As the first store employee hired in June of 1993, Julie Vargas has seen a lot of changes and growth through her more than two decades with Sport Clips. Nothing has changed and grown more than the annual Huddle. Managing the company’s flagship store, Vargas was an attendee at the first Huddle. Today, she is the Senior Director of Career Opportunities at the Support Center, and is supporting Sport Clips' 18th Annual National Huddle as part of the executive staff. To this day the National Huddle is still one of her favorite events of the year.
Eighteen years ago, Sport Clips held the first of what would become their annual National Huddle. With only a few managers, and a handful of vendors, the entire event was held in the Support Center conference room. This year the conference will be held in Las Vegas from April 29-May 3 at The Mirage and attendance is expected to reach 3,000! Some stores will even host contests among their employees to win a highly coveted ticket to the National Huddle. Highly anticipated and filled with high energy, the National Huddle is more than just a conference; it is an example of Sport Clips’ steadfast commitment to their values and culture.
When asked what the National Huddle means to her, Vargas explains, “It really is a magical event. It’s about resetting and renewing motivation. It is about the passion that drives us to do our job and to do it well. It is a time to go back to basics and remember just what is so special about our team.”
This year the National Huddle’s tagline is Excite and hashtagged #dreamteam. The focus will be on teamwork and building your dream team. When asked about this year’s National Huddle team, Vargas says, “Excite is all about Sport Clips’ culture and getting excited about this incredible brand. It’s about taking good care of your team, because that is the key to success. And it is a chance for Sport Clips to reiterate their values and beliefs and to motivate one of their most valuable assets, those running the stores.”
The National Huddle is also about providing Team Leaders and Managers with tools they need to succeed. From inspirational speakers to engaging breakout sessions, there is so much information that can be taken back to their stores. Vargas adds, “Some of the best feedback they get is on those breakout sessions. Participants remark that they always learn so much. They have a chance to network, engage in discussions, and share inspirational stories. Round-table discussions give them the opportunity to hear from their peers about what challenges and successes they are having and to share theirs.”
This year, breakout session topics include: Powerful Social Media, Being a Great Place to Work: Do I Have a Tribe?, Better Team Members Through Development, Latest Hair Trends, Connecting the Community, Growing Your Team, Retention: Keeping Your Dream Team, and personal development and operations topics. Carefully chosen topics reflect the company’s core values of “Doing your best. Doing what is right. And treating people the way they want to be treated.” Dave Wells, Director of Franchising puts it this way, “Sport Clips is committed to supporting the success of our franchisees and their teams. It starts with us; we have to offer them the best so they can do their best.”
In addition to educational sessions and discussions, the agenda is packed with inspirational speakers and industry leading presenters. A supplier fair, vendor presentations, stylist look and high energy haircutting competitions always garner lots of excitement from the crowd. These events give attendees a chance to see new trends, products and techniques. All of this contributes to what makes Sport Clips leaders in their industry, and is proof of the commitment to their team, and constantly striving to be the best at what they do. And everyone has a good time, too. In addition to the annual awards ceremony, in the spirit of the venue, a Vintage Vegas Reception Party and a Glow Dance Party are also planned.
With 3,000 attendees, the annual Sport Clips National Huddle has grown exponentially from its days in the Sport Clips Support Center conference room, but it has stayed true to its mission of offering stores the support they need to do their best. From store manager and attendee of the first Huddle to decades later as Senior Director of Career Opportunities, Julie Vargas says one thing rings true every year, “Everyone always comes away from the National Huddle motivated and with a renewed passion. I always feel inspired and excited to be part of this team after a Huddle.” In sports a huddle is the team gathering together to strategize, motivate or celebrate. The Sport Clips’ National Huddle does all of that, and it is why their annual Huddles continue to grow, year after year.