Ross Campbell, co-founder of fitness gym and martial arts studio The Jungle MMA & Fitness, has always had a passion for health and fitness ever since he was a high school student. After finding success in the oil, gas and energy industry, he decided to pursue his passion and fulfil his dream of opening his own gym.
You’ve been in many industries, from oil, gas and energy to events and fitness. Can you share your story with us?
After university I moved to London, my first jobs were in media and events, primarily working on thought leadership and investment conferences for oil, gas, metals and mining. After five years I co-founded ‘Oil & Gas Council’, now the world’s largest oil and gas business network. As CEO and then Chairman, I oversaw business growth to five offices globally, hosting 12 large conferences across five continents for over 6,000 executives. We sold the company in 2016 to a large international exhibition and events company.
What inspired you to start and co-found The Jungle MMA & Fitness?
Health and fitness have always been part of my life. I am extremely passionate about the industry and for my next chapter in life I wanted to invest some time, energy and capital growing an exciting and dynamic fitness brand. The Jungle has been very successful, but my main area of expertise has always been cultivating B2B (business to business) relationships rather than B2C (business to consumer).
How has your experiences in so many industries shaped your perspectives?
Every business needs connectivity to its marketplace, irrespective of sector or industry. The strength of your relationships (to customers, partners, suppliers, advisors, investors) will ultimately determine your success but connectivity to your market is needed first to ensure these relationships exist. My perspective has remained the same for many years now – you need to continuously, passionately and relentlessly expand both your personal and business network. If you fail to do this, your success will always have a low ceiling.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced along your journey?
Launching services and products into new markets and new geographies was one of my biggest challenges but had the biggest rewards. I launched events into North America, South America, Africa, Asia and with most difficultly into China. Each has their own culture, history, market dynamics and competitive landscape – navigating these to build commercially successful products was a rollercoaster journey of highs and lows. Nothing was possible without an excellent team by my side – I am eternally thankful for having worked alongside them.
What has been the most satisfying moment in the business?
There have been (thankfully) many moments. Having my employees buy homes for their families. Delivering my investors returns. Seeing my clients grow their brands, reputations and market shares in their respective fields. However, the most satisfying moment was when I sold my business and bought my mum a house for her to retire in. This gift pales into insignificance given all she has done and sacrificed for me over the years, but I am proud to have grown and succeeded into a position to have done so.
Can you share more about the FIT Summit that you’ll be organising?
As an investor and a business owner in health and fitness, it dawned on me there was no business network for health, fitness and wellness executives to engage each other, to learn, to share, to grow. FIT Summit was created as a unique B2B network promoting thought leadership, investment, innovation and collaboration across health, fitness, wellness and sports. We are excited to announce that the first FIT Summit will take place in Singapore on 20 March.
What are your thoughts on health, wellness and fitness in Singapore and the region?
There are some inspiring executives and aspirational brands in Singapore (and more widely Asia). True benchmarks of industry excellence, especially given their growth in a hyper-competitive and over-saturated marketplace. If I had one wish, it would be that more boutique brands collaborate in the future to ensure step changes in their collective growth, rather than incremental and often detrimental steps, on individual pathways.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
I could pen a library of books to give my younger self. To choose one, I would say, you must spend one hour every day, without excuse, without quarrel, to learn a new language, a new skill or a new marketplace. In my youth I spent too much time doing nothing rather than spending time on becoming something.
What are your future plans and how do you see yourself in 5 years?
On a business level, to grow FIT Summit into the leading business/investment network for health, fitness, wellness and sports. Next year we will expand FIT Summit internationally, hosting events in Hong Kong, China and the Middle East.
I would like, in five years’ time, to look back knowing I have been instrumental in helping our industry grow, helping companies unlock their potential and helping executives in our community lead more fulfilling lives with the success FIT has brought them.
On a personal level, I strive every day to be the best husband, father, son and friend I can be – I hope in five years that my resolve to be that man will only have strengthened.