Quantcast

2020 CWA Summit

Conference Sessions

Each year the CWA convenes the industry's top presenters, who are experts in climbing gym ownership, operations, programs, and expansion. Don't miss the opportunity for growth and development with your indoor climbing industry peers!

EXPLORE THE 

Click the session title to review details for each presentation that will be offered at this year's CWA Summit.

KEYNOTE

An Update on Economic and Lending Conditions | Matthew Roberts, 5.Life


Description: The economic environment continues to evolve in unexpected ways. In this session, we will review the current economy as it relates to the fitness industry, including wages, costs, and income trends, and recent and looming interest rate changes. Using this as our foundation, we will discuss the impact that the current situation and the near future will have on lending decisions made by banks. About the Presenter: Matt Roberts is the President of 5.Life, a collection of rock-climbing gyms in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as the owner of The Kernmantle Group, an agricultural risk management consulting firm. Dr. Roberts became a partner in 5.Life in 2013, while an Agricultural Economics Professor at The Ohio State University. In 2017 Dr. Roberts left OSU to found the Kernmantle Group and become a full-time gym owner, consultant and professional speaker. Dr. Roberts is also a loan committee member and Director of Sutton Bank of Ohio, a FinTech-focused community bank located in Attica, OH, as well as the CFO of Ascent Ventures, Inc, a climbing gym chain based in San Luis Obisbo, CA, and the Treasurer-Director of USA Climbing.




Gym Design and Construction - An Honest Discussion | Lance Brock, Climb HQ & Adam Koberna, Walltopia


Description: This session will help prospective gym owners know what to expect while building a gym and avoid common mistakes. Objectives include: - Discuss gym design from the perspective of the owner, architect, contractor and wall builder
- How to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls
- Q & A with honest discussion from multiple perspectives About the Presenters: Lance Brock studied architecture at the University of Tennessee and practiced architecture for about 7 years before deciding to open Climb Nashville. He was a sponsored climber and has served on the board of directors for the Access Fund. In 2003, Lance and his business partner, Drew Sloss, had a vision for indoor climbing as a form of fitness and included workout space, yoga, and fitness classes in the first gym they built. They bought their first gym in 2003 and opened the second in 2004. Over the last 16 years they have bought and sold gyms, opened and relocated gyms and built more. They have seen our industry grow from a tiny niche market to a large industry and are glad to be part of the excitement. Adam Koberna... he's built a LOT of gyms.




Startup Panel Part I: Journey to Gym Ownership | Moderated by: Michael Lary, Source Climbing Center


Description: This panel will convene a group of gym owners who are just starting out in their businesses. We will explore their journeys, including obstacles, challenges, lessons learned, and wins. The discussion will be particularly valuable for future gym owners, as well as current owners and operators. There will be time at the end for Q&A. Objectives:

  • Discuss lessons learned throughout the process of funding, constructing, and opening a new gym.
  • Describe things that went well and things that could’ve gone better
  • Provide tips on what to look out for when developing a new gym




Startup Panel Part II: Exploration of the First Four Years | Moderated by: Michael Lary, The Source Climbing Center


Description: In part two of this panel, we will convene a group of gym owners who are a few years into their businesses. We will explore their unique perspectives of the financial, operational, and marketing functions of a commercial climbing gym by relating to a few simple charts drawn from the Moderator’s own experiences. There will be time at the end for Q&A. Objectives:

  • Give participants a tangible sense of what is involved with the finances, operations, and marketing of a running a business.
  • Relate those broader business functions to the panelists’ own industry experiences.
  • Provide insight into what it means to be a gym operator, and how that may impact the type of facility you open or expand with.




Building a Lasting Brand | Hannah Stael von Holstein, Discover Strength


Description: Building a lasting brand starts with your strategy. Think about the Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Nordstrom - what do they all have in common? A brand that has lasted a lifetime. They are not based on discounts or the next tactic. They know who they are, who they serve, and how they differ from their competition. In this presentation, we will walk through each of these elements to ensure you are standing out from your competition, telling a compelling story to a specific person, and building trust through your branding. The objective of this session is to help attendees: - Determine your differentiators from your competition
- Determine your target market
- Paint the picture for your customer's journey
- Narrow your "say-do" gap About the Presenter: Hannah Stael von Holstein is the VP of Sales and Marketing for Discover Strength, one the largest revenue-producing personal training studios in the country and the 27th fastest-growing private company in Minnesota according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.




Gender Lens Investing: Supporting Female Investors and Business Owners in the Climbing Sector | Moderator: Chelsea Burns, Escaladora Ventures


Description: An immense funding gap exists between the financing that women and nonbinary femmes need to start and grow businesses and their current access to capital. Moreover, longstanding gender inequity in the workplace and throughout supply chains has resulted in missed opportunities for improving social and financial returns. Despite the evidence that gender inclusion increases ROI, many business owners and investors overlook the potential of how a gender inclusive lens can help them enhance their internal operational performance, increase market share, and grow the demand for their products and services. And while some businesses do see the benefits of gender inclusion, they often lack the know-how and the technical support required to adopt gender-inclusive strategies.This panel will explore gender lens investing and the incredible opportunity for climbing business owners and investors to become leaders within the gender lens investing movement. About the Moderator: Chelsea Burns is an analyst, an operator, an investor, and a rock climber. She is the founder of Escaladora Ventures, a company that invests in the booming rock climbing sector. Currently she is part owner of Pura Roca, an indoor climbing gym in San Pedro, Costa Rica. In addition to climbing, gender lens investing and environmental sustainability are the leading themes behind her investment thesis. She is a member of Pipeline Angels, whose mission is to teach women and non-binary femmes how to become better angel investors. Chelsea has a decade of experience working in the water and energy efficiency space. Previously she was the COO of Urban Energy Group, an ESCO that finances and installs LED lighting projects across Washington State. Currently, she is a business analysis consultant in the workplace performance sector. She holds dual BAs in International Relations and Anthropology and dual MAs in International Relations and Natural Resources & Sustainable Development. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Jesse, and their dog, Rusty.





