This blog features updates from CMAA’s CEO, Jeffrey D. Morgan, FASAE, CAE, for the CMAA membership. It will keep you up to date on the latest CMAA news and club industry developments.

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February 2018: CMAA Bylaw Changes – Your Voice and Vote Count!

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2.13.18 USPTA Visit

The World Conference on Club Management and Club Business Expo is almost upon us and with it, a time of transition at CMAA. Transition comes in the form of leadership changes that includes new Board officers and directors, and new member volunteer committee assignments. Before we arrive at the month of March, I first want to look back. I am amazed and grateful to the hundreds of CMAA volunteers and all the work they did in 2017. I can’t wait to share more with you during my State of the Association address, and the soon to be released CMAA 2017 Annual Report. Still, one important 2017 member volunteer action needs your attention! 

At the request of CMAA National Board and Bylaws Committee, CMAA professional members have the opportunity and responsibility to consider and vote on five (5) CMAA National Bylaw amendments/propositions on this year’s national ballot. I want to ensure you are aware of these and understand the roots for the recommended changes as you consider each one.

In early 2017, CMAA’s Bylaws were comprehensively studied by the Association’s legal counsel; as such, several legal recommendations and housekeeping items were brought to the attention of the CMAA Board of Directors and the 2017 Bylaws Committee. These Bylaw proposals are now presented for the membership’s consideration and vote. Each has the full support and approval of the National Board and the Bylaws Committee.

2018 National Bylaw Propositions:

  1. Consideration to implement the thorough legal review/recommendations of the CMAA National Bylaws.
  2. Consideration to change the official name of the Association.
  3. Consideration to remove the membership classification of Surviving Spouse.
  4. Consideration to update the titling of CMAA’s elected Executive Officers.
  5. Consideration to add Professional members to two national Standing Committees.

#1, Complete Legal Review and Overhaul of CMAA’s National Bylaws. The National Bylaws have not had a legal review in more than a decade. The 2017 Bylaws Committee worked extensively with legal counsel to make the proposed Bylaws consistent with association best practices while preserving CMAA’s historical integrity and intent.

#2, Proposed official name change of the Association. This proposal marks a change of our organization’s name to The Club Management Association of America, still maintaining the acronym of CMAA. Please take the time to review the rationale behind this proposal. A good place to start is re-reading CMAA President Bob James’ explanation from 2017. This change recognizes that CMAA is becoming an umbrella organization for many of the professional staff within clubs as well as indicates that a new name will be even more credible in understanding and delivering content to club boards.

#3, Proposed removal of Surviving Spouse membership classification. Due to diminishing interest, this national membership classification is no longer relevant. CMAA currently has one Surviving Spouse member.

#4, Proposed titling updates to the Association’s elected Executive Officers. This change is an association best practice, and eliminates confusion with CMAA staff and committee/chapter volunteer titles. President to Chairman; Vice President to Vice Chairman.

#5, Proposed additions of Professional members to Standing Committees. CMAA’s Board is adopting best practice by recommending changing the composition of the Budget & Finance Committee and the Audit Committee to allow for up to two (2) additional Professional members beyond the current named CMAA National Officers.

I hope these CMAA National Bylaw changes make sense to you. If you have questions, please feel reach out to me or any of your National Board members with your questions. If you are not attending World Conference and are eligible to vote, you can do so online at https://www.cmaa.org/vote/ no later than 12:00 noon EST, Monday, February 26. If you’ll be joining us at Conference in San Francisco, eligible voters will have three days to vote on site.

As I end this month, I want to express my sincere thanks to all the CMAA volunteers at both CMAA National and in our 43 Chapters for your efforts over the past year. I am looking forward to many of you continuing your involvement as we turn the CMAA calendar with new national leadership. Speaking of CMAA National leadership, my thanks to Bob James, CCM, CCE, CHE, for his leadership as CMAA National President this past year as well as to Jill Philmon, CCM, CCE, and Bill Langley, CCM, CCE, for their Board leadership and tenure. Each has contributed at the highest level for CMAA and has made a big difference for your organization. 

