Ten questions with Karen M. Raisch-Siegel, the executive director of LifeWorks & director of Comprehensive Women’s Health.
1. What was your first job in the health club industry? My first job was at Members First Fitness Center in Stuart, Florida. I had no idea what to do or how to use the equipment. I ended up reading all the manuals including how to conduct a fitness test just in case. Well, I conducted my first fitness test. The poor guy had to get off the bike and run into the locker room to get sick.
2. How did you get your start at LifeWorks of Southwest General? My husband found the position, program coordinator, listed in the local newspaper and I was ready to move on from my current position. I was very attracted by the thought of taking my knowledge and skills to the next level.
3. What is your favorite part of your job? I love that I have the ability to bring people together and make things happen. In the fitness industry things are always changing, evolving, and I find this very exciting.
4. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome? My greatest challenge was to change how I lead. My greatest strength, moving quickly with a lot of passion, is also my greatest weakness. I didn’t realize that my team was being left off the “new idea/project” train. I needed to slow down and get them on board. I had to learn to be a better leader and work on my “emotional intelligence.”
5. How did you overcome that challenge? I had the wonderful opportunity to work with an executive coach. It was then that I realized that I operated differently than my team. I was clueless at the time. Once I had this realization, I implemented strategies that would force me to slow down and take the time that each individual needed. One strategy was to implement weekly one-on-one meetings. Previously I had met with them often, but not in a purposeful manner. During these meetings I made sure to leave my desk and sit at the table with them to limit any computer distractions. Before each meeting I would take a moment to reflect on how I can contribute to the staff and what I can provide. I needed to become other-centric.
6. What’s the best piece of leadership advice you’ve ever been given? Take the time to train your team well. It will save you a lot of time in the end.
7. What’s the worst piece of leadership advice you’ve ever been given? I never really received bad advice on leadership. It would be more that the person speaking did not understand what it is to be a leader.
8. What’s your favorite leadership or growth book, and why? The one that comes to mind is the one I just read, “Eat That Cookie” by Liz Jazwiec. I found this timely for me to remind me that my attitude, my passion, affects the team greatly. It gave me the inspiration and motivation to continue the work toward creating an accountable workplace and to work on building an A+ culture.
9. What do you hope to achieve in 2017? A strong culture in our organization that is achieving wonderful results for the business and for those we serve.
10. What fitness trend will you be keeping an eye on in 2017? The trends I will be watching are growth in boutiques, team training, technology use in the club and population health management (working with our health systems to keep folks out of the hospital).