LEADERSHIP

Beyond the Trend: Ensuring a lasting role for womxn in the climbing industry | Geneviève de la Plante & Flannery Shay-Nemirow, The Big Initiative


Description: When talking about womxn's issues, something we hear a lot is that they're "so trendy right now". But at B.I.G, we want to make sure that any changes that are brought about are real and that they have permanence. There are concrete steps that we can all take if we want to see more female route setters, head coaches and just more womxn in leadership in the climbing industry. We will talk about how positive that is for everyone, and how essential it is if we want to keep the coming generation of girls practicing sports after their teenage years. About the Presenters: Geneviève was introduced to climbing when the de la Plante family acquired Allez Up in 2003. She now co-owns Allez Up Climbing gyms in Montreal and Seven Bays Bouldering gyms in Halifax with her brothers. Geneviève is passionate about responsible management and recently founded The B.I.G Initiative, a not-for-profit project that champions for womxn in leadership roles in the climbing industry. Flannery has been climbing, sometimes competitively, for 15 years, specifically in the disciplines of sport and bouldering. While she's since stepped away from competing, she maintains contact with the scene by setting and forerunning high level national and international bouldering competitions. Flannery has gone on to gain her Level 4 USAC route setting certification, and continues to work with gyms across the country. Even though she has a deep connection to the world of plastic pulling, her focus tends to be doing hard boulders outside, where she has climbed multiple V12s. Flannery also worked coaching competitive youth teams on the west coast, and as a climbing specific bio-mechanical analyst in Boulder, Colorado.




Mentorship and Coaching: Building an Effective Team and Culture | Sam Thiara, Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting


Description: Is having an engaged work force important to you? Would you like to retain your employees? Have you gained experience in the industry that you would like to share? If you answered yes to these questions, then you have the foundation to create a successful environment. The organization is a combination of your business, the culture you create and your employee wellbeing. How do you get them to all work together so that your business is thriving? Often times we hire employees, train them and then let them get to work. Selecting the right people is the start, providing the training, support and guidance is the part that sustains your business. Through stories, examples and best practices, Sam shares his insight and provides practical tools to support your business on mentorship, coaching, retaining employees, creating a strong culture and improving staff performance. About the Presenter: Sam Thiara is a professional who has created a personal journey as a coach, speaker, storyteller, writer, workshop facilitator, educator, and entrepreneur. His goal is to engage individuals in their personal and professional development. He has supported individuals, businesses and non-profits in how to be better placed and transformational. Presently, Sam is the Founder and Chief Motivating Officer at Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting, a platform that engages his audience to define their path.




Employees as Stakeholders: Happy Employees = Successful Gym | Kristin Horowitz, Ascent Ventures / The Pad Climbing


Description: We'll cover some recommendations by luminaries such as Patrick Lencioni, Brene Brown, and the authors of Manager Tools. You'll learn how to communicate in what format and how spending time in effective meetings and on the phone instead of using email or text can transform your organization and empower your staff. We'll also cover: 1n1 meetings: who, what, and why; all-hands meetings: ground rules, format, and keeping things tight. About the Presenter: Kristin Tara Horowitz is COO of Ascent Ventures/The Pad Climbing and formerly the executive director of SLO Op Climbing. Previously famous for her tales of epics on RockClimbing.com, she now spends her days developing systems and working with her team to make them as happy and efficient as possible so that we can continue our mission of changing people's lives for the better. She believes that climbing and the accessory activities that go with it can be the key to happiness.




What Gets Measured, Recognized, Rewarded and Celebrated, Gets Done! | Andrea Bryan, Ph.D.


Description: Across industries, there is amazing commonality in the leading characteristics that make up best-in-class organizations. These companies begin with a mission statement, but ultimately their success shines through in company culture. Recognize that people are at the center of your strategy, no matter what industry you're in and that culture can be your competitive advantage to attract and retain the best talent. This session will cover the 10 Characteristics in Best-in-Class Organizations, instructions on how to kick-start your own culture program, and describe management principles that drive your team to do more and give you time for the new initiatives that may have been on the back burner for years. Come with an open mind! About the Presenter: Andrea Bryan, Ph.D., is a highly adaptable and prudent leader with a passion for leading teams through change and establishing a culture of personal responsibility and empowerment. Dr. Bryan has successfully led both technical and non-technical teams sized from three to 50 in situations as varied as building scientific instrumentation to global department restructuring. The leadership and culture programs she repeatedly put into practice measurably improves employee engagement and ultimately drives company value.





MANAGEMENT & OPERATIONS

An Update on Economic and Lending Conditions | Matthew Roberts, 5.Life


Description: The economic environment continues to evolve in unexpected ways. In this session, we will review the current economy as it relates to the fitness industry, including wages, costs, and income trends, and recent and looming interest rate changes. Using this as our foundation, we will discuss the impact that the current situation and the near future will have on lending decisions made by banks. About the Presenter: Matt Roberts is the President of 5.Life, a collection of rock-climbing gyms in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as the owner of The Kernmantle Group, an agricultural risk management consulting firm. Dr. Roberts became a partner in 5.Life in 2013, while an Agricultural Economics Professor at The Ohio State University. In 2017 Dr. Roberts left OSU to found the Kernmantle Group and become a full-time gym owner, consultant and professional speaker. Dr. Roberts is also a loan committee member and Director of Sutton Bank of Ohio, a FinTech-focused community bank located in Attica, OH, as well as the CFO of Ascent Ventures, Inc, a climbing gym chain based in San Luis Obisbo, CA, and the Treasurer-Director of USA Climbing.




Gym Design and Construction - An Honest Discussion | Lance Brock, Climb HQ & Adam Koberna, Walltopia


Description: This session will help prospective gym owners know what to expect while building a gym and avoid common mistakes. Objectives include: - Discuss gym design from the perspective of the owner, architect, contractor and wall builder
- How to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls
- Q & A with honest discussion from multiple perspectives About the Presenters: Lance Brock studied architecture at the University of Tennessee and practiced architecture for about 7 years before deciding to open Climb Nashville. He was a sponsored climber and has served on the board of directors for the Access Fund. In 2003, Lance and his business partner, Drew Sloss, had a vision for indoor climbing as a form of fitness and included workout space, yoga, and fitness classes in the first gym they built. They bought their first gym in 2003 and opened the second in 2004. Over the last 16 years they have bought and sold gyms, opened and relocated gyms and built more. They have seen our industry grow from a tiny niche market to a large industry and are glad to be part of the excitement. Adam Koberna... he's built a LOT of gyms.




