on September 21, 2021
What about women in the fitness industry? In order to get to the bottom of this question, we got a very special guest for today’s interview.
Maike Kumstel works in the International Business Development department of Magicline. But that’s not all! She is also the German brand ambassador for the Women in Fitness Association (short: WIFA), a non-profit organisation that supports women in the industry.
Although women are represented in many areas of the fitness industry, for example as trainers or in administrative roles in gyms, so far only a few women can be found in management positions. For example, the ten leading fitness chains are all run by men.
Doing good with a passion for fitness
The fitness industry and Maike have been inseparable for a long time. Right after her studies, she joined the world’s largest fitness trade show – FIBO – as an event manager. She also was part of the team that launched FIBO in the US and developed the business for 2 years.
In the US, she also became a certified personal trainer and joined the Women in Fitness Association in 2019. Since 2020 – after her return to Germany – she has been the German Ambassador for WIFA. Her goal is to build and grow a German community of women that support each other. She also wants to raise the awareness that advocacy for women in the industry is needed.
In this interview she tells us more about WIFA and how important it is to stand up for women in the fitness industry.
we are happy to have the opportunity to talk to you today about such an important topic – women in the fitness industry.
What fascinates you about the fitness industry? Why do you work in this field and are also involved in it in your free time?
“I have always been a sports enthusiast and grew up in a family where fitness and health were very important. I feel very lucky to work in an industry that allows me to follow my passion.
Over the last few years I have heard about and experienced so many inspiring stories that involved fitness as being life changing. Everyone who is involved with the fitness industry is very passionate and wants to have an impact on people’s life. It just brings me joy to be a part of that and to have the opportunity to make a difference as well.”
You are part of the Women in Fitness Association. Tell us about it?
“The Women in Fitness Association” was founded in 2018 in the USA and is a global non-profit association for women in the fitness industry.
WIFA supports women in the fitness industry to reach their full potential in order to succeed in the long term. The mutual support and the exchange of experiences and knowledge within the community are a priority. WIFA firmly believes that we can achieve more together than alone.
But WIFA also wants to actively advocate for women in the industry by working with all relevant players in order to make an impact and create a more diverse, inclusive and more equal industry with more women in leadership positions.”
What does WIFA offer?
“WIFA connects women across the globe to network and to create synergies. But there are also numerous seminars and events on personal and professional development. Topics range from leadership, work-life balance, the compatibility of career and children, salary, imposter syndrome etc..
Members also receive a ‘tool kit’ with various resources on a ‘topic of the month’ and can apply for a ‘Writers or Speakers Academy’. In this program, participants get a mentor assigned who supports them in the art of giving speeches or professional writing.
Since January 2021, there is also a 13-week WIFA L.E.A.D. (Leadership through Elevation, Awareness and Discovery) program.
It is a guided online course that builds the foundations for success and leadership by focusing on the deep exploration of one’s strengths and goals.
There is a set curriculum and webinars as well as weekly assignments and time to exchange thoughts with an assigned peer.”
Why is it so important to you to get involved in these activities?
“In recent years I have noticed what an extremely positive effect it has (on a professional and private level) when you surround yourself with positive, like-minded women who support each other and are really interested in exchanging ideas and growing together.
At WIFA you meet women who can serve as role models, but who are also interested in you and your development and would call your name in a room full of opportunities. At WIFA, the motto is ‘Everyone can learn from everyone, no matter how old or experienced’ – that’s just great.
During my time at WIFA, I have met friends and supporters who keep pushing me and hold me accountable for the goals I set for myself- which is super motivating.
With my involvement as an ambassador, I want to give more women the chance to have these kinds of experiences as well! I want to provide them with a support system that makes it possible for them to truly reach their potential.”
What does your work for the Women in Fitness Association look like?
“Firstly, I have created and developed the LEAD program mentioned above with Jennifer Halsall-de Witt, an awesome woman and now friend, who I was paired with during the WIFA mentorship program in 2019.
It was a year of hard work, but also lots of fun! We learned a lot about ourselves by creating the program. We knew that this program would add a lot of value to WIFA and that members could benefit a lot from it. So far over 100 women have gone through the program already!
Besides that I network a lot in order to get to know as many women as possible that can benefit from WIFA. Also, I do a lot of press and marketing work to share the word about WIFA and organize events for our continuously growing community here in Germany! It’s so fun to see what we’ve created already and how the awareness about WIFA is growing day by day”
thank you for taking the time to talk to us about this important topic. We wish you continued success and joy in your work!
If you want to know more about the Women in Fitness Association, here are a few links for you:
Would you like to participate in some event or gain direct experience with WIFA? Then follow these links:
Want to know more about Magicline gym management software?