This blog features updates from CMAA’s CEO, Jeffrey D. Morgan, FASAE, CAE, for the CMAA membership. It will keep you up to date on the latest CMAA news and club industry developments.

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November 2018: Giving Thanks and #CFGivingTuesday

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 11.13.18  CF Giving Tuesday

Happy November all! CMAA began a new fiscal year on November 1, as well as our official subsidiary relationship with the Club Spa & Fitness Association (CSFA). Thanksgiving is the focus for many this month. When you think about Thanksgiving, you most likely think feast (at home or at your club), family (serving those families in your club and spending some time with your own), and probably football! But at its core, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for all that we have received.

I have fond memories of going around the dining room table during Thanksgiving dinner with everyone sharing what they were thankful for. Most of the comments were about love for family, friendships, good health, and happiness. It is one of those times when love and thankfulness are at the forefront. I recently had the opportunity to hear from best-selling author and lauded speaker, Tommy Spaulding (Heart Led Leader and It’s Not Just Who You Know). He spoke about love and leadership and asked the group if our individual leadership philosophy included love.

The emotion of love can be awkward to speak about in a business or in a club setting. But Spaulding’s message told us that our head and our heart are 18 inches apart and that this proximity reminds us to connect the two in order to be more effective leaders. Having intellectual or technical prowess in your profession is great, but Spaulding asserts that those whose leadership includes leading from the heart are much better leaders and can be transformational for their organizations. Words that often come to mind for the heart-led leader include: authentic, vulnerable, empathetic, trustworthy, generous, humble, and/or gracious. 

The message is straightforward and puts love at the forefront of our deepest relationships, whether personal or professional, because we focus on another person’s needs. It’s a great thought for Thanksgiving and for everyday as we are grateful for those meaningful relationships in our lives. I certainly feel that love is part of the magic of CMAA. I felt it immediately when I began my journey here four years ago, as there is a deep caring for the organization and for each other. I am thankful for that, and thankful for you as I too continue to grow with heart and head as we move CMAA forward. 

Another part of your heart-led leadership as members of CMAA was the vision to create Foundations to help each other. We have seen The Club Foundation as well as CMAA Chapter Foundations fund education for members, help members in need, and support local communities. This caring side of CMAA makes me proud to be your CEO. It’s one reason why I am drawn to write a personal contribution to The Club Foundation each year and know many of you do as well. 

As I end this month, I hope you will think about your own leadership style and what you can do to add more heart. I also hope in this season of giving thanks you will consider contributing to The Club Foundation. Nationally recognized “Giving Tuesday” – November 27, 2018 – is the perfect opportunity to come together with care and love as we globally celebrate giving and philanthropy with our hearts, our heads, and our contributions.

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

October 2018: New, New, New!

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10.16.18 BMI Intl NZ

Hello CMAA members, this month I want to share several things with you that are rather important:

1. CMAA’s National Board approved an Expected Conduct for CMAA Events & Programs policy. This will be referenced in our event app going forward, as well as elsewhere for those attending CMAA events. This policy strives to ensure we create a safe, hospitable, inclusive, and productive environment for all participants at CMAA events. These types of policies are somewhat new for associations, but are a best practice and were adopted with advice of our legal counsel.  

2. The National Board also recently released the CMAA Policy Manual, which details all national policies for members and Chapters. Some of these policies are required to be followed by Chapters, like brand management and logo usage as National and Chapters migrate to one standardized CMAA logo in 2019. Other policies are association best practices and your Chapter should consider implementation of some of these (like the Expected Conduct for CMAA Events & Programs) too.

3. Another policy that has been fully developed over the past year relates to dishonesty in submitting education credits. In recent years, CMAA developed online tools to make this process simpler and more efficient for members at events. In rare instances, members have abused the system to submit for credits for sessions they did not attend. The Certified Club Manager (CCM) and Certified Chief Executive (CCE) designations are hallmarks of the club management profession and cheating in any form will not be tolerated. Dishonesty in submitting credits, knowingly providing inaccurate information on your certification petition, or committing fraud in any other part of the CMAA certification process including the CCM exam itself can result in the revocation of your certification. Honesty, integrity, and professionalism are core to CMAA. If you see another CMAA member cheating, you have a responsibility to call it out and report it.  

4. Before I leave this policy discussion, I want to mention CMAA’s Code of Ethics & Conduct.  This is different than item one outlined above and is a part of what all members strive for as good stewards of CMAA. I want to remind you that this has changed over the last few years on advice of CMAA legal counsel. It is aspirational in nature. For example, it is always a good idea to contact another club’s manager during the interview process of that club’s professional staff. However, this contact is a professional courtesy and is not an act that can jeopardize your CMAA membership if not done. This is a good opportunity to take a moment to review CMAA’s Test of Compliance as well; this assessment poses three questions for reflection when seeking favorable approval as a response during a conflict.

