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Externships that Excel: Creating a Pipeline of Talent

How do you find passionate, enthusiastic, servant leaders—trained and experienced in private clubs—to fill management positions at your club? This labor challenge can be even more difficult when the club is seasonal and not located in a large city.

Chief Operating Officer Patrick DeLozier of The Alotian Club in Roland, Ark., has found a way to successfully fill his management staffing needs by creating a pipeline of talent. Their club management externship program trains qualified and motivated students and recent alumni to become effective managers—and eventually, general managers.

He developed the program in 2016 as a way to place the best student graduates into an exclusive training and development program in club management. Working with hospitality school professors at the University of South Carolina—where DeLozier is an alumnus—outstanding students were identified, vetted and placed in an externship at The Alotian Club.

Upon acceptance into the program, externs primarily work in food and beverage operations and rotate within nine additional areas of development, including: administrative, professional, culinary, golf shop, outside services, housekeeping, concierge, locker room and golf course management. The length of time spent in each development block varies, tailored to the extern’s previous experience and the club’s needs.

The extern also selects a project to complete during the externship, which is implemented and evaluated by the executive leadership team. Some projects have included a new training manual complete with standard operation procedures, recipes, with pictures and another project included new tournament guides complete with all standards and pictures for their annual member tournaments. The projects are designed to be something that will improve operations and Member services, while also giving the extern something tangible they can add to their portfolio. Says DeLozier, “The externs are exposed to a lot more than would be associated with a college internship.” Essentially, they have an “all-access” pass to the club and management team. “The constant access to the entire leadership team prepares the externs for placement in a good entry-level management job at a private club,” says DeLozier.

The externship program runs from March through December and provides housing and related expenses in addition to a compensation package comparable to a mid-level manager. DeLozier was able to successfully assist previous externs in obtaining management positions in clubs that are synergistic with the extern’s experience and goals. “We’re known for developing good talent who are well prepared with great skills, and the reputation of the club enhances the externs’ resumes for placement in exclusive private clubs.”

“We are building a strong network by placing this caliber of talent in the pipeline. These externs will become the leaders of the club management industry.”

Club food beverage programs

Innovating is a new, occasional column featuring bright ideas that are improving private clubs. If you have an innovative program or service that you would like to feature in this column, please contact Cindy Vizza at [email protected].