By Dave White
Color Sarasota Yacht Club green…emerald green with envy, that is!
Emerald Green, because Sarasota Yacht Club is being recognized as a BoardRoom magazine Distinguished Emerald Club.
“Winning this distinction confirms that our efforts to enhance the membership experience have not been in vain,” enthused Commodore Bobby Overall. “ And the fact that even to be nominated for this award, you first must be recognized by your fellow clubs an as outstanding venue, adds to the great honor.”
In 2014, The Distinguished Club’s nominating committee comprised of general managers from some of the top private clubs in the country, nominated Sarasota Yacht Club to be considered for this prestigious designation.
A Distinguished Club surveyor visited the club for completion of the detailed survey; interviews with each department head, a tour the club and a session with general manager Bernie Kloppenburg. Department heads completed an additional questionnaire for their respective departments, and the Distinguished Club’s surveyor scored the club based on the Distinguished Club’s proprietary formula.
Distinguished Club’s Chief Analyst Frank Gore completed additional research outside the club, tabulated all the club’s scores and created the club’s member experience score.
Sarasota Yacht club averaged a 9.0 or greater on a 1-10 scale in every department. As a result the club has achieved the highest level a Distinguished Emerald Club.
About 350 members recently gathered to acknowledge the club’s recognition as a BoardRoom Distinguished Emerald Club – members greeted by a member of the club’s membership committee as they stepped out of their cars, and to celebrate the club’s success.
The evening of fun and frolic, planned as part of the club’s “It Starts With Me2” campaign, highlighted ‘the importance of each member (me) creating positive member experiences for fellow members.’Analyst Frank Gore opened the event via a Skype appearance, explaining the Distinguished Club’s selection process to the members, “lending validation to the process because many of our own members have gone through a similar process in their own industries,” added GM Kloppenburg. “It was an incredible night of excitement,” said Gore, of the club first organized in 1917. The club has a compelling history including use as a base during the Second World War.
Four staff members also were recognized with individual Distinguished Emerald Club staff awards, including: food and beverage director Anthony Puccio, member relations director Stephania Feltz, dock master Spencer Way, and sailing director Holly Stephens.
“Our staff has been intensely committed to creating positive member experiences for each of our members – from the instant our member walks through our front doors to the time they get back into their cars,” injected GM Kloppenburg. “This impressive award is a true mission moment for all of us and it was such an honor to celebrate together with staff and members. Many of our members likened it to the Academy Awards of Clubs and I must agree with them. What a galvanizing experience for the Sarasota Yacht Club!”
Many of those attending experienced ‘that feeling.’ Board member Lynn Milliken added, “SYC receiving the Emerald Award confirms that the cruise the club has been on the past five years has been very well charted and skillfully navigated by the board, the leadership, staff and membership.
“Through very difficult sea conditions it’s very important and fun to recognize celebrate and share the success in the award event. More importantly, our success provides us the confidence, energy, improved navigational tools and resources for the even more exciting and rewarding cruise ahead.” Board member and vice commodore Jan Hutchins confirmed that feeling of success. “It’ so exciting to have 350 members join together to celebrate the Emerald Award. The pride in what the members and staff did together pulsated throughout the club and will set a momentum for the future.”
Long time member Mary Sue Wechsler explained how the club “has provided us with a wonderful group of friends…It’s nice to know how the emphasis of the award was on the ‘intangibles’ that make SYC so special to all of us.”
Ah, yes, the intangibles that contribute so much to the member experience!
It’s been a very active time for the Sarasota Yacht Club. Following the celebration, members received three videos reminding them of the Distinguished Emerald Club award and future possibilities; SYC Finance 101 (the basics of operating a club and importance of membership), and a testimonial with two members sharing how they have recruited new members. Another presentation happened at the club’s annual meeting. About 300 members attended as Jack Sullivan of Kopplin Kuebler, a private club consulting firm, presented Past Commodore Pete Kujawski with his award as one of BoardRoom’s Top Presidents for 2014. Each year BoardRoom selects the most outstanding board presidents from around the world and 22 are being acknowledged as the best in 2014.
And as a bonus, 20 new members signed on with the Sarasota Yacht Club…a scintillating wrap-up for the club’s month long celebration – It Starts With Me!