Until next month,

January 2018: Five Character Traits of Innovation Leaders

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 01.16.18 New Pres Dinner

Happy New Year! I am full of hope for 2018! For me that hope starts with looking inward and self reflection. How can I start the year with the best mindset possible? How can I be a better person in 2018? I want to share from a blog that was posted in Forbes titled “Five Character Traits of Innovation Leaders.” In my opinion, the blog could have easily been titled “Five Character Traits of Successful Club Leaders.” So, what are the five traits that are important for [club] professionals as well as innovators?

Don’t Do. Influence. Being a role model in your club is critical. The tone, the work environment, and the culture start with the management staff. The higher up you go in the organizational chart, the more influence you have. So my hope for 2018 is that we all become better role models at our clubs and organizations.

Seed the future, not the present. As leaders, we all need to be in the present, but we need to be continuously thinking about and planting seeds for the future. The health of our clubs or organizations is dependent on it. So my hope for 2018 is that we all keep our feet firmly in the present, but plant seeds for growth, change, and a path to ensure our clubs and organizations thrive today and into the future.

Work for the love of change and improvement, rather than what you get for yourself. As leaders, it is important that we focus outwardly – on the success of our staff, on the exceptional member’s experiences we provide, and on the health of our clubs. So my hope for 2018 is that we all put our personal interests aside and focus our attention on how to improve our clubs and organizations. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of yourself too, so I hope you focus on improving your own personal health, wealth, and happiness in 2018.

Take risk that will benefits others, even when – especially when! – those who will benefit may not even know what you are doing. While often a scary concept, risk taking is part of being a leader. But when you, your Board, and your management team are grounded in doing what is best for the organization, that entrepreneurial spirit becomes second nature and thrives. So my hope for 2018 is that all of us become better aligned, better risk takers, and better at becoming entrepreneurs in our clubs and organizations.

Share, share, share all the time. Transparent leaders are often the most respected and successful leaders. They treat information and knowledge as a “treasure to be shared” and not as a control mechanism. This transparency creates aligned organizations that are in sync and headed in the same direction. So my hope for 2018 is that all of us become more transparent leaders - trusting and sharing within our organizations more freely.

The blog ends with some critical insight. “There is one thing that all five of these leadership characteristics have in common: They are all ways of being, or thinking, or acting. They are not skill-based; they don’t require any specialized knowledge; and they certainly don’t require any authority. They simply require a change in how a leader thinks.” So as I end for this month, my hope for 2018 is that all of us become better people in 2018, by being, thinking, and acting better! I will do my best to be a better person in 2018 and I hope you will too!

If you’d like to read the Forbes blog, you can access it online.

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

December 2017: Our Plate for the Upcoming Year

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Jeff and Mead

Happy Holidays! CMAA is winding down a busy and successful 2017. I look forward to sharing more about our 2017 successes at the upcoming World Conference and in our Annual Report that will be available in early 2018. In the meantime, 2018 is just around the corner, so I want to share what is on our plate for the upcoming year:

  1. Consider and announce a Business Management Institute (BMI) Sports & Recreation elective to be launched in 2019 after review by CMAA’s Professional Development Committee and CMAA’s Board.
  2. Announce and implement a CMAA Fellows Program, creating a Hall of Fame-like program for CMAA. Nominations would commence later in 2018 and the first class of CMAA Fellows would be inducted at the World Conference in 2019.
  3. Continue to grow the Club Resource Center’s abilities and services for clubs with a successful launch of a club professional’s compensation survey in 2018.
  4. Launch a strategic cycle of continuous review, evaluation, and enhancement of the Certified Club Manager (CCM) program beginning with a review of the competency areas for club management. This would incorporate changes in text, exam, and BMI course work in the future.
  5. Approve and implement a long absent, but necessary, CMAA Chapter Affiliation Agreement that creates a proper legal and risk management framework for CMAA and its Chapters.
  6. Continue the important efforts of the CMAA Chapter-National Alignment Task Force into 2019 as this group considers ways to improve the overall CMAA joint member experience.
  7. Continue CMAA’s management of the Club Spa & Fitness Association (CSFA) by working with the organization to better serve their club professionals in CMAA member-managed clubs.
  8. Continue to grow The Club Foundation in support and service to CMAA and the greater club community.
  9. Install new Association Management Software (AMS) at CMAA National Headquarters that will improve the service ability to CMAA members by creating an improved back office technology infrastructure.
  10. Continue CMAA National’s own journey into evolving the internal staff culture to promote CMAA’s culture principals.

