As the general manager and CAO of the Carriage Club, Michael J. Mally has been able to create an exceptional social atmosphere for the club’s members as well as their families and guests. While overseeing the Carriage Club’s day-to-day operations, Mr. Mally has consistently emphasized a focus on developing a strong sense of esprit de corps among club members and is known for his exacting approach to maintaining the club’s incomparable dining and recreational facilities.
Mr. Mally’s industry experience is in excess of two decades, and during that time he has been tasked with critical leadership positions at a variety of country clubs, with previous experience as a general manager, COO, or both at Liberty Hills Country Club, Milburn Golf and Country Club, The Club at Porto Cima and St. Joseph Country Club. Throughout each of these experiences, Mr. Mally has more than lived up to the sterling reputation he has earned during his more than 20 years in the industry.
The longtime club manager is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, where he earned a degree in business administration before beginning his illustrious career in country club operations management. Mr. Mally has been recognized for many of his professional achievements and has continued to pursue opportunities for enrichment throughout his career, as evidenced by his status as a Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) Certified Chief Executive and National Honors Society Member as well as a recipient of the Mid-America Chapter of CMAA’s Richard Aubin Memorial Grant.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
It really began with a passion for food and wine, along with golf, which then piqued my interest in the management side of all aspects of a country club.
How do you make money?
In addition to membership fees, we also provide access to a wide range of facilities and services.
How long did it take for you to break even?
Club membership is quite limited and is by invitation-only, so our path to break even was mostly dependent on the development and maintenance of extraordinary services, products, and facilities.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Not to any truly significant degree. There was a great deal of excitement in the concept of going in a new direction from the start that inspired a great deal of confidence in everyone involved.
How do you attract new members?
The entire team takes great pride in ensuring membership satisfaction. When the members are pleased they refer their family members, friends, and business associates. Developing and maintaining high quality programs, services and facilities ensures member retention and attraction.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Membership is by invitation-only, so we really have no reason to advertise that aspect of the club. We do, however, market our wedding and catering services through features in bridal publications as well as more traditional marketing efforts.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
We receive a great deal of requests for the use of our facilities, so it is often hard to decide how to orient our schedule in a manner that is fair for our members and their guests as well as those who wish to use our facilities for a special event.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I believe I have a strong sense of fairness and understand how to foster long-lasting relationships among the members of each club I have overseen.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
As I mentioned, the club hosts weddings on a relatively frequent basis, so any time one of our club members chooses our facility for a family member’s wedding it really validates the effort that I put into my work.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Our club is always evolving, and I am especially excited to welcome new members to the Carriage Club.
What business books have inspired you?
It’s not a business book per se, but Virgil’s “The Aenid” includes some very valuable lessons regarding the concept of boundlessness in business.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
We recently upgraded some of our tennis facilities, which has been received quite well by our members.
What lessons have you learned throughout your years in leadership positions?
The most important lesson I’ve learned is to recognize the singular importance of developing strong relationships that demonstrate the manner in which you value the people you work alongside each and every day.