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, 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
Anthony’s journey into the world of health and fitness is somewhat non-traditional. Growing up in his parent’s restaurant business, food was the center of everything. Consuming large quantities of calories was very easy and accessible. While active in sports, Anthony describes being overweight as a child and observed his parents struggle with health issues due their lifestyle. At that time, it seemed he would be destined to share the same fate. Then suddenly, epiphany struck his freshman year in high school. Anthony realized his parents’ health problems could diminish if they exercised more and ate less. By his junior year, he committed to pursuing a career in health and fitness. He set out to become a role model, not just someone who looked the part, but someone who personally overcame an unhealthy relationship with food and difficulty in maintaining exercise habits due to work and family obligations. Anthony’s epiphany evolved into what he describes as a calling to be able to show others how to make change for the better, despite facing some difficult odds.
We asked Anthony to share a few things about his successful career with Corporate Fitness Works. 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 CIO.
Being raised in a family business, by age 10 I was working a full-time job. I still remember the routine like yesterday; my mom would pick me up at the bus stop and take my sister and I to our restaurant. We had to do our homework immediately to be ready for the dinner rush. This routine continued six days a week and at a very young age, I gained a deep appreciation for hard work and commitment to a team (family) business. My early jobs at the restaurant were in the front of the house, starting as a bus boy, eventually becoming the host and waiter. This is where I honed my skills around negotiation, conflict resolution, and socialization. At only 11 years old, I was dealing with angry customers who felt they had waited too long to be seated, or having to pitch the special of the day. While the long hours prevented me from having a traditional childhood, those experiences prepared me for college, my first job, and all types of challenges I experience every day. I can still hear my dad saying to me, “If you can work this job, every other job after this will be easy.” He was a wise man!
What is your #1 motivator? What are you most passionate about in the work that you do?
The bottom line for me is if I can see how my work is contributing to something bigger than just myself, than that is all the motivation I need. Plus, when one is passionate about their work, they are more inclined to continue to learn and progress while creatively contributing at a high level.
Describe the key steps you took in the path to your career success that made the greatest impact?
Early in my career I took pride in becoming as well-rounded as possible. I have always subscribed to a jack-of-all-trades approach, which has prepared me for whatever kind of opportunity became available. At each client site I worked, I learned from my client and supervisor experiences. One experience that proved very influential was when I worked with a client that was responsible for information technologies. This exposed me to a whole new set of experiences around information systems and quickly became a passion of mine. I began to teach myself about the applications available at the time and the software that was driving our industry. This thirst for technology continued in my career, eventually leading me to my current position with Corporate Fitness Works.
Another step that helped solidify my interpersonal skills was becoming certified as an intrinsic coach. What attracted me to this methodology was understanding that when one works intrinsically, one exhibits what is true, genuine, inherent, and not merely apparent. These were all constructs that my personality could support and embrace, but more importantly, could make a difference in making a lasting lifestyle change. The next major milestone took me down another path where I could refine my leadership skills. For my master’s degree, I focused my studies and thesis on organizational leadership and emotional intelligence. Armed with a combination of an MBA curriculum infused with leadership skills, I was ready to put my passions for organizational effectiveness into my everyday executive interactions.
How does your role as CIO support Team Leader growth and our business growth?
With dedicated resources in Management Information Systems (MIS), Corporate Fitness Works offers Team Leaders some of the latest technologies designed to improve productivity, communication and collaboration. Our business is geographically dispersed with personnel located all over the country. It is critical that our technologies allow us to communicate virtually and collaborate on all levels in an effective and productive manner. Part of supporting Team Leader growth is providing the organization with meetings, email, contact management, calendar, and other collaboration tools, which are all synchronized to work together. The challenge is to make this easy for our team to use, so they are not spending more time trying to figure out how to use the technology, as opposed to working within their business unit. In terms of growing our business, MIS plays an instrumental role in every new opportunity whether it’s proposing emerging technologies that differentiate us from others or installing and maintaining desktop and/or network services. We are very involved with existing clients who are exploring new technologies to solve particular pain points or looking for ways to improve their program effectiveness.
How does your role most impact our client’s success?
Our profession is constantly challenged with trying to motivate individuals who spend most of the day sitting with convenience and temptations of unhealthy food. As a health and fitness management company, it is our responsibility to get some of the least motivated and de-conditioned individuals to step inside our facilities. With platforms/portals, wearables, and apps becoming the most popular technological tool people use to achieve a healthy lifestyle, we need to keep pace with this trend. The mobile health market estimated that more than 3.4 billion smartphone users will be using some sort of health and fitness app by the end of 2018. For these reasons, MIS must continue to support our clients and our members on how technology can assist in meeting their personal health goals, track their progress, improve exercise efficiency, and boost their motivation
Share a career highlight.
During my tenure at Corporate Fitness Works, I have held many positions that have ranged from account management to sales and marketing, however my promotion as the Chief Information Officer is a career highlight. In this role, I share my passion for technology and organizational effectiveness with the business units I support. Additionally, I work with some of the most talented Team Leaders that make up this company and share the importance of teamwork and collaboration.
If you could share one “value added tip” as CIO, what would it be?
From my experience in leadership roles, I have concluded that there’s no reward without risk. Even the worst mistakes should never stop one from taking a chance again. I believe that success is all about taking risks and learning from your mistakes. A person grows more intelligent and successful when making mistakes and learning from them compared to those who experience continued success without failure. There is a fine line between risk and reward, and if you can find the right balance as a leader, there is nothing that will stop you from achieving extraordinary things. To this point, I post this quote from Zig Ziegler on my Skype status every day, “F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.”
Please share an interesting fact about you that you would want our Team and our clients to know about you?
In the spirit of pursuing my passion for everything tech, most people don’t know I am tech and gadget addict! Some of my most prized possessions are my drones. As a matter of fact, I am a registered drone pilot. In my free time, I enjoy flying various drones and appreciating what aerial videography and photography can bring to the senses. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to be a part of drone shoots for local businesses.