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.
Seize Opportunities to Influence the Fitness Industry
Michele Melkerson-Granryd uses her voice to influence and shape the future direction of the industry as an IHRSA board member and a member of the ILC.
Castle Hill Fitness 360
What is the most fulfilling part of being a business leader in the fitness industry?
[It is] having the opportunity to share best practices and encourage those who are new in the industry to always keep learning and growing, and the value of connecting with our peers in the industry. I’ve been teaching in our local community college’s exercise science program for the last 10 years helping to develop personal trainers. Some of these folks are starting first-time careers, but for many, it’s a second or third career that they are turning to because of their passion for health, exercise, and nutrition. It’s tremendously rewarding to help them reach their goals.
I also feel that being a leader in the industry gives me a voice, and possibly an opportunity to influence the directions that our industry may take.
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?
Incorporate some business classes into your graduate program. Although I got my masters in human performance, it seems that I have always been in a management position. Luckily, I’m pretty good at math and have always believed that life is just one big story problem after another—but I also had a boss who sent me to educational seminars that helped me learn how to analyze and understand the financial side of our industry. I should have done that sooner.
What prompted you to join the Industry Leadership Council?
Many years ago, for a number of years, I participated in IHRSA’s Legislative Summits that were held in Washington, D.C. It was two or three days of learning about the initiatives and bills that were relevant to the fitness industry—in fact, PHIT was one of them! IHRSA taught us what the important talking points were and then set up meetings with individuals from our home districts so we could educate them.
The event taught me about the value of making our congressional representatives in Washington aware of what’s important to you, and there is a ton of competition for their ears. It’s a big job and very few of us running clubs have the time to devote to lobbying our representatives. By joining the ILC, I’m supporting IHRSA and the lobbyists they have entrusted with the task of fighting for the health of our industry.
Melkerson-Granryd leads a class at Castle Hill Fitness 360.
What has been your most memorable experience as part of the ILC?
Hearing that PHIT passed the House of Representatives this summer! I know the work is not over, but it’s pretty cool to have been involved at the inception of PHIT through the Legislative Summits and see it come to pass after 12 years!
“...very few of us running clubs have the time to devote to lobbying our representatives. By joining the ILC, I’m supporting IHRSA and the lobbyists they have entrusted with the task of fighting for the health of our industry.”
Michele Melkerson-Granryd, General Manager
Castle Hill Fitness 360 - Austin, TX
The Personal Health Investment Today Act, or PHIT, is legislation that would make access to physical activity more affordable. How will the passage of this bill help America get fit?
Passing PHIT will allow individuals to use the funds in their health savings accounts, pre-tax, to pay for expenses related to physical activity like health club memberships and registration fees for both youth and adult sports. It’s been a bipartisan effort to get PHIT passed. It’s good for everyone!
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?
There are so many ways that IHRSA helps clubs with advocacy work! They stay on top of the state issues and make us aware of legislation that may hurt or help our clubs. They stay on top of issues that we need to be aware of to keep our businesses safe, and they create position papers to help us learn about best practices that can prevent and reduce legal liabilities.
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.