Startup Panel Part I: Journey to Gym Ownership | Moderated by: Michael Lary, Source Climbing Center


Description: This panel will convene a group of gym owners who are just starting out in their businesses. We will explore their journeys, including obstacles, challenges, lessons learned, and wins. The discussion will be particularly valuable for future gym owners, as well as current owners and operators. There will be time at the end for Q&A. Objectives:

  • Discuss lessons learned throughout the process of funding, constructing, and opening a new gym.
  • Describe things that went well and things that could’ve gone better
  • Provide tips on what to look out for when developing a new gym




Startup Panel Part II: Exploration of the First Four Years | Moderated by: Michael Lary, The Source Climbing Center


Description: In part two of this panel, we will convene a group of gym owners who are a few years into their businesses. We will explore their unique perspectives of the financial, operational, and marketing functions of a commercial climbing gym by relating to a few simple charts drawn from the Moderator’s own experiences. There will be time at the end for Q&A. Objectives:

  • Give participants a tangible sense of what is involved with the finances, operations, and marketing of a running a business.
  • Relate those broader business functions to the panelists’ own industry experiences.
  • Provide insight into what it means to be a gym operator, and how that may impact the type of facility you open or expand with.




Building a Lasting Brand | Hannah Stael von Holstein, Discover Strength


Description: Building a lasting brand starts with your strategy. Think about the Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Nordstrom - what do they all have in common? A brand that has lasted a lifetime. They are not based on discounts or the next tactic. They know who they are, who they serve, and how they differ from their competition. In this presentation, we will walk through each of these elements to ensure you are standing out from your competition, telling a compelling story to a specific person, and building trust through your branding. The objective of this session is to help attendees: - Determine your differentiators from your competition
- Determine your target market
- Paint the picture for your customer's journey
- Narrow your "say-do" gap About the Presenter: Hannah Stael von Holstein is the VP of Sales and Marketing for Discover Strength, one the largest revenue-producing personal training studios in the country and the 27th fastest-growing private company in Minnesota according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.




Gender Lens Investing: Supporting Female Investors and Business Owners in the Climbing Sector | Moderator: Chelsea Burns, Escaladora Ventures


Description: An immense funding gap exists between the financing that women and nonbinary femmes need to start and grow businesses and their current access to capital. Moreover, longstanding gender inequity in the workplace and throughout supply chains has resulted in missed opportunities for improving social and financial returns. Despite the evidence that gender inclusion increases ROI, many business owners and investors overlook the potential of how a gender inclusive lens can help them enhance their internal operational performance, increase market share, and grow the demand for their products and services. And while some businesses do see the benefits of gender inclusion, they often lack the know-how and the technical support required to adopt gender-inclusive strategies.This panel will explore gender lens investing and the incredible opportunity for climbing business owners and investors to become leaders within the gender lens investing movement. About the Moderator: Chelsea Burns is an analyst, an operator, an investor, and a rock climber. She is the founder of Escaladora Ventures, a company that invests in the booming rock climbing sector. Currently she is part owner of Pura Roca, an indoor climbing gym in San Pedro, Costa Rica. In addition to climbing, gender lens investing and environmental sustainability are the leading themes behind her investment thesis. She is a member of Pipeline Angels, whose mission is to teach women and non-binary femmes how to become better angel investors. Chelsea has a decade of experience working in the water and energy efficiency space. Previously she was the COO of Urban Energy Group, an ESCO that finances and installs LED lighting projects across Washington State. Currently, she is a business analysis consultant in the workplace performance sector. She holds dual BAs in International Relations and Anthropology and dual MAs in International Relations and Natural Resources & Sustainable Development. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Jesse, and their dog, Rusty.





STARTUPS/BUSINESS FORMATION

An Update on Economic and Lending Conditions | Matthew Roberts, 5.Life


Description: The economic environment continues to evolve in unexpected ways. In this session, we will review the current economy as it relates to the fitness industry, including wages, costs, and income trends, and recent and looming interest rate changes. Using this as our foundation, we will discuss the impact that the current situation and the near future will have on lending decisions made by banks. About the Presenter: Matt Roberts is the President of 5.Life, a collection of rock-climbing gyms in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as the owner of The Kernmantle Group, an agricultural risk management consulting firm. Dr. Roberts became a partner in 5.Life in 2013, while an Agricultural Economics Professor at The Ohio State University. In 2017 Dr. Roberts left OSU to found the Kernmantle Group and become a full-time gym owner, consultant and professional speaker. Dr. Roberts is also a loan committee member and Director of Sutton Bank of Ohio, a FinTech-focused community bank located in Attica, OH, as well as the CFO of Ascent Ventures, Inc, a climbing gym chain based in San Luis Obisbo, CA, and the Treasurer-Director of USA Climbing.




Gym Design and Construction - An Honest Discussion | Lance Brock, Climb HQ & Adam Koberna, Walltopia


Description: This session will help prospective gym owners know what to expect while building a gym and avoid common mistakes. Objectives include: - Discuss gym design from the perspective of the owner, architect, contractor and wall builder
- How to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls
- Q & A with honest discussion from multiple perspectives About the Presenters: Lance Brock studied architecture at the University of Tennessee and practiced architecture for about 7 years before deciding to open Climb Nashville. He was a sponsored climber and has served on the board of directors for the Access Fund. In 2003, Lance and his business partner, Drew Sloss, had a vision for indoor climbing as a form of fitness and included workout space, yoga, and fitness classes in the first gym they built. They bought their first gym in 2003 and opened the second in 2004. Over the last 16 years they have bought and sold gyms, opened and relocated gyms and built more. They have seen our industry grow from a tiny niche market to a large industry and are glad to be part of the excitement. Adam Koberna... he's built a LOT of gyms.




Startup Panel Part I: Journey to Gym Ownership | Moderated by: Michael Lary, Source Climbing Center


Description: This panel will convene a group of gym owners who are just starting out in their businesses. We will explore their journeys, including obstacles, challenges, lessons learned, and wins. The discussion will be particularly valuable for future gym owners, as well as current owners and operators. There will be time at the end for Q&A. Objectives:

  • Discuss lessons learned throughout the process of funding, constructing, and opening a new gym.
  • Describe things that went well and things that could’ve gone better
  • Provide tips on what to look out for when developing a new gym




Startup Panel Part II: Exploration of the First Four Years | Moderated by: Michael Lary, The Source Climbing Center


Description: In part two of this panel, we will convene a group of gym owners who are a few years into their businesses. We will explore their unique perspectives of the financial, operational, and marketing functions of a commercial climbing gym by relating to a few simple charts drawn from the Moderator’s own experiences. There will be time at the end for Q&A. Objectives:

  • Give participants a tangible sense of what is involved with the finances, operations, and marketing of a running a business.
  • Relate those broader business functions to the panelists’ own industry experiences.
  • Provide insight into what it means to be a gym operator, and how that may impact the type of facility you open or expand with.




