Why is Storytelling so Important?

Do you know your Club’s story? Can your Board and your staff confidently answer that question? If not, it’s time to put in some work.

Storytelling can captivate an audience, evoke emotions, and memorably convey your message. Storytelling is the most effective way to build brand identity, rally members around a capital project, and motivate employees. Why? Because stories elicit emotion.

Consider your most recent big purchase, “Did you feel good about it?” Notice the word, feel, that is an emotion. The right story will sway you, but you need to know what you are selling. Yes, selling because everybody is selling something, whether it’s a product, a Club membership, or an idea. Nike is selling you an attitude (Just Do It), Southwest Airlines is highlighting a passenger-first approach with low costs, and your favorite insurance company is selling you the peace of mind of knowing you are protected.

From browsing the websites of dozens of Clubs, most believe their story is their history. They list when they were founded, and the rest of the “About Us” page reads like a resume with dates and a quick blip of what they accomplished. This approach does not work because it reads like a middle school history exam. Off the top of your head, can you tell me when the Revolutionary War started? Probably not. However, you do know why it was necessary. The “Why” is the motivation for your story. How do your members feel about belonging to the Club? Describe the atmosphere, build a narrative of whatever it is, and then share the vision. Show me pictures of your members having fun, not empty dining rooms or a vacant swimming pool.

For stories to work, you need characters, people smiling, enjoying the company of others, and using the amenities. Solve a problem, explain why your lifestyle is the one for me, and back it up with visual words like “Imagine” and “Discover.” Those words transport us, create intrigue, and, most importantly for you, keep prospects reading about your Club.

Crafting your story takes time and expertise. Get a facilitator to help you brainstorm ideas, whiteboard the emotions, and establish your point of view. You then need to rework the mission and the vision statements to identify what was revealed. Then, teach the team the new messaging and share it so that it becomes memorable, builds community and loyalty. Post it on the menus in your restaurants, member bills at the bar, or the video screens throughout your clubhouse so that it becomes a part of your fabric.

You, too, are a brand. People choose to join your Club, so in this competitive marketplace, make their decision an easy one.

Club Leadership Alliance Partners With BellesBoard to Offer Club-Focused Board Portal

Club Leadership Alliance Partners with BellesBoard to Offer Club-Focused Board Portal

Charlotte, NC, (September 2023) – Club Leadership Alliance (CLA) is partnering with nonprofit software expert BellesBoard, to offer the CLA Board Portal, an online board and member management solution created specifically for private clubs.

The CLA Board Portal, powered by BellesBoard, is a secure, cloud-based platform that increases efficiency and alignment among club boards, directors, committees, and management teams. With club-specific modules focused on areas like the new member intake process, governance pipeline, and connection to industry best practices, the CLA Board Portal is a powerful resource adopted by a growing number of top-performing private clubs.

For John Schultz, respected private club industry executive and CEO of the Club Leadership Alliance, adding a club-specific board portal has advantages for all stakeholders. “The proprietary information shared by the expertise within this partnership adds significant value to the CLA Board Portal, above and beyond the many benefits that come with generic board portals. From key performance indicators to the searchable resource center, the CLA Board Portal offers numerous opportunities for club boards, committees and members to advance their understanding of their club and the industry.”

Features of the CLA Board Portal include:

  • Meeting scheduling
  • Availability polling
  • Online document storage and dissemination
  • Meeting management/online voting capabilities
  • club-specific governance pipeline/nominating committee capabilities
  • club-specific new member intake and waiting list management capabilities
  • Club Performance center with valuable information provide by CLA and its partner firms, KOPPLIN, KUEBLER & WALLACE, McMahon Group and Club Benchmarking

To learn more, visit

Club Leadership Alliance Welcomes Christy Latimore as Newest Addition to the Team

Charlotte, NC – Club Leadership Alliance (CLA) is pleased to announce the addition of Christy Latimore as the newest member of their growing team. Christy will be assuming the role of Operations Lead to help propel the organization’s mission forward.

Christy brings over 13 years of experience within the private club industry to this new role, having recently served as Client Manager of Creative Golf Marketing.

“The CLA’s core values serve as framework for the proven best practices that create relevant and enduring clubs, and we believe Christy’s addition will play a vital role in achieving this goal,” said John Schultz, CEO of Club Leadership Alliance.

Her exceptional communication skills and marketing background will make her an asset to the organization.

“I am thrilled to be joining Club Leadership Alliance and working alongside such a talented team of professionals,” said Christy Latimore. “I firmly believe in the mission of the Alliance and the expertise they provide to the club industry”.

As the Club Leadership Alliance continues to expand its reach and impact, the addition of Christy Latimore to the team reinforces the organization’s commitment to drive the club industry forward.

About Club Leadership Alliance:
The Club Leadership Alliance (CLA) is a partnership between three of the nation’s most highly regarded firms serving private clubs. Established in March 2020, CLA is comprised of partner firms KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, McMahon Group, and Club Benchmarking. With the mission to “Rally Club Leaders Around Best Practices”, CLA divisions include Strategic Governance, Interim Management Solutions, and the Experience Network – a hands-on consulting operation focused on providing private clubs with expertise that is tailored to their needs. In all aspects of their consulting and educational services, including the noted Presidents Council, CLA adheres to Core Values and Best Practices adopted by their partner firms and recognized as essential to a club’s long-term success.

