Talks & Takes: A Monthly Fitness Industry Talk Show
Join industry experts, in collaboration with IHRSA and REX Roundtables, for a monthly talk show featuring current events, industry news, and hot topics. The next show will take place on Wednesday, June 1, at 2 p.m. EDT.
Sponsored by ABC Fitness Solutions
Sara Kooperman, J.D.
SCW Fitness Education and WATERinMOTION
Owner, WORX Health Clubs
Co-founder, President, and CEO
- Brent Darden, Chair of REX Roundtables
- Bill McBride, Co-founder, President, and CEO, Active Wellness
- Sara Kooperman, J.D., CEO, SCW Fitness Education and WATERinMOTION
- Blair McHaney, CEO of MXM and Owner of Worx Health Clubs
Brent Darden’s background in fitness industry leadership roles is extensive. He earned his master’s degree in exercise science from Baylor University and began his career as a front desk attendant and fitness floor instructor at the First Baptist Church of Waco Life Recreation Center. He later was employed in a variety of positions in different fitness operating models including a regional multi-club group, a large independent athletic facility, and a niche group exercise studio.
Darden went on to work in the corporate wellness arena, serving as the Wellness Director for Texas Instruments and Northern Telecom, two of the most comprehensive employee wellness programs in the country. While at Texas Instruments, Brent created the “Commitment In Action” (CIA) initiative, which was recognized by the National Employee Recreation & Services Association, as the annual “Best Employee Wellness Incentive Program.”
Following his achievements in corporate wellness, Brent was recruited to serve as Vice President of the renowned Cooper Aerobic Enterprises, working alongside Dr. Kenneth Cooper. During his tenure, he provided leadership for the Fitness Center and In-Residence Wellness Program, and oversaw the opening of the Cooper Spa, and establishment of the Cooper Consulting Division. While on the Cooper campus, he was recognized by IHRSA, as “General Manager of the Year.”
In 2003, Darden and his partner took over the failed North Dallas Athletic Club, renovating and relaunching it as the luxurious Telos Fitness Center. After completing a “Texas-Sized Turnaround” as one article labeled it, Telos was named one of the few independently owned organizations included in the “Top 100 US Health Clubs” according to Club Industry Magazine. Telos was also recognized as N. Dallas “Business of the Year,” awarded the “Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award,” and received a litany of industry accolades.
From 2010 through 2015, Darden served on the IHRSA Board of Directors, as Nominations Committee Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Chairperson of the Board, and Ex-Officio. Since that time he has advised a number of fitness brands and delivered keynote presentations around the world on leadership, employee engagement, customer experience, strategy, and brand frameworks, among other topics.
Sara Kooperman, CEO of SCW Fitness Education and WATERinMOTION, is a visionary leader that has transformed the fitness education community. A successful business owner and advisor, she is a keynote speaker, published author, podcast presenter and sought-after industry trail-blazer. Sara has launched nine successful MANIA® fitness-professional conventions and over 35 live and online certifications. Her company has touched more than 100,000 Fitness Professionals face-to-face and engaged another 300,000+ in virtual connections and produced over 600 Fitness Instructor Training video. She also is the proud recipient of the Illinois State Business Woman of the Year and AEA’s Global Award for Contribution to the Aquatic Industry. Sara is well-known for her creativity and impact on the health and wellness industry. She has a unique ability to share her passion and devotion towards fitness education through her humor, enthusiasm and her effervescent no-nonsense personality. Sara serves on the Gold’s Gym Think Tank, is on the Women in Fitness Association Board of Directors and is a proud inductee into the National Fitness Hall of Fame. Sara has left an indelible mark on the fitness industry as a whole.
Bill McBride is a health club industry veteran with over 25 years of experience leading and managing all aspects of commercial health clubs, medical fitness centers, residential, community, multi-tenant and corporate fitness sites. He co-founded Active Sports Clubs and Active Wellness, LLC and owns a health club consultancy: BMC3. McBride has served as Chairman of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) Board of Directors, President of the Mid-Atlantic Club Management Association (MACMA) and served on the Industry Advisory Board for the American Council of Exercise (ACE). He is actively engaged as an author on industry education, serves on several fitness related technology company Advisory Boards, serves on the Medical Wellness Association (MWA) as a Faculty Member and The Medical Fitness Network (MFN) Advisory Boards. He is currently also serving on the ACSM Facility Standards & Guidelines 5th Edition Committee. McBride consults and speaks regularly on industry topics throughout the world.
Blair McHaney is CEO of MXM and President of Confluence Fitness Partners, which operates two gyms in Central Washington. He is a former president of the Gold's Gym Franchise association and Vice President at Medallia. Blair is an educator, practitioner, student, and subject matter expert on operational member experience management.