Building a Lasting Brand | Hannah Stael von Holstein, Discover Strength


Description: Building a lasting brand starts with your strategy. Think about the Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Nordstrom - what do they all have in common? A brand that has lasted a lifetime. They are not based on discounts or the next tactic. They know who they are, who they serve, and how they differ from their competition. In this presentation, we will walk through each of these elements to ensure you are standing out from your competition, telling a compelling story to a specific person, and building trust through your branding. The objective of this session is to help attendees: - Determine your differentiators from your competition
- Determine your target market
- Paint the picture for your customer's journey
- Narrow your "say-do" gap About the Presenter: Hannah Stael von Holstein is the VP of Sales and Marketing for Discover Strength, one the largest revenue-producing personal training studios in the country and the 27th fastest-growing private company in Minnesota according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.




Gender Lens Investing: Supporting Female Investors and Business Owners in the Climbing Sector | Moderator: Chelsea Burns, Escaladora Ventures


Description: An immense funding gap exists between the financing that women and nonbinary femmes need to start and grow businesses and their current access to capital. Moreover, longstanding gender inequity in the workplace and throughout supply chains has resulted in missed opportunities for improving social and financial returns. Despite the evidence that gender inclusion increases ROI, many business owners and investors overlook the potential of how a gender inclusive lens can help them enhance their internal operational performance, increase market share, and grow the demand for their products and services. And while some businesses do see the benefits of gender inclusion, they often lack the know-how and the technical support required to adopt gender-inclusive strategies.This panel will explore gender lens investing and the incredible opportunity for climbing business owners and investors to become leaders within the gender lens investing movement. About the Moderator: Chelsea Burns is an analyst, an operator, an investor, and a rock climber. She is the founder of Escaladora Ventures, a company that invests in the booming rock climbing sector. Currently she is part owner of Pura Roca, an indoor climbing gym in San Pedro, Costa Rica. In addition to climbing, gender lens investing and environmental sustainability are the leading themes behind her investment thesis. She is a member of Pipeline Angels, whose mission is to teach women and non-binary femmes how to become better angel investors. Chelsea has a decade of experience working in the water and energy efficiency space. Previously she was the COO of Urban Energy Group, an ESCO that finances and installs LED lighting projects across Washington State. Currently, she is a business analysis consultant in the workplace performance sector. She holds dual BAs in International Relations and Anthropology and dual MAs in International Relations and Natural Resources & Sustainable Development. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Jesse, and their dog, Rusty.





BUSINESS GROWTH & EXPANSION

Beyond the Trend: Ensuring a lasting role for womxn in the climbing industry | Geneviève de la Plante & Flannery Shay-Nemirow, The Big Initiative


Description: When talking about womxn's issues, something we hear a lot is that they're "so trendy right now". But at B.I.G, we want to make sure that any changes that are brought about are real and that they have permanence. There are concrete steps that we can all take if we want to see more female route setters, head coaches and just more womxn in leadership in the climbing industry. We will talk about how positive that is for everyone, and how essential it is if we want to keep the coming generation of girls practicing sports after their teenage years. About the Presenters: Geneviève was introduced to climbing when the de la Plante family acquired Allez Up in 2003. She now co-owns Allez Up Climbing gyms in Montreal and Seven Bays Bouldering gyms in Halifax with her brothers. Geneviève is passionate about responsible management and recently founded The B.I.G Initiative, a not-for-profit project that champions for womxn in leadership roles in the climbing industry. Flannery has been climbing, sometimes competitively, for 15 years, specifically in the disciplines of sport and bouldering. While she's since stepped away from competing, she maintains contact with the scene by setting and forerunning high level national and international bouldering competitions. Flannery has gone on to gain her Level 4 USAC route setting certification, and continues to work with gyms across the country. Even though she has a deep connection to the world of plastic pulling, her focus tends to be doing hard boulders outside, where she has climbed multiple V12s. Flannery also worked coaching competitive youth teams on the west coast, and as a climbing specific bio-mechanical analyst in Boulder, Colorado.




Mentorship and Coaching: Building an Effective Team and Culture | Sam Thiara, Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting


Description: Is having an engaged work force important to you? Would you like to retain your employees? Have you gained experience in the industry that you would like to share? If you answered yes to these questions, then you have the foundation to create a successful environment. The organization is a combination of your business, the culture you create and your employee wellbeing. How do you get them to all work together so that your business is thriving? Often times we hire employees, train them and then let them get to work. Selecting the right people is the start, providing the training, support and guidance is the part that sustains your business. Through stories, examples and best practices, Sam shares his insight and provides practical tools to support your business on mentorship, coaching, retaining employees, creating a strong culture and improving staff performance. About the Presenter: Sam Thiara is a professional who has created a personal journey as a coach, speaker, storyteller, writer, workshop facilitator, educator, and entrepreneur. His goal is to engage individuals in their personal and professional development. He has supported individuals, businesses and non-profits in how to be better placed and transformational. Presently, Sam is the Founder and Chief Motivating Officer at Ignite the Dream Coaching and Consulting, a platform that engages his audience to define their path.




Employees as Stakeholders: Happy Employees = Successful Gym | Kristin Horowitz, Ascent Ventures / The Pad Climbing


Description: We'll cover some recommendations by luminaries such as Patrick Lencioni, Brene Brown, and the authors of Manager Tools. You'll learn how to communicate in what format and how spending time in effective meetings and on the phone instead of using email or text can transform your organization and empower your staff. We'll also cover: 1n1 meetings: who, what, and why; all-hands meetings: ground rules, format, and keeping things tight. About the Presenter: Kristin Tara Horowitz is COO of Ascent Ventures/The Pad Climbing and formerly the executive director of SLO Op Climbing. Previously famous for her tales of epics on RockClimbing.com, she now spends her days developing systems and working with her team to make them as happy and efficient as possible so that we can continue our mission of changing people's lives for the better. She believes that climbing and the accessory activities that go with it can be the key to happiness.




What Gets Measured, Recognized, Rewarded and Celebrated, Gets Done! | Andrea Bryan, Ph.D.


Description: Across industries, there is amazing commonality in the leading characteristics that make up best-in-class organizations. These companies begin with a mission statement, but ultimately their success shines through in company culture. Recognize that people are at the center of your strategy, no matter what industry you're in and that culture can be your competitive advantage to attract and retain the best talent. This session will cover the 10 Characteristics in Best-in-Class Organizations, instructions on how to kick-start your own culture program, and describe management principles that drive your team to do more and give you time for the new initiatives that may have been on the back burner for years. Come with an open mind! About the Presenter: Andrea Bryan, Ph.D., is a highly adaptable and prudent leader with a passion for leading teams through change and establishing a culture of personal responsibility and empowerment. Dr. Bryan has successfully led both technical and non-technical teams sized from three to 50 in situations as varied as building scientific instrumentation to global department restructuring. The leadership and culture programs she repeatedly put into practice measurably improves employee engagement and ultimately drives company value.





