What does your organisation stand for? European Health & Fitness Association (EHFA): Herman Rutgers, Executive Director

I have been evangelising about health clubs having to stand for something through my book and recent conference presentations and have decided to blog about it. However, rather than read more of what I think, I have decided to invite representatives from the global leisure industry to tell me what their organisations stand for.

Herman Rutgers, the former Executive Director for IHRSA Europe and now with the European Health & Fitness Association is the first to accept my invitation. The format is six questions and six answers that should capture the essence of the organisation. So, here goes:

What does your organisation stand for?

‘More People, More Active, More Often’

Highest quality levels in everything we do; growing quality levels in the European Union and the health and fitness industry; growing the pie.

What do you expect the European Health & Fitness Association to achieve in the next three years?

Positioned as THE representative body for the European health and fitness industry, with broad support, both from the EU countries-federations, suppliers, operators, investors. In other words all stakeholders from both public and private sector.

What word or attribute describes the European Health & Fitness Association?

Integrator; bridge builder.

In what ways is the European Health & Fitness Association unique?

It is the only pan European Industry representative. It is a ‘broad church’; everybody who is a stakeholder is welcome to join. We have a seat at the table in Brussels and are recognized as the representative body. It is the EU accredited standards setting body and certifying Institute for the health and fitness sector.

It is not-for-profit, membership based and has only one interest; to grow our industry and get More People, More Active, More Often…so that all can benefit.

If the European Health & Fitness Association closed today, how would it be missed?

EHFA has been in existence 10 years, and has no intention of closing down, but if you want an answer; here it is in 4 pieces:

  • No industry representation at the highest EU political level.
  • No EU accepted and accredited force to drive quality standards upwards.
  • No binding force on a pan EU basis.
  • No federation to try to get a slice of the 1 billion Euros that is available for programmes designed to improve the health and fitness of Europeans.

Describe how you wish to be remembered at the European Health & Fitness Association. What will your legacy be?

I would like to be remembered as one of the people who was instrumental, the driving force behind getting the health and fitness industry as a respected entity at the table in Brussels, as well as at the International Olympic Committee, the World Health Organisation, UEFA, etc. In line with our mantra as someone who helped in a big way to get ‘More People, More Active, More Often’.

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