Leslie is a native of Rutland, Vermont. She graduated from Rutland High School before going on to attend the University of Vermont. There, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Nutrition and Food Science in 2007, before going on to become the Co-Owner of Vermont Sport & Fitness Club.
After living and working in Rhode Island for a short time after college, Leslie and Dan decided to move back to their hometown of Rutland. They wanted to be closer to family as well as to be able to enjoy everything that Vermont has to offer. For Leslie, an active and healthy lifestyle has always been a very vital aspect of her life:
“It is so important to me that my boys (Sawyer 5, Mason 2) grow up in an environment that promotes physical fitness, positive mental health and wellness. Owning and working in a fitness club is such a logical arena for me because it allows me to utilize my passion for health and wellness and helping others, while also continuing to practice those things myself and set a positive example for my kids.”
Leslie serves as a board member for the nonprofit organization, Rutland Young Professionals, and enjoys being active within the community:
“Volunteering and community engagement provides me the opportunity to give back to a town that has given so much to me and my family over the years. As a small business owner in a town you grew up in, you are able to connect with your membership on a much deeper level. Some of our members I have known since I was 5 years old! Seeing them at the club is like hanging out in our neighborhood again.”
When talking about their mission as owners, Leslie feels passionately about the success of others. She states that there is a lot of joy that comes with helping people feel better both mentally and physically.
“I take so much pride in the service we provide and I love seeing people achieve their goals. When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like a job. It is so much more to me and to my family; it is a lifestyle. We are extremely fortunate to live and breathe it every day and share in the journey and experience of members. Those are the intangible things that keep me going and continuing to work as hard as I do to bring the best possible experience to everyone that joins.”
Dan Doenges is the Co-Owner and General Manager of Vermont Sport & Fitness Club. Dan grew up in Mendon, VT and graduated from Rutland High School in 2003. From there he attended Assumption College in Worcester, MA where he played both Varsity Tennis and Soccer. He graduated in 2007 with a BA in Business Marketing, and a minor in Philosophy.
After moving to Rhode Island for two years, Dan and his wife, Leslie, came back to Rutland. They desired to be closer to family and to bring more purpose to their lives. Dan has spent his entire life enjoying the physical world around him. He has a passion for fitness and self-improvement that is woven into the very fabric of VS&F. Dan is obsessed with seeing others succeed in enjoying the same passions he does; a healthy life that is full of enriching experiences.
Dan worked at Vermont Sport & Fitness for eight years before taking over as co-owner with Leslie. In those eight years he learned that there are truly no shortcuts to getting what you want. He learned that dedicating yourself to the process, celebrating small victories, and appreciating the journey along the way is the best way to find long-term success. He also learned, the thing that brings him the most joy at work is when members enjoy the experience at the club that he and his team work so hard to cultivate and support.
In addition to his vision for the club, Dan also views his role as a young leader in the community. Dan’s effort to make a difference in Rutland County has led him to be a member of the Rutland Young Professionals where he volunteers on the Employer Relations/Community Outreach committee. He also represents RYP as ex officio on the REDC board. There he serves on the joint marketing committee and nominating committee. Through these committees, he has joined the steering and creative committee for the progressive Rutland Marketing Initiative. VS&F also supports many of the nonprofits in the community, most recently recognized for their efforts with the Mentor Connector and Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County.
Dan believes that community and real relationships, both at Vermont Sport & Fitness and in the greater Rutland area, foster an environment where people can be the best versions of themselves, then bringing that into their professional and private lives.
At the end of the day, Dan goes home to his growing family who is the driving force behind all that he does. His wife Leslie is his rock. Without her as a partner in life and at the club, he would not be able to accomplish a fraction of what he has done or would like to do in the future. His sons Sawyer (5) and Mason (2) run into his arms each evening when he gets home, reminding him of why he works so hard. If you want to know Dan as a person and as an owner, know that he views life as a question unanswered. He believes the journey to find how much we can grow and positively impact others’ lives should be fun and full of great memories.