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First Live WIFA Event Celebrates Founding ‘Mothers’ of Fitness Industry


On March 22, 2018, more than 100 women gathered during IHRSA for the first live event hosted by the Women in Fitness Association (WIFA).

WIFA was founded in May 2017 with the goal of creating a “place for women to gather in community with one another.” According to Lindsey Rainwater, the founder of WIFA, the first live event was a great example of that goal.

“It was incredible,” said Rainwater. “People loved just being able to see each other in person.”

The event’s theme was “Women Who Birthed an Industry” and honored six founding “mothers” of the fitness space, including Judi Sheppard Missett, Joy Prouty, Candice Copeland Brooks, Linda Shelton, Lynne Brick and Molly Fox.

Leading up to the event, the stories of 40 additional influential women were highlighted as well, as examples of the countless women leaders who have made the fitness industry what it is today. 

“We were really intent on making the event stand apart from just a typical reception, and we did that by choosing to honor the 40 women,” said Rainwater. “There are so many women who’ve made a difference that people don’t know about. We want to tell more of their stories and I think we can be a platform for that. There are countless women above and beyond the 40, and we are looking forward to highlighting all of them.”

WIFA has grown to 175 members and seven sponsors since its founding. Rainwater explained the live event felt like a kick-off to even greater things to come.

“My awareness is really opening as to the possibility of WIFA being able to support women globally,” added Rainwater. “This group of women has the capacity and impact, and I feel excited about what bringing these women together can do for the industry and people in general. The goal of WIFA is to unite women and give them the resources and tools to reach their potential. We’re just scratching the surface of the impact the women of WIFA can have.”

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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