Written by: Arlene Ramirez
Happiness, that was the theme of the first general opening session at the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) 89th World Conference held this past February 22 – 25, 2016 in San Diego, Calif. The speaker, Douglas A. Smith, was very insightful and explained how to be happy in your life and let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be happy. To provide a quick overview, he mentioned to not dwell on the past and what may have gone wrong; instead live and enjoy the present and do not obsess about the future. He was great, spoke from experience and injected just the right amount of humor.
Having been involved in the club industry at times in my hospitality career, I had heard great things about the CMAA World Conference, but never had the opportunity to attend. It did not disappoint. From a networking standpoint, it was great to meet some new folks and say hello to some familiar ones. We had great representation from fellow HFTP club members and vendors who also participate in HFTP events. Overall it was a very “happy” experience. The conference was CMAA’s event to update its members on the state of their association. CMAA CEO, Jeff Morgan, FASAE, CAE made clear that CMAA is doing well and moving forward with new initiatives. During the new attendee session I was able to briefly chat with outgoing president Tony D’Errico, CCM, CCE of Westwood Country Club in St. Louis, Mo. While not able to meet or congratulate the incoming president Jill R. Philmon, CCM, CCE of Ballantyne Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., I hope our paths will cross soon at a joint industry event.
Staying in line with the advice we were given at the beginning of the event: to lead a “happy life,” the education program definitely provided attendees with tools they could use to ease things back in the home office. Worry less about the future, and enjoy the present. One session, which years ago may have seemed futuristic, but will be commonplace soon enough, was the HFTP sponsored session entitled, “Why Your Club Needs an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Drone) and What You Should Know Before You Buy One.” Speakers Jim Moore from the United States Golf Association and Joel Roberson from Holland & Knight provided great insight on the practical applications of drones in operations and an update on how current regulations are soon going to change. The hope is that the new regulations will make it less cumbersome for clubs and other hospitality operations to introduce the use of drones to assist operations in being able to be more proactive when dealing with maintenance, security, marketing and even public relations. I left wanting a drone of my own… maybe on next year’s letter to Santa.
CMAA has several accreditations for their club managers and many include an understanding of the financial operations of the business. Presenting one of these sessions were HFTP members and former HFTP Global directors Mick Nissen, CHAE, CHTP, CCM and Phil Newman, CPA, RSM. Their session, “An Overview of Financial Statements,” focused on a general understanding of financial reports.
Being a chapter advisor for the HFTP Cougar Chapter at the University of Houston, I was looking forward to seeing the student portion of the conference and it also did not disappoint. There was a lot of excitement at the first networking session where 333 students came together representing various hospitality programs across the United States. Not to brag, but the student chapter from the University of Houston CN Hilton College and their great advisor Alexis Hoey won chapter of the year. One session in particular presented by Raymond Kondziela, CCM from the Ivanhoe Club in Illinois caught my attention. The session was entitled “Millennials, Are You There Yet?” I went to this session thinking it was going to be the traditional presentation on how the workplace needs to change or how to understand this segment of our population as employees. However, what was so refreshing was that instead, the students were presented with what they should expect from club employers, the etiquette and presentation necessary to successfully enter the field from the interview process to full employment. The session was well received by all the students and the engagement and feedback was great.
Needless to say San Diego and my first CMAA World Conference was great and I left very happy. HFTP Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Lee, CAE and Director of Membership Development & Services Bryan Wood manned the HFTP booth and as always did an awesome job of representing the association. It was such an honor to represent such a great organization at a fellow industry event, but then it is easy with such great members and staff……happy!!
Arlene Ramirez, CHAE, CHE, CHIA, MBA (@) is the 2015-2016 HFTP Global president. She is principal at ADR Hospitality Consulting and on the faculty at the C.N. Hilton College, University of Houston. Ramirez is also a frequent speaker at HFTP Global events.