Sara Kooperman Named Most Innovating Fitness Pro by Fitness Industry Tech Council
Posted: April 21, 2022 in Suppliers
Sara Kooperman, JD
DEERFIELD, IL – Fitness industry veteran and CEO of SCW Fitness Education, Sara J. Kooperman, JD, has earned another accolade to add to her growing list: the 2021 Most Innovating Fitness Pro Award from the Fitness Industry Technology Council (FIT-C). This prestigious honor recognizes an individual that demonstrates exceptional innovation using technology to serve their clients in new and unique ways.
“Sara really stood out to us in this very competitive category because she had such a tremendous impact, reaching about 20,000 industry professionals since COVID began,” said the Accenture team that selected the winners.
During the initial 24 months of the pandemic, Kooperman quickly pivoted her primarily in-person business to deliver 19 live-streaming fitness professional conventions. In March 2020, no live-streaming convention programs existed in the fitness industry, so Kooperman’s team built their own proprietary live-stream convention program and site and trained staff and presenters how to use the system.
As group exercise and personal training went virtual, SCW also taught hundreds of fitness professionals—including longtime supporters and competitors—how to integrate video, music, and microphones for digital delivery of fitness services.
To engage and motivate the industry, SCW Fitness Education produced three free webinars weekly during the pandemic, each drawing 100-300 attendees, and with Kooperman leading more than 200 to date. During the height of the pandemic in 2020, one webinar attracted 1,200 viewers nationwide, as Kooperman and her husband shared their legal and business expertise to explain the process to apply for a PPP loan.
Also during the pandemic, this determined entrepreneur collaborated with industry colleague Ann Gilbert to develop Supported Exercise for Ageless Training (S.E.A.T.), an instructor-driven, chair-based workout program for active agers and disabled populations.
And to help health club professionals and industry suppliers navigate the disruptive business landscape due to COVID-19, Kooperman is a co-host of IHRSA’s monthly Talks & Takes talk show, where she donates her own and her staff’s time to research industry topics and create videos and promotional materials.
Kooperman’s dedication kept her entire staff employed during the pandemic, while she personally reduced her salary by 75% and is continuing to do so until the company’s live events recover to pre-pandemic levels.
“I’m thrilled to receive this award among so many excellent candidates,” said Kooperman. “And I’m so proud to have been able to serve not only my SCW family, but also the industry at large during such an uncertain period. It’s not about competition; it’s about spreading a love of education, health, and wellness.”
Kooperman also founded the WATERinMOTION pre-choreographed group aqua exercise program that provides fitness professionals with video, music, and choreography every 12 weeks. She serves on IHRSA’s Highlights Committee for Facility Standards, the Gold’s Gym Think Tank and the canfitpro Advisory Panel, and she is a Founding Board Member of the Women in Fitness Association (WIFA). Nominated for the 2022 IDEA Leader of the Year Award, she is a National Fitness Hall of Fame inductee and an Illinois State Businesswoman of the Year.