5. During the Leadership/Legislative Conference (LLC) last month, I gave a brief State of the Association update. The theme of 2018 seems to be new. To hear a summary of my remarks about all that is new at CMAA, check out the recent CMAA podcast.

6. Speaking of LLC, next September this event will be in Charlotte, NC, and we will be working with attendees to develop CMAA’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. Any CMAA Professional member may attend this CMAA program and I would encourage you to consider it. 

I will end this month reminding you that it is CMAA membership renewal season. If you haven’t renewed yet, please consider getting the process started. I’m grateful for your swift action to this matter, as the time, money, and other internal resources that go to collecting dues can affect other efforts to serve the overall membership. As always – thanks for the part you play in CMAA!

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

September 2018: Shaping the Future of the CCM

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 09.19.18 LLC - Town Hall

You recently received an email with a very big call to action – tell us how you spend your time in your role at your club. While this may seem like a CMAA request you can skip, please don’t! Your response to this survey is at the root of updating the Certified Club Manager (CCM) program. This survey is a time or competency study that will give us the necessary understanding of how club professionals spend their time as well as the knowledge, skills, and abilities critical to strategically lead a club and manage the operation. This information will ultimately impact the CCM exam, Business Management Institute curriculum, club management text book, and all other CCM materials, as we strive to ensure the authenticity of the CCM educational and testing process. To preserve the validity and relevancy of the CCM, it should mirror as closely as possible what competencies you are using and how often you are using them in your club management position.

The last time we completed this evaluation was more than a decade ago, so we are presently on a path to evaluate our CCM materials and exam approximately every five years. Here is how this important survey will be used and hopefully why you should take the time to complete it:

1. Now through winter 2018 – Competency Study completed, and results tabulated.
2. Beginning in early 2019 – Use the Competency Study to evaluate curriculum to address new competencies, including evaluation of where to place emphasis in curriculum offerings. Retool BMI programs and shift educational offerings including further development of BMI Summits for other critical club professional needs, such as capital improvements, human resources, etc.
3. This will include reverse engineering the BMI curriculum by asking faculty to examine how much time they spend teaching each competency. This will ensure we are teaching competencies that are important and most frequently used by club management professionals.

4. Early 2019 – Begin work on the 4th Edition of Contemporary Club Management with the goal of a 2020 publish date. This edition will focus on the critical competencies for club management professionals.

5. 2019 through 2020 – Continue to evaluate the CCM exam and update it based on new competencies and curriculum revisions. Continue to explore and leverage security software to protect the exam’s integrity. Advance the test bank of questions by adding new questions and purging irrelevant ones; establish a process for evaluating and developing questions on an on-going basis to ensure test validity and reliability. 
6. Mid 2019 – Begin the process to develop a competency self-evaluator tool that will allow club professionals to assess their own club management competency gaps. The results of this evaluator tool will be to suggest educational offerings and other resources to fill these gaps.
7. Late 2019 or 2020 – Begin to focus on the Certified Chief Executive (CCE) requirements and how the evolving club management competencies might be included in revisions to the CCE certification program. We will be examining the applicability of using a cohort education model to further enhance the CCE experience by integrating BMI Tactical Leadership and Strategic Leadership into a robust curriculum offering. We will also be examining whether other educational or experiential projects should become part of the CCE requirements.

This vital CMAA journey begins with you answering an in-depth survey on your time allocation in various club management competency areas. Now that you know more about the need for this information, I hope you will understand how your answers to the survey help to become the new foundation for CMAA’s certification programs. On behalf of the CMAA Board and Staff Team, we sincerely appreciate your time and attention to the survey as we embark on this important CMAA journey.

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

August 2018: CMAA and CSFA Under One Umbrella

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(Left to Right) CSFA Past President Kevin Caldabaugh, Founding Members Jeremy Barker and Pamela Caldwell, and Current President John Porter.

Hello CMAA members – I hope you are having a terrific summer! This month I’d like to expand on an announcement that you may have read about recently regarding the Club Spa & Fitness Association (CSFA) becoming a subsidiary of CMAA. I want to share my perspective on what this means and how it will affect your CMAA membership.

First, unlike corporate mergers, there was no money or payment made by CMAA to CSFA. CSFA is a membership organization, just like CMAA, so the process to become a subsidiary required some changes in CSFA’s bylaws and a vote by the Boards of CSFA and CMAA. 

