Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 61 – Meet Kate & Sonya

 Permanent link

Please join us in welcoming our newest CMAA team members, Kate McDevitt and Sonya Rome! Kate joined our team back in June as the Director of Web Content Administration. Sonya came on board in July as our new Manager of Certification. Both of our new team members chatted with us about their backgrounds and interests and what they are most looking forward to doing with CMAA.

  If you want to learn more about the CMAA Staff, you can find the July/August edition of Club Management magazine.

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. 60: Back to School and Fall Education

 Permanent link

In this episode, we’re joined by Cam Schultz, Vice President of Marketing, Club Procure, and Julie Montross, CMAA’s Senior Vice President, Business Development as they give us a preview of CMAA’s newest event: The Chef Summit, designed specifically to meet the needs of club chefs. The Chef Summit will take place September 21-23 in Louisville, KY and is presented in partnership with Club Procure, a CMAA Education Partner, with additional support provided by Sysco, ChefWorks, and Smithfield.

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

What Moves Us?

 Permanent link

I was watching a documentary a few weeks ago. A famous Hollywood director was saying his friend John Hughes told him he had written two screenplays on subsequent weekends. One of them was called “Home Alone” and since he was busy directing, he thought his friend Chris should consider making it into a movie.

When I heard this my first thought was “What am I doing this weekend?”

Tom Schellenberg is a participant of our Extraordinary Leaders Program. Shelley and I interviewed Tom as part of a call we call Conversations with the Masters. He is a General Manager of a Private Golf Club in Vancouver. He is an athlete. He is and Extraordinary Leader. He is passionate about doing something to support people with mental health issues in the world. As many of you know, being a GM of a Club can be very time consuming and leave little time for other things. Tom and his brother Kyle found time to set up a charity called “The Weight We Carry”, to connect with an organization in Kathmandu, Nepal, to organize an expedition where they would carry canoes to the base camp of Mount Everest, make a documentary called “One step at a time” and raise enough money to build a transit house in Kathmandu to house women with mental health issues.

Whenever I think of Tom and Kyle, I want to do something to make the world a better place.

Alexandra Clark was a student at Michigan State when we first met her. As a teenager, she knew that one day she would own a Chocolate Company. She studied and experienced everything she could that would move her toward her dream. She created a chocolate company in Hamtramck, MI, called Bon Bon Bon. Her passion to make people’s lives better with chocolate has never wavered. Her passion is inspiring and infectious.

Alex always moves me to consider how I am honoring my passions.

When we ask the question “What moves us?” the answers would be different for different people. Another question might be “Are we movable?” and if so “When?”

Simply put, our job as coaches is to support movement. People don’t ask for our support because they want nothing to change.

It is not uncommon for humans to create lives for themselves of comfort. We know that today we are going to do a lot of the same things we did yesterday. We are going to think a lot of the same thoughts we thought yesterday. We are going to use a lot of the same words we used yesterday. We will likely interact with a lot of the same people we did yesterday.

Comfort has a lot of benefits. Comfort is to be celebrated. Comfort can be peaceful and reassuring.

Comfort can also keep us small and limit the experiences and learning that comes with going beyond comfort.

Coaches and leaders want to know what moves people. Our role is to help people grow and develop. Our role is to encourage and challenge and celebrate. If we can find out what truly moves someone, we can do our part to make a difference in the lives of others.

Some people are moved by words. It could be words in a song, in poetry or literature or from a movie. It could be words of encouragement, words recognizing a talent or a contribution or perhaps words of instruction that support growth. The words of an Extraordinary Conversation can move mountains.

Some people are moved by success. Some are moved by failure.

Some people are moved by compassion and others are moved by injustice.

For fans of biography, they might be moved by the example of what others have done or been.

Some people are moved by their own design. Some people are moved by the design of others. Some people are moved by loss or tragedy and others are moved by moments of great joy and celebration.

Some people are simply moved my moving companies.

The important questions are:

What moves you? What moves you from your head to your heart to your hands? What moves you into action? What makes you decide? When will you decide? If not now… when? What environments do you have that move you? What differences will being moved have on your life, your relationships, your family, your organization, and the world?

The inspiration to do something can come from anywhere. It can be a thought that feels good and that is wonderful. It can also be something that leads to a decision. As coaches we are thrilled when we get to be part of or a result of that decision.

The simple act of deciding can lead to a screen play, moving or at least climbing mountains or building a chocolate company.

You might be moved to do something that could take one minute, one weekend, one year or one lifetime.

The time it takes to do what you have been moved to do is not nearly as important as the difference it makes.

What moves you?


Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. To reach the for a complimentary coaching session call 1-866-822-3481 toll free.

