Who knew that holding a fishbowl full of business cards could make a person feel so good? I certainly didn't, but doing so at last week's Top 100 Clubs reception at the Club Industry Show made my day. That's because inside that fishbowl were the names of two lucky winners: Dawn Anderson of Sand and Steel Fitness, Alexandria, VA, and Phil Donnelly of Asphalt Green, New York. And from the reactions each gave when they heard their names called, I think they realized how lucky they were.
Each won a yearlong mentorship with a Top 100 club owner. (If you don't know what a Top 100 club owner is, see this list.) Anderson won a mentorship with Joe Cirulli, owner of Gainesville Health and Fitness Centers, Gainesville, FL (and a former recipient of Club Industry's Lifetime Achievement Award). As part of the mentorship, Anderson, who just opened her club with her partner, Paul Roberts, gets to fly to Florida and visit Cirulli's fitness centers, pick his brain and see what has made him so successful. And the bill for her trip is on Matrix Fitness, which sponsored the Cirulli mentorship. In addition, Anderson and Cirulli will continue with at least three phone conversations over the next year.
Donnelly won a mentorship with Jim Worthington, owner of Newtown Athletic Club, Newtown, PA. Worthington had a banner year earlier this year with the completion of a big pool complex and last year with the opening of a sports training center. Even though Donnelly doesn't have far to travel to see Worthington's club, his travel expenses are being picked up by sponsor MyZone.
I want to thank Cirulli and Worthington for agreeing to be our mentors this year. Despite their busy schedules, they already open their doors to other club operators, so this mentorship is just making official what they already do unofficially. And a big thank you to Kent Stevens and Matrix Fitness as well as Emmett Williams and Dave Wright of MyZone for supporting the growth of the fitness industry by helping connect successful club operators with others in the industry who could benefit from their experience.
We will follow the mentorships over the coming year, and we'll let you know what each mentee has learned from this experience.
If we offer this mentorship again next year, which CEO on the Top 100 Clubs list would be your choice as a mentor?