year of p.r.e.p., she increased sales by 113%. “One of the greatest opportunities we have is to move into healthcare to dramatically increase the percentage of the population that engages in regular exercise.”

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Peter Modin
Business Development Director, Co-founder, and Partner
Copenhagen, Denmark

Described by
colleagues as “a
data-driven business
developer with an
unusually sharp,
analytical mind,”
Peter Modin, 33, was a natural to partner with Rasmus Ingerslev to launch the novel health club chain, REPEAT, in Denmark, in September 2016. In addition to creating the concept of the “new breed of fitness, with no norms and no standards” at this urban, 24/7 club, Modin manages sales and marketing, and was fundamental in developing a unique, pay-as-you-go membership structure. With this model, members don’t have to quit, but can simply change their status. Weekly and off-peak membership options also have helped to grow the chain to three locations to date.

This Ironman triathlete credits his success to persistence, a strategic mindset, and an ability to work with different stakeholders in innovative, energetic environments. “The most motivating thing for me is that every day, I work with people who share the same passion and the same interests as I do,” Modin says.

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Sarah Pellegrino
Northeast Regional Sales Director
ABC Financial Services, Inc.
Charlotte, NC

With longtime industry veteran Sal Pellegrino as her father, Sarah Pellegrino grew up immersed in fitness. “For me, this is so much more than just a job or industry,” says the younger Pellegrino, now 25. “It’s my chance to make a difference, and that’s what drives me to be the very best every day!”

While managing ABC Financial accounts in the Northeastern U.S. and three Canadian provinces, she has hired and trained two new staffers, and creates and delivers a strategic vision for each new account. Along with Gary Weingarten from Precor, Inc., Pellegrino led a one-day workshop on health club financial success in 2017 in Long Island, New York, which attracted 40 attendees from 16 clubs. Pellegrino is also one of four founding board members for The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA), where she grows individual memberships and corporate sponsorships. Previously, as a research intern at IHRSA, she spearheaded the research on the European fitness market.

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Larry Schneider
District Fitness Manager
Crunch Fitness
San Francisco, CA

Larry Schneider, 35, says that his first—and most significant—professional accomplishment in fitness came when he was a full-time student pursuing a B.S. degree in business management. It changed his life. “I was just an avid gym-goer and was offered the opportunity to become certified as a trainer,” he says. “I made the leap and fell in love with making a difference and adding value to others.”

After beginning his career at 24 Hour Fitness, where he managed 13 facilities and more than 300 personal trainers in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Schneider then ran one of the largest Equinox clubs in San Francisco. Today, he leads five Crunch locations in that city, where he’s described by coworkers as “great at leading by example.” Schneider’s also highly regarded for his emphasis on service and science. “My experience, both in personal training and membership sales, across demographically diverse organizations, has broadened my bandwidth and given me some great insights.”