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Name: Kristi Herold

Business: Toronto Sport & Social Club , Toronto-based adult sport club

Industry: Health & BeautyOther — Sport 

Location: Toronto, Canada

Reason for starting: I always knew I wanted to run my own business. I have always loved sport, am social by nature and I wanted to create something to get others out being active and having fun. So in 1996 decided to start my organization. At that time I had 230 teams play in the first year with 800 names in my database. Just this week we reached 150,000 names in our database and we have approximately 7000 teams (Over 70,000 active members) playing sports with us annually.

There was never a doubt in my mind, I always knew I wanted to run my own business and I had a few different businesses through grade school, high school and university before starting the Toronto Sport & Social Club. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs in my family and I feel like being an entrepreneur is in my blood.

Related: 1,000 Stories Spotlight: Activyst Helps Impoverished Girls Through Sport

How do you define success? Success to me means creating a lifestyle that gives me the time and financial freedom to pursue all my passions which include my children, work, travel, sport and giving back to the community and those less fortunate! Success also means loving what I do every day!

Biggest success: Although I have achieved incredible success in my business for which I feel very grateful, my biggest personal success would be traveling with my three children (ages 13, 11 & 9) to Kenya in March 2014 to work at an orphanage with the arts-based charity I helped to establish 7 years ago. It was incredibly rewarding to see my children working to give back and help others. As well, for my children to see real life results of why I work hard at my business, as doing so has provided me the financial freedoms and time to work hard at volunteering to produce musical theatre which in turn raises money to help others less fortunate in other parts of the world.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? One of our biggest ongoing challenges has always been finding facilities to rent and play sports at. We are constantly on the look out for more playing fields and gyms so we can get more people out playing sports and being active. This has been the main factor limiting growth for us over the years. To address this, we have left “no stone unturned” in that we are constantly on the search for new space and currently we are actively pursuing options to build our own facilities such that we will have more control of our own destiny.

Related: Secrets of Growth: How to Hire the Best 

When I started the business in 1996 with only a small number of teams playing, I did not envision growing to have over 7000 teams playing annually. We have grown much bigger than I ever imagined in my early days. The reason for this growth and success is that I have surrounded myself with an incredible team of people and we have worked to create an amazing culture within our organization. I never could have handled this growth on my own. I look to surround myself with people smarter than me who share a vision and are willing to work hard toward making that vision reality.

Who is your most important role model? Although my role model has changed many times over the years. The role model who made the biggest impact over the years would be my father. He is an entrepreneur and I always aspired to create my own successful business as he had done. A business which would allow me to eat family meals with my children and be at their extracurriculars as well as one that would allow me the freedom to travel with my children as my father had always done with my family as I was growing up. 

Twitter   @torontossc
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Edited by The Story Exchange