image of woman lifting weights

Fitness World’s Fierce Female Leaders

Happy International Women’s Day!

Girls, our day is here. One of the great things about International Women’s Day is that every year we have even more to be proud of. With this in mind, we’ve taken the opportunity to interview some of our very own fierce female leaders.

Get ready for some words of wisdom and empowerment from Ingrid, Hannah, Lindsay, and Allie, our awesome friends and influential women leaders at Fitness World. Grab a snack and put your feet up, ‘cos their stories are the best you’ll hear all day.

Ingrid Leading a Class

Ingrid was a competitive athlete on the US National Team for Rhythmic Gymnastics. Today, she is the Fitness Class Director at Fitness World.

Ingrid, Fitness Class Director

Ingrid loves running and cycling outdoors, and of course, any type of fitness class! She also enjoys traveling and relaxing with a gripping suspense novel.

Ingrid leads with patience, passion, and positivity.

How did you become a leader at Fitness World?

I was a competitive athlete on the US National Team for Rhythmic Gymnastics and knew I could only be happy in a career that included the pursuit of physical fitness and health. I completed degrees in Human Kinetics and Health & Exercise Psychology and found myself leading fitness classes and personal training right out of university. This evolved into facility and staff management, while at the same time doors opened in writing for fitness publications, and presenting at fitness conferences.

All of these interests, skills, and experiences have culminated into being a part of the dynamic leadership team at Fitness World.  I get to create innovative programming and motivate instructors to keep our members healthy and fit to live their best lives – truly a dream job! I believe my strong desire to facilitate the pursuit of healthy living for as many people as possible has led me to where I am now.

Who inspired you to become a leader?

I have been fortunate to have had many incredible role models who demonstrated what it means to make a positive, meaningful impact on an organization. I look up to those individuals (my parents, coaches, teachers, colleagues, mentors, and supervisors) and have learned that if you don’t step up to lead, someone else will, and it may not be in the direction you think is best. 

I continue to be inspired by those I serve: staff who deliver amazing exercise experiences to our members every day, and members who overcome their challenges to work towards their personal fitness goals.

What motivates you?

Professionally, I’m motivated by the many powerful stories of members overcoming illness or injury to arrive at a happier, healthier reality. Knowing I’ve played a small role in facilitating a recovery or maintaining someone’s well-being is incredibly motivating and rewarding.

I recharge through nature and family. Whether it’s a walk or hike or bike ride, being outdoors is always grounding yet energizing. Time with family always leads to connection and laughter. My family motivates me to be present, enjoy each moment, and consistently aim to be at my best. 

For fitness, my motivation varies depending on the circumstance. It might be the smiling faces I get to see in a class, the thrill of a challenging endurance event, or simply looking forward to the feel-good post-workout glow. Whatever the workout, a great playlist always makes it even better!

Do you have a favorite quote to share?

The lyrics to Macy Gray’s “Do Something” have always resonated with me:

“Get up, get out and do something; how will you make it if you never even try? Don’t let your life pass you by…”

To me, it speaks to taking initiative, doing something of purpose, and determining your own destiny, no matter what challenges or self-doubt may exist.

What is your advice to other aspiring female leaders?

Women are natural leaders. We are driven problem solvers and care deeply about our communities.  We understand how to balance being competitive with being cooperative. There is proven value and worth in having women at any decision-making table. Choose what you’re most curious and passionate about and learn all you can from people you admire. Seek mentorship, ask thoughtful questions, find your voice, take risks. Say “yes” to an opportunity where you see it, and have the courage to create an opportunity where it seems none exist. There is no right or wrong in terms of how to balance personal and professional life; don’t be afraid to create your own definition.

Hannah Close Up - Holding a Weight

Hannah is a high-performance synchronized swimmer of 20+ years. She leads at Fitness World as the Senior Marketing Manager.

Hannah, Senior Marketing Manager

Hannah is a high-performance synchronized swimmer of 20+ years, who has competed nationally and at a varsity level.

Hannah leads with high standards but doesn’t expect anything from others that she doesn’t expect from herself.

How did you become a leader at Fitness World?

About halfway through my degree at McGill I decided I wanted to go into Marketing. It combined everything I was passionate about (people, culture, creativity, and art) with the opportunity for real professional success. Then, I got thinking about who and what I wanted to be part of promoting. Fitness was the clear winner given my background as a high-performance athlete.

Five years in, I truly believe in fitness for everyone. Now, leading all marketing initiatives for Fitness World, I get the opportunity to show our communities the power of accessible fitness and prove that no matter what your day looks like or what your fitness goal is, health and wellness can and should be part of your life.

