Every month, Club Solutions sits down with an industry expert to share in their wealth of knowledge. In the December issue, we sat down with Deb Heisler, the regional vice president — Tampa, Florida — at Active Wellness.
1. How did you get started in the fitness industry?
In college I took a lifeguarding class one semester and a group exercise instructor certification class shortly after that. Both certifications gave me a sense of accomplishment, leadership and fun. I began teaching group classes and became more involved in campus recreation centers. This passion led me to interview for the Walt Disney World college program. While working as a lifeguard in their recreation department as part of the college program, I realized I could have a career in fitness.
2. What’s been a key to your organization’s success?
At Active Wellness we pride ourselves on being able to provide best-in-class programming, technology, fitness center design, and innovative ideas to our sites and partners. Our secret sauce, however, has always been our people. Many of us have worked together well over a decade and built a deep sense of trust and belonging, which allows for an uninhibited sharing of ideas and best practices. This fosters an environment of creativity and allows us to bring this energy and innovation to our teams to help them thrive and grow.
3. What has been one of the biggest accomplishments of your career?
I helped create our Member Experience Program, which is something we roll out with every employee as they are onboarded. After traveling to sites post-COVID and meeting with all the teams, it became apparent our member experience modules needed a facelift. I, along with several of my colleagues, are currently in the process of updating the modules and workbook to encompass some of the challenges we have encountered at sites in the last few years.
4. What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career? And how did you overcome it?
By far the COVID-19 pandemic. One by one we were faced with shutting down over 50 sites company-wide in different states all over the country. Along with my colleagues in operations and HR, we worked through the furlough process for some of our teams as well as pivoting to being solely online and digital in an industry that thrives off interpersonal communication and interaction. As a company and industry, I am incredibly impressed and proud of how we have come through this together and stronger.
5. What is one lesson you have learned that other fitness professionals can learn from?
There will always be roadblocks in life. The key is not to focus on the roadblock but figure out a detour. Creativity and thinking outside the box are essential in this industry.
6. Tell us one fact about yourself others may not know.
I am a lover of water, the beach, boating, kayaking and riding waves. Any chance I get I am by the water or in the water playing, and I am always seeking out a good sunset.
Connect with Deb Heisler on LinkedIn.
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