How A Fresh Perspective Can Rejuvenate A Club

Key Insights

  • NPS has been used for the last decade to measure how customers feel about a business
  • Better customer experience directly leads to greater customer value

When Sean Wengel joined the Club Callala board as the youngest member, he had plenty to learn. However, with a bit of perseverance and ingenuity, the club has been rejuvenated with his fresh perspective

It was a daunting affair for Sean Wengel attending his first board meeting at Club Callala. He was rather self-conscious, slightly intimidated and aware of his lack of experience in the operations of a club. Being the youngest member on the club’s board, Wengel also felt he had some big shoes to fill and lots of expectations to meet.

“I remember questioning myself as to whether I would be able to make a valuable contribution to this board, which already had members with years of experience,” says Wengel.

Currently serving as one of the club’s directors, as well as a member of the club’s finance committee, Wengel admits his determination to learn on-the-fly came from wanting to help improve a club that had given him over 20 years of memories.

“My family has a property in Callala Bay so we have a long association with the area. Every holiday, for as long as I can remember, we would go into town and spend time at the club, which was formerly known as Callala RSL.”

Wengel noticed a number of changes over the years: “The atmosphere changed – and not in a good way. I found it getting left behind and members were foregoing their loyalty.”

So he took it upon himself to turn things around, which he realised would only happen if he became a board member. However, age and experience were not the only challenges for Wengel. With a full-time job, completing his MBA and starting a family on his plate, he needed to be conscientious and realistic about the extent of his commitment to the board.

“The time commitment has been difficult but I have overcome this by being upfront and communicating to the board when I’m available and trying to plan ahead, such as setting our board meetings well in advance or having teleconferencing as an option,” he explains.

Since joining three years ago, Wengel has overcome his initial concerns about being a valuable board member and has led developments at the club – including renovations, smarter staff rostering, the introduction of cost-savings measures and staff engagement initiatives.

Club Callala’s engagement with Tabcorp Gaming Solutions (TGS) is one of the major developments attributed to Wengel’s influence. The board wanted to make significant changes but were unable to facilitate these changes on their own.

“TGS gave us the tools and expertise we needed to improve the club’s facilities,” says Wengel. “These enhancements enticed our customers back, which has enabled us to lift our performance.”

He may have been initially hesitant to join the club board but Wengel is now proud of the contribution he’s made and puts forward the following advice: “There’s never going to be a perfect time, and you just have to throw yourself headfirst and get involved. You will get all the support you need from the other members and your input will matter.”

Wengel’s story is not a stand-alone one. In many clubs across Australia, there is a rising trend of younger people eager to contribute to clubs they’ve grown to love since childhood. In doing so, they are defying the stereotypical image of club board membership.

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