Location: Baltimore, MD
FROM GYM TO LIFESTYLE CENTER
“Merritt Athletic Clubs exists to change people’s lives,” says vice president Mark Miller. “We have seen members lose hundreds of pounds, come off their diabetes or blood pressure medication, and live healthier, longer lives.” Merritt’s growth has been fueled in part by a growing awareness of the benefits surrounding a healthy lifestyle, along with a growing wave of aging baby boomers who want to stay healthy and agile. “We have also really focused on programs and services that help every member of the family, so our clubs have become lifestyle centers where busy parents can come and their children can go to swimming lessons or into our junior fitness certification,” says Miller. At the same time, “mom may go to yoga and dad can work out on the fitness floor.”
Quick Tip: “It is amazing how when you [trust your teams], you feel more empowered as a leader, you have less stress, you become more strategic and you can focus on how to get better.”
The most important lesson for any fast-growth leader is about trust, says Miller. “Trust in your people that they will do the right thing and have the right intentions. It may not be the way you would do it, yet if it is done and it impacts the member’s experience in a positive way, then that is what matters.” Conversely, a leader who constantly audits employees’ performance and questions their actions may end up creating a climate of fear. “Trust empowers the team member to take ownership,” says Miller.