By Dave White
“Jerry Glassman plays the unique role of a driven visionary leader who injects a large dose of commonsense and he’s certainly excited about receiving this distinguished honor.”
And with that Jay DiPietro summed up the reasons why Jerry Glassman, chair and CEO of Boca West Country Club, has been selected as BoardRoom magazine’s Distinguished Club President for 2014.
“He leads the board with a decisive, focused style while ensuring that the best interests of the club members and staff are not compromised. At the same time he has a hands-off approach and allows the professionals to ‘do their job,’” added DiPietro, president, COO and general manager of Boca West Country Club.
“As chair at Boca West, he’s given us free reign because he believes in us as professionals…and then he backs us. He has been the greatest chair a general manager could ask for, and we’re going to miss him when he leaves the board. I think the world of him, admire him and hold him in very highest regard. He’s very deserving…a leader among leaders.”
BoardRoom’s Distinguished President Glassman has served six years on the Boca West board, including the final two as the club’s chairman and CEO.
Boca West, a BoardRoom Distinguished Emerald Club of the World, remains one of the largest equity owned private clubs in the U.S. covering 1,400 lush acres of southern Florida tropical landscape in Boca Raton.
Boca West is its own city, home to more than 3,380 families (about 6,000 residents), featuring an array of magnificent residences, four golf courses and a staff of over 800 during the peak season.
BoardRoom magazine this year is recognizing 22 Private Club Presidents of the Year – 2014 from four countries, for practicing what they preach – leadership for the betterment of their clubs – board presidents or chairs who have served as the volunteer leaders of their club.
It’s the seventh year the industry’s top private club presidents have been honored by BoardRoom magazine for their outstanding work, and marks the first time two presidents, with overlapping terms have been recognized at the same club. There are two double entry recipients this year.
“More than 400 applications from clubs in seven countries flooded in this year. Our selection of the top 21, including Jerry Glassman as our Distinguished Club President, signifies another really successful search for leaders who have contributed so much to their private clubs and the member experience around the world,” explained BoardRoom publisher John Fornaro.
“BoardRoom’s Club President of the Year program marked this industry’s first effort to recognize club members who give of their time to serve as their club’s president, and we’re absolutely delighted to see this program continue to develop,” explained Richard Kopplin, partner in Kopplin & Kuebler LLC with Kurt Kuebler. The firm continues as one of the major supporters of this BoardRoom magazine recognition program.
“Kurt and I are exceedingly happy to see the board presidents receive accolades so richly deserved for the work they do, to the benefit of their club and its members,” Kopplin added.
“These are club presidents who ‘get it’, club presidents who give their clubs top performances and contribute significantly to their club’s member experience. They know what they need to do, and then they go ahead and ‘get it done,’” added Kuebler.
“This has been a busy and very successful period for Boca West Country Club,” exclaimed Fornaro, “and much credit goes to Jerry Glassman for his vision, insight and leadership as the club has worked continually to engage the club’s board of directors and members in fostering a spirit of cooperation all while enhancing the club’s member experience.”
For Boca’s GM DiPietro, Glassman’s story is inspiring.
“He’s a person I’d call a self-made success. He started out as a young middle class fellow working with his father who had a supermarket. Jerry worked his way through college and eventually became an attorney.
“He excelled at certain things and progressed little by little to become an employment attorney working with a variety of companies. Over the years, he created one of biggest employment firms of its type representing people like Donald Trump, and large companies in the hospitality and resort industries and other industrial and mercantile firms. He’s been very, very successful.
“I’ve worked with some great board chairs and 99 percent have been great,” DiPietro related, “but Jerry’s been very special with his understanding, based on his experience, from an employee’s point of view, and the legalities of employment, and a good honest feeling for how an employee feels. Negotiating union contracts for the hospitality and resort industries gave him great insight in to what goes on in our business.
“It’s been wonderful working with him. Increases for our employees’ salaries are in a proper place, and we’ve developed a scholarship program for employees’ children. This has been easy to do working with Jerry,” DiPietro added.
“Every Monday morning we meet and talk, go over things, have lunch and deal with any matters of concern. Jerry’s been a real joy to work with.”
Howard Krosser, the club’s current secretary/treasurer and Jerry Glassman have served their entire tenure (to end in February 2015) on the board together.
“We’ve been on the board together for the past six years, and he has been at the forefront of the Renaissance that is taking place at Boca West. His leadership skills and experience and his unique ability to understand the concerns and needs of our present membership, and his vision of future needs has led our board to make some difficult choices. This will continue to keep us number one. His talents continue to be invaluable to our success,” Krosser explained.
Nominations of the president candidates have been reviewed by BoardRoom’s industry experts who have an understanding of the industry – the structure of the board of directors, and the role and responsibilities of the club’s board of directors, which also clearly defines the role and responsibilities of the club’s chief executive.