LEGAL/RISK MANAGEMENT

Advanced Wage and Hour Issues: How to Properly Classify Exempt Employees and Independent Contractors Under the FLSA | Jason Pill, Phelps Dunbar LLP


Description: Almost every climbing gym has the same core categories of employees: front desk staff, belay instructors/monitors, route setters, and managers. But, many gyms struggle to properly classify these workers for wage and hour purposes under the FLSA, and the consequences for misclassifying workers have never been more severe. Adding to the confusion, classification decisions are fact-insensitive and there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. This course will explore legal compliance issues under the FLSA for properly classifying workers as (1) independent contractors or employees and (2) exempt employees or non-exempt employees, which will equip gyms with the tools to audit their workforce and determine if their classifications are appropriate. The course also will address the legal risks for non-compliance, the rise of wage & hour class action lawsuits, and the litigation trends against employers. About the Presenter: Jason Pill is a longtime climber and an attorney with Phelps Dunbar, LLP in Tampa, Florida. He practices in the area of labor and employment and represents employers across the country regarding claims involving employment discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, family and medical leave laws, and various employment-related torts. Beyond litigation, Jason focuses his practice on counseling companies on workplace issues. Additionally, Jason managed a climbing gym before embarking on a legal career, and he currently serves as the Chairperson of USA Climbing's Risk Management Committee.




Risk Management: A Climber Focused Model | Laur Sabourin, The Warrior's Way


Description: Gyms struggle with creating a safe environment to minimize accidents and liability while allowing members to take risks. Instructors have a limited amount of time with members in formal gym instruction: an orientation session, basic belay and lead climbing lessons. Gym members take risk regardless of whether or not gyms want them to. Thus, gyms need to find ways to give members the tools so members can manage their risks. Attendees will learn how to manage risk and optimize member experience with tangible take-away tools to implement immediately into their gym systems. About the Presenter: Laur is the Climbing Director for The Warrior’s Way mental training program. Their work is focused around developing and teaching material that helps coaches and climbers of all abilities learn to take appropriate risks and deepen their relationship with the sport that they love. Laur has worked in many capacities in the climbing industry, including coaching youth teams, managing climbing gyms, and guiding. Outside of work, Laur loves pursuing personal climbing goals, especially steep desert splitters.




Building Your Risk Management Program | Robert Angell, Angell Law Offices, LLC


Description: If you are opening a climbing facility or thinking about opening one, risk management is an important issue. If you are an experienced operator, are you evaluating your program and keeping it up to date? Do you know what you need to know? In this session, CWA Director and recreation-industry attorney Robert Angell outlines the elements of a comprehensive risk-management program, including climbing and non-climbing related risks, regulatory issues, and business matters. You will leave with a checklist of the things you need to design your risk-management program or to keep your existing program healthy. About the Presenter: Robert Angell is an Ohio- and Colorado-licensed attorney concentrating in the areas of admisinstrative law, recreation, amusement, and entertainment law, and business formation. He served on the CWA Board of Directors from 2006 to 2013 and was reappointed to the Board in 2019. Bob has been instrumental in regulatory initiatives on behalf of CWA members across the U.S. since 2005. His clients include many gyms in Ohio and other states.




Risk Communication and Reducing Exposure to Lawsuits | Jon Heshka, Thompson Rivers University


Description: This presentation will pithily review principles of negligence and risk. The four stages of risk management (pre-incident, active management, crisis management, and post-incident) will be examined in detail. The presentation will focus on risk communication and how we wish to present climbing as a fun and safe activity while at the same time – as per the CWA Manual – saying it’s dangerous and that compliance with industry practices won’t guarantee that a climbing gym will be safe. We’ll look at how to communicate risk in our marketing, signage, orientation, instruction, waivers in such a way as to reduce the odds of a successful lawsuit. At the end of the session, participants will know:

  1. How negligence lawsuits are defended
  2. How to craft a risk communications strategy that properly warns climbers of the risks without scaring them off
  3. Some of the details and the do’s and don’ts of writing language for ads, signs and waivers
About the Presenter: Jon Heshka is a climber and former guide. He trained and coordinated search and rescue fulltime in British Columbia from 1992-99, worked with Denali Mountain Rescue, ran Petzl’s rescue and rope access division in Utah for 3 years, and has been a professor at Thompson Rivers University since 2002. He teaches in the Adventure Studies Department and the law school and has also served as Associate Dean of Law for 4 years (but don’t hold that against him). Jon consults with all levels of government and the private sector and has worked as an expert witness in Canada, the US and Europe. He’s written and presented extensively about adventure sport, risk and liability.





COACHING/TRAINING

An Update on Economic and Lending Conditions | Matthew Roberts, 5.Life


Description: The economic environment continues to evolve in unexpected ways. In this session, we will review the current economy as it relates to the fitness industry, including wages, costs, and income trends, and recent and looming interest rate changes. Using this as our foundation, we will discuss the impact that the current situation and the near future will have on lending decisions made by banks. About the Presenter: Matt Roberts is the President of 5.Life, a collection of rock-climbing gyms in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as the owner of The Kernmantle Group, an agricultural risk management consulting firm. Dr. Roberts became a partner in 5.Life in 2013, while an Agricultural Economics Professor at The Ohio State University. In 2017 Dr. Roberts left OSU to found the Kernmantle Group and become a full-time gym owner, consultant and professional speaker. Dr. Roberts is also a loan committee member and Director of Sutton Bank of Ohio, a FinTech-focused community bank located in Attica, OH, as well as the CFO of Ascent Ventures, Inc, a climbing gym chain based in San Luis Obisbo, CA, and the Treasurer-Director of USA Climbing.




Gym Design and Construction - An Honest Discussion | Lance Brock, Climb HQ & Adam Koberna, Walltopia


Description: This session will help prospective gym owners know what to expect while building a gym and avoid common mistakes. Objectives include: - Discuss gym design from the perspective of the owner, architect, contractor and wall builder
- How to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls
- Q & A with honest discussion from multiple perspectives About the Presenters: Lance Brock studied architecture at the University of Tennessee and practiced architecture for about 7 years before deciding to open Climb Nashville. He was a sponsored climber and has served on the board of directors for the Access Fund. In 2003, Lance and his business partner, Drew Sloss, had a vision for indoor climbing as a form of fitness and included workout space, yoga, and fitness classes in the first gym they built. They bought their first gym in 2003 and opened the second in 2004. Over the last 16 years they have bought and sold gyms, opened and relocated gyms and built more. They have seen our industry grow from a tiny niche market to a large industry and are glad to be part of the excitement. Adam Koberna... he's built a LOT of gyms.




