The Club Industry gang is pretty excited about this week's conference and trade show at the McCormick Place Convention Center (West Hall) in Chicago. We have some new events and some tried-and-true events planned for the week. So, I thought I'd share with you what I'm excited about seeing and hearing Oct. 12-14 at Club Industry 2011 and what I hope you don't miss.
Networking — Conference and trade shows are such a great opportunity to build your database of industry contacts and resources. You can do that by attending the opening night reception, sitting in on seminars, walking the trade show floor—and attending the networking lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12 in room W196B. At this luncheon, you pick the table you sit at based on the topic that will be discussed and the facilitator who leads the discussion. Some of those topics include how independent clubs are facing competition, building your niche market, metabolic conditioning, how to engage your customers and free legal advice for your business.
Opening Reception at Rockit Bar & Grill — Last year, the reception at the House of Blues was a big hit, so we expect this reception to be just as good, if not better. Don't miss networking with your peers and drinking a few libations (maybe even cutting a rug?) at the exciting venue, which is at 22 W. Hubbard. Buses will start leaving from Gate 44 of McCormick Place at 5:30 p.m. to take attendees to the reception, which begins at 6 p.m. and runs until 7:30 p.m.
Red Lerille — Lara Hale, our senior associate editor, was lucky enough to fly to Louisiana to meet Red, this year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and interview him for the profile she wrote about him, but I've only had some email exchanges and a few phone calls with him. However, based on those interactions, I believe Lara when she says that Red is one of the most amazing people she has met. Don't miss Red's acceptance of the Lifetime Achievement Award at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, in room W196B.
John Moore — Who wouldn't want to meet one of the Starbucks' former marketing executives who helped make Starbucks coffee an essential daily ritual for so many Americans? Now, I have to admit that I'm not a coffee drinker, but that does not stop me from joining friends at a local Starbucks to soak up the cozy and inviting atmosphere, something I associate with the Starbucks' brand partially due to its marketing efforts. I'm an even bigger fan of Starbucks after recently reading “How Starbucks Saved My Life,” by Michael Gates Gill. I'm sure John will share how club operators can take some of Starbucks' marketing efforts and apply it to our industry. Don't miss him around 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, after Red's presentation in room W196B.
Personal Trainers to Watch — Our industry has some fabulous people who have devoted their lives to making others healthier, and I'm excited that Life Fitness and the American Council on Exercise will be honoring 11 of those individuals in their Personal Trainers to Watch contest. They will recognize the 11 finalists at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, in room W196B and announce the winner. Be there to salute some of the best of the industry.
Chris Powell — I'm excited to meet Chris at this year's show, especially since our summer intern, Kelsey Cipolla, interviewed him for a story about his efforts to help the obese population and couldn't stop gushing about how nice he was and how dedicated he seemed to be about helping people. I'm sure he'll bring that enthusiasm to his keynote presentation, which will follow the Personal Trainers to Watch presentation at about 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, in room W196B.
Best of the Best Brunch — For almost 10 years now, Club Industry has recognized some of the best programs at fitness facilities through our Best of the Best contest. This year, we are again hosting a brunch for the winners—and anyone who purchased an all-access pass (or you can purchase brunch tickets for $65)—to recognize these programs and share what has made them winners. Laurie Cingle of Laurie Cingle Consulting and Karen Woodard-Chavez of Premium Performance Training, both of whom were judges for the contest, will offer their thoughts on why these programs are worthy of recognition and how the winners can take these programs to the next level. The brunch is from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, in room W470A.
Club Live — You may remember in past years that we had a location called Club Studio. Well, this year, that space has been transformed into so much more as Club Live. It will share a space in the middle of the exhibit hall with the Club Industry booth. In this space, you'll see more than group exercise demonstrations and a fashion show this year (although both will occur in Club Live). This year, Club Live also will host some panel sessions—one on fitness technology and another on social media practices. You can also meet and greet John Moore from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Chris Powell from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday and Jen Jacobs, a former contestant on “The Biggest Loser” and a social media consultant, from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Thursday.
Products, Products, Products — The main reason many people attend industry trade shows is to use the equipment and decide what type of cardio and strength equipment, metabolic testing devices, accessories, etc., they want to purchase for their club. Well, we just happen to have the perfect spot for you to do that in our exhibit hall, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14.
Hmmm. Should I go on? No, I think that's enough to make those of you not signed up yet to pause and wonder if you are out of your mind for missing this event! Instead of driving yourself crazy, just go online to register. There is still time—but not much.