For more information about the Club Leadership Alliance, please visit or reach out directly to John Schultz, CCM, CCE, ECM at


The Club Leadership Alliance (CLA) is proud to announce that private club industry expert Tony D’Errico, CCM, CCE, CAM is adding his expertise to the firm’s roster of talented CLA Experience Network professionals. Tony’s areas of focus will include governance, leadership development, executive coaching, succession planning and working with club boards to achieve excellence as informed, strategic stewards of their clubs.

For Tony, a former CMAA President (2015) and noted industry leader, his role is to “help boards achieve their full potential so that the GM and management team can achieve theirs.” His experience spans all facets of private club business management, hospitality and residential development. Noted as a highly principled, visionary leader, Tony has worked with distinguished clubs such as Quail West (Naples) and Westwood Country Club (St. Louis).

In addition to his term as CMAA President, Tony’s support of the private club industry includes chapter and national leadership positions with CMAA beginning in 1993 when he was named a Regional Director on the Florida CMAA Chapter Board. He was appointed a CMAA Fellow in 2020, CMAA Executive of the Year in 2019, served on the CMAA Board from 2007-2017, and received the Excellence in Club Management, James H. Brewer Award in 2013.

The Club Leadership Alliance (CLA) is a partnership between three of the nation’s most highly regarded firms serving private clubs. Established in March 2020, CLA is comprised of partner firms KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, McMahon Group, and Club Benchmarking. A hands-on consulting operation focused on providing private clubs with expertise that is tailored to their needs, the CLA Experience Network adopts the CLA Core Values and Best Practices recognized as essential to a club’s long-term success.

For more information about the Club Leadership Alliance, please visit or reach out directly to John Schultz, CCM, CCE, ECM at

Club Leadership Alliance Establishes Partnership with BoardRoom Institute

Charlotte, NC, (April 2023) – Club Leadership Alliance (CLA) partners with BoardRoom Institute, an online education platform designed specifically for private club boards, their directors, committees, committee chairs, and others associated with private club governance.

Achieving alignment between a private club’s general manager/chief executive and volunteer leaders begins with a mutual understanding of the priorities and best practices that drive success. A collaborative, united, and accessible educational environment is foundational to providing private club leadership with the awareness and strategic thinking necessary to sustain a relevant and enduring private club.

“The owners and team members represented within the Club Leadership Alliance have the experience, credibility, and expertise that I was seeking in a partnership. I have known and respected Richard Kopplin, William McMahon, and Ray Cronin for over 27 years. They were the missing link to making BoardRoom Institute a true solution to the governance and leadership issues facing private clubs today and into the future,” shares John Fornaro, CEO and publisher of BoardRoom magazine, co-founder of Distinguished Clubs, and founder of BoardRoom Institute.

Knowledge is power and providing comprehensive information and protections will help assure that board and committee members are well-positioned for their roles and responsibilities. BoardRoom Institute makes annual orientations affordable, mitigates micro-managing, and ensures all stakeholders understand their duty of care, with an emphasis on legal and fiduciary obligations.

“The CLA partners are pleased to announce our exciting new partnership with BoardRoom Institute. We now have the opportunity to present current and future clients with what we believe is the most empowering educational platform we have experienced in our decades of serving the private club industry. We have worked for many years alongside McMahon Group and Club Benchmarking to rally private club leaders around best practices, and this advancement further enables our mission of generating widespread understanding and adoption of the best practices that lead to success,” celebrates Richard Kopplin, founding partner of KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE.

Club Leadership Alliance brings together three of the industry’s most highly respected consulting firms (KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, McMahon Group, and Club Benchmarking) and this partnership will strengthen the value and resources extended to BoardRoom Institute subscribers. CLA founding partners represent expertise in the areas of operations, finance, human capital, governance, and strategic and facility planning.

“We are actively working on course updates and expect the new releases within this content-rich tool will be available by summer. This development will complement and enhance the many programs already offered to private clubs by the partners at the Club Leadership Alliance,” adds John Schultz, respected private club industry executive and CEO of Club Leadership Alliance.


John Schultz, CCM, CCE

Chief Executive Officer, Club Leadership Alliance



About BoardRoom Institute

Education within BoardRoom Institute is focused on helping private clubs operate efficiently by optimizing the relationship between the volunteers and the paid executives through collaborative governance.

About Club Leadership Alliance

The three founding Alliance firms are independent entities working together for the common good of the industry, serving clubs in all aspects of strategic planning, operations, finances, human capital, and facilities. The CLA’s core values serve as a framework for the proven best practices that create relevant and enduring clubs: Informed Leadership, Strategic Stewardship, Empowered Management and Team, and Compelling Member Experience.


