Last week I attended AAF-KC’s Gas Can conference, a full day of speeches meant to spark creativity. One of the featured speakers was Hailee Bland-Walsh, owner of City Gym, Hailee focused on the impact each of us can have by living authentically.
Hailee always knew she was different, she didn’t know how, but she knew. She found a place where she felt she belonged in sports and when faced with finding a full-time job, a desk seemed daunting. She decided to get certified as a personal trainer, which felt manageable. Upon entering the fitness industry and meeting with various clients she realized she was hearing the same story over and over. People didn’t feel like they fit, they didn’t belong. It’s a feeling Hailee knew well, and she knew it could be different. She noted often in the fitness industry the people who need it the most feel the most unwelcome, the most uncomfortable. That is, obviously, not good and she felt like she could make a change.
When Hailee opened City Gym, located in Kansas City, she knew people were looking for more than a place to workout, people wanted a place to belong. In an industry built on people buying what they don’t need, she wanted to change the conversation. She knew her gym would be about connecting people; building people up rather than tearing them down.
Hailee was told she would fail, that her ideas were too radical in a very set industry. She didn’t care. Hailee believes that a small business, staying true to its core values has the ability to create powerful change and she was right. City Gym’s impact has done more than change the lives of its members find out how by watching Hailee’s full talk HERE.
And spoiler alert, I’m switching my gym membership.