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