Startup Panel Part I: Journey to Gym Ownership | Moderated by: Michael Lary, Source Climbing Center


Description: This panel will convene a group of gym owners who are just starting out in their businesses. We will explore their journeys, including obstacles, challenges, lessons learned, and wins. The discussion will be particularly valuable for future gym owners, as well as current owners and operators. There will be time at the end for Q&A. Objectives:

  • Discuss lessons learned throughout the process of funding, constructing, and opening a new gym.
  • Describe things that went well and things that could’ve gone better
  • Provide tips on what to look out for when developing a new gym




Startup Panel Part II: Exploration of the First Four Years | Moderated by: Michael Lary, The Source Climbing Center


Description: In part two of this panel, we will convene a group of gym owners who are a few years into their businesses. We will explore their unique perspectives of the financial, operational, and marketing functions of a commercial climbing gym by relating to a few simple charts drawn from the Moderator’s own experiences. There will be time at the end for Q&A. Objectives:

  • Give participants a tangible sense of what is involved with the finances, operations, and marketing of a running a business.
  • Relate those broader business functions to the panelists’ own industry experiences.
  • Provide insight into what it means to be a gym operator, and how that may impact the type of facility you open or expand with.




Building a Lasting Brand | Hannah Stael von Holstein, Discover Strength


Description: Building a lasting brand starts with your strategy. Think about the Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Nordstrom - what do they all have in common? A brand that has lasted a lifetime. They are not based on discounts or the next tactic. They know who they are, who they serve, and how they differ from their competition. In this presentation, we will walk through each of these elements to ensure you are standing out from your competition, telling a compelling story to a specific person, and building trust through your branding. The objective of this session is to help attendees: - Determine your differentiators from your competition
- Determine your target market
- Paint the picture for your customer's journey
- Narrow your "say-do" gap About the Presenter: Hannah Stael von Holstein is the VP of Sales and Marketing for Discover Strength, one the largest revenue-producing personal training studios in the country and the 27th fastest-growing private company in Minnesota according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.




Gender Lens Investing: Supporting Female Investors and Business Owners in the Climbing Sector | Moderator: Chelsea Burns, Escaladora Ventures


Description: An immense funding gap exists between the financing that women and nonbinary femmes need to start and grow businesses and their current access to capital. Moreover, longstanding gender inequity in the workplace and throughout supply chains has resulted in missed opportunities for improving social and financial returns. Despite the evidence that gender inclusion increases ROI, many business owners and investors overlook the potential of how a gender inclusive lens can help them enhance their internal operational performance, increase market share, and grow the demand for their products and services. And while some businesses do see the benefits of gender inclusion, they often lack the know-how and the technical support required to adopt gender-inclusive strategies.This panel will explore gender lens investing and the incredible opportunity for climbing business owners and investors to become leaders within the gender lens investing movement. About the Moderator: Chelsea Burns is an analyst, an operator, an investor, and a rock climber. She is the founder of Escaladora Ventures, a company that invests in the booming rock climbing sector. Currently she is part owner of Pura Roca, an indoor climbing gym in San Pedro, Costa Rica. In addition to climbing, gender lens investing and environmental sustainability are the leading themes behind her investment thesis. She is a member of Pipeline Angels, whose mission is to teach women and non-binary femmes how to become better angel investors. Chelsea has a decade of experience working in the water and energy efficiency space. Previously she was the COO of Urban Energy Group, an ESCO that finances and installs LED lighting projects across Washington State. Currently, she is a business analysis consultant in the workplace performance sector. She holds dual BAs in International Relations and Anthropology and dual MAs in International Relations and Natural Resources & Sustainable Development. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Jesse, and their dog, Rusty.





ROUTESETTING

An Update on Economic and Lending Conditions | Matthew Roberts, 5.Life


Description: The economic environment continues to evolve in unexpected ways. In this session, we will review the current economy as it relates to the fitness industry, including wages, costs, and income trends, and recent and looming interest rate changes. Using this as our foundation, we will discuss the impact that the current situation and the near future will have on lending decisions made by banks. About the Presenter: Matt Roberts is the President of 5.Life, a collection of rock-climbing gyms in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as the owner of The Kernmantle Group, an agricultural risk management consulting firm. Dr. Roberts became a partner in 5.Life in 2013, while an Agricultural Economics Professor at The Ohio State University. In 2017 Dr. Roberts left OSU to found the Kernmantle Group and become a full-time gym owner, consultant and professional speaker. Dr. Roberts is also a loan committee member and Director of Sutton Bank of Ohio, a FinTech-focused community bank located in Attica, OH, as well as the CFO of Ascent Ventures, Inc, a climbing gym chain based in San Luis Obisbo, CA, and the Treasurer-Director of USA Climbing.




Gym Design and Construction - An Honest Discussion | Lance Brock, Climb HQ & Adam Koberna, Walltopia


Description: This session will help prospective gym owners know what to expect while building a gym and avoid common mistakes. Objectives include: - Discuss gym design from the perspective of the owner, architect, contractor and wall builder
- How to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls
- Q & A with honest discussion from multiple perspectives About the Presenters: Lance Brock studied architecture at the University of Tennessee and practiced architecture for about 7 years before deciding to open Climb Nashville. He was a sponsored climber and has served on the board of directors for the Access Fund. In 2003, Lance and his business partner, Drew Sloss, had a vision for indoor climbing as a form of fitness and included workout space, yoga, and fitness classes in the first gym they built. They bought their first gym in 2003 and opened the second in 2004. Over the last 16 years they have bought and sold gyms, opened and relocated gyms and built more. They have seen our industry grow from a tiny niche market to a large industry and are glad to be part of the excitement. Adam Koberna... he's built a LOT of gyms.




Startup Panel Part I: Journey to Gym Ownership | Moderated by: Michael Lary, Source Climbing Center


Description: This panel will convene a group of gym owners who are just starting out in their businesses. We will explore their journeys, including obstacles, challenges, lessons learned, and wins. The discussion will be particularly valuable for future gym owners, as well as current owners and operators. There will be time at the end for Q&A. Objectives:

  • Discuss lessons learned throughout the process of funding, constructing, and opening a new gym.
  • Describe things that went well and things that could’ve gone better
  • Provide tips on what to look out for when developing a new gym




Startup Panel Part II: Exploration of the First Four Years | Moderated by: Michael Lary, The Source Climbing Center


Description: In part two of this panel, we will convene a group of gym owners who are a few years into their businesses. We will explore their unique perspectives of the financial, operational, and marketing functions of a commercial climbing gym by relating to a few simple charts drawn from the Moderator’s own experiences. There will be time at the end for Q&A. Objectives:

  • Give participants a tangible sense of what is involved with the finances, operations, and marketing of a running a business.
  • Relate those broader business functions to the panelists’ own industry experiences.
  • Provide insight into what it means to be a gym operator, and how that may impact the type of facility you open or expand with.