In step with this is another one of Glassman’s strengths – allowing the club’s COO Jay DiPietro to run the club based on policies set by the board, and ensuring that the board also supports the general manager concept. He also has shown a great ability in communicating a vision to the members and pulling together strong member support.
Jerry has demonstrated a knack for knowing when to engage the club committees in projects and when to stay out of management’s way in the execution of the directives. Micromanagement and Jerry Glassman are not used in the same sentence because they’re at completely opposite ends of the spectrum!
With his extensive background in the area of traditional labor law, Jerry has been a natural in dealing with the general membership, board members and staff. Because of Glassman’s hard work and commitment, he was able to lead a task force assigned to negotiate and extend Jay DiPietro’s employment contract twice during his six-year term on the board, thus ensuring consistency in ongoing success of the club’s operations.
In cooperation with DiPietro, BoardRoom’s Distinguished President Glassman has worked diligently to convince the board that the club’s future success and growth hinges on a well orchestrated marketing plan operating within the confines of a private club environment. This ensures that the club amenities and the member experience are always cutting edge.
He has been instrumental in implementing:
- Marketing initiatives including involvement in negotiating a deal to locate “Realty at Boca West” on site, and relocating the membership department adjacent to their office, and
- The sale of the Akoya property, the last parcel of land available for upscale development
Further promotion and revision of the “Stay and Play” Boca West experience for non-members with emphasis on international participation
- Development of a proposal and membership approval of a large scale construction and renovation project that include: construction of a new activities and golf center, renovation of two golf courses, construction of a new storage building, construction of a new parking garage, and development of a new members’ park. This $50 million expansion will be completed in 2016, and
- A full evaluation and recommendation for the club’s future multi-million dollar technology programs.
Jerry Glassman’s vision has included working cooperatively with outside entities to ensure fiscal and community responsibility by improving the partnership with the Home Owners Association and Masters Association, and working with the City of Boca Raton on a reclaimed water program.
Keeping the club membership informed has always been top of mind for Glassman as he has encouraged open dialogue through his Open Door Policy! “Transparency is his middle name,” exclaimed DiPietro.
Members receive information monthly through the Chairman’s Letter included in the Boca West Magazine. It’s distributed to all homes and placed in strategic locations around the club. His report highlights club news, discusses the possibility of any future projects, relays pertinent fiscal information, and addresses relevant topics of interest to the general club membership.
Jerry also records “From the Boardroom”, a video produced after each board meeting and which airs for the following two weeks on the Boca West closed caption cable channel. And to face any rumors or questions about the club floating around on the grapevine, Glassman addresses the issues with prompt emails to members.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected,” explained Jerry Glassman, when informed of his selection as BoardRoom’s Distinguished Club President for 2014.
“Although I’m the individual recipient of this honor, it actually belongs to many persons. Jay DiPietro and his staff have made Boca West Country Club the jewel of this industry. I would not have been named for this honor if not for Jay’s guidance and support.”
Glassman also paid tribute to the talented, hard working and committed board members he worked with during his tenure.
“I consider the support, trust and confidence that they have given me as a key contributing factor to my success, and this would not have been possible without the driving force of the Boca West Country Club membership, a community that accepts no less than the best.
“When you are elected Chair of the number one private residential country club in the nation, doing better becomes a daunting task,” Glassman related.
“There was one issue, however that I believed needed attention if we were to remain number one. Boca West is more than 30 years old. The last new village and residential development in the complex was completed and sold out more than 20 years ago.
“We were allowing real estate ads to define us to the buying public when our best product was the country club lifestyle. The Boca West lifestyle encompassed new and modern facilities and an unequalled amenity package. My ‘greatest accomplishment’, has been taking the Boca West lifestyle and making it the Boca West brand.
“We’ve made that brand so very desirable…telling the world about it so that people want to come to Boca West and participate in it as members of the country club. We have accomplished this and retained our private club status while doing so.
“We call it the ‘Renaissance and Renewal of Boca West Country Club’ and the last two years have produced record sales,” Glassman explained enthusiastically “I see Boca West Country Club as an industry leader. Our working definition, “Boca West Country Club is a private member-owned residential country club, providing a resort lifestyle for active adults and their families,” has been and will continue to be our guide.
“We will stay on top of the trends in providing a high quality and desirable resort lifestyle to our members and their families. Our marketing efforts will aggressively target active adults. We will utilize advances in technology to enhance the lifestyle of our members and assist our staff in operating the facility. All of these things, coupled with a commitment to excellence, gives me confidence in my prediction,” Glassman enthused.
Glassman is a partner in the firm of Fox Rothschild. He and his wife, Joan have been married 58 years, three kids…two daughters, Sherri and Jill, and a son, Steven. They have six grandchildren.