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IHRSA Announces Elizabeth Clark as New President and CEO

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Elizabeth Clark

IHRSA has announced its newest CEO and president. Elizabeth Clark will officially take over on August 16th for interim president and CEO Brent Darden, who temporarily took over the position after Joe Moore stepped down in August 2020. 

Clark hails from the candy industry, previously leading government relations and advocacy at the National Confectioners Association (NCA). She will be the first female CEO in IHRSA’s 40-year history.

According to IHRSA, Clark has led advocacy efforts at NCA since 2011, serving as the industry’s voice in Washington D.C., and successfully lobbied to have confection manufacturing deemed “essential” during the pandemic. 

Prior to NCA, Clark was an executive director in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

 “IHRSA’s mission, to grow, protect, and promote the health and fitness industry, has never been more important,” said Carrie Kepple, the chairwoman of the IHRSA Board of Directors, in a statement. “For the past year, the board of directors and IHRSA team have been focused on reopening, rebuilding and reimagining our industry and our association. Liz’s long, successful career in association management, her expertise in advocacy, and her commitment to member service — not to mention her energy and passion — will serve IHRSA and all our members very well.” 

Greta Wagner, the executive director of Chelsea Piers Connecticut, served as committee chair for the six-member CEO search team, which included Wagner, Kepple, Alan Leach, Bryan O’Rourke, Chris Smith and Jim Worthington. Executive search firm Spencer Stuart was also involved in the nationwide search. The process took around five months. 

“The search committee was tasked with working with industry leaders to find a transformational CEO to move IHRSA and its member clubs into a new era,” said Wagner, in a statement. “It was evident to the committee almost immediately that Liz’s ability to perform at the highest level along with her business acumen made her a natural fit. She will bring new energy to the mission to scale up our business and advocate for our industry, and I know she’s the right person to lead IHRSA at this important time.”

Clark holds a master’s in international commerce and policy from George Mason University. According to IHRSA, she is a lifelong athlete, and was on the rowing team as an undergraduate at the University at Dayton.

 “I am honored to work alongside and on behalf of this dynamic and evolving industry,” said Clark, in a statement. “This is an exceptional opportunity to bring my experience to bear for an industry I have been personally committed to for my entire life, and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work.” 

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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