2018 hits the midpoint of our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan and there is a still lot to be done to complete our objectives by 2020. However, thanks to the involvement of so many of you, I continue to be pleased with the pace of evolution of CMAA to better serve you, our CMAA membership.

As we approach the end of 2017, I am so thankful to those members who stepped into a leadership role (Board, Committee, or Task Force) at the National or Chapter level; served as a speaker; mentored a peer or student; hired a CMAA member; contributed to The Club Foundation; answered a CMAA survey; or connected with a fellow CMAA member/peer needing advice. Our CMAA community is strong and as we approach the end of the year, on behalf of the CMAA staff and Board, thank you for the part you play in CMAA and we wish you a very happy holiday season.

Until next month,


November 2017: Effective Listening

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 11.15.17 NSEC

We have just finished the National Student Educational Conference in Washington, DC. For me, this event provides an opportunity to mingle with the future of club management. It is also a time for me to listen and listen hard with an open mind about what is changing, what may be changing, and what should be changing to serve our future CMAA Professional members.

Hearing comes naturally, but effective listening is a learned skill. I freely admit that I am someone who can always learn to listen better and realize it is a skill that takes practice and concentration. To listen effectively, experts indicate we need to perfect these abilities:

  1. Be present and step away from distractions paying attention to what is said.
  2. Be open-minded and curious with a desire to learn from what is said.
  3. Don’t just listen, look at the person speaking and take in their unspoken communications.
  4. Don’t interrupt, jump to conclusions, and don’t be dismissive.
  5. Ask questions to understand.
  6. Try to put yourself in the speaker’s position or with his/her background.

Effective listening is an art. At CMAA, we are very interested in what you have to say about how to move the organization in the direction to best benefit all members. You may have seen the announcement a few weeks ago regarding the launch of a new resource in CMAA’s ClubCareers targeted at entry-level opportunities. To date, more than 100 jobs have been posted on this new, no-cost CMAA member benefit. We hope you find it valuable.

We also responded to a community in need this past month as CMAA helped the counties of Napa and Sonoma in California recently devastated by wildfires. The wineries and their employees are so supportive of CMAA and our club community, and we wanted to show our support in their time of need. CMAA’s International Wine Society, the Club Foundation (CF) and CMAA joined together to contribute $15,000 to relief efforts on your behalf.

Speaking of giving, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving is known as #GivingTuesday. We hope you will consider a donation to The Club Foundation during this season of giving and help CF take advantage of doubling your gift as CMAA’s Carolinas Chapter is matching all contributions up to $10,000 through December 4! In addition, the Ohio Valley Chapter has committed to a $5,000 donation on #GivingTuesday and the Georgia Chapter is making a five year pledge for a total of $25,000, beginning in 2018. Thank you to the Carolinas, Ohio Valley, and Georgia Chapters for your support, and enabling CF to help fund education, research, and outreach initiatives to better the club industry. The easiest way to donate is to text the word clubs to 41444 using your smartphone.

As I end this month, I hope you, your clubs, and your families have a wonderful Thanksgiving. The CMAA Board and staff team are very thankful for all our members.

Until next month, 

Jeff Morgan

October 2017: The CMAA Community

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 10.17.17 - Paradise of the Pacific Visit

Last month, my wife, Susie and I took vacation to escape from life for a bit. We visited Hawaii and while there made a stop to meet with the Paradise of the Pacific Chapter. What a terrific CMAA community! Community comes in many forms – club, church, neighborhood, and, of course, our CMAA community. It is our CMAA community that I want to focus on this month.

The self-proclaimed youngest attendee at this year’s CMAA Mid-Management Conference (MMC) posted on LinkedIn that the professional connections she has made via her CMAA involvement have given her inspiration, early career success, and excellent learning experiences to get her club career off to a great start. She identified the MMC speakers as top managers and icons that humbled her to be in their presence.

I feel comfortable saying that none of the MMC speakers would consider themselves to be “icons” but they do understand the importance of giving back to a CMAA community that cares for each other, helps those who will follow in their footsteps, and openly shares so everyone in the CMAA community might be successful. My hope is that every CMAA member (that’s you) will share with those who might follow in your professional footsteps too. Be a mentor, visit your nearby university hospitality class, share internships opportunities openly, offer a club tour for students, be a resource to a new club professional, volunteer at a high school career day, and/or commit yourself to giving back at your local CMAA Chapter or at the National level. All of us can ensure our CMAA community is strong by giving back where we are able. I know many of you already give back, so let me say thank you for doing this. It is one of the special things about CMAA, and about each of you that makes me proud to be your CMAA CEO.

