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The Surprising Link between Fitness and Sales: an Interview with Liz Andrews, Managing Director Iberia

On a weekly basis, members of our Urban Sports Club team around the world share photos of themselves and their teammates using their complimentary membership to get moving.  Liz Andrews, our Managing Director Iberia, is perhaps one of our most active employees. Whether it’s a Hiit class, a game of football, or aerial yoga with her team, she demonstrates her dedication to wellness both in and out of the office.  We sat down with her to find out how she developed her career in fitness, the link between her passion for sports and sales, and what brought her to Urban Sports Club. 

Thanks for sitting down with us Liz. Can you please introduce yourself?

Liz: I’m Liz Andrews, I’ve been working as the Managing Director Iberia at Urban Sports Club since February 2019, and I am currently bouncing between our Madrid and Lisbon offices to support our local teams.

You have had a career spanning across many different areas within the fitness industry, and now in fitTech — when did your love of fitness begin? 

Liz: For as long as I can remember, I have always loved sports — especially team sports. I started playing football as a child and grew up to play for the Swiss premier league and then my university team. Of course, like many others, I hoped to pursue a professional football career, but was unfortunately never close to that level. So, after graduating from university with a degree in sports science and recreation management, I became a personal trainer and duty manager at Holmes Place. I love the feeling of doing exercise and sharing exercise with people. My calling has always been to help people get active — that applies to friends, family, colleagues, members, and the population at large.

How did you career take off from there? 

Liz: First, I went from being a personal trainer and duty manager to a gym manager which provided me with my first experience properly leading a team. Then, after taking a year off to pursue my Masters in nutrition, physical activity, and public health, I became the regional fitness manager for Switzerland. Soon after, I became Iberian fitness manager and eventually fitness manager for all of Europe before leaving the gym world for Urban Sports Club. I spent 16 years in total at Holmes Place and am really grateful for every mentor, manager, and opportunity I had there for developing me into the manager I am today. 

How did you come to work for Urban Sports Club? 

Liz: Holmes Place partnered with Urban Sports Club in 2016, and the clubs were hugely and unprecedentedly successful working with Urban Sports Club. One of my tasks was focusing on how to make the member journey cater to both normal gym members and Urban Sports Club members and how to best accommodate the increased traffic. Through my contact with Urban Sports Club, I fell completely in love with the business model and felt certain that this type of membership was the way of the future. 

After years of working in the gym industry where the statistics are fairly depressing (50% of people give up their membership within a year, 85% of people do not achieve their health and fitness goals), it was awesome to find a concept where fun and variety could lower the barriers to exercise for so many. In my current role, I don’t feel like I’m just impacting the 15% population in Spain or the 6% population in Portugal who regularly go to the gym, but I’m actually dealing with the rest of the population who wants to get active but don’t know how or where to start.  

What does your role entail?

Liz: I am responsible for development within the Iberian region. I engage with people through our recruiting process, I fire up my teams so they feel ready to speak with customers and partner venues every day, and, ultimately, I help members find the physical activity they love. I’m responsible for the financial success of the region, but I see my work much more as creating a movement. 

You’ve always had one foot in sales and one foot in fitness, do you see a lot of similarities between the two? What about each of them excites you? 

Liz: Both sales and sports have a good amount of adrenaline involved. The adrenaline offers a nice balance between fear and excitement: fear you’re not going to make the shot, finish the circuit, or close the deal, and excitement over all of the possibilities. With both sales and fitness, it’s also all about the preparation. In sports, it’s more about the training days leading up to game day than the game itself, and in sales, it’s not about closing the contract, but rather the preparation before the sales pitch that makes the difference. 

How does your experience working in fitness impact the way you work with your team? 

Liz: I firmly believe in what I do. I see my work as my calling, and my hope is to transfer this sense of purpose to my team. I want the people in my team to start their day with a mission, an enthusiasm for what they do, and an excitement for what they want to achieve. People should understand the importance and power of what we’re doing by helping people get active — we’re changing and even saving lives.

The “team” element is key to my message. I aim to foster a strong team culture based on transparency, trust, and authenticity. Maintaining a positive and high-energy work culture is of great importance to me and something I commit myself to daily.

On Slack and on LinkedIn, I see you do a lot of sports with your team. How did this come about? 

Liz: This weekly tradition happened organically, which I think is really special. Many of my employees are not from the fitness industry, but they’ve started doing sports together. Recently we even launched a month-long competition to see who can get the most visits in a month. We share our results with one another and it’s created so much energy for people across the team, no matter if they love sports or worked in fitness before. Doing activities and challenges like this helps build a connection and empathy in the team itself and with our members. 

How does our mission come into play in your day-to-day? 

Liz: The Urban Sports Club vision mirrors my own personal vision and is truly what gets me up in the morning. It’s at the forefront of my mind in everything I do. Across the company, It’s not just something that is spoken about; it’s something we all connect with on a deeper level. 

What excites you about working at Urban Sports Club? 

Liz: It is a pleasure and privilege to serve this vision and to work for founders who hold such noble causes so close to their hearts, like the environment, inspirational workplaces,and equality on a grand scale. The rapidly-changing work environment is also something I love. Challenge and progress drives me most in my career. I am so looking forward to shaping the future of Urban Sports Club in Iberia.   

What would you tell someone who is nervous they aren’t fit enough to apply to Urban Sports Club? 

Liz: We’re looking to understand and connect with candidates as a whole person, their sports routine is not a part of the evaluation process. When I meet with any candidate, I explain to them my mission, which is not about the fitness girl or sports enthusiast, it’s about the true heroes, the everyday athletes who struggle to get out of bed every morning, who are scared to go to the gym because there are too many mirrors around them, the ones that push themselves beyond their comfort zone to do exercise. People with energy and passion for our mission will be welcomed into our team no matter their fitness level. 

Want to help us inspire people to lead a healthy and active life? Check out our open positions.

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