Woman in Leadership Award Winner: Jinell Abernethy

By KBJR News 1

October 8, 2010 Updated Oct 8, 2010 at 7:48 AM CDT

Jinell Abernethy has been in the fitness industry for nearly 20 years... starting out in the sales department.

But in 2002 Jinell decided she was ready for a change.

"The company I worked for started Anytime Fitness and they are like Jinell why don't you open up one in Minneapolis. I was a little apprehensive because of all the businesses down there so I'm like I'm going to go to my home town and open one up," says Jinell.

Jinell chose to open a fitness franchise in East Duluth at the Plaza Shopping Center.

It was the second Anytime Fitness in the world... now there are more than 13-hundred facilities across the globe.

But Jinell didn't stop there.

"I opened up the plaza one and it was doing well so I opened up Hermantown and the next obvious progression was West Duluth and then Superior and then Cloquet," says Jinell.

Besides managing five gyms... Jinell also finds time to volunteer and help others in the area.

"She's really involved in the community and that says something for how well she does in the community. People respect that. She uses a lot of local resources and really tries to give back," says Anytime Fitness Manager Amy Olson.

But Jinell loves her job and thrives on the success of her clients.

"I love when the members come in and say guess what I lost ten pounds or I don't have to take all my meds anymore for diabetes or high blood pressure," says Jinell.

Despite her hectic schedule... Jinell plans to continue working full force and maybe jump through a few more hurdles along the way.

"I need to stay challenged if I get a little stale then I'm like time to open another club or do something different. So I always need to stay challenged," says Jinell.