Surround Yourself with a Team that Betters Your Health Club

Surround yourself with the best people and build a stellar team by first recognizing your own strengths and weakness, Steve Capezzone of Healthtrax International advises.

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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Steve Capezzone
COO
Healthtrax International

Steve Capezzone has been an Industry Leadership Council (ILC) member since 2016. He is currently serving his last term as an IHRSA board member and is passionate around the bills IHRSA monitors to grow the industry at large.

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

Being in a leadership position and having the opportunity to be a change agent is so important. To me, leadership means being directly involved in influencing public policy initiatives, having access to other operators to learn from and network with, and having the ability to call upon other leaders to help make an impact on the industry.

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?

I can’t just pick one piece of advice because I have found that there are many strategies that—if implemented correctly—can help a person improve their leadership abilities.

First, people make the difference! A lot of people talk about new clubs and equipment and that’s important, but what really makes a difference in this business is the people. They create the stickiness for our members and create the environment that can make or break your work.

So, surround yourself with the best people you can. It makes work more enjoyable and has a huge impact on your bottom line.

Second, have a realistic view of your own strengths and weaknesses. Then make sure you surround yourself with people who are better than you and balance your organization. Better people bring the whole group up to a new level—they will push you up and won’t push you out.

Third, don’t get stuck in your four walls. You have to get outside your facility and create a group of industry folks to network with. And get to IHRSA, to shows, and to regional events. If we’re not learning, growing, and expanding, we will get stale and die.

And finally, sales is not a four letter word. Sales is a big part of what drives our business. When I interview people they are scared of the word. Sales is perfecting an influential communication style. You’re seeing it more in the fitness industry now. Do whatever you can to perfect your persuasion and communication skills.

“Have a realistic view of your own strengths and weaknesses. Then make sure you surround yourself with people who are better than you and balance your organization. Better people bring the whole group up to a new level—they will push you up and won’t push you out.”

Steve Capezzone, COO

Healthtrax International

What prompted you to join the ILC?

Advocacy has always been in my DNA, I’ve always had an interest in politics, policy, and legislation. And as an ILC and Public Policy Committee Member, I’m looking forward to the experiences I will have working to promote and protect the industry.

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 400 bills being monitored that could impact the fitness industry. In the five most active states, we operate in three of them. IHRSA's record of stopping harmful legislation is outstanding. So, the work that the government relations team at IHRSA does has a direct financial benefit to all clubs, ours included. We not only stay involved with issues that directly impact our states, but keep a close eye on what's going on outside as well. If something impactful is going on across the country, you can be sure that sooner or later, it will make its way into our states.

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

While there continues to be uncertainty around healthcare reform, HSAs and FSAs are here to stay and their use will increase over time. PHIT will allow American's a way to make being physically active an easier financial choice. A 20% savings by using pre-tax dollars will not only open up new opportunities to increase the number of club exercisers, but will also help in the retention of our existing members.

Founded 20 years ago by a group of concerned industry leaders, the Industry Leadership Council (ILC) exists so that IHRSA has the funds to stop or amend legislation and regulations that would be harmful to club operations, as well as to have the resources necessary to take advantage of opportunities—like PHIT and financial incentives to exercise—that would grow the industry.

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Emily Gluck

Emily Gluck is IHRSA's Executive Assistant. On average her job consists of scheduling, supporting the executive team, and planning events, while the best part of her job is getting to work with a great team on a daily basis. If Emily is out of the office you can typically find her kayaking, hiking in a national park, or rafting on a remote river (ideally she likes to get out of cell phone range).