Professional Development

Presentations in this track should have the professional and career development of the fitness professional as their focal point. Specifically, ways to advance in the field, or academic opportunities to gain knowledge, etc.

Tips for Clear Communication: How What You Say Impacts What Others Hear

Interactive Workshop
April 1
9:30 - 11:00 AM CDT

The words and expressions chosen when communicating can greatly impact how effectively information is received and whether desired actions are achieved. Words can cultivate respect and invite participation. Or they can inadvertently spark mistrust, withdrawal, and anger. In this session, learn research-based best practices to promote equity and eliminate exclusion by becoming more mindful of word choices. Opportunities to share examples related to implicit biases, cultural appropriation and jargon will be provided through interactive discussions. Attendees will gain tips to become more effective communicators.


Amy Morgan


Carol Torgan

Trainers Just Don’t Work in Gyms: Explore Your Potential with the ACSM Certified Professional of the Year

Special Lecture
April 1
12:00-1:00 PM CDT


2021 Certified Professional of the Year
Kristin Traskie

Ever wonder what careers are out there in the fitness industry besides personal training and gym instructing? The fitness world is facing an unprecedented boom, bringing with it the opportunity to thrive in an array of health and wellness-related professions. Join the ACSM Certified Professional of the Year as she shares how her certification supported her career enhancement, aiding her in diversification of her career portfolio. From her time as a college student working in campus recreation, to a professional working for the military, in healthcare and now at a Big 10 institution.

GPS for Success: Skills, Strategies and Secrets of Superachievers

April 1
3:00-4:00 PM CDT


Barry Franklin

Years ago I became fascinated with a simple question: “What characteristics empower the superachievers in life?” I began reading everything I could find on leadership, success strategies, and professional development — and even developed a college course on the topic. Were there common behaviors that highly successful people regularly exhibited? You bet there were! This motivational/inspirational presentation will cover foundational factors underlying future career success, specific behavioral skills to achieve this objective, and the complementary strategies that can empower one to live the life they imagine. The “take home message?” Professional success and opportunities don’t just happen — you create them.

How to Thrive and Create Longevity in the Fitness Industry

Interactive Workshop
April 2
3:00-4:30 PM CDT


Doris Thews

What does it take to build a strong foundation & successfully endure as a Fitness Professional?  R & R = Reputation and Respect. Learn the tips and tools to develop, evolve and sustain a solid brand image in today’s competitive and chaotic Fitness landscape.

Own Your Stage

Interactive Workshop
April 3
8:00-9:30 AM CDT


Dane Robinson

For fit pros that are struggling with low attendance, mixed reviews, or inconsistent performance from clients in studio and virtual classes, this session identifies 5 "make or break" areas from proven coaching from fitness directors and producers on some of the most recognizable digital fitness platforms that will turn your class from stale to exciting!

The State of ACSM Certification: An Interactive Session on how the ACSM Certification Board is Moving the Profession Forward and an Opportunity to Share your Insights with ACSM Leaders!

Interactive Workshop
April 3
8:00-9:30 AM CDT

Earning an ACSM certification reflects the ability to enter the industry work-ready and provides evidence of an individual's comprehensive understanding and demonstration of the knowledge, skills and abilities required to succeed in the health-fitness profession. Knowing how to leverage one's certification, education, and experience, and decrease liability, is vital to building a sustained and successful career in the industry. This session will provide information on (1) what it means to be an ACSM certified professional, (2) the role of formal and continuing education play in maintaining competency, (3) the strategic steps the ACSM Certification Board has taken to ensure that it meets the needs of its stakeholders, and (4) breakout brainstorming and Q&A session.

Ward-Ritcacco, Christie

Christie Ward-Ritacco

Neric, Francis

Francis Neric

Next Level Internships: Keys to Mentoring the Next Generation of Health and Fitness Professionals

Interactive Workshop
April 3
9:45-11:15 AM CDT

This workshop is designed to assist employers on the road to defining, developing, and executing a quality internship program.  Learn keys to successful student-centered mentorship and discover essential insight from all stakeholders including the university, the student, and internship site representatives.  Attendees will participate in a guided discussion resulting in the development of internship objectives, student learning activities, and learning outcome assessment activities specific to their own facilities.  An internship structure and guidance packet will be provided for all attendees to aid in designing and executing effective internships for all students.


Michelle Amore


Marilyn Skarbek

Delivering Autism Exercise Programs Requires a Different Approach

April 3
9:45-10:45 AM CDT

Benjamin D. Boudreaux, a doctoral candidate with autism, will share the journey of his struggles from how exercise went from being a source of frustration & failure to becoming the gateway to improved confidence and, ultimately, success. David Geslak recognized that most of his clients on the autism spectrum share similar experiences with Ben. For 15+ years, David has developed and continues to fine-tune exercise protocols to effectively bring exercise to the autism community. Ben and David will empower fitness professionals with their insight, research, and evidence-based teaching practices to have a life-changing impact on individuals with autism through exercise.


Benjamin D. Boudreaux


David Geslak

Registration is Open!

Program Tracks