What inspired you to become a leader?

I’ve always found myself quietly sliding into leadership roles. Whether on my swim teams, or in those dreaded university group projects, I found myself subtly pushing my team to be better, work together, and produce something great.

I think for women it’s easy to find yourself leading without knowing it, or without recognition for our achievements. Quietly steering a team towards success from the backseat.

Today, in 2021, seeing powerful women stepping into leadership roles is inspiring. I was lucky to always be told I could do anything, but seeing it in action is another thing. Today’s world, and the increasing presence of women in prominent positions, motivates me to lead with pride, be loud and stand tall in what I want for myself and the world I live in.

What motivates you?

I’m lucky in my position to be able to see and hear our members’ success stories. Whether seeing it in a social media post or witnessing someone achieve a PR live in person at the club, the gym is full of people reaching their goals every day. I get to be part of creating a space in our communities where people get to feel a sense of accomplishment, success, happiness, and confidence, and nothing beats that. Plus, it’s good motivation for when I’m slacking on my own workouts!

Do you have a personal rule to share?

Don’t adapt to the energy in the room, influence the energy in the room.

What is your advice to other aspiring women leaders?

Take pride in the qualities that make you, you. And know that those qualities are what got you to where you are today. There’s no cookie-cutter mold for leaders. Maybe your own leadership style is going to be exactly what someone needs to find success. Just trust in yourself.

Lindsay in a Grey Fitness World Top

Lindsay’s passion for fitness motivated her to become a leader at Fitness World.

Lindsay, General Manager

Lindsay’s focus is on working out to stay fit and healthy. She is energetic and bright, and truly cares about her impact on the world, and for the people around her.

Who or what inspired you to become a leader?

My passion for fitness motivated me to become a leader at Fitness World. I love to see people growing their careers, and being a part of their progress.

Former and current coworkers in the fitness industry continue to motivate me to be a better leader, (shout out to Teresa, Nastasia, and Dylan!)

What motivates you? 

Working at Fitness World, there is plenty to keep us motivated. For me, the three big motivators are:

  • My goal to stay fit.
  • The opportunity to take charge.
  • The chance to be in a position to impact others.

Do you have a personal motto to share?

A goal without a plan is a wish.

What is your advice to other aspiring female leaders?

Believe in special traits that come naturally to many women, for example, your caring nature or ability to pay attention to detail. Women can be great leaders who care. We can impact important, influential people in our society, from moms to managers.

Allieleads with a strong work ethic, the ability to build rapport and relationships, and integrity.

Allie, Manager of Operations

Allie enjoys working out, spending time with her family, and traveling to sunny destinations. She leads with a strong work ethic, the ability to build rapport and relationships, and integrity.

How did you become a leader?

I started entry-level and worked hard to learn the skills required at every step along the way. I also had a couple of really great bosses who mentored me, pushed me, and helped me be the best person for the job when the next opportunity came up.

Who inspired you to become a leader?

My mom! She was a working mom, ran the household, and did well in the travel and government roles she worked in. I’ve always strived to be like her. She is strong, smart, and has high expectations. Even though she retired last year, she still works part-time and continues to make an impact. Taking ownership and getting the job done are two big lessons I learned from her.

What motivates you?

Seeing other people succeed is a big one for me. At the point where I started to hire, train and develop other team members, doing my job well meant that they would be able to do their jobs well. When success as a whole comes from success for each individual, it’s a win-win. I’m always willing to work hard to provide opportunity and success for my team and my people.

Do you have a personal motto to share?

Be better. That’s not a criticism, it’s an acknowledgment that there’s ALWAYS a way to get better, and be better. There’s no such thing as “getting there” or being “done”. The purpose is the process.

What is your advice to other aspiring women leaders?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – that’s how you learn. Leaders take action and, if necessary, admit when they are wrong and then find a way to get it right. And when you believe in something, fight for it. You’ve got to know your stuff – it can’t just be an emotional ask. But often, when you start at the bottom and work every step along the way, you accumulate a lot of really valuable knowledge and experience. Standing for what you know or what you believe in is how you make a difference. And people who make a difference are leaders. Stand out for something you believe in, so that when you get a seat at the table, you get to do work that matters to you.

It’s Your Turn To Step Into The Spotlight

WOW, right?! We couldn’t be prouder of these amazing women. Thanks for joining us on this journey, and if you take one thing from this article, we hope it’s that you too can be the leader you dream of becoming.

Practice motivation, dedication and hard work while having fun, at Fitness World. We can’t wait to see you at our next class!