City Club Focus – Hope and Optimism

 Permanent link

City Clubs have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic as our facilities are in most cases tied into the urban centers in which we serve. We do not typically have outdoor facilities or outdoor recreational facilities that have been the saving grace for many of our private club counterparts. Our members who frequent our clubs based on their downtown workspace have found that working from home has replaced the need of the dreaded commute. With that said, most city clubs have been able to provide their members with enough take-out food and beverage offerings, provide online programmatic opportunities and find other ways for their members to stay emotionally connected. This article is not intended to relive what has occurred but look ahead to what will again be a crucial rebuild.

I have been thinking a lot about the phrase the light at the end of the tunnel. An internet search on wordorigins.com revealed that the phrase is a metaphor used to refer to signs that a long period of adversity is coming to an end. The metaphor, if not exact phrasing, dates to at least 1879 when it appears in a letter by writer George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) about a recent bout with an illness. The writer used a pen name because she wanted to escape the stereotype of women’s writing being limited to lighthearted romances. As it turns out, she was an English novelist and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era.

Cosmos Club, a men’s only club at the time, was formed one year before that phrase was written. I am not sure anyone at the time would have predicted two life altering pandemics (Spanish Flu and COVID-19), two world wars, many other conflicts, and catastrophic events. Like Cosmos Club and many other city clubs who have been around for more than a century, the phrase has stood the test of time and now more than ever, there is reason for hope and optimism.

Over the summer months and into the fall, many of the normal in-person club activities and events will return. I am not sure Cosmos Club’s John Wesley Powell and his cofounders would have anticipated a Club that now boasts more than 2,700 members and that women make up a significant part of its fabric. Those founders would be thrilled to know that the social component for which this Club was founded on remains strong.

On May 1, our traditional annual meeting was held virtually as we come towards the waning days of restricted club access. The incoming Club President at Cosmos Club, Paul Taskier, summed up our path forward in this excerpt from his inaugural address:

I have no grand scheme for my short year as President of the Club, no ambitious proposals. This will be a year when we climb back from the abyss of the pandemic and begin the slow return to normal. I do want to ensure that we come back strong, with a renewed sense of connection, a greater appreciation for the social and intellectual life of the Club, and more enjoyment and participation in all that the Club offers us.

The lines between home and work have become blurred this year, and it is far from clear that we will return to the formerly strict division between leisure at home and work at the office. I think that sea change makes the opportunities afforded by the Club even more central, even more important, and even more compelling.

Many of us are simply tired of being at home this whole past year. We can, and we should, ensure that the Club becomes a “third place,” where we can work if we want, relax, read, socialize, have a coffee and a pastry, be entertained and engaged by programs, and where we can entertain others with first-in-class cuisine and service. A unique destination that combines a Viennese coffeehouse, lecture hall, museum, library, garden, meeting space and restaurant. All with friends we have already made and friends we have yet to make.

It has been observed that civilization developed with the advent of cities, where there is a dense network of relationships and interactions that are necessarily constrained by norms and mores which are oil to the engine of society. City clubs mirror those societal interactions in a more intimate way. A club - which carefully admits people of similar interests and inclinations, who are deemed likely to get along with each other - provides us with the chance to make social and emotional connections that enrich our lives in the most elemental way. Our Club is a resource, not merely for the vibrant intellectual programs that stimulate us, but for our most human need, the need to connect with others. It is my hope that in the coming year we can all be revitalized, and our spirits uplifted by our return to the Club and all that it has to offer.

My best wishes to my city club peers, and the entire club community, for a successful renewal and rebuild. There is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel.

Mitchell Platt, MCM, CCE
General Manager, Cosmos Club and Vice Chairman, CMAA

Mitchell Platt

Dealing with Burnout

 Permanent link

I know a particular leader whose career I have been watching for a long time.

I have recently been hearing feedback from people the leader has either worked with in the past or is working with now. I have heard things like “best leader I have ever worked with,” “I would go in whatever direction this leader points me,” “This is the kind of leader and human being I aspire to be,” “A person of seemingly limitless energy,” “This leader doesn’t have time for drama or gossip,” and “People just want to be around this leader”.

I had the chance to spend some time with this leader recently and I can tell you that in the moments I did, the tank was empty.

The leader didn’t look the same. It was like a spark had been extinguished. The usual optimism seemed to have gone on vacation. The language had changed. “I am not sure how long I can do this.” “I am not sure if I want to do this.” “I am having trouble accessing me.” “We are doing the best we can with a fraction of the staff.” “I am spending a lot of time healing overworked staff who are not appreciated.” “I am not having fun in a career that I love.” “There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but I am not sure I want to make it to the end of the tunnel.”

For anyone who has had a long career it might be easy to think back to a time or place when you might have had similar feelings.

It is a lot easier to be the person looking back on burnout than it is to be the person experiencing it. When you are in it, the energy and the creativity needed to get out of it is often just not there. The simple solution that someone from the outside might offer might not be that simple at this time.

