IHRSA Events



1:30pm – 2:30pm | Roundtable Discussions

How to Drive Additional Revenue Streams

Sarah Pellegrino, ASF Payment Solutions Sales Executive

Most health club owners and operators spend long hours focusing on their membership options to ensure that they are generating enough revenue to be profitable. When it comes to ancillary services; however, some owners can be quick to include these services for free or struggle to create and grow strong personal training programs within their clubs. This roundtable discussion will focus on how to evaluate current club offerings, implement, and grow non-dues revenue streams, and ensure that club operators are getting the support from their current billing and software company to do so! We’ll dive headfirst into:

• Current membership options and how they’re being sold
• Existing non-dues revenue streams and how they can be grown
• How to charge for ancillary services that may be currently offered for free or not offered at all
• Areas within the health club that owners should be spending money to make money
• Money making and saving tips from Sarah Pellegrino.


Retaining Top Talent through Staff Development

Brian Greenlee, ACE Director of Credentialing, with support from Leah Fett, ACE National Accounts Specialist

Employment recruitment, on-boarding, and ongoing professional development is a common challenge that all industries face. Talent acquisition can be a time consuming and costly process, however the benefits of staff development are invaluable. This roundtable discussion will focus on how to keep, retain and develop staff based on best practices in and outside of the broader
fitness industry.

• Recognizing the characteristics of an ideal employee;
• Identifying and addressing challenges associated with staff retention;
• Optimizing engagement and return on investment for staff training and development;
• Implementing best practices for investing and managing staff training and development;
• Review Case Study: Health Care Competency Model.


4:00pm – 4:15pm | Welcome & Orientation


4:15pm – 5:15pm | UNC Faculty


Strategy as Simple Rules

Chris Bingham, Ph.D., Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Philip Hettleman Distinguished Scholar and Area Chair of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School

Leaders face multiple challenges and threats in today’s business world. The reaction of most companies is to create more policies, routines, and “playbooks” that frequently lead to an inability to innovate rather than enable it. Instead, new research shows a key counterintuitive insight: When environments become more dynamic and complex often the best strategies for innovation and change are the most simple. In this session, Dr. Bingham provides a practical framework based on award-winning academic models of simple rules. We will focus on helping leaders analyze their own performance and distill simple rules for superior performance.


5:30pm – 6:30pm | Networking Activity


       Nicole Johnson, Director of U.S. Club Membership, IHRSA

Attendees at the Institute not only learn from the faculty but from the experiences of their fellow operators. Get to know your fellow students, faculty and the IHRSA staff with this simple introductory activity.


6:30pm – 9:00pm | Reception & Dinner





6:30am – 7:30am | Morning Workout


Bodyweight Bootcamp

Chris Stevenson, Owner, Stevenson Fitness


8:00am – 9:00am | Networking Breakfast


9:00am – 10:00am | Education Class


Industry Trends, Research & Benchmarking

Bill McBride, President & CEO, Active Wellness & BMC3

Jay Ablondi, Executive Vice President of Global Products, IHRSA

Understanding trends, key performance indicators and research that affect your business are all important factors in planning for the future. Identify the newest research and resources available, decipher which information is important, and learn how to apply it in order to differentiate your business.


Networking Coffee Break


10:15am – 12:15pm | Strategic Planning Sessions


Strategic Planning for Executives

Brent Darden, CEO, Brent Darden Consulting

Owners, partners, and other executives will tackle strategic planning and focus. Align your hiring, training, performance management, and your organizational objectives to achieve your strategic goals.


Strategic Planning for Department Heads

Brad Wilkins, MBA, President, Health & Fitness, Cooper Aerobics

General managers and other operations staff will study the effective ways to communicate and manage across teams and meet goals. Learn how to navigate available club resources and implementation of plans, strategic thinking and planning, goal-setting and timelines.


12:15pm – 1:45pm | Networking Lunch


1:45pm – 3:45pm | Education Classes


Marketing Strategies

Alan Leach, CEO & Director of Marketing, West Wood Clubs, IRELAND

A successful marketing strategy includes a comprehensive marketing plan that enhances your brand recognition and helps you gain your competitive advantage. Learn how to create campaigns, develop timelines, and define and understand your audience, as well as how to integrate your plan with sales, social media, and member communication efforts.


Member Retention, Experience & Engagement

Chris Stevenson, Owner, Stevenson Fitness

Learn how your organization can become more customer-centric and succeed at building member loyalty. Discover the importance of utilizing Net Promoter Scores® and member feedback to deliver great customer experiences and gain the competitive advantage. Develop strategies to help your staff engage and retain members and explore practical approaches to deliver a service culture.


