The Bottom Line: Jackie Mendes
Every month, Club Solutions sits down with an industry expert to share in their wealth of knowledge. In the October issue, the conversation features Jackie Mendes, the director of franchise sales and development — North America of World Gym.
1. How did you get started in the fitness industry?
I got my start in the fitness industry by working with fitness video titan Kathy Smith. I met her while working in a public relations agency. It took less than a year before I was at her house, pitching why she should hire me. I wore several hats working for Kathy: marketing director, publicist, executive producer, CEO, business development director, administrative assistant and protein shake-maker. I gained some of the most valuable experience in this job and it truly fast-tracked my career.
2. What’s been a key to your organization’s success? What are you most proud of?
When you’re part of the World Gym family, you’re part of a very special legacy. When Joe Gold launched World Gym in 1976, he was at the forefront of the modern fitness industry. I’m proud to continue to carry out his work 43 years later with a brand that’s incredibly powerful. I’m also proud to work with the franchisees in our network. Our company is continuing to grow, even during this unpredictable time. I believe our best and brightest days are ahead.
3. What has been one of the biggest accomplishments of your career?
One of my biggest career accomplishments is the launch of the RealRyder Indoor Cycle. I dedicated a decade of my life to launching the world’s first un-stationary, three-dimensional bike, going head-to-head with some of the biggest commercial indoor bike brands in the world. From prototype in a garage to distribution in 50 countries worldwide, I worked with an incredible team I adored.
4. What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career? And how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge in my career is a recurring theme I’m happy to say I’ve finally mastered: taking on too much responsibility. I wish I had learned to let go and delegate much sooner — it would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress. I’m a classic Type A overachiever who loves to crush goals and win. How did I overcome this? Motherhood. When I became a mom, it was like life giving me an ultimatum, forcing me to re-prioritize, hire smarter and more talented people, and nurture their growth.
5. What is one lesson you have learned other fitness professionals can learn from?
Don’t wait for the opportunity to arise before you go for it. For example, if there’s a job you want, apply now. I often hear people say, “But they’re not hiring.” I don’t care, apply anyway. Knock on doors, network, share your goals and express how you can help a company grow, and you’ll stand out. This is how I’ve operated my entire career.
6. Tell us one fact about yourself others may not know.
I used to be a sugar addict. Growing up, I would eat handfuls of penny candy, sugary cereals and ice cream. Once the fat-free craze began, I was in my glory because there was no fat in a box of Snackwell’s cookies. As a result, I crushed my insulin and was diagnosed with infertility at 20 years old. After doing some research, I discovered how to change my body on a cellular level by strength training and eliminating sugar from my diet. To this day, I remain extremely dedicated to strength training and eating clean. This is one of the many reasons I am able to sell the World Gym lifestyle with integrity based on my personal experience.