Here are a few other ways to get involved within CMAA that you might consider:

  • Sign up to be considered for service on a National Committee. This annual call to National service closes on October 31, 2017.
  • San Francisco World Conference registration opens on October 16. Consider how to enhance your Conference experience by spending time with students - our CMAA future leaders - in March 2018.
  • CMAA’s National Student Education Conference is in Washington, DC, next month. As this event rotates to a new city next year, consider how you or your club can get involved.
  • Nationally-recognized “Giving Tuesday” is just around the corner on November 28. Consider a financial contribution to The Club Foundation, which funds many scholarships for others in our CMAA community. This year the CMAA Carolinas Chapter has stepped up to match every dollar donated to The Club Foundation (up to $10,000) from November 10 to December 4. My thanks to the Carolinas Chapter, and I will look to you to help ensure we maximize their generous commitment.
  • CMAA starts with you being a member. If you haven’t renewed your CMAA National membership, don’t delay and do it today.

As I close this month, I want to share a comment from a CMAA Leadership/Legislative Conference session speaker that provided five components of the most successful professional associations: 1) they give members a voice; 2) they build a community that promotes knowledge sharing; 3) they foster cultures of opportunity; 4) they embrace continuous change; and 4) they ensure local and national entities are best aligned to serve members.

While we are always striving to do more, I think CMAA does well on this list of success factors thanks to members helping members. Thank you for being an involved member. You are CMAA!

Until next month,


September 2017: Harvey, Irma, LLC and CMAA

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 09.19.17 Jeff 

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will be remembered for a very long time as they brought havoc and destruction to Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and surrounding areas. There are difficult days ahead for those impacted. It has been heartwarming to see various efforts to support the club community embraced by so many throughout our profession and industry. If you haven’t supported these efforts, I encourage you and your club to consider supporting Clubs Helping Clubs.

CMAA’s Leadership/Legislative Conference (LLC) took place earlier this month and I gave a mid-year report to those in attendance. Much has been happening at CMAA and I want to share some highlights here too. Before I start, I want to thank the more than 30 LLC attendees who skipped the early flight home and participated in the launch of the CMAA/National Club Association organized Capitol Hill visits with various members of the House of Representatives. It was terrific to have our joint CMAA/NCA voices heard in Washington.

So here are some CMAA highlights from my semi-annual CMAA update given at LLC:

  1. Financially, CMAA continues its positive financial story with a net surplus projected for the year ending October 31, 2017. After many years, CMAA can finally say we are no longer up side down as our current assets exceed our current liabilities! The good financial news continues as CMAA paid off the balance of a 2015 short-term, $750,000 loan more than two years early.
  2. CMAA’s Research continues to grow with the release of CMAA’s independent 2017 Finance and Operations Report, with data from more than 400 participating clubs.  Summary data was sent to members and the full report and interactive “club to industry comparison portal” is available via the Club Resource Center.
  3. CMAA’s effort to upgrade Club Management magazine has been successful with larger and more frequent issues. Specifically the page count was doubled to 48 pages and now members receive six issues annually.
  4. CMAA announced it will be assuming the management of the Club Spa & Fitness Association on October 1, 2017. We see lots of synergy created for both organizations by this move and everyone is excited about the possibilities.
  5. CMAA will be asking the membership to approve a name change to Club Management Association of America as part of proxy voting in conjunction with World Conference. See the recent letter from CMAA’s President James to the membership for more information.
  6. The Club Foundation has grown with more donations and more outflow in scholarships and grants in 2017. Thanks to our contributors and if you haven’t yet made a 2017 contribution, visit the online donation portal.
  7. Internally, CMAA’s effort to replace aging association management software is on track to go live in spring 2018.
  8. The next step in reviewing and updating our policies, controls, and governance structures is a legal review of CMAA’s Bylaws. The goal is to ensure CMAA is considering best practice for association oversight and operation. This effort has created several bylaw change recommendations for members to vote on in the coming months. More to follow on all the changes later this fall.
  9. A draft of a CMAA Chapter Affiliation Agreement was shared and discussed at LLC. It will now be distributed to all CMAA Chapter boards for feedback and questions. The anticipated timeline includes approval in March and implementation in late 2018.
  10. Also at LLC, CMAA announced the launch of a two-year Chapter-National Alignment Executive Task Force that will explore ways the entire CMAA organization can better serve members though an interconnected network of National and Chapter entities; LLC attendees worked in groups to provide feedback to the task force for consideration.

