Letter #1

Greetings TPC,

“Isn’t there anyone here who has even the slightest interest in being President this coming year?” This is the question I posed to the group just after Ken Brakebill, your outgoing TPC President, nominated me for the office at last week’s Board meeting. You know what followed; an uncomfortably long silence. Rut Row!

As a member of TPC’s board since 2007 and Treasurer for most of those years, it’s reasonable to assume that if I wanted to be President, I would have volunteered by now. I am a passionate fan of the TPC, and as any of you who know me know, I am absolutely committed to volunteering time to help it along its path. But President? Dear God, no! The time commitment alone – who can do that? Standing on the firing line as the target of anyone’s dissatisfaction – ugh. And here’s the real hurdle; the bar set by past Presidents. I’ve been attending Board meetings since Steve Jackson asked me to accompany him to one in 2006 at the Belvedere Community Room. I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Tom Packer, Jeff Babikian, Peter Winkler twice, David Holscher and Ken Brakebill and have watched them serve the Club as Presidents over the past 6 years; each of them was remarkable. These gentlemen have set a very high bar, one I’m certain to come up well short of. In a perfect world, I want what every other member wants; a President who really wants the role.

Short of that however, let’s cut right to the bad news: my name is Mike Tierney and I’m your Tiburon Peninsula Club President for the next 12 months. Let’s agree to mutual condolences.

But there is good news, frankly there’s a ton of it. First, your 11 member 2013 Board of Governors is comprised of the strongest group of 10 of any board in the last 7yrs (that’s not hyperbole, I’ve been there) and frankly, I am excited about the opportunity to work with/for them despite what they dropped in my lap. Next, you still have a general manager who has to be considered as the best person in that role of any club in Northern California if not the whole west coast or beyond. This is a bit of inside baseball but just ask anyone in the know within the Club community in NorCal; membership and management, they will tell you Jerry Pang is the Man – period. Throw in a terrific group of professional, dedicated program directors and staff plus the beautiful facility and there’s an awful lot to be happy and proud about your TPC.

To begin our first Board meeting for the coming year we went around the table last Tuesday night and each Board member shared their goals list; the focus and direction they’d like to see their Board put its energy toward. The responses were almost unanimous (in no particular order):

  • Bring Fun back to the Club – a culture shift perhaps
  • Fix the Café
  • Execute the lower court project
  • Plan and allocate for the ultimate replacement of our 54yr old main pool
  • Site enhancements – particularly the café, patio, and grounds

At a minimum these five bullet points above are areas we will focus on this year and either complete or move the needle on in a big way. As you can see, these aren’t all mutually exclusive, there is overlap, especially as it relates to culture and the social fabric of the Club. Each item will be expanded on and touched more broadly in the next few letters to come.
There is one other goal that came up; I am going to make this one my own personal mission: to engage more member participation around the governance of its club. We have a beautiful member-owned Club with 700 relatively silent voting members when it comes to its governance. I hope to change that, even a little, with better communication, heightened transparency and open solicitation of member views.

In the coming days and weeks ahead you’ll be notified of the thoughts, considerations and decisions your Board is undertaking on your Club’s behalf. We’ll ask you to share your feelings about the directions you’d like your Club to take. I’m not sure what format it will take at this very moment; I suspect it will be blog like with other forms of outreach to accompany it. Whatever it is, please engage, it will enhance your relationship with your Club – I promise.

What’s immediately ahead? The budgeting process is complete and a dues increase has been considered (expect a 2½% dues increase next year – $5.15/month for regular members, half that for seniors, due primarily to employee benefits cost inflation). The Café: we’ll meet this week to learn more about the present circumstances and see if there are changes that can be made to enhance the member experience – it’s top of mind. The lower court project: with proper framing and a complete description of the club’s current and prospective financial circumstances, a member vote needs to be put forth to approve enhancement of the lower court area. All this is just December’s to-do list – now I better understand the uncomfortable silence I heard last week.

All right, for better or worse, wanted or not, I’m your man for the next year. I’m engaged and I am committed to improving our Club – I’m going to ask you to do the same. Let’s get the ball rolling, email me with any thoughts you may have at this time (jmiketierney@gmail.com) or stop me at the Club and tell me what you think. Talk to you soon.

All the best,

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