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We recently sat with Charlotte Country Club CEO Damon DiOrio to get his take on the future of the club business.
What are the biggest changes you see coming to clubs in the next 10 years?
Among them, we’re going to continue to see the evolution of management to more true leadership roles. The volunteer leadership doesn’t want to feel that governance of the club is work — they need to know they’ve got capable, competent, transparent leadership.
Working with the Charlotte Country Club, we heard members talk in glowing terms about their experiences there. What’s your driving philosophy of ensuring member satisfaction?
We’re in the happiness business — we do extraordinary things.
What tradition do clubs most need to relinquish to be successful in the future?
Old institutions that have been around 100 years can be adverse to change. We all have to be a little more nimble to keep up with society without it affecting our core values. For example, if I’d have thought 10 years ago that we’d be looking at a private Facebook page, well, people would’ve thought we were crazy. I think those clubs that are adverse to any change are quickly left in the dust.
Clubs have a delicate balancing act, blending older member expectations and the needs of younger generations. What do you say to both?
Transparency and open communications are the biggest things we can do to bridge that gap. We strive always to be open, energized and engaged with members.
You clearly see the benefits to members of a happy staff. What’s the best thing you can do for club staff?
Provide a safe, happy, healthy work environment with a positive culture and active engagement. Be active listeners. Our best operating ideas come from our staff. And we take care of our team.
What’s one thing you wish you could’ve incorporated into your club renovation?
A state-of-the-art fitness center. You can’t have a second rate anything. But we had significant infrastructure and golf course issues that had to come first. We will do it in the future.
What do you do on your day off?
Spend time with my wife, Suzanne. She is the most incredible human being… I am deeply focused when I’m out of here.