CMAA already has a subsidiary organization – The Club Foundation, so the addition of another subsidiary is not unique or atypical. Additionally, CMAA has been managing CSFA since October 2017 and it quickly became apparent that the synergies of bringing the Association under the CMAA umbrella would benefit both organizations.

By becoming part of CMAA, CSFA keeps its existing Board and focus, but now has better access to leverage the larger outreach of CMAA for growth and service to the clubs and CSFA members in the areas of spa and fitness. For CMAA members, the CSFA organization remains a separate membership organization but adds the ability to integrate activities at World Conference, combine research initiatives related to wellness, and leverage CSFA members, partners, and their respective networks to educate and inform all levels of club management.  

Ultimately the mission of CSFA supports the mission of CMAA and vice versa. As CSFA grows with the help of CMAA, that increase in CSFA member value is really part of CMAA. As The Club Foundation’s success benefits CMAA, so will CSFA. We often think of mergers and acquisitions in a corporate environment to mean lots of upheaval, but in the case of CMAA and CSFA it means mutual partnership while operating as separate organizations, all under the CMAA umbrella.

Corinne Grimaldi, Executive Director of CSFA and CMAA’s Senior Director of Community Strategy & Outreach, rejoined the CMAA National staff team last fall to lead this effort. Corinne’s focus hasn’t changed with this announcement. Corinne’s role puts her in the position of guiding CSFA, while growing CMAA’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) as well as focusing on other emerging positions in clubs.

CMAA’s focus on supporting these emerging or vertical club positions is an effort to support those professionals who may not have an association home. However, they are integral to the overall success of the club industry, CMAA club professionals, and our mission at CMAA. It is why this new relationship with a young CSFA organization makes sense for CMAA. It is also why CMAA hosted a group of club communications professionals at the 2018 World Conference. We will continue to learn from such groups and develop mutually beneficial programming where those groups are given opportunities they did not otherwise have, and where CMAA members are given a broadened scope of the club management industry. In the example of the club communications professionals, members of the group and our CMAA members can look forward to a new Summit in the spring of 2019. The Summit will follow a similar format to our already-successful Governance/Leadership Summits, so stay tuned to what this new one has in store!

In conclusion, I hope this helps you to better understand why both governing Boards of CMAA and CSFA decided it made sense to create a more formal ownership relationship.

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan


July 2018: Benefiting from CMAA’s Coaching Services

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 07.24.18 Coaching Services

A fun CMAA moment at Army Navy Country Club: An in-person delivery of Marshall Micheal’s new member kit. Welcome to CMAA Marshall!

A few weeks ago, I received a note from a member who lost his position at his club after almost 20 years. The note went on to say how appreciative he was of the coaching services provided as part of his CMAA membership at a time when it was most needed. Thanks in part to the coaching experience, he found direction and moved forward in a positive manner. He has since found a new club position. 

This isn’t the first time I have received comments like this about the coaching provided by Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall through CMAA. Finding a positive way forward when you experience unexpected change is important. It is why CMAA has established additional member benefits for those in transition, including providing a temporary shift of your membership to Continuation status and complimentary access to World Conference education.

Accessing coaching services and the Coaching Newsletter is not just for those who find themselves in need of a job. CMAA provides this benefit to all members annually. I encourage you to consider taking advantage of it. As part of my own CMAA journey of trying to experience all that members have access to, Kevin conducted a telephone coaching session with me last year to help me assess my own areas of personal need. This beneficial session left me with my own personal introspection. While I am not planning to leave CMAA, the discussion helped me with internal insights to ensure I was receiving as much as I was giving in my professional and personal life.

I wish that no CMAA member ever has to go through an unplanned career change, but I hear about it way too often. It is why CMAA is always looking for those reasons why club professionals might be in jeopardy and what we can do to help. This is one reason CMAA’s Governance Summits were launched two years ago, as we know club governance is an area that can be challenging for club professionals. It is also one of the reasons why we are launching a new Summit next year focused on capital improvements at clubs. For many of us, capital improvements are not something we oversee regularly. They can sometimes be a tipping point for an unplanned career transition. CMAA wants to provide you with educational grounding to help to ensure your capital project is a success. More details on the Capital Improvements Summit will be available in the fall.

As I end this month, I would ask each of you to ask yourselves if you are professionally satisfied? If not, do you know why, and are you doing something about it? We may not need a full-time executive coach, but all of us have times in our lives when we can benefit from professional coaching. Kevin and Shelley do a great job and I hope you will think of them and check out the CMAA Coaching Services.

Until next month,    



June 2018: A New Name, AMS, & More

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CMAA Logo - Club Mgmt

Hello CMAA members! This month I have several newsworthy notes:

1. Cue the trumpets! July 1, 2018, marks the date when CMAA will be officially become the Club Management Association of America!