Building a Lasting Brand | Hannah Stael von Holstein, Discover Strength


Description: Building a lasting brand starts with your strategy. Think about the Ritz-Carlton, Lexus, Nordstrom - what do they all have in common? A brand that has lasted a lifetime. They are not based on discounts or the next tactic. They know who they are, who they serve, and how they differ from their competition. In this presentation, we will walk through each of these elements to ensure you are standing out from your competition, telling a compelling story to a specific person, and building trust through your branding. The objective of this session is to help attendees: - Determine your differentiators from your competition
- Determine your target market
- Paint the picture for your customer's journey
- Narrow your "say-do" gap About the Presenter: Hannah Stael von Holstein is the VP of Sales and Marketing for Discover Strength, one the largest revenue-producing personal training studios in the country and the 27th fastest-growing private company in Minnesota according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.




Gender Lens Investing: Supporting Female Investors and Business Owners in the Climbing Sector | Moderator: Chelsea Burns, Escaladora Ventures


Description: An immense funding gap exists between the financing that women and nonbinary femmes need to start and grow businesses and their current access to capital. Moreover, longstanding gender inequity in the workplace and throughout supply chains has resulted in missed opportunities for improving social and financial returns. Despite the evidence that gender inclusion increases ROI, many business owners and investors overlook the potential of how a gender inclusive lens can help them enhance their internal operational performance, increase market share, and grow the demand for their products and services. And while some businesses do see the benefits of gender inclusion, they often lack the know-how and the technical support required to adopt gender-inclusive strategies.This panel will explore gender lens investing and the incredible opportunity for climbing business owners and investors to become leaders within the gender lens investing movement. About the Moderator: Chelsea Burns is an analyst, an operator, an investor, and a rock climber. She is the founder of Escaladora Ventures, a company that invests in the booming rock climbing sector. Currently she is part owner of Pura Roca, an indoor climbing gym in San Pedro, Costa Rica. In addition to climbing, gender lens investing and environmental sustainability are the leading themes behind her investment thesis. She is a member of Pipeline Angels, whose mission is to teach women and non-binary femmes how to become better angel investors. Chelsea has a decade of experience working in the water and energy efficiency space. Previously she was the COO of Urban Energy Group, an ESCO that finances and installs LED lighting projects across Washington State. Currently, she is a business analysis consultant in the workplace performance sector. She holds dual BAs in International Relations and Anthropology and dual MAs in International Relations and Natural Resources & Sustainable Development. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Jesse, and their dog, Rusty.





PROGRAM MANAGEMENT

Advanced Wage and Hour Issues: How to Properly Classify Exempt Employees and Independent Contractors Under the FLSA | Jason Pill, Phelps Dunbar LLP


Description: Almost every climbing gym has the same core categories of employees: front desk staff, belay instructors/monitors, route setters, and managers. But, many gyms struggle to properly classify these workers for wage and hour purposes under the FLSA, and the consequences for misclassifying workers have never been more severe. Adding to the confusion, classification decisions are fact-insensitive and there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. This course will explore legal compliance issues under the FLSA for properly classifying workers as (1) independent contractors or employees and (2) exempt employees or non-exempt employees, which will equip gyms with the tools to audit their workforce and determine if their classifications are appropriate. The course also will address the legal risks for non-compliance, the rise of wage & hour class action lawsuits, and the litigation trends against employers. About the Presenter: Jason Pill is a longtime climber and an attorney with Phelps Dunbar, LLP in Tampa, Florida. He practices in the area of labor and employment and represents employers across the country regarding claims involving employment discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, family and medical leave laws, and various employment-related torts. Beyond litigation, Jason focuses his practice on counseling companies on workplace issues. Additionally, Jason managed a climbing gym before embarking on a legal career, and he currently serves as the Chairperson of USA Climbing's Risk Management Committee.




Risk Management: A Climber Focused Model | Laur Sabourin, The Warrior's Way


Description: Gyms struggle with creating a safe environment to minimize accidents and liability while allowing members to take risks. Instructors have a limited amount of time with members in formal gym instruction: an orientation session, basic belay and lead climbing lessons. Gym members take risk regardless of whether or not gyms want them to. Thus, gyms need to find ways to give members the tools so members can manage their risks. Attendees will learn how to manage risk and optimize member experience with tangible take-away tools to implement immediately into their gym systems. About the Presenter: Laur is the Climbing Director for The Warrior’s Way mental training program. Their work is focused around developing and teaching material that helps coaches and climbers of all abilities learn to take appropriate risks and deepen their relationship with the sport that they love. Laur has worked in many capacities in the climbing industry, including coaching youth teams, managing climbing gyms, and guiding. Outside of work, Laur loves pursuing personal climbing goals, especially steep desert splitters.




Building Your Risk Management Program | Robert Angell, Angell Law Offices, LLC


Description: If you are opening a climbing facility or thinking about opening one, risk management is an important issue. If you are an experienced operator, are you evaluating your program and keeping it up to date? Do you know what you need to know? In this session, CWA Director and recreation-industry attorney Robert Angell outlines the elements of a comprehensive risk-management program, including climbing and non-climbing related risks, regulatory issues, and business matters. You will leave with a checklist of the things you need to design your risk-management program or to keep your existing program healthy. About the Presenter: Robert Angell is an Ohio- and Colorado-licensed attorney concentrating in the areas of admisinstrative law, recreation, amusement, and entertainment law, and business formation. He served on the CWA Board of Directors from 2006 to 2013 and was reappointed to the Board in 2019. Bob has been instrumental in regulatory initiatives on behalf of CWA members across the U.S. since 2005. His clients include many gyms in Ohio and other states.




