By John G. Fornaro
“By the end of the 2015 BoardRoom Distinguished Ideas Summit I had more than 50 items and ideas I wanted to implement at the St. Francis Yacht Club.”
And that, in a nutshell, describes Ron Banaszak’s experience at the second annual BoardRoom Distinguished Ideas Summit we hosted recently in Napa Valley and San Francisco.
BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs are truly a special grouping of private clubs…exceptional clubs based on their extraordinary delivery of a first class Member Experience to each and every one of their members.
We’ve realized what we’ve created by showcasing the most outstanding private clubs across the country. It’s a model with a message that can help clubs grow and enhance their member experience.
General managers of the top Distinguished Clubs across the country gathered for an exchange of ideas and discussion. The fact that every club has unique ideas and ever club is absolutely unique, the Distinguished Ideas Summit brings out some of those ideas in a format that has worked. It’s quick and it’s a meaningful learning environment.
The fast-paced Summit allowed us to host the distinguished club representatives at the ‘Taste of Oakville”, a special wine tasting event hosted by the Oakville Winegrowers of Napa Valley, featuring some of the country’s most outstanding wineries.
A second day of presentations at San Francisco’s Olympic Club attracted attention as managers in 20-minute segments, presented ideas they’ve implemented in their clubs…ideas which other managers now are able to adopt at their clubs.
To wit: “After assembling my board report, I proudly showed my board the value enhancements our members will receive, as well as showcasing the high quality of the clubs with whom I was able to network,” added the enthusiastic St. Francis Yacht Club general manager.
“The Distinguished Ideas Summit accomplishes a great exchange of information, with the premiere private clubs, in the shortest period of time, and for the least expense.”
Banaszak’s Distinguished Emerald Club of the World also hosted the summit participants at a gala dinner, featuring another unique member experience – a sterling performance by the Sons of the Season (SOTS), a St. Francis all-male singing group.
SOTS is a very special volunteer group, with a special memberships that allows these members to gather and participate at St. Francis…a unique membership experience, indicative of what this club offers its members.
While this is our second Summit, (the first happened in Florida last year) it seems some people just don’t get what distinguished clubs program is all about. They’re wondering why we’re helping the country’s top clubs.
In reality, the program and process is much, much more than that. The top clubs, because they’re the innovators really are helping many lower tiered clubs, and we’re the facilitator.
It’s kind of like the many of the state governments in this country. States have rights and abilities that the federal government doesn’t have. And as a result, they’re incubators for ideas, thoughts and action.
For example Colorado through its legalization of marijuana is a testing ground for many states. What happens in Colorado will be enlightening for other states.
The same can be said of the most outstanding private clubs in the country. The top tiered BoardRoom Distinguished Clubs have the money, the resources and the passion to make their ideas work…they can take a risk. If something doesn’t work, they move on to something else.
That’s what we’re doing! At the Distinguished Ideas Summit, leaders of these top tiered club present ideas that have worked for them, and what it means for their members’ experience. We want others to learn from their experiences, and it’s happening.
Distinguished Ideas Summit is not just an event, but also a different way of learning about what works for private clubs. The Distinguished Clubs (Emerald and Gold) award program aims to vitalize and preserve private clubs by fostering a ceaseless drive to improve the Member Experience offered by private clubs throughout the world.
As we’ve reiterated many times in the past, the mission for BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs is to help strengthen the private club industry by recognizing and awarding the top 10 percent of clubs (Distinguished Gold Clubs) and the top five percent (Distinguished Emerald Clubs) for their best practices relating to the club’s Member Experience.
With the Summit, we have to walk the talk. The club leaders are our members…our customers and we have to give them great service and a great member experience like they’ll create for their members. That’s our objective and that’s what we’ve accomplished.
Our Distinguished Ideas Summit is not just about being recognized (for a great members experience), but it also recognized the fact that other clubs take on these proven ideas to enhance the member experience for their own members.
Yes, a club is the home away from home for its members, but is the club capturing its own myths, its own ideas that work for their member experience?
History happens every day at your club, and these are the kinds of things that can contribute to the member experience at your club.
With BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs we are working with a very special group of professionals who ‘get it’, and who want to continually learn to enhance their club’s member experience.
As with Banaszak’s comments, other club professionals agree:
Daniel Somogyi, general manager/COO, Montclair Golf Club, West Orange, NJ
Club managers have helped me understand the amount of detail that goes into determining how we are selected and what tools we need to be a successful club. The programs and tools that are provided by BoardRoom magazine helps us to be better at our job…and look at our industry with a more of a “ business eye.”
As they say, “leaders are readers” but leaders are also followers. We learn from each other and use the knowledge to take it back to our own clubs.
Paul M.G. Astbury representing Ocean Reef Club and the Ocean Reef Foundation
I was not sure what to expect from the two days in San Francisco and I want say thank you to you and your team for an informative time and for your sincere effort to promote, educate and improve the knowledge of all those attending.
We can all do with well-planned events like this to give us the much-needed shot in the arm as we go about our daily business dealings.
I never tire of visits to Napa Valley. Thank you for that too. It was interesting to see some wineries going back to first fermentations in concrete vats. Who would have thought it? And, what a great idea of the St. Francis Yacht Club to take a leaf out of the Bohemian Club’s playbook with special dues for entertainers! A great club with a great history.
I thoroughly enjoyed making the presentation on foundations at Ocean Reef Club. There is tremendous potential for clubs to simply copy the success of ORC with little or no effort. I thank you again for a fun and informative two days.”
Thomas J. Noyes, general manager, Spring Island Club, Okatie, SC
At our annual meeting the week before the Distinguished Ideas Summit, I reminded our members of our designation as a BoardRoom Distinguished Emerald Club of the World and the fact that I would be attending the summit.
Our members had a renewed sense of pride at the designation and thrilled to know I would be participating with managers of other distinguished clubs.
This summit provided focused information and, maybe most importantly, we had the chance to ask specific questions about implementation, cost or impact. Now, if we think back to a summit idea, we can just go to that person and their presentation and get the ‘down and dirty’ on how the idea worked for them.
The fact that these ideas all come from Distinguished Clubs just seems to give them a bit of credibility. Not because we don’t love stealing ideas from anybody, anywhere, anytime but that it might just make it a little easier to sell an idea to our committees and boards if it’s something presented at the Distinguished Ideas Summit.
Paul Levy, vice president PGA, general manager and CEO, Toscana Country Club, Las Vegas, Nevada
Great event John, It was fun and informative!
Robert Williams, Westmoreland Club, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Thank you for an outstanding conference. Every presenter was excellent! And the networking events were absolutely superb.
Publisher’s Final Thoughts
Yes, our Distinguished Ideas Summit represents an additional benefit for a BoardRoom Distinguished Club…and for sure, another reason to become a BoardRoom Distinguished Club.
At least, that’s the way I see it.
And by the way, planning has already started for next year’s Distinguished Ideas Summit scheduled for September 19 and 20, 2016 at the Union League Club of Philadelphia with host general manager and COO Jeff McFadden.
It’s an outstanding Distinguished Emerald Club of the World, one of the country’s most historic, founded in 1862, and built to support the Union and policies of Abraham Lincoln.
Save the date for another outstanding BoardRoom Distinguished Ideas Summit and another great time of exchanging ideas for the betterment of your club’s member experience.
At least that’s the way I see it!
John G. Fornaro, publisher
If you have comments on this article or suggestions for other topics, please contact John Fornaro at (949) 376-8889 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org