GM Spotlight: Esther Gonzalez
After she graduated college with an MBA in international management, Esther Gonzalez took up teaching aerobics and saw it as a fun hobby.
It would be after 20 years in corporate America that she would realize her passion for the fitness industry wasn’t something to be kept on the side.
For the past five years Gonzalez has been the club manager of Snap Fitness Fremont in Fremont, California. She was recruited to the position by owner Dana Mason, her friend and soccer teammate during the past 18 years.
“I advise Dana,” said Gonzalez. “We work together on the marketing. I advise her [on] what works, what doesn’t work.”
Gonzalez is in charge of many aspects of the club: hiring and firing, the Group X schedule, class changes, reviewing instructors, developing trainers, tracking daily sales, etc. “Whatever comes up, I need to deal with it,” she said.
In 2012, Gonzalez was awarded “Manager of the Year” at the annual Snap Fitness Convention. Snap Fitness Fremont has also continuously been one of the company’s better-performing clubs in California and is typically in the top three for personal training sales.
When asked what it takes to meet such success, Gonzalez was forthcoming with her answer. “Well, you have to build a team and you have to build real professional loyalty and everybody has to drink of the same Kool-Aid,” she said.
The team is built on high standards and developed from the same philosophy — everyone working together and helping one another. For example, Gonzalez said when it comes to personal training clients, if a trainer can’t make an appointment with their client, another trainer will help out. “My clients are not just mine only. That helps to keep the continuity and the revenue up because if I’m gone, that training isn’t going to stop,” she said. “Well, [a client] doesn’t belong to the trainer, [he or she] belongs to the club, so that keeps the training environment more team oriented and more consistent.”
Plus, with team meetings, rewards for staff and more, Gonzalez said they have fun while working hard.
In the end though, it comes down to making the business successful. That means, Gonzalez said she has to pay attention to the community and know what’s important to the clients or prospects, as well as the owner of the business. “If you don’t know what’s important to your client, what they’re looking for and why that’s important to them, you have to keep asking, ‘Why, why, why?’” she said.
It seems knowledge and shooting for the stars has helped lead to Gonzalez’s success, and she only plans to keep learning and keep striving for the highest bar. “I believe in being highly educated and prepared — credentialed if you will — because I think that’s important because it gives you credibility and then you have to deliver to people’s expectations and beyond people’s expectation,” she said. “So, set high standards for not just others but for yourself too.”
By Heather Hartmann