Have you ever wondered what is at the South Pole?
It actually is a pole!
And five years ago, if you told Boston College Club Member Vanessa O'Brien that she would be able to answer that question with authority, she probably wouldn't have believed you.
When the global recession hit in 2009, Vanessa was the managing director of a consulting financial service. Like many others, her career was suddenly faced with uncertainty and she decided to take a huge risk, but one that might surprise you.
She decided to climb Mount Everest.
When she first set her heart on this goal, Vanessa had never walked in a pair of crampons, worn a harness or even put on a helmet before, but on May 19, 2012 she was able to look down on the rest of us from the highest point on the planet after scaling the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest.
She even stopped to take a picture with the Boston College Club’s flag.
But, as every successful businessperson knows, after reaching your goal, the next step is to revise it!
So Vanessa did, making it her new goal to complete the illustrious Explorers Grand Slam, a challenge to reach the North Pole, the South Pole and the tallest summit on each of the seven continents.
However, as if this wasn't challenging enough, she also made it her goal to become the second person, and first woman, to complete this feat in a single calendar year.
For her recent journey to the South Pole, Vanessa was dropped by ski aircraft, traveling the last 60 nautical miles (111 km) to the most southerly point on Earth, which averages -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
On November 8, 2012, Vanessa gave a talk at the Boston College Club, allowing fellow Members and their guests to hear and ask questions about her amazing journey.
The last stop on her journey is the North Pole in April, which would put her down in record books forever.
We wish you the best of luck Vanessa!!
The Metropolitan Club in Chicago recently partnered up with Breakthrough Urban Ministries and the Club’s vendors to put on an eight-week cooking class for local seventh and eighth graders, incorporating invaluable life lessons.
Both Club General Manager Rick Kroner and Executive Chef Greg Carso were looking for ways to give back to the community when they were introduced to Breakthrough Urban Ministries at a not-for-profit presentation at the Club.
Rick had coffee with the director and visited their facility, which prompted his idea to collaborate with the organization and offer an after-school cooking class for the children.
Chef Greg put together an extensive curriculum that included everything from basic cooking techniques, safety and hygiene to reading recipes and even making homemade pasta from scratch.
Additionally, he incorporated lessons teaching ClubCorp’s Three Steps of Service (warm welcomes, magic moments and fond farewells), integrity, business etiquette, and interviewing skills.
The response and reception was wonderful and everyone Rick spoke with wanted to get involved. The Club’s vendors donated chef coats, linens and knives and every Tuesday for eight weeks, Chef Carso, Rick and employee partner volunteers drove to the facility for the classes.
The semester culminated in a memorable fashion, with the students preparing a meal for their families, a group of more than 200.
The children did everything. In addition to doing all the prepping, cooking and serving, they planned the mouth-watering menu: classic caesar salad with brioche croutons and shaved romano; four cheese baked penne pasta with fennel marinara and chicken picatta with a lemon caper butter sauce; and signature featured desserts created by the students, such as caramel and strawberry cheesecake.
As a special touch, they develped a “warm welcome” signature beverage, sparkling cider poinsettia with mango puree, and handed out “fond farewell” candy bars wrapped with their group photo.
“The kids worked so hard and stayed focused the whole evening," said Rick. “It was neat to see so many people get involved with this."
Breakthrough Urban Ministries is an organization working towards transforming East Garfield Park, a low-income community in Chicago, by providing homeless intervention for more than 1000 people annually, a fresh food pantry and an after-school youth development program.
Congratulations and Thank You to everyone who helped make this wonderful event possible!
As 2012 comes to an official close tonight, our company has many things to look back on with pride and a huge sense of accomplishment.
We hope your year has been wonderful as well!
2012 was full of transformation. Our reinvention list is long and puts us one big step closer to accomplishing our goal of making each and every Club the absolute best it can be.
Among the list of Clubs reinvented in 2012 were:
- The Clubs of Kingwood
- The Hills of Lakeway
- Greenbrier Country Club
- Trophy Club
- Hamlet Golf and Country Club
- The City Club of Washington
- Center Club Costa Mesa
- Columbia Tower Club
- Timarron Country Club
- Commerce Club Greenville
- Monarch Country Club
- Houston City Club
- Silicon Valley Capital Club
- Las Colinas Country Club
- Stonebridge Ranch Country Club
- Capital Club Montgomery
In addition, ClubCorp welcomed three new properties to the family! In 2012 we acquired:
This year we sponsored an amazing ClubCorp Charity Classic. With all our Clubs participating in a unique way we were able to raise a grand total of almost $2 million for charity, with results still coming in! Some of the top grossing events were held at:
- Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club, $143,000
- The Greenspoint Club, $100,000
- Gleneagles Country Club, $72,000
- Firestone Country Club, $71,000
Thank you again to all our phenomenal Members, Sponsors, Employee Partners and everyone else who helped make this years' Charity Classic such a success!
