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Forging a Path to Data-driving Leadership

During my interview for the general manager position at Florida Yacht Club (FYC) in May 2014, I had a brief meeting with Clubhouse Manager Billy Mayo. Knowing he had been with the

club since 2004, I asked what he saw as FYC’s biggest challenge. His response was simply, “the building!” He spoke at length about the terrific club membership and board governance before explaining that his biggest obstacle was upkeep of the various systems throughout the club: HVAC, plumbing, an aging kitchen, older pool, etc. During that meeting, Mayo sketched out his vision for the club and looking back, it turned out his vision was spot on.

I accepted the GM position and for the next several years, we tackled smaller improvement projects. Progress was made, but with no club-wide master plan in place, the result was a series of add-ons. Making the projects work within the building’s structure and architecture while preserving the beauty of the original clubhouse was difficult.

By 2016, we were focused on adding a casual dining/fitness center building to the south end of the property and even had architectural plans drawn up. Then, in September 2017, Hurricane Irma devastated the Jacksonville area and caused significant damage to the FYC clubhouse and marina. Our plans for the aspirational casual dining venue/fitness center were put on hold.

The immediate focus shifted to getting the flooded clubhouse back into use as quickly as possible, repairing damaged docks and fixing an attenuator to protect the basin. During that process of renovating the clubhouse interior, the board of governors came to the realization that we were making these changes to the club piecemeal without any kind of master plan in place.

Leveraging the knowledge and talent of industry experts to develop a clear strategic plan became a priority and the board engaged Peacock + Lewis and Club Benchmarking. Thus began a period of intensive collabora- tion between board, management and those industry partners. The goal was to develop a well-researched plan and provide members with the data they would need to make an informed decision. During our annual member meeting in November 2021, a three-phase master plan was presented. All three phases were approved by a majority vote of the membership.

We were very fortunate to have an excellent team in place for such an in-depth project. The board and the FYC executive team spent countless hours putting together a comprehensive plan to ensure the lasting success of the Florida Yacht Club for generations to come. The entire Florida Yacht Club family—board, management and members—is looking forward to having the club fully renovated in time for the celebration of our 150th anniversary in 2026!