That’s a Wrap for 2023!
By John Schultz, CCM, CCE, ECM
It’s with deep gratitude that I look back at the accomplishments and growth that defined CLA’s journey in 2023. It’s been a testament to the innovation, commitment to best practices, and collaborative spirit that characterize our organization and partnership with KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, Club Benchmarking, and McMahon Group.
I take special pride in a dynamic demonstrated many times in 2023: we share our commitment to strengthening the industry with many private club management professionals and board members. The Club Leadership Alliance (CLA) is exactly what we say we are: a coalition of companies and individuals that dedicate our expertise to ensuring private clubs are relevant and enduring. That same commitment was demonstrated to me many times this year by clubs across the country.
Highlights of 2023 also represent guideposts for the new year:
Governance: This year saw CLA make great strides in strategic governance, including the implementation of Board Policy Manuals and new Board Member Orientations for clubs we were proud to partner with.
Facilitating board retreats and providing on-site education at clubs across the country also allowed us to bring together leaders from CLA partner firms to provide services adapted to the current needs of a particular club.
As a milestone project for the industry, we had the pleasure of serving as a contributor to the NCA/CMAA Board Policy Manual, which was released in September.
Interim Management: Under the leadership of Dan Miles, CLA successfully completed 20 Interim Management assignments at various clubs across the United States. Whether a club is filling a temporary gap between search placements or identifying the next direction they plan to take, CLA’s expert Interim General Managers provide a tremendous advantage as they strengthen the search and foundation of the club.
CLA Board Portal: We officially launched our CLA Board Portal in October, in conjunction with our technology partner, BellesBoard. To date, we have reached a huge milestone with over 300 subscribers. Serving as the only club-specific portal, the Club Performance Center is the hallmark of this valuable resource, providing a library of curated information from our partner firms and other industry experts. Among its many strengths, our club-specific board portal is a bridging tool for the board and committees that drives better alignment and effectiveness. It earns my “gold star” in its ability to improve club organization while simultaneously driving education and efficiency among volunteer boards.
BoardRoom Institute: With the collaboration of our partner firms, KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, Club Benchmarking and McMahon Group, we expanded our vision to offer top of the line education for general managers and club leadership. The BoardRoom Institute platform makes continued education accessible from anywhere, anytime. It includes a library of over 75 educational video sessions, provided by top leaders within the industry. BoardRoom Institute offers education for the continual flow of new board members “learning the ropes” and those seeking specific information related to a particular area of governance. It contributes to a private club’s success and long-term sustainability. A well-informed, collaborative and efficient governance model creates a more harmonious board and outstanding member experience.
Presidents Council: In conjunction with our partner firms, we held two in-person education events, bringing together general managers and board members from all areas of the country. These events provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to interact with both sides of the leadership table and learn the best practices of the most successful clubs.
Frank Vain, President of McMahon Group, states that, “a brief report on the issues discussed at our fall Presidents Council showed significant improvement in the governance and management of clubs. Today there is a far better understanding of the operating and capital finances of our clubs, as they have finally embraced the need to continually reinvent their facilities. The CLA will continue to develop, refine, and communicate industry best practices so club leaders can apply them at their clubs.”
Looking forward to 2024, I predict that clubs will continue to increase their focus on providing updated, relevant member experiences that drive membership retention, engagement, and growth. “Informed Leadership” is the first core value recommended by the CLA and our partner firms. It drives a “flywheel” of success embraced by top-performing clubs, as it subsequently informs and empowers our second CLA core value – “Strategic Stewardship”. This then fuels our third core value – an “Empowered Management and Team”. It’s clear that these lead to our fourth core value, the “Compelling Member Experiences” that create relevant, enduring clubs.
I also predict that at CLA we will continue to strengthen our industry to these core values and the related best practices. We will continue to roll up our sleeves, bring together resources from CLA and our partner firms, and help clubs thrive. I could not be more grateful to be part of this effort.
The future holds limitless possibilities for our industry, and together, we’ll continue to chart a course toward even greater achievements in the coming year. I look forward to seeing many of you at the CMAA World Conference in March and doing all I can to be a positive resource for you in 2024.
Wishing you all a joyful and prosperous New Year!
John Schultz, CCM, CCE
Chief Executive Officer
Club Leadership Alliance