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Case Study: The Mirabel Club

At the northern tip of Scottsdale, Ariz., sits The Mirabel Club, one of many premier clubs in a city known for its luxury golf courses. Mirabel was developed by Discovery Land in 2000 and sold to the members in 2009. A top priority of the new owners was to establish a governance model reflecting the principles and best practices for private clubs. Starting with clearly stated bylaws that conveyed authority from the members to the board of directors, the board then developed a board policies manual (BPM) that explained how it would use its authority to govern efficiently and effectively. Since its installation, the Mirabel governance model has helped foster more than a decade of growing membership, expanding facilities and flourishing culture.

Board’s Self-Evaluation
Not a group to rest on its laurels, the Mirabel board has consistently sought ways to improve its governance model and its operating efficiency. In 2021, at the encouragement of Board Chair Greg Maanum, the board underwent an extensive self-evaluation. Maanum’s rationale for the self-examination was simple. “I trusted my board members to give me honest feedback on where we can improve,” he explained. “Not only did the process give each of my colleagues a voice, but it also gave me a list of quality suggestions.”

The feedback from the self-evaluation led to actions such as reviewing the bylaws, updating the BPM, refining committee charters, and more. Ron Vance, the chair of the Strategic Planning Committee worked with General Manager Marcie Mills, CCM, to draft amend-ments to the bylaws and revisions to the BPM. As he described, “The board already had the framework to govern effectively, which easily accommodated the changes recommended for the bylaws and BPM.”

President Becomes the Chair
To solidify its reputation for good club governance, one of the changes in the Mirabel bylaws was to eliminate the titles president and vice president and replace them with board chair and vice chair. In addition, the bylaws no longer designate a chief executive officer, a label previously given to the president. Maanum explains, “Because the board’s job is to govern, not run operations, it didn’t make sense for a board member to have the CEO title.”

General Manager Marcie Mills is a primary beneficiary of the improved governance model, as she explains, “The Board has demon-strated its commitment to good governance. It has given me clear goals and the authority to meet them. It has fostered a healthy culture built on well-defined responsibilities, clear lines of authority and accountability, transparent leadership, and close connections with our members.”