Leading a Health Revolution Executive Profile:
Sheila Drohan, CEO and Co-Founder
As we approach a major milestone, our company’s 30th Anniversary, we wanted to celebrate the people that have led us to where we are today. By sharing their stories in our executive profile series, their inspirations and lessons learned, we hope to inspire others to pursue their goals and aspirations, so together we can lead a health revolution that moves the world!
The A-ha Moment
High school sports is where the health revolution began with our CEO and Co-Founder, Sheila Drohan. As a young girl, Sheila was quite shy until her love of fitness led her to become actively involved in her high school’s athletic program. It was through that early experience she developed confidence and a deeper understanding of the value of being part of a team. Through hard-work, dedication to her team and strong leadership, Sheila was chosen to captain several varsity teams and the rest is history.
We asked Sheila to share a few things that really mattered and made a difference in her career. And this is what she had to say…
Tell us about a time in your studies or in your career that helped you prepare for the challenges you face in your role as CEO and entrepreneur.
As I student, I became highly involved in various groups and organizations. I took on leadership roles both in high school as Student Council Class President, and later in college as President of the Physical Education Honorary – Delta Psi Kappa at Slippery Rock University. I also served as President of the Women’s Recreation Association (WRA) at Slippery Rock. In each of these roles, I gained wonderful experience in leading groups, planning events, and working as a team. The value of being involved in committees and school groups added tremendously to my growth and development. Grasp those opportunities!
What is your #1 motivator? What are you most passionate about in the work that you do?
My number one motivator is that WE, as a company, are impacting the health of others. I have seen so many individuals gain positive changes and experience a long-term health impact because of our work. It is so rewarding to see and hear success stories from our clients and members. Secondly, is to be able to provide career opportunities for those who share this passion for health and fitness, to help others grow and flourish in this business.
Describe the key steps you took in the path to your career success that made the greatest impact?
I was very fortunate early on to have great employers, college professors, and family members that set the stage for my success. It is so important to seek out advice, ask the questions, and listen to your mentors. My parents were huge cheerleaders for me! I learned early on that I could do anything, if I put my mind to it and I had the support.
Another key step in my career path was that I pursued my masters after I gained some work experience. What I experienced while working helped me realize that I wanted to further pursue a career in business and management. Taking that pause to gain work experience after receiving my bachelors really helped guide me toward my true passions.
Last, but not least, was when I moved away from home and grasped those opportunities during college and then with my career (which was not the norm). I truly pushed myself beyond my comfort zone, which we all know is the best way to grow.
How does your role as CEO support Team Leader growth and our business growth?
As CEO, I have always believed in giving Team Leaders the opportunities for growth by truly empowering them in their jobs. Our business cannot grow unless we trust others to do what they are hired to do. I am available to support and always encourage our TEAM to ask the questions. No question that our competitive advantage is our TEAM and how each takes pride in their jobs.
How does your role most impact our client’s success?
I feel it is my role to assure that we have the right people on our team, with the resources and infrastructure to support our clients and members. Entrust in our team that we have the framework established for the standard of service expected and our team will provide that level of service.
I work to anticipate needs of our clients, to be flexible and solution oriented. As partners in the business, whether there is an economic change or specific demands for a client population, we work hard to be ahead of their needs.
Share a career highlight.
From graduating with honors for both my Bachelors and Masters degrees, to first starting CFW, I am fortunate to have many career highlights to reflect. When we started CFW both Brenda and I did EVERYTHING; including running the business and operating the Fitness Centers. It was an extremely exciting and rewarding experience. In our 30 years in business, we have gone through economic ups and downs and always stayed ahead of the changes. Recently the acquisition was a huge accomplishment, that I am extremely proud to have orchestrated. Finally, working with our TEAM every day is a true positive!!!
If you could share one “value added tip” as CEO of CFW, what would it be?
First and foremost – follow your passion! You should love what you do! If not, you need to re-evaluate your career choice. You will be successful if you love what you are doing.
Also, I highly recommend The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz – “always do your best, be impeccable with your word, don’t make assumptions and don’t take things personally”.
Please share an interesting fact about you that you would want our Team and our clients to know about you?
Something that many may not know is that I paid for my education, both my undergrad and grad school. I started at an early age, working and saving. In college, I worked two summer jobs – teaching swimming lessons and working in a restaurant kitchen as a cook. I loved the restaurant work! The busier we were the better.
Thanks to this real-life experience, I have always been sensitive to our company’s financial picture – assuring we are positioned to be successful and secure for our company and for our TEAM.