Newsletter Volume 5

Education and Orientations: The Cornerstones of the Foundation of Success

Well known retailer, Sy Syms (Syms Department Stores) has one of the best ‘tag lines’ in the business:

“An Educated Consumer Is Our Best Customer!”

Think about that statement and how it relates to some of the best, most consistently high performer clubs in the country.  There isn’t a magic potion that those clubs have found; most all of them have recognized the importance of ensuring that people—staff, members, board members, committee members, etc.—are ‘educated’ at every opportunity.

In my view and experience, a lot of clubs and club managers “try” to orient new staff, new members, new board and committee members, but often do it very inconsistently, or simply stop because they get rebuffed due to time constraints, unavailability, lack of interest, a belief that someone already knows what is to be conveyed, and so on.  Generally speaking, those club managers who take little for granted, make orienting (which is really educating) a top priority in all they do, and who don’t give up when the going gets tough (meaning, someone else doesn’t have the same high priorities on this subject as they do), are usually the ones who have the highest degree of member and associate satisfaction.  That also usually means that they have the best financial performance as well!

Many of us ‘assume’ that because someone has been a member for years, or has served on the board or committees of this or another club, he or she will know what is expected of them.  That’s just not the case!  The same thing goes for someone who has just joined the club after having been a guest on several occasions; some of us then ‘assume’ that that family understands the club, how to behave or use the facilities, who to go to for what, and so on.  That’s just not the case!

Or, because we’ve hired someone ‘with experience,’ we believe that we can throw them in the job without providing them with our expectations or style of getting the job done. That’s just not the case! I know that I make it sound simple. But, I can tell you from first hand observation, those clubs and managers who simply don’t let things just ‘run their course,’ but who instill a consistent process of educating each constituency (members, volunteers, staff, etc.) who are part of the club, are typically the ones who gain the most respect from their constituencies, and are the highest-regarded amongst their peers. From my vantage point, even if a new president, committee chair, or even a new member says “don’t worry, I know what I need to do, and everything I need to know about the club,” the most successful managers don’t accept that answer. They find a way of ensuring that the educational/orientation process still takes place. It’s just too important to the long-term success of the organization, which should be the top priority of that manager. I urge you to take the time to review the Club’s processes for educating and orienting your board members, club members, and staff; and evaluate the effectiveness of each process. I promise it will be well-worth the time and effort.

All the best! – KK

Kurt D. Kuebler  Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM, is a Partner of Kopplin & Kuebler, LLC, The Most Trusted Names in Private Club Executive Placement.

Education and Orientations: The Cornerstones of the Foundation of Success2015-05-01T16:33:10+00:00

Education and the Strategic Planning Process

In keeping with Kurt’s article on education and orientations being the cornerstone to a club’s success, the same can be said for the strategic planning process in private clubs. We consider the Strategic Planning Committee to be one of the most important committees in the Club. However, we often find that while those undertaking the strategic planning process are leaders within the organization (often the Board of Directors), many of those participants do not have a good grasp of the strategic planning process as it relates to a private club. Before you begin to develop a strategic plan at your club, it is critical that everyone involved fully understands the framework of the process. Several factors play a crucial role in the plan’s success. They are:

  • Understanding the importance of the mission and vision statements.
  • Determining how to define the strategic issues impacting the Club.
  • Understanding how to react to these issues.
  • Making the time commitment necessary to meet the plan’s objectives.

The old saying “getting everyone on the same page” before you start is most applicable here. In a previous article, we also discussed who should be in charge of the plan. As noted, clubs with successful strategic plans usually have three key players driving their plan: the President or Committee Chair, a facilitator, and their General Manager/COO. By taking the lead, these individuals also accept the responsibility of ensuring that all of the participants fully understand the process before they begin. It is important to point out that for a successful plan to be implemented at a private club it has to be embraced by the overall membership, not just the Board and management.

Not to oversimplify this, but for all of the above reasons, it is important for every participant to clearly understand the process and the commitment necessary; getting “everyone on the same page” to ensure the development of a relevant strategic plan and ultimately the Club’s success. – JS

John R. “Jack” Sullivan, CCM

Jack is Vice President of Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club and provides consulting services to private clubs. He specializes in strategic planning and other private club operational issues.

Education and the Strategic Planning Process2014-12-22T21:16:26+00:00

Burglary Prevention

The typical burglar is young, white, and unemployed or underemployed.  His reasons for committing a burglary are about money and status.  Money is obvious.  The status issue often has to do with being seen by his peers as having cash and ready to go do a burglary if he does not have cash.  It is about ego.  Studies have shown that burglars live a “now” type lifestyle and will commit a burglary because he needs money “now”, and when he gets it will spend it “now”.

The typical burglar will pick a target based on a number of different factors.

  • First, he will be influenced by a location that he knows to have or believes to have portable valuables.  Cash is best, but any small and high value items raise the desirability of the target.
  • The second, and most important factor for our purposes, is the “hardness” of the target.  If a typical burglar sees good interior and exterior lightingstrong doors, windows and locks that will make entry very difficult or risky, high foot traffic in the area, enforcement attempts(neighborhood watch or private security), and good alarm system, he will normally pass and go somewhere else where those precautions are not present.  He is looking for a “soft”, low risk target.

Non-typical, professional burglars exist out there too.  It has been said that you cannot prevent a professional from breaking in if he wants to get in.  While there is a grain of truth in that, you can make the risk/payoff equation such that a professional would pass on your home or business.  If you are keeping the hope diamond at your club, the payoff is extraordinarily high.  That means the risk side of the equation (your protective/preventive methods) must be extraordinarily high as well.  So don’t keep a lot of valuables around that are not required.  Do everything possible to prevent becoming a victim. The happy conclusion is that if you are vigilant, there is little likelihood of becoming a victim. – KP

Kevin R. Peters

Kevin Peters is a retired federal agent and former club manager who conducts the candidate backgrounding for Kopplin & Kuebler, LLC. He is also owner of KR Peters Security, LLC, a security consulting company primarily servicing the private club industry.

Burglary Prevention2019-09-04T20:00:36+00:00

Ask Nan: “It’s Our Rocket Science”

I have heard just about everything you can imagine from prospective candidates applying for various opportunities represented by Kopplin & Kuebler. We try to advertise our opportunities within the club industry to minimize the exposure to the “public at large” but with the Internet these days our opportunities are appearing on a lot of rogue career websites and hence we receive applications from some that have no correlation to the club industry. We know it is tough out there for many people so we try to be gracious in our response to these applicants, but also let them know that we are fairly niche-oriented and most likely would not be able to help them.

Recently an applicant applied with the subject line: “General Manager/COO Sumbittal.” (Yes, that is the way the applicant spelled it!) The message read: “Please consider my credentials (CV attached) for the subject national job opportunities.” Nothing specific, just a general email with a resume attached. After reviewing the “CV” it was clear that this applicant had no experience in the club industry. I responded, explaining what we specifically do and how we are positioned in a niche industry. I further explained how club professionals generally have earned top club management positions by “working their way up through the ranks.” I thanked the applicant for his interest and gave my sincere wishes on his career endeavors.

To my surprise I received the following response:

“I appreciate your response; however, I disagree w/your premise of those that would succeed in a General Manager capacity. The learning curve for this job is relatively nominal – I would think you would be searching for a results oriented professionals with a keen eye for profit.

You’re running a business, not a golf academy. I will share that I’m an avid golfer (10 handicap), which is the easy part. I’m also a tremendous business leader, with considerable success as a professional in the public and private sector. Let’s be frank, at the end of the day this job is about the money in the course bank account, managing site resources, and eliminating excess. It’s not rocket science.”

Well, it may not be “rocket science” to this applicant but it is our “rocket science!” I have witnessed how our club professionals have educated, nurtured and developed their profession with “rocket science” precision to create and maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle environment for their employees and the members they serve. These club professionals spend untold hours maintaining multimillion dollar businesses with smiles on their faces and servant’s hearts. So don’t tell me this industry isn’t committed to performing at Rocket Science precision levels. We see the successes every day!

Now, let me see, what can I use for a Title to this little piece.

“It’s not Rocket Science.”
“You’re running a business, not a golf academy.”
“The learning curve for this job is relatively nominal.”
“How not to go about finding a job in the Club and Hospitality Industry.”

Everyone, please have a happy and safe holiday season and we will see you in 2012! – NF

Nan Fisher

Nan has worked with Dick Kopplin for over 10 years. She is the Administrative Manager at Kopplin & Kuebler. E-mail your “Ask Nan” questions

Ask Nan: “It’s Our Rocket Science”2014-12-22T21:15:23+00:00

LinkedIn 101: How to Build Professional and Effective Profiles

Would you find it useful to exchange knowledge and ideas with your colleagues without sending separate email messages? How about the opportunity to connect with a broader network of managers? Would you take advantage of a free online tool that provides you with a professional presence on the Internet showcasing your experience, skills and capabilities? Would you like to know when managers change clubs and update their career status? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this may be the time to join LinkedIn – the world’s largest professional network (currently over 120 million members and growing) or update your current LinkedIn Profile page (By the way, according to a recent survey, 86% of recruiters use LinkedIn to research candidates). This article provides some basic information to create and modify your LinkedIn profile as well as helpful hints to get the most out of your online LinkedIn online presence.

Get Started

If you are ready to take the first step – completing the online profile and making it public – click here to join LinkedIn. The link also allows you to connect your Facebook account to LinkedIn although I recommend keeping them separate. My Facebook account is private and personal and my LinkedIn account is my professional presence. If you are using Facebook as a professional online presence, you can join the two accounts. Please remember – LinkedIn is for professional, not personal, use. Don’t forget that this is an online presence that potential employers will review so keep it all about business and professionalism.

For details on creating a LinkedIn Profile visit the LinkedIn Learning Center. I highly recommend importing your current resume to assist in filling in your Profile fields. Here are instructions to import your resume.

Create an Effective Profile To aid in completing or modifying your profile, I have listed the following tips.

  • Write an Effective Summary. Think of it as your 30-second elevator pitch. List your accomplishments, achievements, and approaches. “This is what I can do for you.” Write in the first person, use key words that will help in the search process, and keep it brief – two to three paragraphs at the most. There is a Specialties section of the Summary that allows you to add key words and phrases that are searchable.
  • Include a Profile Photo. Although I don’t recommend adding a photograph on a resume, I highly recommend adding a profile picture in LinkedIn. A LinkedIn profile without a picture may be viewed as suspicious. A headshot of you helps to verify that you are real person. If you are trying to make new connections, they may not recognize your name but they will probably recognize your face. It really is a part of your personal brand. Upload a headshot that is in JPG, PNG or GIF format. The file can be no larger than 4 Mb in size and the dimensions should be 80 x 80 pixels.
  • Write an Informative Headline. In 120 characters or less you can add your brand or goal in your LinkedIn headline. This is the first thing everyone sees and it is searchable text (think Google search). Google “LinkedIn Headline” to get all kinds of tips on writing an informative headline.
  • List Your Current and Past Employment and Education. Add your current and past employment history and be sure to include months/years, just as you would on your resume. Also add your education in the education section of the Profile. As mentioned earlier, you can speed up this process by importing your current resume into your profile. If you are successful in importing your resume, most of this information will be entered for you. Just review and edit the information as necessary. If you are currently unemployed, list your current position as “Open to opportunities.”
  • Add Key Words and Phrases in the Skills Section. Fill your specialties section with key words and phrases that describe your career experience and work philosophy. Check the Profile pages of colleagues to get ideas.
  • Request Recommendations. Recommendations are references. They are highly valued and sought after by LinkedIn members and very relevant and useful for recruiters. Since LinkedIn recommendations are so important, I have dedicated an entire section to them below.
  • Make Your Profile “Public” and Customize the URL. Don’t forget to make your LinkedIn profile “public” so that it will be displayed as a result in a Google search and is available for review by those outside of LinkedIn. I also recommend customizing your public LinkedIn URL (for example: This provides a more user-friendly reference to your LinkedIn Profile that can be added to your resume and email signature. Click here for instructionsClick here to view my public LinkedIn Profile.
  • Add Contact Settings. The Contact section is provides information to anyone who views your profile about what types of things you would like to be contacted for via LinkedIn. These may include Career Opportunities, Expertise Requests, Reference Requests, Consulting Offers, Job Inquiries, etc. You can also write a statement to your would-be contacts here.
  • Add Sections to Your Profile. Add the Organizations and Certifications sections to your Profile and then list all of the organizations that you are associated with and certifications that you have earned. There are other sections that you might also find useful. To add additional sections, go to Profile, Edit Profile in LinkedIn and then click the Add sections button displayed directly above the Summary section.
  • Add Websites. You can add up to three websites in the Additional Information section. When adding websites (which you can do by selecting Edit Profile) don’t use the default Company Website heading, instead change it to Other and then type the name of your club in the second box and then the URL in the last box. This way you’ll see the name of the link in the list which is more descriptive then just “Company Website.” You may want to use the other two website listings to display previous clubs’ websites.
  • Share Your Interests. In the Additional Information section of the Profile list your professional and personal interests. I like to add personal interests because it helps you connect with contacts who may not know you have something else in common.
  • Groups and Associations. Join useful LinkedIn groups such as CMAA and your local CMAA Chapter. Search for LinkedIn groups to join (click the Groups drop down box in the Search box located in upper right corner on the LinkedIn window) or look at groups that your colleagues have joined since the groups are listed in your colleagues’ profiles. Some groups are public and you can join them instantly. Other groups are public but the member must be approved by the group manager. There are private groups that you will only be able to see if you are invited to join. Show your interest in your industry by joining hospitality industry-specific groups which will be displayed in your Profile. Listen to what the groups are “discussing” and contribute to those discussions to build your online presence and establish yourself as an expert in the industry.
  • Add Applications. If you have extra time on your hands and want to add additional information to your profile, you can experiment with additional applications such as SlideShare Presentations or Google Presentations to upload presentations about your club or professional skills and experience; Reading List by Amazon to share your favorite business and leadership reads, or Files to upload and share your resume on your LinkedIn Profile page. These applications display at the end of your Profile. You access them by selecting Add an application at the end of your Profile (you have to be in Edit Profile mode). Add additional applications by clicking More on the LinkedIn menu and then selecting Get More Applications.

Find Connections

The main reasons to use LinkedIn are to connect and communicate with colleagues and share your work experiences online. Please find trusted colleagues to connect to – don’t connect to everyone and anyone. And, don’t just connect to someone because they invited you. View their Profile to determine if the connection is mutually beneficial. The quality of your LinkedIn account is based on the quality of your connections; in other words, it is about the quality, not the quantity of your connections.

To find people to connect to, click in the People Search box ( upper right corner of the LinkedIn window) and enter colleague names. You can then invite them to connect via LinkedIn. You can accept the default text in the connection message “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” but I prefer a more personalized message such as “Carl, I hope all is well at Happy Trails Country Club. I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Use the Advanced search feature to narrow your people searches based on a wide range of filters (such as Industry, Groups, Relationships, and Company). Click Advanced next to the Search box in the upper right corner of the LinkedIn window to view available filters.

You can also find connections by clicking on Add Connections under Contacts on the LinkedIn menu. This allows you to find connections (see the four different tabs) via your email contacts, your colleagues (others that work for your current and previous employers, alumni, and people you may know (suggestions based on your profile and existing network connections).

I mentioned it earlier but it bears repeating: Only connect to people you know/trust – it isn’t about the sheer number of connections, it is about the quality of those connections – remember, you are judged by the “company you keep.”

Continue to build your connections every time you access LinkedIn and update your profile. Don’t stop networking just because you’ve found a new position. Make updating your profile, and searching and communicating with your connections, an ongoing habit.

Acquire Recommendations – The Holy Grail of LinkedIn

The best part of LinkedIn for job seekers and recruiters alike, are recommendations.  These are valuable references for potential employers and business associates. Target close, valued colleagues who you have actually worked with to request a recommendation. LinkedIn Recommendations carry a lot of weight. They can be posted from board members, board presidents, committee members, employees, and other colleagues with whom you have worked directly.

LinkedIn will not show your Profile is 100% complete until you have at least 3 recommendations listed in your Profile.

There are several ways to request a recommendation. One way is to go to ProfileRecommendations, and click Request Recommendations. You can request any of your first level connections to make a recommendation. Follow steps 1, 2, and 3 and then click the Send button.

I recommend making the message more personal than the default which is “I’m sending this to ask you for a brief recommendation of my work that I can include in my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, let me know. Thanks in advance for helping me out.” How boring and impersonal! You should put some effort into this request since the recipient will need to put forth some effort to write it. When requesting a recommendation it is helpful to include suggestions such as a certain project that you worked on together or specific skills you want to showcase.