Risk Communication and Reducing Exposure to Lawsuits | Jon Heshka, Thompson Rivers University


Description: This presentation will pithily review principles of negligence and risk. The four stages of risk management (pre-incident, active management, crisis management, and post-incident) will be examined in detail. The presentation will focus on risk communication and how we wish to present climbing as a fun and safe activity while at the same time – as per the CWA Manual – saying it’s dangerous and that compliance with industry practices won’t guarantee that a climbing gym will be safe. We’ll look at how to communicate risk in our marketing, signage, orientation, instruction, waivers in such a way as to reduce the odds of a successful lawsuit. At the end of the session, participants will know:

  1. How negligence lawsuits are defended
  2. How to craft a risk communications strategy that properly warns climbers of the risks without scaring them off
  3. Some of the details and the do’s and don’ts of writing language for ads, signs and waivers
About the Presenter: Jon Heshka is a climber and former guide. He trained and coordinated search and rescue fulltime in British Columbia from 1992-99, worked with Denali Mountain Rescue, ran Petzl’s rescue and rope access division in Utah for 3 years, and has been a professor at Thompson Rivers University since 2002. He teaches in the Adventure Studies Department and the law school and has also served as Associate Dean of Law for 4 years (but don’t hold that against him). Jon consults with all levels of government and the private sector and has worked as an expert witness in Canada, the US and Europe. He’s written and presented extensively about adventure sport, risk and liability.





LUNCH N LEARN SESSIONS

Growth & Expansion Panel Discussion | Moderated by: Joel Graybeal, Triangle Rock Club


Description: To Be Announced If you would like to be considered as a potential panelist for this session, please contact Laura Allured at laura@climbingwallindustry.org for more information.




Using Data to Better Understand Our Industry: Results of the 2019 Industry Study and Indoor Climber Survey | Laura Allured, CWA; David Carter, University of Utah; Bob Brookover, Clemson University


Description: Join the people behind the CWA’s Industry Research Program as they provide an overview of the results of their 2019 projects. A picture of the overall indoor climbing market will be presented, followed by operational, financial, programming, and membership benchmarks to help you understand how your business is performing. New insights into the North American indoor climbing community will also be presented to enhance your understanding of the unique profile of indoor climbers. You will walk away with hard data to help you make better decisions in your day-to-day. About the Presenters: Laura Allured is the Marketing & Communications Manager at the Climbing Wall Association. Laura oversees the CWA’s Industry Research Program, including the annual indoor climbing industry study. Originally from the Chicagoland area, she got her start climbing in 2012 at Vertical Endeavors and has been hooked ever since. David Carter is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Utah's Department of Political Science and an International Rock Climbing Research Association member. He also serves on the Board of Directors and Policy and Conservation Committee of the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance. David has been climbing rocks, ice, and peaks for almost two decades. Bob Brookover is a faculty member at Clemson University. With more than 20 years of experience, Dr. Brookover brings expertise in research methodology, survey design, survey hosting, data analysis, and reporting. He has conducted financial analysis studies, economic impact analyses, and other research projects for over 30 communities, counties, and non-profit organizations in the past five years alone.




Access to Indoor Climbing in the UK - Attitudes and Aspirations | Duncan Howard, The Castle Climbing Centre; Kath Hipwell, The Association of British Climbing Walls


Description: At the beginning of 2020, the Association of British Climbing Walls carried out a large quantitative research study into the general population’s attitudes towards exercise in general and knowledge of/participation in climbing in particular. The results provide insight into groups that have had little or nothing to do with climbing before. In addition to informing national strategies, this information is of interest to individual wall owners who are looking at expanding their businesses. The goals of this session are: - To share the learning gained from a large scale, national survey on attitudes towards and the take up of indoor climbing.
- To provide insights on the demographic breakdown of current and aspiring climbers in the UK
- To provide insights on the real and perceived barriers to participation in indoor climbing in the UK About the Presenters: Duncan is the CEO at High Performance Sports Ltd (HPS). They own the Castle Climbing Centre in London, the UK’s biggest and busiest. As well as a 20-year love affair with climbing, Duncan’s 25 years in the corporate world in London have given him a wealth of business and leadership skills and a fresh perspective to bring to the indoor climbing scene in the UK. Genuinely ethically driven, he’s also pushing HPS toward B-Corp accreditation. Kath is the CEO of The Association of British Climbing Walls, whose objective is to promote the professionalism, health, and growth of indoor climbing. Kath has recently launched the ClimbCard, the ABC’s first direct to climber product. She is passionate about making everyone feel welcome in climbing and is working with climbing walls across the UK to use the Olympics to bring new and diverse audiences into our sport.




Monetizing Your Investment: Valuation and Exit Strategies for Gym Owners | Mark Phillips, Jacobs Capital


Description: For most private business owners, their company is the single largest investment they own - in many cases accounting for nearly all of the owner's financial net worth. However, unlike shares in a public company, which can be valued and sold within a few clicks on a website, most private businesses do not know what their business is worth or, perhaps more importantly, what factors the valuation is based on. Understanding valuation helps owners make better decisions, both in terms of increasing that value and managing their personal investment. Business owners should also understand what the options are for monetizing their investment, which may or may not coincide with an "exit" plan. This session will cover the fundamentals of valuation, what makes some companies more or less valuable than others, and what metrics should be measured (and improved). We will then go through the various options for owner liquidity, including a practical view on which options are available to gym owners, along with the differences and trade-offs between those options. About the Presenter: Mark is the Managing Director of Jacobs Capital, a North Carolina-based boutique investment banking firm that provides mergers and acquisitions advisory and business valuations to private companies across virtually all industries. Mark received both his Bachelor’s and MBA degrees from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, and is the Board President for the Association for Corporate Growth in Raleigh-Durham.




Methods for Boosting a Struggling Bottom Line | Christian Popien, Climb-Inn Klettersport GmbH & Co. KG


Description: The indoor climbing market has been growing rapidly in recent years, and it sometimes seems that financial success is almost assumed. But what if the success fails to materialize? What if financial expectations are not met and a crisis threatens – or has already occurred? Through concrete suggestions, this session will provide ideas for managing financial crises, including restructuring concepts, expanding your target market, and food & beverage offerings.

Objectives:

  • Ways to manage financial crises
  • Ideas for expanding your target market
  • How to win new customers
  • The case for food & beverage offerings
About the Presenter: Christian Popien started climbing at the young age of 11. Since then, he has been involved in the sport on both a personal and professional level. He is the co-founder and managing director of Climb-Inn Klettersport GmbH & Co. KG, he has operated the DAV Kletterzentrum Wupperwände since 2006, and has been the co-owner of the Bahnhof Blo Bouldercafé Wuppertal since 2016. As one of five creative minds, Christian developed HardMoves Boulder League from 2007 to 2016 into one of the largest bouldering events in Europe. Today he works closely together with the German Alpine Association developing and publishing concepts and standards, and since 2013 he has increasingly specialised in consulting and renovation of climbing gyms. Christian is associate editor of the Routesetter-Magazine.





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events@climbingwallindustry.org

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