People Focused & Quality Driven. We are an experienced and award-winning search and consulting firm, specializing in the private club industry. We are committed to the success of our clients, the professionals that we place, and the industry as a whole. We improve the well-being of our clients, advance the careers of our candidates, and have fun every day.  

About McMahon Group

McMahon Group provides strategic and facility planning services for private clubs. We conduct survey research for clubs as well as on issues important to the industry. Our publications provide club leaders with insight into member needs and desires and changes in the industry. We promote the well-being of the club industry and enhance the profession of club management.

About Club Benchmarking

We deliver the fact-based, actionable insight you need to make informed decisions through a suite of tools and services built specifically for private clubs. Everything we do is grounded in data and research and we serve the full spectrum of club industry stakeholders – club staff, general managers, boards, committees, members, owners and industry constituents including associations.

CLA Expands to Add Services & Expertise


Seven months after the addition of John Schultz, CCM, CCE, ECM to lead the Club Leadership Alliance, the firm is proud to announce its expansion to include Interim Management Solutions and the CLA Experience Network, a hands-on consulting operation focused on providing private clubs with expertise that is tailored to their needs and adopts the CLA Core Values and Best Practices recognized as essential to a club’s long-term success.

The Club Leadership Alliance (CLA) is a partnership between three of the nation’s most highly regarded firms serving private clubs. Established in March 2020, CLA is comprised of partner firms KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, McMahon Group, and Club Benchmarking.

Interim General Manager Solutions through CLA are led by Executive in Charge Dan Miles, CCM, CCE. The CLA’s approach to interim management is to “strengthen the search”. The CLA interim general managers are proven leaders in the field with track records of success through long-term positions at top clubs nationwide. Clubs that utilize CLA Interim Management Solutions are further supported through oversight and custom consulting services that embody the CLA Core Values and Best Practices that create relevant, enduring clubs.

Dan Miles joins John Schultz in providing oversight and expert management of CLA Interim Management Solutions. Dan’s professional background includes work for top clubs nationwide as a longtime General Manager and consultant for CLA partner firms KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE and Club Benchmarking. He has served as an interim general manager and is uniquely positioned to leverage his expertise and industry-recognized best practices in his new role with CLA.

The CLA Food & Beverage Experience Network is led by Executive in Charge, Lawrence McFadden, CMC. For CLA clients, Lawrence offers a rich and diverse menu of programs easily customized to meet the specific needs of club clients. These encompass: Food & Beverage Assessments, Culinary Diagnostics, Staff Training, Interim Executive Chef Solutions, Culinary Concept Development and Executive Chef Mentorship, including onboarding support.  Lawrence also works closely with CLA Partner firm KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE as part of their executive chef search and staff training offerings.

A Certified Master Chef, Lawrence’s impressive career includes leadership roles with iconic brands such as The Ritz-Carlton, MGM Resorts and Casinos, The Greenbrier Hotel and Spa, The Waldorf Astoria, and Shangri La Hotels and Resorts of Hong Kong. His work for clubs includes Jupiter Island Club in partnership with Ritz-Carlton; River Club, Jacksonville, Florida; Sporting Club in partnership with The Greenbrier Hotel and Resort; Villa Paterna Club, Marbella, Spain; Aberdeen Club, Hong Kong in partnership with Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts; Idle Hour Country Club, Lexington, Kentucky; Aurora Club in partnership with Aurora Hotel and Spa, Anguilla.

Helming the CLA Fitness and Wellness Experience Network is highly respected industry veteran Herb Lipsman. These consulting services encompass all aspects of a club’s Fitness and Wellness operations, including recruiting, staff training, program development, and optimization of a club’s current and future fitness/wellness facilities. Herb’s experience includes 30+ years managing luxurious country clubs, upscale athletic clubs, and luxury resort properties. Herb has achieved a unique level of experience working with some of the most prestigious private clubs and resorts in the industry. Additionally, he has cultivated a robust network of fitness, wellness, and spa professionals and has established long-term relationships with top equipment suppliers.

The CLA Communications Experience Network is led by Executive in Charge Corey Saban, crisis management and communications expert. He works with general managers, boards of directors, and management teams on internal and external messaging and training. An Emmy-nominated and former Associated Press award-winning TV journalist, Corey’s media career encompassed interviews with some of the world’s most respectable and recognizable figures.

Since taking charge of the Club Leadership Alliance, CEO John Schultz, CCM, CCE, ECM has also expanded the firm’s offerings in the arena of strategic governance. From hands-on support providing club stakeholders with customized strategic governance programs to more focused efforts such as the board-specific “A Day with CLA”, Schultz has added a diverse range of services that “Rally Club Leaders Around Best Practices.” The CLA Presidents Council is expanding to reach twice as many club leaders by being held in both spring (April, 2023 – Monterey Peninsula Country Club; Monterey, California) and fall (October, 2023 – Cherokee Town & Country Club; Atlanta, Georgia). CLA has conducted recent CMAA Chapter education for the Florida, Carolinas, and Georgia chapters. Schultz also sits on the National Club Association Governance Committee, formed to guide clubs in best practices around creating board policy manuals.