2. I am hopeful you have seen the recent communications related to the changes to your online membership experience as we “go live” with a new association management software system. These include:

  • New login procedure for CMAA.org;
  • Discontinuation of @member.cmaa.org email address; and
  • New online member directory tool to allow for direct messaging other members that preserves email privacy of recipient until they desire to share their email and contact information.

3. CMAA’s biennial Compensation & Benefits Survey  invitation will be arriving in your email box in the coming weeks. This CMAA survey and our annual operating analytics data collection serves clubs by providing more than one source for club analytical data. I hope your club will complete this survey sometime this month. The report will be issued this fall.

4. Nominations for the inaugural class of CMAA Fellows are due June 30. The CMAA Fellows Program is an honorary recognition program distinguishing those living CMAA members who epitomize the leadership, integrity, involvement, and contributions of club management professionals. These individuals have made significant contributions to the betterment of the profession and CMAA throughout their careers. Those selected as a CMAA Fellow are recognized as highly engaged individuals for their contributions to the profession and are called to continued service as mentors, facilitators, thought leaders, and champions within the club community.  Anyone can nominate a CMAA professional member peer via the  Fellows nomination form.

5. Speaking of nominations, it also time to consider running for the CMAA Board of Directors. All materials are due by June 30 and the 2019 slate will be announced in early September by CMAA’s Nomination Committee.

6. For those who submitted session proposals for consideration as a speaker at the 92nd World Conference on Club Management in Nashville, TN, the Conference Focus Group will be meeting at the National Headquarters this month. You will be notified in July if your submission was accepted. I truly appreciate all of you who took the time to consider delivering a session at Conference. I know your peers will have a tough time selecting speakers from the quality of proposals we’ve received.

7. Last, but certainly not least, I want to call your attention to CMAA’s new information tool – a Podcast entitled “Let’s Talk Club Management." My thanks to Melissa Low and Kyle Jennings for developing our capabilities to do this at CMAA and acting as CMAA’s hosts. I am excited for this launch and hope you will add CMAA’s podcast to your regular podcast listening.

Until next month,


May 2018: Pivoting to Nashville

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 05.15.18 Planning Nashville

While the World Conference in San Francisco is still fresh in our minds, believe it or not, we are already pivoting to the planning and coordination for the 92nd World Conference on Club Management in Nashville, TN. As we look ahead to next year’s event, I need your help. But first, let's take a brief look back at San Francisco.

Thank you to all who attended. Attendance was up this year by more than 10 percent. Every conference city or site may have some challenges but it was great to be back in San Francisco after almost 20 years. We have heard your desire to continue to add some new locations to the Conference rotation and Nashville will be another city that CMAA has not visited for a very long time (1993). CMAA Staff and the Conference Committee read through your Conference surveys and each of the individual comments. We’re grateful for your feedback. Overall, the World Conference was graded as a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, but there were some things we can always do better. Our First-Time Attendee Orientation (newbies) needs to continue to evolve as attendance grows each year. While it was wonderful to go to St. Francis Yacht Club for our networking event, the hotel site was not conducive to loading buses and we need to think differently about transportation in future years. Lastly, with the addition of the new CMAA Fellows program recognition next year, we need to rethink our awards presentations. These are just a few of the things we are assessing as we look ahead to Nashville. Overall, San Francisco was a great success, with most attendees willing to recommend the event to a peer. 

The national Conference Committee, comprised of CMAA members, met in Nashville at the end of April to review attendee surveys, consider changes to the 2019 program flow, and evaluate venues for the networking event. It was a very successful meeting and we are well along in our schedule development as the World Conference in Nashville in 2019 comes into focus. While nothing is yet confirmed, your Conference Committee peers agreed that we want to take full advantage of being in "Music City."

Here’s where we need you to ensure the World Conference in Nashville is another success.

One of the critical success factors for any conference is professional development and the educational programming. CMAA is now accepting proposals to present at our 2019 World Conference. All proposals must be completed online. Simply fill out each section and the file will be sent to David McCabe, CMAA’s Senior Director, Education.  You can submit for a 90, 60, or 15-minute session. The 15-minute sessions will take place on the floor of the Club Business Expo. Proposals for student sessions are also welcome. Please reach out to David with any questions on the proposal process.

The CMAA Education Department works with a focus group of CMAA members to select the Conference education sessions. We are looking for sessions that are engaging for club management professionals. Our membership expects new and innovative delivery methods from the Conference presenters. Proposals incorporating these concepts have a distinct advantage over those that do not.

All proposals are due no later than Monday, May 28, and must be submitted online. We will review all submitted proposals and all who submit a proposal will be notified of the status of their proposal in July.

Thanks for your consideration!

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan