With attracting new members at the top of every club’s strategic agenda, having an abundance of up-and-coming management talent will help to keep the industry relevant.
We went to press with our March issue just before heading off to San Francisco and Seattle, for two events that have had remarkable growth over the past 10 years, in step with the development of our publication and the C&RB brand. And how those events (and we) have grown also says a lot about good things that are happening in the club industry, and why its future looks bright.
In San Francisco, C&RB was once again part of hosting the Excellence in Club Management (ECM) Awards dinner, as a co-sponsor with the McMahon Group. This event is always held in conjunction with the Club Managers Association of America’s annual conference—and while there are many gala events that compete for managers’ time and attention when they gather for their yearly meeting, it has been gratifying to see how attendance at the ECM Awards dinner has swelled each year, to where it is now clearly established as one of the highlights and must-attend functions of the week.
Once again, the managers honored at this year’s ECM dinner make up another stellar group of the “best of the best,” and we’ll present profiles of each of them and what they’ve achieved at their clubs in upcoming issues of C&RB throughout the rest of this year.
One of my favorite parts of the Awards is the “Rising Star” recognition for assistant managers, and this year we have especially strong representation in that category, with two assistant GMs—Brian Baldwin of Baltusrol Golf Club and Anne Stryhn of The Country Club of Virginia—sharing the “Rising Star” honors.
While C&RB and the McMahon Group are not involved with the judging for any of the ECM Awards—all of that is done by an elite peer group of top club managers—we do see reports on the full extent of nominations. And this year, the “Rising Star” group was well-populated with many other worthy candidates.
All of this can mean nothing but good things for the club industry. With so much up-and-coming talent being mentored by the managers who earn their own honors through the other ECM categories, the future of our business is clearly in good hands. We have already seen many who earned “Rising Star” recognition in previous years ascend to, and then thrive in, top management positions of leading clubs, and all signs point to this continuing. And with attracting new members at the top of every club’s strategic agenda, that can only help to ensure that the industry will stay fresh and relevant.
After San Francisco we moved right on to Seattle, for C&RB’s 2018 Chef to Chef Conference. This marked the 10th anniversary of our Conference, and its growth from some 70 attendees at the first one in Las Vegas in 2009, to several straight years now of sellout attendance with over 200 chef attendees, has mirrored the fast-growing importance of club food-and-beverage programs.
It’s been especially heartening to see how many clubs have felt that sending their chefs to our Conference year after year is an important part of their ongoing career development, to not only help them stay on top of culinary trends and best practices, but also to form a strong peer-support group, through the networking that is one of Chef to Chef’s primary benefits.
This year in Seattle, in fact, we awarded nearly 70 chefs with “five-year pins,” to honor them for having attended at least half of the Conferences to date. It’s also been great to see how Chef to Chef has become truly a national event—this year’s attendance in Seattle included chefs from 36 different states, as well as Canada.