IHRSA European Congress Virtual Edition

Keynote Speakers

Thierry Malleret, Managing Partner, Monthly Barometer, France


Managing Partner, Monthly Barometer, France

Bryan O’Rourke, Managing Director, Fitness24Seven Thailand and CEO, Vedere Ventures, USA


Managing Director, Fitness24Seven Thailand and CEO, Vedere Ventures, USA

Cate Trotter, Head of Trends, Insider Trends, United Kingdom


Head of Trends, Insider Trends, United Kingdom

David Barton, Founder & Owner, TMPL Gym & DavidBartonGym, USA


Founder & Owner, TMPL Gym & DavidBartonGym, USA

David Barton is a disruptor and visionary within the gym industry. David's epic vision involves a collaboration of preeminent talent in design, lighting, technology and exercise science to create the ultimate gym environment and most advanced workout.

Deemed by The New York Times as "the man who made working out cool," David is widely respected as the person who first breathed life, sexiness and celebration into fitness, creating a body altering, heart-racing, music-thumping dynamic that defined a new class of health gym and personal lifestyle.

Prior to TMPL, Barton founded DavidBartonGym, distinguished across the country for its intense personal training, cutting-edge design, charged environment and provocative advertising with locations in New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Seattle.

Kate Cracknell, Freelance Journalist, Copywriter & Editor, United Kingdom


Freelance Journalist, Copywriter & Editor, United Kingdom

As the former editor of Health Club Management magazine, and one of the fitness sector's leading journalists, Kate Cracknell combines extensive industry knowledge and insight with an ability to harness the power of words to the benefit of her clients.

Her wordsmithing services span the breadth of journalism, copywriting and editing. From magazine articles to news releases, blogs and LinkedIn posts to marketing collateral, Kate helps businesses create fresh, compelling content that keeps their brands relevant, engaging and front-of-mind.

Brent Darden, Interim President & CEO, IHRSA and Chair, REX Roundtables, USA


Interim President & CEO, IHRSA and Chair, REX Roundtables, USA


Brent’s background in fitness industry leadership roles is extensive. He earned his master’s degree in exercise science from Baylor University and began his career as a front desk attendant and fitness floor instructor at the First Baptist Church of Waco Life Recreation Center. He later was employed in a variety of positions in different fitness operating models including a regional multi-club group, a large independent athletic facility, and a niche group exercise studio.


Brent went on to work in the corporate wellness arena, serving as the Wellness Director for Texas Instruments and Northern Telecom, two of the most comprehensive employee wellness programs in the country. While at Texas Instruments, Brent created the “Commitment In Action” (CIA) initiative, which was recognized by the National Employee Recreation & Services Association, as the annual “Best Employee Wellness Incentive Program.” 


Following his achievements in corporate wellness, Brent was recruited to serve as Vice President of the renowned Cooper Aerobic Enterprises, working alongside Dr. Kenneth Cooper. During his tenure, he provided leadership for the Fitness Center and In-Residence Wellness Program, and oversaw the opening of the Cooper Spa, and establishment of the Cooper Consulting Division. While on the Cooper campus, he was recognized by IHRSA, as “General Manager of the Year.” 


In 2003, Brent and his partner took over the failed North Dallas Athletic Club, renovating and relaunching it as the luxurious Telos Fitness Center. After completing a “Texas-Sized Turnaround” as one article labeled it, Telos was named one of the few independently owned organizations included in the “Top 100 US Health Clubs” according to Club Industry Magazine. Telos was also recognized as N. Dallas “Business of the Year,” awarded the “Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award,” and received a litany of industry accolades. 


From 2010 through 2015, Brent served on the IHRSA Board of Directors, as Nominations Committee Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Chairperson of the Board, and Ex-Officio. Since that time he has advised a number of fitness brands and delivered keynote presentations around the world on leadership, employee engagement, customer experience, strategy, and brand frameworks, among other topics. 

