An Affiliate Mastermind Event

What happens when 20 owners and coaches of CrossFit Boxes come together?

Something amazing. And yes, even muscle-up lessons.

On Saturday, I was up and out of the door at 7 a.m. My car was full of fuel and camera equipment as I drove the hour and a half to Nicholasville, Kentucky, for the first annual Affiliate Owners of Kentucky Mastermind event.

Fast-forward 90 minutes: I stepped into CrossFit 859 and was greeted by the front desk receptionist. She gave me a nametag and I walked into the large Box, finding several tables and people mingling about. Affiliates and Coaches alike had showed up that day to take advantage of the discussions, networking opportunities and chance to build community.

That was something CrossFit 859 co-owners Eric Karls and Kelly Jennings both mentioned when asked why they had started this event. “Six months ago I met an Affiliate who’s Box is a half mile away,” said Karls, explaining both this Affiliate and CrossFit 859 have been opened for years. But, they had only recently met. “We need to communicate.”

IMG_2420When I asked Jennings later about the mastermind’s beginnings, his answer was similar. He explained that when he meets an Affiliate from Ohio, they are friendly and buddy-buddy. However, when he meets an Affiliate from his own town, it’s far from like that, despite the community preached in CrossFit.

So, Jennings said they decided to put together a local, Kentucky-centered event to bring together the CrossFit leadership community. In essence, Karls and Jennings want to make the talk of CrossFit become the walk of the industry’s leaders. That was clearly seen in the daylong event.

As I sat and listened, everything from member retention to quality Coaches to expansion was discussed. The Affiliates and Coaches in attendance, coming from about 10 or so different Boxes from around Kentucky, shared their struggles and their ideas. Questions were asked and answers were given. For the first time, I got to witness the core mission of Box Pro playing out in real life by Affiliates and Coaches.

I think the owners of CrossFit 859 grasped a great truth behind what makes CrossFit successful. Each and every Affiliate will probably say their community is amazing. However, if that community doesn’t start at the top and between the leaders who are the future of this industry, how can that translate down into the membership pool? How can your community be the greatest it can be if you don’t have community with the Affiliates in your area?

Plus, so many ideas were shared I can only imagine each Affiliate went home with an improvement or two in mind for his or her Box. It was surely beneficial to all who attended — I got more than enough story ideas — and CrossFit 859 hopes to make the event annual, rotating between Boxes each and every year.

When each Affiliate and Coach was asked why they had come, the answers were centered around three central themes: networking, sharing, learning.

Perhaps it’s time to take those themes and make them your own.

Affiliate Owners of Kentucky from Box Pro Magazine on Vimeo.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at