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Industry Buzz: Wonder Women

Wonder Woman

This past weekend, the 2017 reboot of Wonder Woman smashed box office records, bringing in $103.1 million over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and as a result became the highest grossing domestic opening ever for a female director (Patty Jenkins). In addition, the film made $223 internationally.

But did you know our industry also has Wonder Women of its own? We do, in the form of kick-ass women leaders who are driving innovations and successes at the businesses they’re at the helm of.

Each September, Club Solutions publishes its annual Women’s Issue that celebrates these amazing leaders, that includes a profile on each leader and an overview of their triumphs and challenges. In honor of Wonder Woman’s smashing success and #WomanCrushWednesday, here’s a throwback to some of the industry’s superheroes we’ve highlighted over the past few years.

Lynne Brick

Co-owner of Brick Bodies and a Planet Fitness Franchisee

The biggest challenge Lynne Brick, the co-founder of Brick Bodies in Baltimore, Maryland, has had to overcome doesn’t have to do with business. Instead, her greatest challenge involved fighting a brain tumor, which she discovered she had in 2001.

“The doctor explained that this tumor the size of a golf ball had probably been growing in my head for 10 years, and they are common in women in their 40s or 50s,” recalled Brick. She was shocked, considering health and fitness had always been a priority for the mother of two.

Brick overcame the tumor and has continued her successful career. She is a world-class speaker and has been named IDEA Instructor of the Year in addition to Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2013, Planet Fitness named Brick and her husband Franchisees of the Year. Together, the couple have opened more than 50 clubs.

According to Brick, following these three pieces of advice has helped her succeed: “Simplifying the business is hard — focusing on differentiation is even more challenging,” “It’s all about the size of the dream,” and “Stay close to your numbers.”

Mo Hagan

Vice President of Program Innovation for GoodLife Fitness & canfitproweb

Maureen (Mo) Hagan landed her first job in the health club industry in 1983, during her year off between earning university degrees. She began working at a small chain of women’s fitness clubs, where she was hired to teach group fitness classes, set up members on individualized exercise programs and sell memberships.

That start with group exercise proved to be the platform that would launch her to where she is now, as the vice president of program innovation for GoodLife Fitness and canfitpro (Canadian Fitness Professionals).

“I had no idea that what started as an entry-level job in the fitness industry was actually setting me up for a life-long career,” said Hagan.

Over the course of her career, she’s discovered the importance of staff training and continuing education to a company’s success. At GoodLife Fitness, employee development is a major component of its business model.

“We know that if associates feel like they’re cared about, and if we’re investing in their personal and professional development, they’ll do the same for our members,” explained Hagan. “Whether it’s our personal trainers, management staff or group fitness instructors, one of the biggest factors in our success is that our associates are caring, well-educated, certified and constantly improving themselves.”

A turning point in Hagan’s career came after she became the first director of group fitness at GoodLife. Because there were no other group fitness directors, it pushed her to step up to the plate as a leader and learn how to sell her role and vision to the company.

“This, in turn, helped me build respect and credibility with the leadership team that has led to the ongoing success of my department and eventual promotions that I have achieved within the company,” continued Hagan.

Though Hagan is at the top of her field, that doesn’t mean she’s forgotten her roots. “Even after 25 years in senior management at GoodLife, I continue to teach fitness classes, participate in group fitness and train with a personal trainer on a weekly basis,” she said. “I visit clubs all over the world to learn and stay on top of the trends and to connect with others. This helps me keep my finger on the pulse, my head in the game and my presence in the field with my peers and the members.”

Erin Carson

Owner/Operator, RallySport

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What is your greatest professional accomplishment or source of pride? My biggest source of pride in this industry is seeing my staff “grow up” and have wonderful lives. RallySport is, unfortunately, somewhat unique in that we believe in compensating our fitness staff as true professionals. To hire a young trainer right out of college and have them as part of your team for their entire professional life is an exceptional gift to your members. We see that compensation strategy as one of the keys to our success as a business and as a community. Seeing young professionals realize their dreams is extremely fulfilling.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome at your company? The biggest challenge in our company is setting ourselves apart within the “new normal” of the fitness business. With so many boutique fitness centers it is extremely important for a multipurpose fitness facility to establish a brand and make good on the promises to its members. We take a long-term view with every member and really spend time ensuring they have a clear path to follow and realistic expectations.

What is one piece of leadership advice you could give to other leaders? Perhaps the topic I am most passionate about is the quality of services that we, as an industry, offer to our members and the value that they realize from us. I believe in engaged leadership and that managers and owners should have the ability to recognize “quality” in the services that we provide beyond the “numbers.” Leaders should be able to walk the fitness floor and truly understand what their members are getting for their money and ensure that the value is there.

For more #WomanCrushWednesday inspriation, check out our Women’s Issue profiles here:


CS Celebrates Women in the Industry

Women of the Industry

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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