Sandra Dunne, Managing Director, Gym Plus, Ireland


Managing Director, Gym Plus, Ireland

Sandra Dunne is the managing director of Gym Plus. Dunne is customer focused with a passion for the fitness industry and the difference we make in our communities. Her overall responsibility is for 8 unique clubs. One of Dunne’s greatest interests is in customer experience management. Her focus is on providing well run, safe and welcoming environments for all their members.

Colin Grant, CEO, PURE Group Asia, China


CEO, PURE Group Asia, China


Co-founded in 2002 by Colin, the PURE Group has grown to over 30 locations with more than 2,000 staff and around 600 yoga and fitness classes a day across Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and New York. Through the brands Pure Yoga, Pure Fitness, Pure Apparel, nood food and MyPureYoga, Pure Group now encompasses yoga, fitness, active wear and healthy eating as an integrated community dedicated to helping people lead a balanced 360 ̊ lifestyle.


Good health and athleticism have always been a part of Colin’s lifestyle. He played tennis semi-professionally and impressively ranked as the top seeded player in Hong Kong for over a decade, participating in various international tournaments such as the Davis Cup and Wimbledon.


Grant fell in love with yoga in 2001 and six months later, Pure Yoga was born. He subsequently started Pure Fitness in 2003, launched Pure Apparel and nood food in 2013, and MyPureYoga.com in 2016. PURE Group has grown into the undisputed leader in Asia’s wellness industry. 



CEO, Norwegian Personal Training Academy (AFPT), Norway


John Holsinger, Director, Asia Pacific, IHRSA, Australia


Director, Asia Pacific, IHRSA, Australia


John has led the Asia Pacific region for IHRSA since July 2005 to bring focus and commitment to the growth of the international fitness industry on behalf of the US-based trade association. His leadership has delivered successful annual fitness industry executive management events influencing clubs and their success in China, Japan and the region, and expanding IHRSA visibility throughout the region. He was previously the Vice President International / Managing Director, Asia Pacific for Life Fitness, with P&L responsibility for 3 subsidiaries and 10 distributors covering 24 Asian countries. Through his extensive regional travels, he has developed a strong understanding of the people, challenges and opportunities within the Asian fitness industry.  


John has over 30 years of Asian experience in sales and marketing, operations and management in various sports-related fields. His former responsibilities include senior positions in the tennis (Prince Manufacturing - a division of Benetton), sports footwear (Growth-Link (Nike) and Kaepa), and entrepreneurial club management and sales businesses (Tennis Concepts). He was the President of The American Club in Hong Kong (2001), and is currently on the boards of several voluntary associations.

Guy Griffiths, Director, GGFit, Ltd., United Kingdom


Director, GGFit, Ltd., United Kingdom


Guy Griffiths is a leading authority on member retention. His mission is to help more people to be healthier and happier by spreading the word on member-retention initiatives that work. 


Since founding GGFit in 2008, Griffiths has worked with independent clubs, national chains, and low-cost operators. Projects range from data analysis to building retention policies and processes, running coaching workshops and sending member communications. Mystery joining, recruitment, customer feedback and e-learning all complement the core offering.


Griffiths’ systems background means he can help people understand complex processes and programs. He also knows what makes people tick, having trained and practiced as a successful life coach. A regular speaker at industry events, his book Stick Around has 4.9 stars on Amazon. 

Sophie Lawler, CEO, Total Fitness, United Kingdom


CEO, Total Fitness, United Kingdom


Sophie Lawler was appointed as Total Fitness CEO in June 2018, becoming the first female CEO in the UK’s commercial sector (and one of the youngest). 


With over 20 years’ experience in the fitness industry, Sophie possesses a wealth of experience in transforming businesses – having previously overseen strategic growth and product development on a global scale at Fitness First. 


Since taking the helm at Total Fitness, Sophie has leveraged her vast experience to implement a strategy which unlocked the embedded performance potential of the business through its people. This, coupled with her passion and unique leadership culture has led to a people-powered revival of the mid-market health club and 10% growth in its membership base over a two year period. 


Last year, Sophie received national recognition for her success in transforming Total Fitness with a string of accolades, being awarded 2019’s National Business Woman of the Year and named as one of the Top 100 Women in Hospitality and Leisure, to name just a few. 


