Heidi Desmond of Sonoma County's Parkpoint Health Clubs wins North Bay Forty Under 40 award

Heidi Desmond

Age: 39

Assistant General Manager, Parkpoint Health Clubs

1200 N. Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa 95401


Read other profiles of this year's winners.

Responsibilities with your company: I work with and assist our general manager with project management to assure the smooth running of all three Parkpoint Clubs. Additionally, I am responsible for the marketing/promotions, facility, and program and membership oversight of all three clubs. I also coordinate employee related programs or events such as employee appreciation parties, volunteer days or health and wellness programs.

In 25 words or less, how do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty under 40 professional?

I have worked hard to grow and advance my career. I lead with forward thinking while also appreciating the strengths of my team.

Years with company: 15

Length of time in current position: I have been in my current position for approximately five years

Number of companywide employees: 240

Number who report to you: 15

Greatest professional accomplishment: I recently worked on rebranding our clubs as well as major facility refresh projects that included improvements such as new flooring, equipment, painting and other enhancements. I worked very hard to have my vision come together in a short amount of time and to bring many variables, staff and contractors together to make the projects successful and to position the clubs well for the future.

Greatest professional challenge: My greatest accomplishment mentioned above was also my greatest professional challenge.

It took a lot of researching, planning, communicating, oversight and stress to make aspects of the projects come together. While I worked hard and gave the projects 100% of my energy, there were aspects that did not come together as I had envisioned. Through that process, I had to learn to accept that things don't always turn out exactly as you plan or hope for, but you still have to force yourself to get back up, learn and grow for the future and keep going!

The projects were a big reminder to me that life is a work in progress, it's important to have patience and to not be so hard on myself.

Best advice received: I am very grateful for advice that others have given me, especially in recent years. Some of the advice that has resonated with me the most would be along the lines of: Your mistakes do not define you - learn and grow from them, surround yourself with others who inspire you, don't play small and trust your gut.

Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: In the last 12 months, the most important event for me was overseeing a complete facility refresh project for our Healdsburg location. The project entailed some major components such as new flooring in several areas, new lockers, painting of the entire inside of the building, a complete fitness floor redesign including new equipment, repairs and maintenance projects, and more. It took a lot of hard work and our team really impressed me and came together to make the project a success.

What steps is your company taking to sustain your organization and morale in the current economy?

I feel like we have done a lot to invest in our clubs to update our facilities and programs to keep up with the evolution of the fitness industry. Bill Buchanan (owner) opened his first Parkpoint location in 1983 and since then, has made a concentrated effort to treat his employees well and to elevate the experience we provide for our members. Putting people first - both our members and staff - has created a strong foundation leading to our longevity in Sonoma County.

Next professional goal: My next professional focus is to help build upon the foundation we've created to improve how we operate overall. Personally, I want to take additional courses and classes that enhance my knowledge and professional growth.

Education: High school diploma - Maria Carrillo High School; Associate of Arts degree - Santa Rosa Junior College; Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, Sonoma State University

Hometown: Santa Rosa

Community/nonprofit activities: In 2017, I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity by taking a trip to Chile to help build a home for a family in need.

More recently, I coordinated and orchestrated a Parkpoint Employee Volunteer Day in Annadel where I got together a group of employees from all clubs to work with the Sonoma County Trails Council for a trail restoration day.

I also brought my two sons to this to trail work day as I feel it is important to teach them that giving back and volunteering is an important part of life.

This past December, I volunteered at the Volunteer Center with my sons to help support the Sonoma County Secret Santa Giving Hearts program by helping to organize and distribute presents to the children and families in need. I also volunteer in my sons' classrooms when I can for events such as holiday parties or field trips.

Heidi Desmond

Age: 39

Assistant General Manager, Parkpoint Health Clubs

1200 N. Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa 95401


Read other profiles of this year's winners.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Bill Buchanan - Parkpoint clubs owner

What is your most disliked industry buzzword?

Anything that talks about fitness or health in “extremes” and promises unrealistic results. I don't believe in extreme diets or workouts. I think that moderation and variety is key

Typical day at the office: There really is no typical day and that's part of what I enjoy. Each day is varied, there are lots of different hats to wear and priorities to juggle. I am blessed to be surrounded by and inspired by incredible coworkers and club members on a daily basis.

Best place to work outside of your office: Because I work for a club owner who values the balance of work and play, our management team is lucky enough to enjoy working retreats from time to time where we work on team building, attend workshops or listen to speakers in beautiful locations such as Bodega Bay or San Diego.

Hobbies: I really enjoy anything that involves being active, especially if those activities are outside. I love hiking, traveling, and cooking/baking.

What you wanted to be when you grew up: I wanted to be a few different things while growing up. When I was young, I wanted to be a veterinarian and in my teens I wanted to be an occupational therapist.

#1 thing you want to accomplish by the time you turn 40: I will be turning 40 this year and actually one of the main things I want to accomplish is to have more balance in my life in 2020. This may not be a typical thing to focus on achieving, but it's something that has really come to light to me in my age of almost 40! :)

First job: My first job was at a horse stables when I was approximately 12 - 15 years old. I loved horses and wanted to learn how to ride, but lessons were very cost prohibitive.

The owner of a local horse stables very nicely worked out an agreement with me so that I was able to “work off” my lessons by completing tasks such as grooming horses, cleaning tack and the stables, putting up deer fencing around the vineyards, etc. so that I could have lessons without paying for them. I spent weekdays after school, weekends and summers at the stables. It taught me the importance of working hard for what you want at a very young age.

Social media you most use: Instagram

Favorite book: My favorite books focus on self-growth or motivation. I listen to podcasts and audio books while driving more than reading novels currently.

Favorite movie: I don't often make time to watch movies, but when I do I really enjoy documentaries.

Favorite App: AllTrails is a great app for exploring hiking/running options in any area. I have two young boys who are very active in sports, so I also appreciate apps such as TeamSnap or SportsEngine to help me keep all of their practice and game schedules straight!

Favorite after-work drink: Pinot noir

Last vacation: My most recent vacation was a trip to Hawaii for some R&R. Prior to that, I went on a hiking focused trip and visited Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Horseshoe Bend and other parks and sights in the Utah and Arizona areas.

What does your mom or dad brag most about you?

My dad would say that I am very dedicated, committed and focused on growth and improvement. My mom was always proud of my athletic performance in sports (such as volleyball) while growing up.

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