We urge you to scroll back on our blog to relive all the wonderful and unique stories from this year!
Although everything was noteworthy, some of our favorites were:
Here we go 2013!
Looking forward to the upcoming new year, we plan to continue expanding and improving, always searching for new and better ways to serve our Members.
Thank you for being a wonderful and invaluable part of our ClubCorp family and see you in 2013!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
But when it comes to Clay Hayner's transformational photography, a thousand words are not enough.
"Clay is so easy-going and patient," said ClubCorp Senior Director of Marketing Services Kristy Morgan. "He just rolls with it. So many photographers have huge egos, but Clay is the opposite and so easy to work with."
Since he was brought on as the company photographer in 2010, Clay has gone about completely redoing and re-branding the company photography, shooting 79 of the company's 154 locations so far.
According to Morgan, the company's photography is unique in that a vast majority of the photo shoots are done with Members, through casting calls held at the Clubs. This gives the photography a much more authentic and real feel.
On December 4, 2012, Las Vegas Bride and Beautiful Bride magazines, two of the largest bridal magazines in Las Vegas, hosted the 2012 Las Vegas Wedding Awards.
The awards are very prestigious and taken very seriously by brides-to-be. You can either be nominated by a vendor or a wedding party, and thousands of votes are cast before the final three are sent to a panel of experts.
Out of the sea of possible wedding reception sites in the city, the panel chose Bear's Best as the Best Reception Site for 2012.
"Obviously, there is a ton of competition for the awards and we are very excited because it is the first one we've received," said Club Private Events Director Gordon Parker, pictured here at the awards ceremony
According to Parker, reception bookings have increased dramatically since the Club recently remodeled their banquet room into the breath-taking, and now award-winning, venue it is today.
Additionally, as if winning Best Reception Site wasn't enough, three out of the four vendors the Club offers in their wedding package (the Club's disc jockey, photographer and baker) all won awards in their respective fields at the Las Vegas Wedding Awards.
You would have a hard time finding a more award-winning group of players for your big day!
Congratulations to the wonderful private events team at Bear's Best Las Vegas!
Formal white dinner jackets are guaranteed to make an impressionable entrance, even at a James Bond Skyfall premiere.
A few days before opening night, at a very limited premiere at the Malco Paradiso theater in Memphis, Tenn., a group from The Crescent Club in Memphis arrived in true Bond fashion, dressed to the nines in classic cocktail attire after attending a delightful cocktail mixer at the Club.
Through Columbia Pictures, the Club obtained two dozen passes for the private viewing and invited some of the Club’s newest Members, Bell Ringers, Board of Governors and Committee Members to attend.
The Club challenged the attendees by offering to make a donation to the Memphis Music Foundation for each gentlemen who came in a white jacket. The result was a glamorous group and a near $500 donation to the worthy foundation, which helps offer music lessons and instruments to children who cannot afford them.
Once they were at the theater, a representative from Columbia Pictures invited Club Manager Charles Shepherd to address the packed theater. Shepherd explained the meaning behind the white jackets and drew attention to the great work the Club was doing within the community.
If you missed out on Skyfall, stay tuned for more upcoming Columbia Pictures events at The Crescent Club!
When ClubCorp acquired The Country Club of the South in Johns Creek, Ga., during the summer of 2010, it was in dire need of a transformation, both in its’ physical appearance and in the way things were run.
“Internal success breeds into external success,” said Mike Selk, food and beverage director at the Club and ClubCorp Southeast regional food and beverage director. “We streamlined our operations and changed everything, from menus to opening and closing procedures. Our staff morale improved and this really shows through the Membership.”
One example was when Selk, along with his food service staff of 40, discovered that a large majority of their diners were interested in wine, and wanted more opportunities to learn about it. So they decided to host events centered around wine, tastings, wine dinners, clubs and sales. Eventually, Members were beginning to buy their wine directly from the Club.
“The important thing to do is to really get involved in the Membership and really figure out what they want,” said Selk. “People won’t actually notice the dining room is different if all they want is more programming.”
During his regular interaction with the company’s national management team, Selk pays attention to what unique programs were having success and good reception at the other Clubs.
“One of the advantages of my position is I get to steal all the time,” Selk said humorously. “I have 12 Clubs of my own, and I regularly get emails from other regional directors. I steal ideas from the others shamelessly.”
The implimentation of great programs, impecible service standards and a steller newly reinvented Clubhouse resulted in a surge in sales and Membership, and is what makes The Country Club of the South the success that it is today.
Congratulations to Selk, Service Director Chad Barnicoat and the entire staff at the Club for keeping up with company standards and always striving for excellence. Keep up the good work!
Name: Michael Miller
Residing Club: Silicon Valley Capital Club in San Jose, Calif.
