Seasoned association and advocacy executive to be just the third CEO in IHRSA’s 40-year history.
The Global Health & Fitness Association, today announced the appointment of Elizabeth Clark as the association’s next president and CEO. Clark, a seasoned association executive, joins IHRSA at a critical time for the fitness industry and the association. IHRSA is the world’s leading authority on the commercial health club industry.
Clark previously led government relations and advocacy at the National Confectioners Association (NCA), the trade association for the $44 billion candy industry. Beginning August 16, she will be the first female chief executive in the association’s 40-year history.
“IHRSA’s mission, to grow, protect, and promote the health and fitness industry, has never been more important,” said 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.
“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,” said Wagner. “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,” said Wagner. “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.
“I am honored to work alongside and on behalf of this dynamic and evolving industry,” said Clark. “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.
Clark succeeds IHRSA Interim President and CEO 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 CEO was selected.
Executive search firm Spencer Stuart led the nationwide search for IHRSA’s next president and CEO. 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).
This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.
IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, is a not-for-profit trade association representing the global fitness industry of over 200,000 health and fitness facilities and their suppliers.
IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to peak health and fight the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle disease. As one of the world’s leading authorities on the commercial health club industry, IHRSA’s mission is to grow, promote, and protect the health and fitness industry. IHRSA provides its members with benefits and resources that will help them be more successful. IHRSA and its members are devoted to making the world happier, healthier, and more prosperous through regular exercise and activity promotion. IHRSA is the publisher of Club Business International, the leading monthly magazine for the global fitness industry.