When a connection posts a recommendation, you will be notified by email. You will want to accept the recommendation to make it part of your profile. LinkedIn will ask if you want to reciprocate so be sure that you ask for recommendations from people you wouldn’t mind writing recommendations for!

A Few More Helpful Tips

Be sure to update your LinkedIn profile regularly. This action sends a status update to your LinkedIn network. At the very least, update the profile every three months.

You can use your LinkedIn Profile as a resource for your next job search. One GM, who developed a very comprehensive LinkedIn Profile including multiple recommendations, printed his Profile and shared it with the Search Committee of a club that he was interviewing with. The Search Committee was blown away by the depth and amount of detail and said no other candidate provided that level of information and depth of references.

To print your Profile, view it (Select ProfileView Profile) and then click the SharePDF or Print button displayed directly above the Summary section. The “Share” option will send the profile to a connection via LinkedIn, the “PDF” option will allow you to save the Profile as a PDF file and the “Print” option will send the Profile to your printer. I recommend using the PDF option so you can save a version and send it as an attachment via email or print it from the PDF format.

You end up with a PDF document that is a nicely formatted, comprehensive listing of your online Profile page. The PDF file includes your Headline, Summary and Specialties, Experience, Certifications and Organizations (if you added these sections), Skills, Education, Interest, and Recommendations.

With their permission, I’ve included a few links to four GMs who have comprehensive and effective LinkedIn Profiles.

Chris Boettcher’s LinkedIn Profile
David Cecil’s LinkedIn Profile
Ian Fetigan’s LinkedIn Profile
Walther Vliegen’s LinkedIn Profile

Take the time to visit their Profile pages and then use the tips above to create or modify your own LinkedIn Profile. Don’t wait until you are looking for a new position to do it. Set aside time now to create and modify your Profile into an effective business communication tool. Use LinkedIn to build your brand – YOU – and connect with your growing professional network of colleagues.

IMPORTANT – Before You Update Your Profile, Do This

If you already have a profile and are planning to update it, I recommend turning off your activity broadcasts and changing who can see your activity feed. Otherwise everyone you are connected to will be notified that you are making significant changes to your profile. It might be misconstrued that you are currently looking for a new position. There are search software services out there that notify their clients when one of the client’s LinkedIn connections makes changes to his/her profile. For example, one GM made several changes to his profile and a member, who is in the executive search business, was automatically notified by a company called “Bullhorn Reach” that “Based on their activity, the following people may be considering a career move.” The GM was in the list of those “considering a career move.” Fortunately he wasn’t considering a career move and explained to the member that he was updating his profile based on this article.

To turn off activity broadcasts and select who can see your activity feed, hover your mouse over your name in the upper right corner and then select Settings. Under the Privacy Controls section, midway down the page, click Turn on/off your activity broadcasts, and then uncheck the box and clickSave changes. Next, click Select who can see your activity feed, and then click the drop down arrow and select Only you, and then Save changes.

Reviewing this article may have raised additional questions about using LinkedIn. Unfortunately I simply didn’t have room to discuss all of the details of this powerful online network, nor do I know everything there is to know about the service (LinkedIn changes daily!). If you have questions, feel free to email me. I will probably run a future article with more LinkedIn tips.

Also, if you have handy LinkedIn tips you would like to share, contact me so that I can share them in a future article. I can be reached via email or via LinkedIn. – LC

Other Helpful Links

LinkedIn’s Starter Guide
Great article on What Recruiters Look for in a LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn Learning Center

Lisa Carroll Lisa Carroll is a Search Executive and Relationship Manager at Kopplin & Kuebler, LLC, The Most Trusted Names in Private Club Executive Placement ( performing Assistant General Manager and Executive Chef searches. Through Carroll Quality Alliance, LLC, she Promoties Quality of Business and Quality of Life through technology and communications training ( She facilitates CMI workshops at CMAA World Conferences and Chapters meetings and provides training and consulting services for Club staff.

Additional Source: Karin Durkee Karin Durkee, Military to Civilian Employment Services with Corporate Gray, manages social media programs to assist military-experienced job seekers in their career transitions and helps connect them to “military friendly” employers. Corporate Gray connects employers with transitioning and former military personnel. Karin is a social media guru, a fellow ukulele player, and my dearest (and only) sister.

LinkedIn 101: How to Build Professional and Effective Profiles2019-09-04T20:00:36+00:00
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