1. What’s a technology trend you’re keeping an eye on currently? Similar to many, I am following the growing trends in wearables and alternative payments like Apple Pay. However, I think information security is one of the most significant trends right now. Threats to our data security, as well as privacy concerns, will continue to drive us to reevaluate our business processes for several years to come.
2. How is Leisure Sports staying on the cutting edge in terms of technology? The answer to this appears a bit generic, but is nonetheless valid — we expand our horizon when looking for new technology or innovative ideas by going outside our industry. We look for those solutions or consumer products that don’t just solve an immediate need, but will be flexible to meet the needs of our company and members down the road. While exploring, we try to keep an eye on how these technologies can either directly or indirectly integrate into our member experience.
3. What do you hope to see from Leisure Sports in the next five years? I’d like to see Leisure Sports expand beyond our brick and mortar to reach members through novel services. These services, founded in new technology and fueled by innovative fitness offerings, will allow us an opportunity to increase the number of people we reach within our communities and help them achieve their health and fitness goals.
4. When did you start to see yourself as successful? For me it is less about starting to see myself as successful and more so about achieving success in what I am doing at that particular time of life, whether it was in graduate school or in driving technology strategy for Leisure Sports. It is in my nature to not be complacent – I always strive to learn something new or accomplish something different.
5. What’s been a major key to your success? Continual learning and strategic thinking have been key every step of the way. Both come naturally to me and I have played to those strengths during each point in my life to help achieve success.
6. What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies? I like to say I collect experiences – I love to travel and explore. My wife and I share a “have kids, will travel” attitude that leads to many fun (and occasionally challenging) times with the kids around the globe!
7. What piece of technology do you use every day that you can’t live without? I use my iPad every day — a truly amazing piece of technology I could only dream about as a kid. I am an avid news reader and use Flipboard to catch up on what is going on in the world and the latest in technology.
8. Whom do you admire? My admiration is for those who are steadfast in their commitment, convictions and who can adapt to the social and technological climate. There are some individuals, such as Elon Musk, who fit this bill while helping to drive social and technology change.
9. What was the most exciting thing you did in 2014? Participating in the Club Solutions Leadership Summit at the Kentucky Derby is the first thing that comes to mind, both professionally and personally. I discussed the industry’s top issues with the best in the industry while attending one of the premier sporting events.
10. What’s something you’d like to experience or do in 2015? While I have travel planned for 2015, I often find the best experiences are those that are not seen too far in advance. The thing you need to do is be open to saying yes when presented with the opportunity.
By Rachel Zabonick