Every month, Club Solutions sits down with an industry expert to share in their wealth of knowledge. In the November issue, the conversation features Frank Ancharski, the COO of American Family Fitness.
1. What was your first job in the health club industry?
As a fitness director at Glenpointe Spa & Fitness in Teaneck, New Jersey.
2. How did you get your start at American Family Fitness?
Through JLR Associates and my interview with our owner, Brian Evans, at IHRSA 2015.
3. What is one key to American Family Fitness’ success?
Longevity. Our company is celebrating our 30-year anniversary this fall in Richmond, Williamsburg and Fredericksburg, Virginia. Many key employees have been with us for a long time — in some cases two decades or more — including our owner for 28 of them. Other keys for us are reinvestment of significant capital for improvements, a friendly family-like work atmosphere and a genuine care of our members, community and team members.
4. What’s your favorite part of being in the fitness industry?
The relationships and lifelong friendships. It is an honor to have built them with amazing servant leaders who smile, laugh and make a difference in the lives and communities we all are so passionate about. I’m grateful many times over in my career including an amazing team at American Family Fitness.
5. What is the best piece of leadership advice you’ve ever been given?
From Lou Holtz, who said, “Do what is right, do your best and treat others as you would like to be treated.”
6. If you weren’t in the position you’re in now, what job do you think you’d be doing?
I’d be a CEO of a club company who cares about open communication, leadership and people, and wants to grow. Or a club retreat facilitator, which I have done with my consulting company, Club Coach Services.
7. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Leaving organizations I loved working for and the people on the teams.
8. And how did you overcome that challenge?
Patience, persistence, resiliency, perspective and positivity.
9. If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Save more money for a rainy day, never miss industry events and be all in all the time in everything — be there. Pick cultures that are compatible with your core self.
10. What’s a fitness trend you’re keeping an eye on right now?
The upcoming P.H.I.T. Bill vote in the U.S. Senate, after passing for the first time ever in the House. It is a game changer for all of us. Hats off to the tireless work that is being done by Jim Worthington and Linda Mitchell from the Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pennsylvania — my home state — and the amazing staff of IHRSA like Helen Durkin and Pam O’Donnell and so many others. We asked our 85,000 members to write to our state senators in October. I encourage everyone to do the same. A template for the letters and your respective states are already done. A few clicks and we get free lobbying support for the most significant legislation we have ever seen. After all these years in the business and now knowing the acceptance by legislators, insurance providers and medical professionals has happened is invigorating. Our time is now.