In the wake of the enforced closure of the fitness sector, Sophie’s vast experience saw her taking a leading role as the voice of the industry, speaking for the sector in the national media to campaign for its safe reopening and better support in the future. This, coupled with her passion and unique leadership culture has led to a people-powered revival of the mid-market health club. Over an 18 month period – powered by a 67% increase in ENPS (Employee Net Promoter Score) and a consequent 29% increase in Member NPS - membership grew by 10% while EBITDA doubled YoY 18-19 and was then forecast to double again 19-20 (prior to the covid 19 closure at the end of March 2020).

Thierry Malleret, Managing Partner, Monthly Barometer, France


Managing Partner, Monthly Barometer, France


Thierry Malleret is the managing partner of the Monthly Barometer - a succinct predictive analysis provided to private investors, global CEOs and some of today's most influential opinion and decision-makers. He and his partners also invest in adjacent businesses and run the Summit of Minds. 


Until 2011, Malleret was a senior partner at IJ (Informed Judgement) Partners, an investment boutique for ultra-high-net-worth individuals based in Geneva, and prior to that managing partner at Rainbow Insight, an advisory boutique which he founded, providing tailor-made intelligence to investors. Previously, Malleret founded and headed the Global Risk Network at the World Economic Forum, a network that brings together top opinion and policymakers, CEOs and academics to look at how global issues will affect business and society in the short and long term. For a number of years in succession, Malleret conceived and put in place the program for Davos and spoke at global, industry and regional events. 


His other professional experiences include: investment banking as a Chief Economist and Strategist of a major Russian investment bank and as an Economist at the EBRD in London; think tanks and academia both in New York and Oxford; and government with a three-year spell in the Prime Minister's office in Paris. Malleret has written several business and academic books, and has published four novels. 


In addition, he is a public speaker with some of the world’s leading agencies. He also sits on several advisory boards. He was educated at the Sorbonne and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and at St. Antony's College, Oxford. He holds two master of arts degrees in economics and history, and a Ph.D. in Economics. Malleret is married with four daughters.



Owner/Partner, Companhia Athletica, Brazil


Monica Marques is the Fitness Director and an owner/partner for Companhia Athletica, based in Sao Paulo, Brasil. Monica started her first health club operation at the age of 19. She now oversees the development of 1,200 fitness instructors and the fitness programs at Companhia Athletica’s 17 clubs. Monica has been a speaker at IHRSA/Fitness Brasil and many other conventions around the world and has published two books and three videos on aquatic fitness. Since 2016, she has been a National Representative for ACAD Brasil, the national association that promotes and protects the health club industry in Brazil.



Vice President, L’Appart Fitness, France


After spending many years working for General Electric and Société Générale, David Mazerot joined l’Appart Fitness as Vice President in 2018.

Alongside Patrick Mazerot, the founder of l'Appart Fitness, David is in charge of structuring the group following the acquisition of Nextalis – with more than 50 club locations including Amazonia, Wide Club and Giga Gym – and ensuring its development in France and abroad.

Based on its premium coaching offering, L'Appart Fitness is one of the French leaders with more than 100 clubs across the country.

Bryan O’Rourke, Managing Director, Fitness24Seven Thailand and CEO, Vedere Ventures, USA


Managing Director, Fitness24Seven Thailand and CEO, Vedere Ventures, USA


Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be one of the leading global experts on technology and trends in the health club and fitness industry. As a keynote speaker during the past decade he has shared his views with over 80 audiences on four continents. 


Bryan has contributed to seven books on the health club and fitness industry. His reports and views have been widely shared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. Bryan sits on the board of IHRSA, in addition to serving as president of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. He has served in leadership positions for the American Council on Exercise and the Medical Fitness Association as well. 


Currently, O’Rourke is CEO and chairman of the private equity firm Vedere Ventures which has investments in health clubs, marketing, and fitness technology companies in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Bryan has advised dozens of companies in the health and fitness industry and has completed over 40 M&A transactions during his career. 


