Larry C. Conner is the president and general manager of Stone Creek Club and Spa.
1. What was your first job in the health club industry? I was hired as the controller/CFO of a multipurpose club in 1990. My passion was fitness, my work history during high school and college was in the hotel industry, and my education was in accounting. Once I graduated, I worked in a variety of accounting and management jobs for four years before I was able to put all three together and get my start in this industry
2. How did you get your start at Stone Creek Club & Spa? I was asked by a friend if I would speak to someone he knew who was going to build a large, upscale club and office complex in our area. Seven months later I was hired for the build-out of both the club and the office building, along with the duties of the start-up and operation of the club. The project took one and a half years to build and the club opened in June 2009.
3. Stone Creek has been voted “Best Health Club,” in addition to multiple other accolades — why do you think that is? We got our start with our incredible facilities, but it is our team and our “Service Principles” that are the difference makers. We work with our team to treat everyone like we would want to be treated. Our members take a lot of pride in being a part of the Stone Creek community, and we wouldn’t win these awards without their enthusiasm and support year after year.
4. If you had to pick one thing about Stone Creek you’re most proud of, what would that one thing be? Our service to our community. Nothing brings a team together like everyone working for a great cause. We have many charity fundraisers on-site, which bring out the best in our team and help raise over $500,000 annually for these causes.
5. What do you think Stone Creek staff excel at? We excel at service. Being in the hospitality business, service is the most important factor. If we do not set ourselves apart with our service, then we’re just a club that’s more expensive than the rest.
6. What is the best piece of leadership advice you’ve ever been given? As a leader, you should always do things for the right reasons and the right things will happen. True leaders not only look out for what is right for themselves, but also what is right for the people around them. It is not usually the easiest or fastest thing to do, but it is the best way.
7. What’s your favorite part of being in the fitness industry? Making a person’s day better. I love it when a person tells me that their day was better for coming to the club. We always tell our team how important our jobs are because we really do make a difference in people’s lives. Our slogan is “Your Everyday Getaway” and we all focus on achieving this at all times.
8. If you weren’t in the position you’re in now, what job do you think you’d be doing? I always wanted to be a doctor because I wanted to help people. I wasn’t cut out for all the schooling needed to get there, so I would not be doing that if I weren’t in fitness! But, I can say, I am happier with the way it all turned out. I am exactly where I want to be.
9. What’s the best leadership book you’ve read? “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek. It reaffirms my belief that leaders are born and lead teams, and managers are created and run businesses.
10. What do you hope to accomplish in the next six months? We have many projects in development at the club and it will be exciting to bring those to fruition. Also, as a member of the IHRSA Board of Directors, I am very excited about serving alongside these other talented professionals working hard to grow and protect our industry. I always feel that there is more to learn and that the best is yet to come.