Health and wellness platform selects IHRSA founding members, health club owners and other experts to guide future trajectory
Austin, TX — March 2019—Ladder, the digital marketplace for health and wellness coaching, today announced that it has established a Fitness Advisory Board comprised of six leaders within the commercial fitness space. The new Fitness Advisory Board will offer strategy and guidance as the company looks to drive change within health clubs.
Rick Caro will serve as chairman for the group, which also includes Rick Beusman, Joe Cirulli, Mel Kleist, Tim Rhode and Rodney Steven. All six members bring decades of experience in health club ownership and leadership, and have served as strategic advisors for other organizations within the fitness industry.
“Our new Fitness Advisory Board has lived and breathed the commercial fitness industry for decades, so they understand what it takes to create change within such a massive space that has remained stagnant for too long,” said Brett Maloley, CEO and co-founder, Ladder. “These industry leaders will provide the necessary guidance for our team as our vision continues to expand. With their insight, we can help transform the way people think about and experience fitness, both inside and outside the four walls of a health club.”
Mr. Caro is a 46-year veteran of the club industry and previously owned multi-sport facilities in the Northeast U.S. He has served as an operator, chairman of a large club company, consultant and director in the club industry. He is also the founder, past president and director of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), which consists of over 10,000 clubs in more than 80 countries. His resume also features his work as the director of the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and of Operation FitKids, in addition to his role as a consultant for over 2,000 health clubs.
“I truly believe that Ladder will be an asset to the club industry in many ways – from identifying consumers who want 24/7 fitness expertise, mentorship and guidance on their health and wellness journeys to helping clubs gain new clients. Ladder will also empower personal trainers with the technology they need to grow their businesses and increase clientele,” said Rick Caro, chairman of Ladder’s Fitness Advisory Board. “Whether it’s the consumers, clubs or trainers, I believe that anyone who intersects with Ladder will see a benefit. I am looking forward to helping the company become a more powerful voice in the overall wellness movement.”
Mr. Beusman is the president of Saw Mill Sports Management (SMSM) and the owner and operator of two multi-sport health clubs located in the suburbs of New York City. SMSM is a founding organization of IHRSA, and Beusman has previously served on its board of directors.
Mr. Cirulli is the owner and CEO of Gainesville Health and Fitness and has focused his career on helping people get healthy and on building a corporate culture that inspires people to be their best. Cirulli grew Gainesville Health and Fitness to a high level of national recognition, and in 2016, it was named one of the top 25 small businesses in America by Forbes. He also played a key role in leading the city of Gainesville to be designated as an overall wellness community. He is a former chairman of IHRSA.
Mr. Kleist, a Chicago-based commercial fitness veteran, is the president and executive director of The East Bank Club, a Chicago health club that is widely recognized as the country's most successful standalone fitness center, with annual revenue topping $60mm, more than 700 employees and 11,000 members. Before joining the East Bank Club, Kleist spent over a decade at X-Sport Fitness. He also brings substantial experience in the real estate industry and currently serves as an advisory board member for the Habitat Company, a leading Chicago-based real estate firm.
Mr. Rhode is a fitness industry veteran, having personally operated health, wellness and racquet sport clubs since 1986. He has served as president of the Mid-Atlantic Club Management Association (MACMA) and has also been a member of the IHRSA Board of Directors. As an industry innovator and business consultant with Rhode Management Company, Tim now works with owners and managers in the US and overseas to improve their strategy, systems, training and motivation.
“Ladder and the commercial fitness industry are working toward the same goal: to make health and wellness accessible to more people, regardless of age, location, experience and means,” said Tim Rhode. “I'm thrilled to be a part of helping health clubs modernize their offerings and attract new people within their community, while offering more to their existing clientele through a platform like Ladder.”
Mr. Steven is the president and owner of Genesis Health Club, an organization comprised of 45 facilities across Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma. Steven and his brother also co-own the Wichita Thunder and Tulsa Oiler Hockey teams, both part of the ECHL affiliate program, under Steven Brothers Sports Management. The brothers also founded the Genesis Foundation for Fitness and Tennis (GFFT), which operates with the purpose of allowing all citizens, regardless of background and means, the opportunity to participate in recreational and/or competitive fitness activities.
Ladder’s mission is to bring health and wellness coaching to anyone, anywhere. Through its digital marketplace, Ladder matches health and wellness professionals with people who want to experience all of the benefits of customized fitness on their own terms – affordable, convenient and rewarding. Ladder also helps personal trainers build their business by optimizing their time and talent, expand their client base and providing them with the tools and support they need to be successful.