Bryan has an BS in Finance from the University of New Orleans, an MBA from South Eastern Louisiana University and has completed professional studies at a number of institutions of higher learning including Harvard. 

Juan del Rio Nieto, CEO, VivaGym Group, Spain


CEO, VivaGym Group, Spain


Juan Del Río Nieto has been in leadership in the retail space for over 20 years. Most recently, Juan was the CEO of Telepizza Colombia in casual dining, CEO of Bodytech, and in 2016 joined VivaGym Group as their CEO. Juan also holds an immense education background in health management, entrepreneurship, finance and more with degrees and diplomas from Cornell University, Cambridge University, London Business School and more.


Juan is trilingual with many hobbies including golfing and traveling.

Abhimanyu Sable, CEO, ABS Fitness and President, United Health and Fitness Federation (UHFF), India


CEO, ABS Fitness and President, United Health and Fitness Federation (UHFF), India


Abhimanyu Sable is a pioneer for revolutionizing a contemporary and classy fitness and wellness culture in India. 


Sable is founder of ABS Fitness and Wellness Clubs and founder/president of United Health & Fitness Forum (UHFF)—India’s first association for fitness clubs owners. He has been instrumental in making fitness a glamourous, bubblier and fun way of life. With successful completion of 30 years in the fitness industry, Sable’s passion lies in motivating people to live a positive lifestyle with natural diet and exercises. From humble beginnings as a fitness trainer, Sable is a leading fitness and wellness entrepreneur. Through his chain of 25 clubs, he has a dedicated team of 500 fitness professionals with over 60,000 members training hard towards a healthy lifestyle.


Sable is the first Indian to be certified by the American College of Sports Medicine. He has represented India at several international fitness conferences and seminars organized under the aegis of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.


Sable extends his fitness mission to global audiences by conducting live sessions on diet and exercise on social media platforms. He is emulated as a role model, mentor and guide for many aspiring fitness trainers in the country. In the coming years, Sable aims to create more job opportunities for fitness professionals in the country.

José Teixeira, Head of Customer Experience, SC Fitness, Portugal


Head of Customer Experience, SC Fitness, Portugal


José Teixeira is the Head of Customer Experience at SC Fitness. Formerly a sales consultant, club manager, area manager and operations director, José has become an industry expert in maintaining customer relationships. He excels at getting health clubs to a level of member service excellence and great retention achievements.


José also has an MBA and a sports science degree.

Cate Trotter, Head of Trends, Insider Trends, United Kingdom


Head of Trends, Insider Trends, United Kingdom


At Insider Trends, Cate has helped brands such as Chanel, Galeries Lafayette, Marks & Spencer, Swarovski, Fujitsu, Metro Group, Samsung, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes, Puig, Nike, Lego, Johnson & Johnson, Levi’s and EE innovate and create world-leading retail ecosystems.


Cate frequently works with senior team members – including Unilever’s CEO, the General Manager of L’Oreal France, Mega Image’s CEO, House of Fraser’s CEO, Clarks’ Managing Director, Tom Tailor’s CEO, Carrefour’s Chief Operations Officer and the board of Hugo Boss.In the past 12 months, she has given presentations in 11 European countries, as well as Peru, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico City and New York.


Cate’s experience of setting up two successful businesses in her twenties led to her being named a Future 100 and Startup 100 entrepreneur. She’s been quoted 4 times in Forbes magazine and is a RetailWire BrainTrust expert. LinkedIn named her one of the top 15 most listened to professionals in the UK. Vend ranked her as the world’s 26th most influential professional in retail.

Anastasia Yusina, President, Strata Partners, Russia


President, Strata Partners, Russia


Anastasia Yusina graduated from Moscow University, Paris Institute of Political Sciences, and Moscow International Relations Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in economics. Anastasia is president of Strata Fitness Holding, founder of Orange Fitness and City Fitness health clubs, and FITSPACE Boutique Fitness Studios concept in the United States. She is a member of the IHRSA European Council and was awarded the 2011 IHRSA European Club Leadership Award.