If great leaders can find themselves in this place, then we all can let go of judgment of the fact that we are experiencing it and appreciate it for what it is.

Perhaps we can see it as a message. Like a GPS system talking to us, perhaps it is time to re-calculate. When things are going well, we may not take the time to make sure they are going in the best direction for us.

For some people burnout happens when they get disconnected from their vision. If you lose sight of where you are going or why you are doing what you are doing, it can seem like your wheels are spinning but you are not going anywhere. When your efforts are connected to a clear vision or purpose then the hard work doesn’t seem so hard. When there is no connection then the easy work seems harder.

As coaches we help people identify their needs and then learn how to get them met. When people are getting their needs met they are attractive, dynamic, productive, energized, fun, funny and energized. They are showing up as the opposite of being burnt out. When you get clear on your needs and can set your environments up to get them met you can reduce the possibility of or effects from burnout.

Some people must deal with burnout because they do know they are allowed to, or don’t know how to set boundaries. Boundaries are the things we set up to keep people from violating our needs. They teach people what is acceptable to you and how to treat you. If you don’t teach people what is unacceptable, then don’t be surprised if they do the unacceptable.

Have you identified your values? Similar to identifying your needs we can help you to identify your values. When your needs are met you can be your best self. When what you are doing is in alignment with your values then everything is more effortless. If that alignment is not present, then we are setting up a situation where burnout is possible.

Although new factors, like pandemics, labor shortages, budget constraints, and changing rules and regulations may throw the way you used to manage your time out the window, it is still important to consider how you are using your time in a new situation. There may be some things that you used to say “yes” to that you need to say “no” to now.  There may be some things you used to say “no” to that you need to say “yes” to now. It is really a time to get clear on what is important. The leader described at the top has been saying “no” to the number one thing to be able to say “yes” to numbers 42 and 63. Please do your best, even in the toughest times to schedule time for the most important things.

It is very likely that during or before a time of burnout that we are very disconnected from our passions. The things we love in life fuel us. Burnout is a fuel shortage. What are the things that light you up and how can you find time for them? I remember a time in my career when due to some unforeseen circumstances I had to work 18 days in a row. When I got my first day off, my wife told me that the first thing she needed me to do was to go play golf and come back to the family energized. I eagerly fulfilled her request.

Burnout might have shown up to give you the message that you need to address one or more of the issues above. It also might be showing up to give you the message that you should be doing something else or be doing it somewhere else.

Whatever message it is sending you, I hope it supports you in getting back to your best soon!


Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. To reach the for a complimentary coaching session call 1-866-822-3481 toll free.

Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 59: It’s a CSFA Summer

 Permanent link

In this episode, we’re joined by newly minted CSFA Board Member, Janine Rich-Scarlett to talk about her new role and what she’s looking forward to in CSFA’s future. Then, our colleague Katherine Lord jumps in to chat about the CSFA Annual Conference. This year’s event will take place August 25-26 at The Club at Admirals Cove in Jupiter, FL. After the challenges of last year, Katherine and the CSFA team cannot wait to gather, celebrate, and learn together once again.

If you’re interested learning more about CSFA or registering for the Annual Conference, visit www.csfassociation.com or contact Katherine Lord.

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. 58: All About Coaching

 Permanent link

CMAA’s Coaching Program allows members the opportunity to experience what it is like to work with a life coach outside of conference week. This week, we’re joined by Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall of Clarity Success Coaching – two important members of the extended CMAA team – to discuss what coaching is and what its benefits are to the membership of CMAA. This discussion runs the gamut and we cover everything from how Kevin and Shelley transitioned from the club management profession into coaching to how to handle burnout after a year and a half of working through a pandemic.

If you’re interested in connecting with Kevin and Shelley, visit CMAA ClubCareers or call the CMAA Coaching Hotline: 866-822-3481. You can read Kevin’s articles on the Back of the House Blog, too.

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. 57: Person-Organization Fit

 Permanent link

Joining us for this episode is Matt Samel, PhD. Dr. Samel teaches at Johnson & Wales University in the College of Hospitality Management’s Center for Food & Beverage and serves as the JWU-Providence Student Chapter’s Faculty Advisor. We were fortunate to have him share his research with us this month. His focus of study is in organizational culture and person-organization fit and he dives right in to discussing the relevant findings from his work and we have a great conversation about the evergreen importance of defining workplace culture. Key takeaways include:

  1. There is a significant relationship between an employee’s individual values and the culture of an organization operating in the private club segment.
  2. There is a significant relationship between the culture of an organization operating in the private club segment and person-organization fit.
  3. There is a significant relationship between person-organization fit and job satisfaction, intent to remain with an organization, and willingness to recommend the organization as a good place to work in the private club segment.

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.