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IHRSA appoints its first female Chief Executive

IHRSA appoints its first female Chief Executive
June 12, 2021

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association has appointed Elizabeth Clark as their next president and Chief Executive. Clark, a seasoned association executive, joins IHRSA at a critical time for the fitness industry and the association.

Clark previously led government relations and advocacy at the National Confectioners Association (NCA ) and beginning 16th August, she will be the first female chief executive in the association’s 40-year history.

Clark succeeds IHRSA Interim President and Chief EXecutive Brent Darden who stepped in last August at the Board’s request and led the association back to stability and united the industry during the pandemic until a permanent Chief EXecutive was selected.

“IHRSA’s mission, to grow, protect, and promote the health and fitness industry, has never been more important,” notes Carrie Kepple, chairwoman, IHRSA Board of Directors.

“For the past year, the board of directors and IHRSA team have been focused on reopening, rebuilding, and reimagining our industry and our association. Liz’s long, successful career in association management, her expertise in advocacy, and her commitment to member service—not to mention her energy and passion—will serve IHRSA and all our members very well.”  

Clark's appointment concludes a five-month national search process completed by a six-member search committee chaired by Greta Wagner, executive director, Chelsea Piers Connecticut and IHRSA board member.

Wagner adds “the search committee was tasked with working with industry leaders to find a transformational CEO to move IHRSA and its member clubs into a new era.

“It was evident to the committee almost immediately that Liz's ability to perform at the highest level along with her business acumen made her a natural fit.

“She will bring new energy to the mission to scale up our business and advocate for our industry, and I know she’s the right person to lead IHRSA at this important time.”

Clark has led advocacy efforts at NCA since 2011, serving as the industry’s voice on Capitol Hill and in state capitals across the country. Among her notable accomplishments, Clark successfully lobbied the administration to have confection manufacturing deemed "essential" during the pandemic. Prior to NCA, she was an executive director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  

Clark advised “I am honoured to work alongside and on behalf of this dynamic and evolving industry. This is an exceptional opportunity to bring my experience to bear for an industry I have been personally committed to for my entire life, and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”  

Clark is a lifelong athlete whose commitment to fitness included rowing crew as an undergraduate at the University at Dayton. She holds a Master of Arts in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University.

Executive search firm Spencer Stuart led the nationwide search for IHRSA’s next president and Chief EXecutive. The process was led by a representative search committee consisting of Wagner, Kepple, Alan Leach (IHRSA Chair International Committee), Bryan O’Rourke, Chris Smith, and Jim Worthington (IHRSA Board Ex Officio).

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9th January 2020 - IHRSA Passport Program aims to provide easy and affordable access to gyms worldwide

16th August 2019 - IHRSA announces collaboration with World Wellness Weekend third edition

4th July 2019 - IHRSA provides guidance on children in gyms

1st June 2019 - IHRSA reports Health Club Membership to reach 230 million members by 2030

25th April 2019 - IHRSA analysis emphasises why fitness clubs need small group training

31st January 2019 - MINDBODY named 2019 IHRSA Associate Member of the Year

2nd January 2019 - IHRSA highlights role of fitness clubs in supporting all needs and abilities

31st December 2018 - IHRSA resource Gives Clubs Tools to Help Members Lose Weight

30th November 2018 - IHRSA report shows China as the fastest growing fitness market in the Asia-Pacific region

22nd October 2018 - Chantal Brodrick named as Moderator of IHRSA Women’s Leadership Summit

16th October 2018 - IHRSA China Management Forum to chart massive opportunities for fitness industry growth

6th June 2018 - IHRSA Report shows 22 million members at fitness clubs across key Asia-Pacific markets

19th January 2018 - Aquafit Manager Kristen Green to receive IHRSA Woman Leader Award

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