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10 Questions with Nikki Wille


Ten questions and answers with Nikki Wille, the director of programming for Wisconsin Athletic Club.small

1. How did you get your start with the Wisconsin Athletic Club (WAC)? I started at the WAC 12 years ago working the front desk at our Downtown Milwaukee location while completing my kinesiology degree at UW-Milwaukee. I have been fortunate enough to experience significant career growth with the WAC, while staying true to my passion for making a difference in people’s lives.

2. What’s the favorite aspect of your job? The atmosphere, the people, the passion. We work hard and play hard.

3. What’s the most challenging part of your job, and how have you overcome it? Balancing the growth of our business and the team member relationships to ensure our core mission and philosophies that differentiate us are not compromised. It is my goal to continue recruiting and developing new and existing talent and empower them to embody the WAC vision to the front-line member experience.

4. You were named 2008 and 2009 personal trainer of the year. How did that feel? It was exhilarating to be recognized for the hard work and dedication I put into winning that award in back-to-back years. I am very proud of being the first personal trainer at the WAC to accomplish that.

5. What’s your vision for your career in the future? The WAC is my home away from home. The WAC ownership team has always encouraged me to get outside my comfort zone, broaden my horizons and be my best. I plan to continue to grow my career with the WAC as new opportunities are presented.

6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? My mentor and friend, Deb Orr, once said something that has always resonated with me. “It only takes 20 seconds of courage to overcome your fear. Be brave.” That powerful statement has been my mantra in moments of personal and career growth.

7. What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given? During my time as a general manager, while performing front desk duties (checking members in, folding towels, answering the phone) an individual told me that a general manager’s time is more valuable than doing tasks like that. Leadership to me is knowing that every job is an essential component to what we do and no job is less important than any other.

8. What do you like to do in your spare time? I love spending time with my family, especially my husband and two sons. It could be anything from story time to days at the family pool. Yoga and fitness are my outlets. I love and need them equally. As an avid sports fan, my two favorites are the Green Bay Packers and women’s college basketball.

9. If you weren’t in your current role, what job would you have? Did you aspire to be something else when you were younger? If my current role had not been offered to me I would have continued to pursue growth in my role as a general manager at one of our seven locations. When I was younger I was drawn to a career in the medical field. I first started college as a nursing student. I was introduced to a kinesiology course early on in my college career and shortly after, changed majors and never looked back.

10. What Group X trend are you currently obsessed with? Yoga and bodyweight training. Yoga slows my mind and body down to a speed that helps me think clearly and focus better. The infusion of bodyweight training and my passion to nail a handstand in the middle of a room continues to fuel my competitive edge.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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