Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 40: Welcome Ava & #GivingTuesday

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Please join us in welcoming our newest CMAA team member, Ava Spece! Ava joined our team back in September as the Director of Development for The Club Foundation. Ava chatted with Kyle about her background and interests and what she looks forward to doing with CMAA and The Club Foundation. We also got to chat about #GivingTuesday and what The Club Foundation is doing this year to promote the national day of giving. You can find out more (and enter the video selfie contest) at cmaa.org/GT and please text CFGIVING to 51555 to stay up to date on all things #GivingTuesday.

We were also joined this month by Rachel Zilka and Brandon Sears from Park Country Club in Williamsville, NY. They told us about ICEolate – a new, outdoor restaurant concept that serendipitously fit our COVID world. Check out some images.

Stay well and remember, you can find us on iTunes! Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

Be Kind!

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I have been thinking about my mom a lot lately. My mother would be 103 years old if she was alive. She was about six months short of her 90th birthday when she took her last breath. My mother was tiny. She was once four feet, eleven inches tall but got shorter. She was 89 lbs when she married my Dad. She didn't like the song "Short People" by Randy Newman. She was a twin. She was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, and a great grandmother. For most of her life she was a stay-at-home mom. When she did work outside the home she worked in a bakery. I remember that being a great thing when she would be sent home with butter tarts, eclairs, or cakes. 

If I had to sum up my mom in one word, I would describe her as "kind"! 

I grew up with kind parents. I don't know if they ever really talked about what that meant exactly. I guess it was a thing you could do but I just experienced it as a way of being. I observed kindness in how they treated people. I observed kindness in their words and their actions. I observed kindness in the way people treated them. I don't think they were ever unkind to me. They may have been disappointed in something I did or didn't do, they may have made a decision for me when I was young that I didn't like but I don't think they were ever unkind. 

They taught me to treat people the way I would want them to treat me.  

My mom had a way of making sure that I understood that everyone deserved my kindness. I was taught that elders deserved my kindness. My sisters and brothers deserved my kindness. People who looked different or sounded different or went to a different church or school deserved my kindness. Even my friends who like the Montreal Canadians deserved my kindness. 

Kind wasn't something you were when it was easy, it was something you were because it was a way to live your life. My parents were from a place where survival depended on kindness. The kindness you are giving today might be the kindness you will need sometime soon. 

I realize that not everyone grew up with this philosophy or in this environment, but it takes me back when going out of your way to be unkind seems to be acceptable and more the norm. 

As a coach I would like you to consider being just a little kinder to yourself. You are your greatest asset. My parents taught me that it is not okay to beat up someone else. As a coach I am amazed by how many people I meet who would not dream of beating someone up but beat themselves up constantly. On some level they might think it is working for them, but on some level it is also depreciating your asset. In the extraordinary times we are living in, the simplest of things are more difficult, things take longer, and it is easier to get to a point of frustration, disappointment, and anger. If you are not operating at your highest level be kind to yourself.  Our friend Tom Bahler told us that when he was young he told his dad he made a mistake. His dad said: "Tommy in our family we don't make mistakes, we make discoveries." When you make a mistake you feel bad, you lose energy and enthusiasm, you get smaller, and try less. When you make a discovery you learn, you get bigger, you get excited, and you want to try more. You don't ever have to worry about making a mistake if you will make a discovery instead. Be kind. 

Be kind to the ones you love! When I am helping people to see themselves it is very common that they might act or show anger in a way at home that they would never do at work. It often shocks them to realize that they treat acquaintances better than the ones they love. Complacency with the important relationships in your life is unkind. To seem to not care is unkind. Be kind to the ones you love. Living in an environment of kindness is an easy place to live.  

Be kind to the people you are privileged to lead! Some leaders equate kindness to softness. Kindness is caring. If you care deeply about the people on your team then you want to bring out their best. You need to help them to behave properly, uphold standards, and help them to be open to feedback and improvement. You don't have to be unkind to do these things. 

Be kind to someone without having to have a reason to be kind! Be kind when nobody is watching. Be kind when there is no apparent benefit to do so. The real test of course is to be kind to someone who has been unkind to you. Sometimes you may find it hard to be kind with someone who disagrees with you or your beliefs. It is possible to disagree with someone without being unkind. 

My life is full of kind, caring, generous, fun, funny, extraordinary people. 

That might have something to do with the fact that I am living a happy life. 

Being kind is definitely not for everyone, if you like the idea let's ratchet up the kindness as often as possible.

Kevin McDonald Headshot

Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. To contact them call 1-866-822-3481 toll free.


Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 39 – Navigating Career Moves

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Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace join us to chat about how best to navigate the landscape of career changes as a club management professional. Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace, a CMAA Business Partner, is a leading recruiting firm assisting with executive level club positions. Further, it offers a full range of consulting services such as Board Retreats, Team Development, Club and Department Assessments, and F&B Training as well as personalized assistance. Well-informed, inquisitive job candidates make better impressions and decisions in the job search. We were so glad to have the KKW team share their collective experience on both sides of the table as club management professionals and recruiters to share with our listeners.

