Grady Sheffield, the director of campus recreation at Towson University, has been getting the questions, “Who is Campus Rec Magazine? Why are they doing what they are doing?” from others in the industry. So, he asked Heather Hartmann, the managing editor, to share the heart behind the publication, its events and the latest addition, Mastermind Groups.
Watch the quick interview above, or listen to the audio-only version here.
Transcription of the Interview
Grady Sheffield: Hey, Heather. How are you?
Heather Hartmann: Hey, Grady. I’m doing well. How are you?
GS: Good. So thanks for chatting with me today. I wanted to follow up with you on the conversations that we’ve been having around Campus Rec Mastermind Groups. Last year at Summit, you asked if I would be willing to participate in a beta group. I agreed, and it’s been awesome so far. I think it’s been everything that I kind of thought it would be going into it and more. But I’ve been trying to talk to some colleagues and other professionals to see if they would be interested in joining these groups. One of the things that I keep hearing is people aren’t aware of who or what Campus Rec Magazine is other than the actual magazine they get. So how did you guys start? And what’s your purpose?
HH: Yeah, I mean, that’s a great question. And I know, we just suddenly appeared, and people wonder why and where we came from. So yeah, just a little background. Campus Rec is part of a larger media company called Peak Media. We really started just with this mission and the idea to help those who are leaders/business owners within the fitness industry. So multiple different realms of fitness industry, help them grow their businesses, because we believe — as a company as Peake Media — that if we help the leaders provide better wellness services, provide better fitness services, they can impact all those people that they serve, and thus, they can really kind of help change the world. And that was just the idea that got started was just as larger impact.
And so as we were looking for different niches to serve — we were serving the health club industry currently. We’re also serving the community rec industry — so Parks and Rec, YMCAs, JCCs. And then we came across campus recreation. I know for me, I didn’t even know it existed. For a while, I actually ended up working in Campus Rec for a short time in college, didn’t even know I was in that.
EXTRA CREDIT: Learn more about the Campus Rec Leadership Summit here.
But when we came across that industry, we just saw that we could really educate and empower a bunch of professionals who are having so much impact on just this crucial part of people’s lives. Because your students, the people coming to college, they’re being molded. This is the time that they are making decisions that are going to impact them the rest of their life. And one of those decisions is, “Will I pursue health? Will I pursue wellness? And will I think about my mental health? Will I take care of my body? Will I eat well and will I rest well?
And so we’re like, “Well, if we can help campus rec directors and associate directors be the best recreation people they can be by giving them resources, by putting on phenomenal events where they can network and get educated, well, then we’re going to be able to impact the world even more.”
So that’s just the heart behind Campus Rec and why we started what, I think seven years ago now — it’s is something crazy like that. Time flies when you’re having fun, but that’s the heart behind it is that we just want to educate and empower the leaders within the campus recreation industry to then help change the world through their students and their faculty and staff.
GS: Well, that’s awesome. I think that you guys are you guys are doing that. I don’t know about changing the world yet. But you’re on the way.
HH: I think small steps. I think we’re slowly changing the world.
GS: Yeah, but in terms of the professional development, definitely I’m a big fan of the Summit. It’s been awesome. I’ve had the opportunity to go to a few now and looking forward to continue to do that. So why Campus Rec Mastermind Groups? How do the groups play into all of this of what you’re trying to do with the magazine? Talk to me about how that fits?
HH: Yeah, no, for sure. So the Mastermind Groups — it’s funny, it was an idea that started actually before the pandemic. It was an idea that was just had randomly and we didn’t take it super seriously. We’re like, “Oh, we could do our roundtables, like our events, but virtually.” We didn’t really know how, and then of course, in the pandemic, everything went virtual.
And we just started to kind of figure out how to do that. And so when we realized that it was possible with technology and people’s time and schedules, we really want it to take what you get once a year at the Leadership Summit event — which if you have been, you know we have five to six roundtable topics where you just get to dig in deep on some hard hitting topics with other directors and experts in the industry.
EXTRA CREDIT: Campus Rec Magazine is committed to you.
We want to take that and multiply it because we’re like, “What if we could do this multiple times a year with the same group and grow that group and relationship and networking, that they could have each other to rely on that they could really pick each other’s brains and come to each other and not only solve problems, but be developed as professionals.” We’re talking about these higher up levels, you know, directors. Like what if we did that but we could do that virtually?
So that’s kind of the idea behind the mastermind groups and why that came out. It’s just an extension of that mission to educate and empower. Because you know, as a resource, we’re putting out printed material on digital material, we’re doing webinars, and we’ve done virtual roundtables. And now we’re just like, “Let’s take it a step further. Let’s give people a powerhouse group that they can grow and develop with, so that they can further themselves, they can further their careers.”
And in our beta testing, that’s kind of what we’ve seen has happened. Grady, you’ve been involved in that. Just even the connections happening, the resources being shared, and hopefully the development that these directors are growing. And it’s been nice going through such hard times that they’ve been able to have one another. And you all have kind of been able to share, “Hey, this is what I’m going through, and everyone’s like, Yep, I agree.”
EXTRA CREDIT: Learn more about the Campus Rec Mastermind Groups here.
So that’s the idea behind it. And that’s just kind of how it has evolved. It’s just been growing in the sense of an idea and how we’re doing it. And we’ve just got really good feedback so far.
GS: Yeah, definitely. That’s awesome. So what I’m hearing you say is, it’s not only professional development, it’s people in relationship development centered around your cause as Campus Rec Magazine. Well done.
HH: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. And I know that one of the beautiful things about Campus Recreation is that everyone knows everyone, I swear. So some people are like, “Well, but I already know everybody, I could just call so and so up.” But this is just meant to get you all deeper. And, you know, have that core group of seven directors that you will have set time to go to — for like two hours a month — to just dive in. And so yeah, it just furthers the mission of Campus Rec because we want to better directors. We want to help you guys be better leaders so that you can change your rec centers, change your students, and thus, change the world.
GS: Yeah, it’s funny you say that because I was one of those people who said, “Well, I already have this,” but after being a part of the group, I didn’t have anything like this. So I think you guys are doing something very great. I appreciate it.
HH: Well, thanks for being involved. Grady. It’s been it’s been great to have you on board.
GS: No problem.