Letter from President
by Jim Sutton, CCM, CCE

Greetings Fellow Chapter Members,

I hope that the year is off to a great start for everyone. We kicked off our Chapter calendar with an amazing conference in Wilmington, NC. Special thanks to Mary Geiss and her team for an outstanding couple of days of “Cape Fear” hospitality. It was so much fun to learn, network, and break bread with so many new friends. I met a lot of new Chapter Members, Interns, and Students and I’m really proud and excited for the future of our Industry.

I personally found the education in Wilmington to be very relevant and thought‑provoking. Our keynote speaker for the conference, Rick Ladendorf, took time to talk to us about understanding our membership and our members’ levels of engagement with our Clubs. I’m an “Old Pro” (at least as Patricia has classified me) and early in my career I recall another manager talking about how his “best members were those who quietly paid their dues each month and never came to the Club.” Of course that remark was made tongue‑in‑cheek, because we all understand that the heart and soul of a thriving Club is the positive “buzz” created by an active and engaged membership. We all want our members participating at a high level, which in-turn has a positive impact on their value equation… and the Club’s bottom line.

The same is really true for our Chapter and is a current discussion point of your Board and Leadership team. Just like at our Clubs, we want to keep the most active Chapter members engaged, enthusiastic, passionate, and excited about CMAA. At the next level of engagement, the challenge is to drive incremental additional participation through innovative programs, mentorship initiatives, and good, old‑fashioned relationship building. And for the Chapter members who “pay their dues and never use the Club,” we need to identify the “secret sauce” that plugs them in when they are new, or draws them back in if they have drifted away and become disengaged. All three of these scenarios require a different strategy and each requires a better understanding of our individual members. Information is the key. If you see yourself in one of these three stages of engagement with the Carolinas Chapter, let us know how we can help you get more value out of your membership. This is your Association.

In closing, I’m excited to report that we have almost 100 Carolinas Chapter members heading out to World Conference in San Francisco in a few weeks. Wow! I am looking forward to seeing each of you there and I do hope that you will join us at our Hospitality Suite and Chapter Dinner events. And don't forget, the Carolinas Chapter stands tall and proud in the front‑left section at the Opening and Closing Business Sessions. Come represent the Carolinas and help us wave the flag for the very best Chapter in the Association!

See you in SFO!
Jim Sutton, CCM, CCE
President, Carolinas Chapter CMAA

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