Networking Coffee Break


4:00pm – 5:00pm | Roundtable Discussions


6:00pm – 9:00pm | Dinner & Logo Swap

Everyone loves to go to an event and walk away with gifts! Bring your club's branded gear to trade for other items from clubs around the world. All Institute attendees are encouraged to bring items printed with their club's logo, such as hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, water bottles, or other distinctive items to swap with fellow attendees. This is a fun networking experience and a great way to show off the uniqueness of your club's logo.




6:30am – 7:30am | Morning Workout



Michele Melkerson-Granryd, General Manager, Castle Hill Fitness


8:00am – 9:00am | Networking Breakfast


9:00am – 11:00am | Education Class


Financial Management

Larry Conner, President & General Manager, Stone Creek Club & Spa

Creating meaningful budgets, managing expenses, and understanding variances are core skills for any business leader's success. Collecting relevant data as well as understanding and leveraging key performance indicators (KPIs) will further strengthen your ability to create better solutions for your business.


Networking Coffee Break


11:15am – 12:30pm | Education Class


Day-to-Day Legal Issues

Helen Durkin, J.D., Executive Vice President of Public Policy, IHRSA

Gaining an understanding of the legal issues club operators regularly face can be instrumental to ensure they never become a legal crisis. Learn how to avert headache-causing problems that can consume your time, drain your money and harm your reputation in the community when it “goes viral.” Armed with basic knowledge, you will learn how to identify the legal issues lurking in everyday situations, the steps to avoid them and where to turn to when they can’t be avoided.


12:30pm – 2:00pm | Networking Lunch


2:00pm – 4:00pm | Education Classes


Sales Management

Bill McBride, President & CEO, Active Wellness & BMC3

Effective sales teams work with a plan. Learn the importance of goal-setting, projections, tracking, the sales cycle, generating leads and referrals, and how to motivate your sales team through compensation, incentives, and contests.


Social Media & Digital Strategies

Alan Leach, CEO & Director of Marketing, West Wood Clubs, IRELAND

People spend more and more time online, whether to get their news, updates, or to connect. Acquire the skills needed today to benefit your clubs search engine optimization, social networks, and mobile apps. This session will help you tell your story, build relationships with prospects and members, and increase brand loyalty to take your club to the next level.


Networking Coffee Break


4:15pm – 5:30pm | Education Classes


Personal & Group Training Management

Michele Melkerson-Granryd, General Manager, Castle Hill Fitness

Hire the right people and develop your team to grow participation and deliver fun, effective, and results-driven training programs. Evaluate fee-based programming and create the personal and group training models that will increase member engagement and build your profits.


Non-Dues Revenue: Management & Growth Strategies

Mark Miller, COO, Merritt Clubs

Membership is only one way for a club to generate revenue. Evaluate your market and determine growth areas to effectively use space, engage members and prospects, drive growth, and increase non-dues revenue and profits.


5:30pm – 6:30pm | Roundtable Discussions


6:45pm – 9:00pm | Networking Dinner




6:30am – 7:30am | Morning Workout



Melissa Baer, m'bala, O2 Fitness


8:00am – 9:00am | Networking Breakfast


9:00am – 10:30am | Education Class


Employee Hiring, Training & Retention

Greta Wagner, Executive Vice President/Executive Director, Chelsea Piers

Hiring and keeping the right people has a huge impact on the overall success of your business. Understand first how and where to find people with the right knowledge, talent, and skills. Then learn how to train and empower your staff to create a motivated, productive, and engaged team.


Networking Coffee Break


10:45am – 11:45am | UNC Faculty


Motivation & Change

Mabel Miguel, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Organizational Behavior and Director of the Global Business Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School

Change can be one of the biggest enemies of business. However, when addressed effectively, it can be your biggest asset. This session with Dr. Mabel Miguel, an expert on organizational behavior, will teach attendees the importance of understanding how to navigate their staff through changing environments. She will discuss relevant changes in the industry and the challenge they present for the future. To better assist you with navigating change in your own club, she will help you identify the role that you play, and how to move your staff and clients through the Change Commitment Curve.


Networking Coffee Break


12:00pm – 12:30pm | Group Discussion


Preparing for the Future

Chris Stevenson, Owner, Stevenson Fitness

In this final discussion session, attendees will share lessons learned and create a roadmap for successfully integrating new ideas upon returning home.


12:30pm – 2:00pm | Graduation & Lunch

Enjoy this concluding session with your official graduation from The IHRSA Institute! Lunch will follow. 

“The IHRSA Institute has sent me home with an overflowing brain and so many things I will be implementing in the future. It was great to bounce ideas off colleagues, hear what is and isn't working for other facilities, and learn from a very experienced panel. Everyone should attend The Institute at least once!"

— Ali Granryd, Castle Hill Fitness


Keep me updated on IHRSA Events!

Our educational events provide an array of speakers on business and strategy, instructional sessions for management success, peer-to-peer networking opportunities, and spectacular trade shows. Learn more about upcoming events. 


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