Background and Career Highlights: Won the Michelin Star Chef award in 2009 and 2010 and the Emerging Maverick Award via Cinequest.
Other than your chef knife, what is your favorite kitchen tool?:
"A wooden spatula"
What had the greatest influence on your culinary career?:
"My father's pizza place."
What is your single favorite ingredient to cook with?:
"Yuzu juice is my latest favorite."
What is something about you few people know?:
"I've been a musician longer than I've been a chef."
What is one thing that can always be found in your home refrigerator?: "Butter, eggs, stock, beer... the basic essentials."
If you could cook dinner for anyone, past, present or future, who would it be?:
"My grandfather. He put me through culinary school but I never had the chance to cook for him."
What is your Walter Mitty fantasy?: "Being a studio musician in New York."
What character traits/qualifications/skills makes a good chef?: "Discernment, amplitude, organization, thoughtfulness and fairness."
What do you like most about working at the Club?: "The ability to use multi-global ingredients."
What do you see as the next big trend in food?: "The evolution of classics with modern applications."
Congratulations to The City of Irving, Texas on recently winning the 2012 Malcolm Balridge National Quality Award!
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, The Malcolm Balridge National Quality Award is the highest level of performance excellence recognition an organization can receive in the United States.
Irving City Manager Tommy Gonzalez has been a Member of La Cima Club in Irving for more than six years and has been on the Board of Governors for two years.
Originally from West Texas, Tommy brought more than 20 years of managing experience to The City of Irving when he started working there six years ago.
What clinched the prestigious award was the total transformation of both the quality of life in the city and the way it was run. Incredibly, in just a few short years, Irving reached a plateau that the vast majority of cities never reach.
According to the NIST, the City of Irving is one of five cities in Texas and 89 cities nationwide that holds an AAA rating from both Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s. In addition, Irving has maintained these ratings continuously since 2007, throughout the worst recession in our nation’s history.
In a survey that rated many key service departments, including the police, code enforcement, libraries and recreation, the number of city residents who rated the city as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ has increased by double digits since 2006.
The rating for overall quality of service in the city of Irving is 74%. This is significantly higher than the rating for the state of Texas (46%), and almost double the rating for the United States Government (38%).
Additionally, the city’s crime rate dropped considerably during the past six years. According to the NIST, overall crime per 1,000 city residents has decreased a noticeable 35.5% since 2006.
“[The application process] was a very rigorous review of our operations, things we've been working on for the last six years,” said Tommy. “These kinds of things do not make [Irving] recession-proof but they do show that these are sound practices.”
Winning the award goes to show how hard work and dedication behind the scenes can really begin to show in the the long run.
Instead of just making these changes into goals, Tommy and the rest of his dedicated staff made them into a reality.
Congratulations and keep up the good work!
There are many sad and heartbreaking stories from the recent storm, Hurricane Sandy. However, it’s during crises that unlikely heroes emerge and hard work and determination have a chance to shine, which was the case for two of our Clubs on Long Island, N.Y.
When the news broke about the hurricane, the staff at Wind Watch Golf and Country Club in Hauppauge, N.Y., watched nervously as the storm grew larger and closer, bracing themselves for the unexpected and the worst.
The Club had two weddings scheduled for an upcoming weekend, November 2-3, 2012, and both wedding parties were becoming understandably frantic when the news showed that the storm was headed straight for the Club.
As predicted, Wind Watch lost power during the storm and although the staff were dealing with loss of power to their own personal homes, they were still able to keep up communication with the two wedding parties via their cell phones.
Nearby, in Commack, N.Y., the Hamlet Golf and Country Club had both power and Friday night open, so they offered to help host the wedding. The couple was extremely grateful, accepted the offer and luckily were able to contact all their guests in time for the wedding to go almost exactly as planned.
On a time crunch, Kim Hint, Wind Watch Private Events Director, went over to Hamlet to sit down and hatch a plan with their General Manager and Private Events Director.
They invited the bride and groom to tour the facility and, together with them, made plans to make the Hamlet wedding as identical to the originally-planned one as possible, with Wind Watch food, liquor and staff being transported to Hamlet.
The wedding went well and even although the vast majority of the guests were dealing with damage and power loss, almost the entire guest list was able to attend the wedding.
The second wedding was scheduled for Saturday, which was already booked at Hamlet. Kim Hint and the rest of the Wind Watch staff waited and watched nervously, hoping for power to be restored to the Club in time.
Which it did. Limited power was restored just in time to host Saturday’s wedding and, even with limited power, the staff were able to fulfill the entire menu and give the couple their perfect day amidst the chaos.
Thank you to the wonderful staff at both Wind Watch and Hamlet for keeping up with the ClubCorp tradition of always, even amidst a hurricane, providing magical moments and memories to both Members and non-Members alike.
It's been said that it's lucky to get married in the rain because a wet knot is harder to untie, so best of luck to the happy couples!