Stay well and remember, you can find us on iTunes! Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 38 – COVID-Friendly Fall & Winter Events

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As fall has arrived and cooler temperatures are on the way, managers will need to consider how to continue club events safely while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Moving things inside will present unique challenges and colder temps will mean getting creative if events are held outdoors. Managers have taken to the Best Practices Exchange on CMAA Connect to share their ideas and for this episode, we’re joined by Susan Schenkel, CCM, CCE of the Woodstock Club in Indianapolis, as she shares some of the ways her club is adapting this fall. We also finally get to introduce our listeners to another CMAA new(ish) CMAA team member: Alanna Ross! Alanna joined our team back in January and it’s about time you got to know her! Stay well and remember, you can find us on iTunes! Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 37 – Coffee Talk with Jeff Bishop of Royal Cup Coffee

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One of the familiar sights at our annual events is the amazing coffee service provided by our friends at Royal Cup Coffee, a CMAA Business Partner. Since we can’t be together in-person, we wanted to have an opportunity to catch up with Jeff Bishop. Here’s a special Coffee Talk edition of the Let’s Talk Club Management podcast from this year’s Virtual Leadership/Legislative Conference. Stay well and remember, you can find us on iTunes! Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

What Are You Hearing?

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I was recently catching up with an old friend. It seems like this year there are lots of opportunities to catch up with old friends because for months seeing them in person hasn’t been an option. He made reference to the fact that I spend most of my days in conversation with people from around North America, and he asked, “What are you hearing?”

As I am writing this just past 5:00 a.m. on a summer morning near the Pacific Ocean, I am hearing silence except for the symphony of seagulls that have decided that the day should begin and they need to continue the flying lessons of their now full sized babies. They all seem oblivious to the concerns that humans are focused on.

Deep down I know that my friend was not interested in my early morning listening. He wanted to know what people are saying to me. I reflected on this and this is what I have been hearing.

First off, I have been hearing more. I have had months where I am having two to three times as many coaching sessions as usual. That may be a function of more people having a need to be heard, people having more time to be heard, or people just having more to say.

I have heard stories of pain and anguish and I have heard stories of joy and jubilation. I have heard problems and I have heard solutions. I have heard pessimism and I have heard optimism. I have heard from people who are bored and have nothing to do and people who have had one day off in the last five months. I have heard from people who have been dealing with the pandemic close to home daily and others who haven’t been impacted and don’t think it is a big deal. I have heard from people who have been dealing with deaths and some who have been celebrating births. I have heard from people who have lost their jobs and I have heard from people who have landed dream jobs. I have heard from young people who are not worried about their own health but don’t want to get their grandmother sick. I have heard from people who are concerned about social injustice and I have heard from people who are concerned about the people who are concerned with social injustice. I have heard fear and I have heard confidence. I have heard from people who see the tragedy in the times we are in and I have heard from people who see the opportunity in the times we are in. I heard from people who are less connected than usual and I have heard from people who have made a point of being more connected than usual.

In some ways I feel like I am hearing everything, and, in some ways, I feel like I am hearing nothing.

I reached out to a dear friend recently. I found that he was very down. He had been going through a lot and he seemed to be going through it alone. I asked him why he didn’t reach out to me and he said that he didn’t want me to experience him in this state.

“Genuine Listening means suspending memory, judgment, and desire and for a moment at least existing entirely for the other person.” - Mike Nichols

My question for you is “What are you hearing?”

One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone is to simply listen.

The challenge for many is to suspend memory, judgment, and desire and for a moment at least exist entirely for the other person.

You may have heard them say it before, you may disagree with what they are saying and you may want to be right or give them the solution, but all of those things get in the way of truly listening.

The quality of our communication affects the quality of our leadership and the quality of our lives! The quality of our communication is greatly impacted by the quality of our listening.

The quality of our listening is impacted by the quality of the questions we ask and how we listen to those answers.

Be aware that we can hear without listening!

Think of a time when you were truly listened to. Think about how that made you feel. Think about how that made you feel about the other person.

Perhaps today will be the day when someone who needs to be listened to will be lucky enough to be heard by you.

In our Extraordinary Leader Program recently we discussed the concept of “A Conversation of Lifetime”.

Most people are involved in hundreds of conversations in any given week. Many of the conversations we have are like the ones we have had before. If we are lucky in our lifetime, we will have one or a dozen conversations that truly stand out. When we ask people about the elements of their conversations of a lifetime here are some of the things they have told us:

  • They were both absolutely present
  • There was absolute trust and respect
  • There was openness and vulnerability
  • There was learning and discovery
  • There was gratitude and appreciation
  • There was sincere interest and curiosity
  • There was a shared feeling that something special had just happened I go back to my previous question.

What are you hearing?

I hope you are hearing that your ability to listen is a gift that you can give to others. I hope you will experience a conversation of a lifetime


Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. To contact them call 1-866-822-3481 toll free.

Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 36: CMAA Fall Preview

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This week on the podcast we are joined by a few of our CMAA HQ colleagues David McCabe and Kim Pasquale to discuss the upcoming slate of Fall events. From the Leadership/Legislative Conference to the Mid-Management Conference and the Communications Summit, there’s something on the schedule for everyone. Tune in to learn more and see what’s right for you. Stay well and remember, you can find us on iTunes! Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so you don't miss an episode! 

Episode 35: Beyond the Classroom

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In this episode designed specifically for our CMAA Student Members, we talk learning beyond the classroom and how students can take advantage of all that the club industry offers for personal growth including internships, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. Student Chapter Alumni Caroline Hollatz, a 2018 graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Restaurant, Hotel, and Tourism Management, who served as her Chapter’s President, and now works as the Student Liaison with the Ohio Valley Chapter, shares her passion. Our special correspondent for this episode is the charming and bubbly, Christina Krueger, Manager of Member Communities & Student Development.

Stay well and remember, you can find us on iTunes! Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so you don't miss an episode! 

This information is provided for informational purposes only. The contents are presented with no warranty, either expressed or implied by the Club Managers Association of America. No legal responsibility is assumed for the outcome of decisions, commitments or obligations made on the basis of this information. If your club is faced with a question concerning legal issues, you should contact the club’s legal counsel for the specific application of the law to your situation.