IFA Acceptance Speech
Two months ago, we were standing on a mountain in Antarctica. It was an incredible moment, waving the flag of Anytime Fitness and celebrating the achievement of being the first and only franchise brand on all 7 continents!
It was Dave, Tony Mitchell, our Director of International Development, and Eric Keller, the very first Anytime Fitness franchisee … Eric and Tony are with us here today.
Eric opened club #1 in May of 2002 in Cambridge, Minnesota, a small town about one hour north of Minneapolis-St. Paul affectionately called the Twin Cities and symbolically, Eric represents every franchisee that has invested in Anytime Fitness. They are the lifeblood of this brand.
That day was epic – and one we’ll never forget. In fact, it ended with me getting quarantined to my room and in a strange way, it perfectly encapsulates our 18-year journey.
We started the morning with sea kayaking on a gorgeous sunny day. In fact, it was warmer that day than it was in Minnesota. Dave & I were in the kayak among the most stunning icebergs and theatre that Mother Nature could provide. That afternoon, we Polar plunged in the Arctic Sea and later that afternoon, we trekked up the mountain to hoist our flag, take photos and celebrate. But soon thereafter, I quickly became ill and once we made it back to the ship, I didn’t have the energy to leave my room and when the Doctor came to visit and inquire about my symptoms, I said the D-word. Yep, I had diarrhea. Is that too much information? I bet you didn’t expect to hear that word? As many of you know, if you utter the D-word on a ship, you are forced into being quarantined into your room and while at first, I was angry, the next 24 hours were the sickest I’ve ever felt.
And that Epic day is the perfect metaphor for our 18-year journey filled with adventure, friendships, achievements and so many days!
18 years ago, Dave and I started Anytime Fitness with no prior franchising experience, no formal business training, and no college degrees. We had grit, creativity, passion, and deep care for helping franchisees succeed. In this business, that is all you need.
Today, we accept and dedicate this award to every franchise owner who’s taken that leap of courage to own their own business. This award was only made possible by the hard work and trust of 1,200+ franchisees who brought our vision for the brand to life.
The story Chuck shared was so perfect because I’ve known him for 30 years and I will validate – he is full of ________!
In addition to franchisees, we need to thank our talented and passionate team here and back at the home office. It’s a pleasure to work with such incredible human beings.
We want to thank our partners at Roark Capital, the best private equity firm in all of franchising.
A special shout out to the “God Father” Chuck Modell w/Larkin Hoffman who help guide us since our early days.
As the IFA celebrates a 60-year milestone, we also want to recognize this organization for unifying, protecting, and supporting franchising as a job-creating industry that is a vital part of the global economy. We also want to thank each one of you who have chosen to join arms and support the great industry of franchising together.
I would be remised if I didn’t say thank you to my best friend, business partner a man standing beside me. We’ve challenged one another, celebrated together, and held each other up countless times. It’s been 30 years of a fun and fantastic partnership!
This award underscores the importance of our company values and culture. If you heard us speak at the IFA a few years ago, you might remember our 4Ps – people, purpose, profits, and play. We live it, design it into our work and it’s been the foundation of our success. If you’re interested in learning more about a proven formula for employee engagement and high performing teams, order our book #LoveWork.
Hey, this is a perfect time for a shameless book plug!
Finally, and most importantly, to our wives and families, we appreciate your Love, understanding, and support through all the travel, business dinners, and countless times that we’ve been preoccupied.
Thank you all & may you live and work at the intersection of People, Purpose, Profits, and Play.