Author: Charlotte Evans
Okay, chances you’ve already met her, and that’s a good thing. Angela Meslem is a familiar face and proven commodity at DragonRidge Country Club. Known for her passion, work ethic… and that sort of “Island vibe” (she grew up in Hawaii and is a bona fide Hula dancer,) Angela has worked as the Assistant Director for eight years. In addition to trainer, instructor, coach, and mother of two, she now takes the helm as Director while the facility is undergoing major upgrades. Angela spoke with DragonRidge Communications Director Charlotte Evans about what’s happening.
Did you always know that you wanted a career in fitness?
Initially, I went to school to be an elementary school teacher. While I was working during college at 24 Hour Fitness, I worked in their Kids Center to gain a knowledge of what age groups I liked to work with. I love kids.
Were you into fitness before this?
Yes. I was in sports my whole life. I went to college for cross country.
How did your career unfold?
I went to audition for a job at Canyon Ranch Spa Club (inside Venetian), and I was fifteen minutes late to my first interview. I couldn’t find the place. At the time, I was only nineteen and didn’t hang out on the strip, so I got lost inside the Venetian. But they still saw something in me and gave me a chance. I was an instructor and trainer and eventually became Supervisor and Wellness Manager.
How did you land at DragonRidge?
I had worked here when the club first opened, so I knew the old Director. He called me about the
opportunity to come in as Assistant Director. I’ve done that for eight years.
Was it a change from working on the strip?
I love the difference here. I love getting to know the members. We have such a great member base, and I love the people. When you’re working with tourists, you’re lucky if they’re there for a week.
In your time at DragonRidge, what have you learned?
Being here for eight years, I feel like I have a good grasp on both Tennis and Fitness. A few years after starting here, I figured I should probably figure out this tennis thing (laughs.) So, I started to Captain, our beginner team. I learned tennis, and now I love it! I can see how these members get so addicted. Working with Adolph Huddleston has also been great. He’s a great Director of Tennis who’s been in the business a long time. I think we’ll be able to do great things down here.
You seem to have a focused calm about you.
Well, I was born in New York but raised in Hawaii. My dad was in the Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor as a nuclear machinist mate for submarines (a highly specialized position.) That meant we could remain in one place as I grew up.
Do you have family here?
Yes, my parents live in Henderson. I have two kids. Leila is six going on sixteen, and Zakariya is eight.
Throughout Covid, your kids led zoom classes with you. Was that fun?
Fitness is important to me, and it’s important in my household. My goal with my kids is to bring them up [in a way that] fitness is not a chore, but it’s fun. They see mom doing it all the time, and so it’s just something you do. They’ve kind of grown-up at DragonRidge.
Are the Youth Programs here strong?
They are. A lot of places have youth activities, but our program is unique. Having Aerobic Gymnastics is fantastic. We have a great, High Performance Tennis Program. It’s one of the best, if not the best, in the valley for kids. We have an incredible staff of tennis pros who develop these kids into amazing athletes.
What do adults like about the Fitness Center?
We have everything you need here, including machines, cardio equipment, free weights and aerobics class schedules. Equipment-wise, we have the kettlebells, the heavy bag, the speed bag, we have the TRX suspension straps, a battling rope… pretty much anything someone might want, and we have great trainers and coaches.
What are you looking forward to in the next year?
I think we have a great facility, and it’s only going to get better. With the addition of the pickleball court, the swimming pool and cabanas, the additional spa treatment rooms, the new café area, the new kitchen… the word that keeps popping up is energy. I want members to feel the energy as they’re walking in.
Is the staff excited?
They are. I anticipate a whole new social level here, in addition to the athletics. After a workout, members can sit by the pool or have a glass of wine in the café. It’s a whole new lifestyle.
I hear there will be designers overhauling the place?
Yes, some great designers are coming in. I’m excited for the construction to be done. Then we can really start creating big plans. It’s going to be an awesome time ahead.