I hope this gives you a better picture of how CMAA continues to grow to serve you in the best way possible. I continue to be pleased and excited by the progress CMAA is making on our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

August 2017: It’s CMAA Renewal Time

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Ad - 2017 Dues RenewalAugust starts CMAA’s annual membership renewal billing season. A few weeks ago, you received two communications from Bob James, CCM, CCE, CHE, about renewing your national membership, but I want to share a few additional insights.

Each year in July, the CMAA National Board approves a budget for the upcoming year and there is always discussion about whether to increase national dues. While I am pleased we have not increased membership fees since 2012, some would say that is foolish and we should raise them annually, in the same manner many clubs do. The financial side of me immediately does a trend analysis. If I go back to 2012 and use cost of living or inflation rates, CMAA Professional Member dues should be $907 in 2018. But if I go back about 10 years to 2007 (or pre-recession), inflation would indicate dues should be $850 or exactly where they stand today, which is an average increase of 1.3 percent per year since 2007.

It would be safe to say the demands on club management professionals have increased during the last ten years, and the need for a strong CMAA partnership with you is even greater. The more financial resources CMAA is provided, the more we can do for you. CMAA is answering that need while trying to maintain dues at the current rate.

Over the past few years, we have focused on better expense management and improving operating efficiencies. It has been effective with positive bottom lines. Currently, we are also focused on continuous investment in our organization to ensure we are operating efficiently and effectively serving you in the best possible manner. One big investment we are making is a new Association Management System (AMS) that will enable CMAA National (and we hope our CMAA chapters) to glean more efficiencies in the coming months and years. But there are two areas that I would ask you to consider going beyond your renewal to support CMAA while providing additional value beyond your core membership benefits.

  • Club Resource Center: For an annual cost of $1,195 for your club (use code CRC1710 for 10 percent off as a new subscriber or $1,075) your entire club receives a subscription to: a) staff training resources, b) CMAA’s annual research and club analytics reports with interactive abilities, and c) a library of other club management resources. CMAA currently has more than 5,000 active users in this system many of which are accessing the staff training education, including a five-part, club-specific food and beverage series by RCS Hospitality Group. I would encourage you to consider trying this for a year and seeing for yourself how this streamlines your staff education, while giving you and your management team valuable resources. More information may be found at http://www.clubresourcecenter.org/.
  • The Club Foundation: CMAA’s charitable arm, The Club Foundation (CF), has three purposes: a) club-focused educational grants and scholarships, b) club-focused research grants, and 3) charitable outreach and support of the club industry. I encourage you to give to CF as your financial support helps with the overall focus of CMAA in a charitable manner. Your 2018 national renewal notice with the CF dues check-off opportunity is one way to contribute to CF. All Members of the CMAA National Board, CF Board of Governors, and CMAA staff made personal donations to CF earlier this year. We are steadfastly committed to CF’s mission and the officers of both organizations gave an average of more than $1,000 each to support the work of The Club Foundation. A contribution by you is needed to sustain and grow the CF’s role this coming year. Please consider this as a personal request from me to you. More on The Club Foundation may be found at http://www.clubfoundation.org/.

As I end for this month, I view your CMAA renewal each year as a covenant of commitment by both of us. By paying your dues annually, you acknowledge your commitment to your professional association, CMAA, financially and with your future time; and by accepting your renewal payment, CMAA acknowledges that we will use your financial resources in the best possible manner on your behalf and ensure your time is well spent. 

Please accept my sincere thanks for your 2018 national membership renewal and also know I accept my part of fulfilling this important covenant between us. If you subscribe to the Club Resource Center or give to The Club Foundation, I applaud your commitment and say thank you for your support of these important CMAA initiatives.

 Until next month,

Jeff Morgan