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IABC London Member Spotlight: Richelle Lowry

Categories: News

Richelle Lowry
Director of Associate Experience, Learning & Communications,
GoodLife Fitness

Where do you work? What is your role, including responsibilities and projects?

I am currently the Director of Associate Experience, Learning & Communications for GoodLife Fitness. I am based out of our Home Office in London and have been with the company for 12 years.

Our company is consistently looking for ways to improve the experience of our Associates, and I am proud to be a champion of those efforts. The scope of my responsibility includes managing and overseeing the organization’s rewards and recognition programs, learning and leadership development initiatives, internal events, internal communications, and change management. I am also grateful to work closely with incredible peers on special projects that create transformational change in the organization, and continually improve/evolve GoodLife’s position as the leader of the fitness industry in Canada and worldwide.

GoodLife Associates are passionate individuals who are like-minded and genuinely looking to make a difference in the lives of people in Canada through fitness and health promotion. Our internal culture is very strong. My Department is responsible for maintaining this collective purpose and coming up with new ways to engage and empower Associates to get the most out of their careers.

What I’ve learned through my role is that taking good care of people is a minimum requirement for organizations. I am a firm believer that for businesses to set themselves apart from the rest, they need to be strategic and thoughtful about how they engage, empower and connect with their employees, have an employee-first mentality, and do everything they can to make their workplaces safe and welcoming for everyone (physically and psychologically).

How long have you been an IABC member?

I have been an IABC member since 2010.

In your opinion, what are the benefits of being an IABC member? What resources or programs offered by IABC have you engaged in?

Being an IABC member brings tremendous benefits to communications professionals across the board. I have made great use of my membership over the years – attending local chapter events regularly; sending Associates from my Department to local events as part of their professional development; networking with and learning from incredibly talented communications professionals; reading through newsletters, articles, and resources; attending World Conference in New York City in 2013; and volunteering as a board member (Director of Communications) for the London Chapter from 2017 to 2019. It’s been an incredible journey over the years!

What area(s) of communications are you passionate about?

My first and true passion is internal communications. I started my career as an internal communications coordinator and quickly realized how important good communication is to the overall employee experience. I love building strategic communications plans, creating engaging content, researching new ways to engage with internal audiences, and being responsible for how information flows within an organization. It’s a constant challenge that can be so rewarding.

Tell us about an important project or achievement from your career.

It is no secret that the fitness industry has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past 24 months, there have only been seven months where all of our Clubs were open simultaneously for a month. Along with other fitness providers, GoodLife dealt with rolling temporary closures and heavy restrictions for two years. Some temporary closures were as short as 72 hours in Prince Edward Island, while others lasted as long as eight straight months in the hardest hit regions in Ontario.

It has been the most challenging period in GoodLife’s 43-year history.

From the onset of the pandemic and our very first nationwide closure on March 16, 2020, it was made very clear to me by our Executive that we had two key priorities – maintaining the health and safety of our Associates and Members and staying connected in a meaningful way with our Associates to help them navigate through this unprecedented and challenging chapter.

As a result, we developed an internal rallying cry entitled, “Stay Strong GoodLife.” It propelled quickly into a multimedia communications campaign involving email, video, intranet and social. In the end, it spanned 20 months and 76 newsletter-style email communications to our entire Associate-base. It covered important topics related to mental health and wellness, staying fit at home, coping with change, diversity, equity and inclusion. It also allowed us to keep our people informed and educated throughout the pandemic through important messages from senior leaders, COVID-19 restriction/mandate updates, information sharing about our government relations efforts, invitations to virtual learning opportunities, inspirational events and more.

Increasingly, employees are looking to their employer to provide truthful, timely and relevant information. This expectation increased throughout the pandemic, and I believe it is an expectation that GoodLife met for its people.

Do you have any advice for those starting out in this field?

My advice for those starting out in the field is two-fold:

  1. Always look for ways to expand your scope of responsibility in a role. The communication field touches so many things, and it can open the door to new, unexpected, challenging and vital work. To help with this, find a leader in your organization or network who can help you recognize your unique skillset and guide and mentor you toward the career of your dreams.
  2. Invest in your professional development consistently. Set goals for professional development every year, take all of the learning/training opportunities your organization offers, enroll in courses (there are excellent digital badges/micro-credentials available now that are quick to get and affordable), and attend events and conferences when you can.

If you had to describe the communications profession in one word, what word would you choose?

Compelling.

How can members connect with you?

Feel free to reach out to me anytime via LinkedIn.