From Coach to Franchise Owner: Hayden’s Story

Blog
Sarah Cook
July 27, 2020

It is always our greatest hope to spark positive change and ambition in all those who walk through our gym doors — even our coaches. Hayden Clark first came to Iron Tribe in need of a career that aligned with his personal values. Once he became a coach, he knew he wanted to play a larger role within the Iron Tribe Brand. This is his story.

Hayden Clark - Mid City

Hayden was determined from the beginning! We knew he had what it took to make his dream of owning an Iron Tribe a reality.

“I was first introduced to Iron Tribe while I was completing my undergraduate (degree) at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I had honestly not heard of Iron Tribe, but what I did know is that they were currently hiring for a coaching position and that it appeared to be a company that aligned with my personal values as well as background as a fitness coach. While the interview process was certainly affirming that they were not just going to select anyone to be a coach, it was also quite suspenseful for me being that I was newly married and needed the job. Ultimately, the owners of Iron Tribe NOLA decided to take a chance and hire me. 

Pretty early on, as in the interview process, I decided that owning or at least managing an Iron Tribe was the end goal. In fact, before (I was offered) the coaching position, over lunch (the owner) asked me, ‘What is your 5-Year BHAG with Iron Tribe?’ I replied, ‘What the heck is a BHAG?’  To which they explained, ‘it is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal, something that scares you a little accomplish, challenges you, and pushes you to continue to grow.’ I told him my BHAG would be to open my own Iron Tribe in my hometown of Baton Rouge in 5 years – if I had their blessing, of course. 

Fast forward to a year after I had become a coach. I was sitting in my glorified dorm room with Jenee, my wife, and a phone call came in from Jim Cavale the then-president of Iron Tribe. He had just met with Kerry and Kate (New Orleans gym owners) at the Iron Tribe HQ office in Birmingham. I had been brought up in their meeting because of how I would be moving back to Baton Rouge in the coming months. Turns out they had given Jim the blessing to ask me if I would be interested in opening an Iron Tribe in Baton Rouge. This phone call was the start of what at the time seemed to be a tough decision. I remember getting off of the phone with Jim and sitting with Jenee thinking to myself and out loud what it would be like to open an Iron Tribe – it seemed like wishful thinking at the time. 

We decided to pursue the opportunity until the door got shut. This eventually led us to fully believing opening an Iron Tribe was exactly what God was calling us to do. I had decided to turn down the idea of law school and biblical translation for the hope of creating, loving and fostering a thriving fitness community. 

Iron Tribe in Baton Rouge has now been opened for 3.5 years. There is not enough room for me to share what I have learned and how I have positively been impacted by opening an Iron Tribe…

Iron Tribe in Baton Rouge has now been opened for 3.5 years. There is not enough room for me to share what I have learned and how I have positively been impacted by opening an Iron Tribe. All of it, while challenging, has been way more than I could have ever hoped for. It has given me such a great platform to love others, my team, our members, and everyone else involved. It has helped me develop a great deal of responsibility and leadership that I am unsure I could have acquired anywhere else. I have many people to be thankful for in having the opportunity to run an Iron Tribe and hopefully more locations in the future.

The Iron Tribe Mid City Team

It has been critical for me personally to be rooted in my faith, family, and those close to me as I run this business, without them, it is a vain and empty endeavor. I have realized again and again that it truly is not all about what you do for a living but who you do it with and how you chose to go about doing it. For me, the biggest impact then is the newly found relationships and the strengthening of pre-existing relationships. Without Kerry and Kate Jenkins, my parent’s (co-owners), the entire Iron Tribe corporate team, teammates (co-workers), and all the Tribers who make up Iron Tribe Baton Rouge what I get to do in leading a thriving fitness community would not be possible. Owning an Iron Tribe is more than owning a gym, it is a calling.” 

If you’d like more information on owning an Iron Tribe gym, click here.

Sarah Cook

Sarah oversees social media and internal communication for Iron Tribe Fitness. Her goal is to share the mission of Iron Tribe so others can be transformed by the program, and ultimately become the healthiest version of themselves.