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The Bottom Line: Kristin McConnell 

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Every month, Club Solutions sits down with an industry expert to share in their wealth of knowledge. In the April issue, the conversation features Kristin McConnell, the marketing director of The Atlantic Club.

1. How did you get your start in the fitness industry? 

My first fitness-related job was at The Atlantic Club over 13 years ago. At the time I worked for a printer across the street from the club. I was a graphic designer and built an in-house marketing department from the ground up. I had experience working with a variety of brands, including Retro Fitness and Gold’s Gym, to name a few. The Atlantic Club offered me an opportunity to build a marketing department, and bring 95% of the outsourced marketing services in-house, from design and creation to execution. I welcomed the challenge.

2. What’s your favorite part about being in the fitness industry? 

Knowing the services, programs and products I am a part of are changing people’s lives for the better. Hearing their stories, witnessing their results, seeing them come through our doors day after day makes all we do worthwhile. 

3. What are you most proud of concerning your role at The Atlantic Club? 

Because I work for The Atlantic Club and have incredible leaders such as Pat Laus and Kevin McHugh, I’ve had many opportunities to get involved with wonderful charitable organizations and make a difference. Our corporate initiatives included large-scale charitable events where we rallied with other clubs across the nation to make a difference in the lives of those living with ALS, helping to find a cure for breast cancer, helping fill our local food pantry or fundraising to build smart homes for veterans.

4. What is your favorite leadership book and why? 

If you haven’t read it yet, Debbie Peterson’s book, “CLARITY: How Smart Professionals Create Career Success on Their Terms,” is a great read. Peterson reviews concepts like the Power of Three. Three things to focus on at the start of your day isn’t overwhelming. Three is a doable number you can wrap your head around.

5. What is the best leadership advice you have ever been given? 

Smile. It’s pretty simple. Leaders should be approachable. How you come off to others will result in the response you will receive.

6. If you weren’t in the position you’re in now, what job do you think you would be doing? 

I’m pretty sure I would still be in an industry that was helping people or customer service-oriented. Growing up, I wanted to be an X-ray technician and worked in the emergency room as a volunteer for a short while. It was eye-opening, and gave me incredible respect for those who work in this environment practicing compassion and strength, and witnessing heartbreak daily. 

7. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome? 

Finding the right team members for our marketing department is like a puzzle. Everybody needs to fit. As the times change, so do our needs and the skillsets we look for. Finding people with passion who are skilled and have a good work ethic is sometimes a challenge. I am very fortunate to say I currently have a wonderful team that is extremely talented, passionate about their jobs, respects each other, and truly wants to make a difference. 

8. How did you overcome that challenge? 

When hiring, spend the time to find the right candidate. Don’t rush to hire just to hire. Be transparent; give them real, day-to-day expectations.

9. If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be? 

Take that trip to Bora Bora now. And you might want to consider one of the other 50 states to live in rather than New Jersey, with its insanely high taxes. But seriously, I would say stick with your gut. Do something you are passionate about and you find rewarding. That will be what you are amazing at.

10. What’s a fitness trend you’re keeping an eye on right now?

Optimum wellness for the whole body. Tools that measure and allow our trainers and coaches to be objective rather than subjective and visually provide results for members or clients — giving them real solutions to improve movement and achieve the results they want.  

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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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