Wilderness Country Club General Manager/COO
Wilderness Country Club
Naples, FL

                                                                                NAPLES, FL


As one of Naples most ideally situated residential country clubs, Wilderness Country Club and Condominium Association is seeking a creative, energized, intuitively engaged leader with a strong and verifiable history of creating and executing thoughtful plans and measurable outcomes, with an ever-present eye on outstanding member and staff experiences.

The new General Manager/Chief Operating Officer will be responsible for both the golf club and the condominium owner’s association and must be able to demonstrate exceptional team building skills, along with possessing a total understanding of what is needed to lead today’s private residential country club.  He/she will be a consensus builder, yet will set clear and measurable goals that will lead to the overall success of the Club and Association, while being a key catalyst to ensuring that a strategic focus is maintained and that the Club and Association stay relevant and competitive in a crowded market of quality resident club communities.  This individual must be naturally approachable, visible and promote member and staff engagement, along with positively guiding the Board and committees in a respectful and diplomatic manner. Ensuring quality services and experiences that lead to high membership satisfaction is essential.

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Wilderness Country Club (WCC) was developed in the mid 1970’s as Naples’ first gated community.   Naples is a city on the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida that’s known for high-end shopping and golf courses. The nearby Naples Pier, first erected in 1888, is the city’s symbol and a popular fishing and dolphin-spotting destination. It is flanked by miles of beaches with calm waters and fine white “sugar” sand, including those at Clam Pass Park and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park.

Wilderness Country Club consists of 200 acres with 300 condominiums in 28 two- or three-story buildings. The club offers an 18-hole Arthur Hills designed golf course that was renovated in 2015 by John Sanford in consultation with Mr. Hills. In addition, there is a tennis facility with 4 Har-Tru courts, and the 4+ acre Frank Park facility includes 4 Har-Tru bocce courts, a regulation size croquet court, a dog park and recently developed herb and vegetable gardens; 5 swimming pools throughout the neighborhood and a 23,000 square-foot clubhouse.   A significant clubhouse renovation project is currently being discussed and the Condo Association will have major maintenance projects undertaken over the next five to seven years.  The natural environment at Wilderness has been preserved, consistent with Audubon Sanctuary Cooperative standards, creating a unique setting with indigenous trees, flowering plants, and wildlife throughout.

  • Maintaining high-quality condominium and country club facilities to meet the expectations of current and future members.
  • Preserving the natural beauty of Wilderness, with a commitment to enhancing and protecting the wildlife through an Audubon certified program.
  • Maintaining a warm and supportive community and social environment.
  • Providing exceptional value in a fiscally responsible manner.
The mission of Wilderness Country Club is to be a premier residential country club community in Naples, providing residents with outstanding facilities for living, golf, tennis, dining and other social, cultural and recreational activities in a native Florida setting.
  • 300 resident or full active members
  • $65,000 Initiation fee (non-equity)
  • $14,905 Annual club dues
  • $13,968 Annual condominium owner’s fees
  • $4.471M Annual gross volume country club budget
  • $4.189M Annual gross volume condominium association budget
  • $869,000 F&B volume budgeted; 41% food cost and 100% ala carte
  • $751,000 Annual land lease for country club acreage with 53 years remaining
  • $1,200 Annual food minimum and $550 service charge in lieu of gratuities
  • 501(c)7 tax status for the club
  • Approximately 22,000 rounds of golf are played annually
  • 11 Board members elected for two-year terms for the Club and the Association (one Board for both organizations)
  • The average age of the residents is 74, with 75% being retired and 20% being year-round residents.
  • Country Club membership is mandatory for condominium owners.
  • JONAS club accounting system


The General Manager/Chief Operating Officer (GM/COO), of the Wilderness Country Club (WCC or Wilderness) and the Wilderness Condominium Association reports to the Board of Directors of each through the President, and will have clear “ownership” for all day-to-day operations.  He/She is responsible for defining and recommending the strategies and tactics necessary to achieve the goals in the strategic plan.  Specific emphasis on consistently enhancing an extraordinary residential private club experience for members and their guests is primary to this role. He/She is responsible for managing all of the key assets (physical and staff) including golf, tennis, pool, food and beverage, other recreational assets and activities, and membership marketing to ensure they are consistently meeting expectation in service execution and delivery.

The GM/COO is expected to be the continuity to provide leadership to the Board, committees, members, and staff relative to key programming, events and activities at the Club; recognizing the need to lead in balancing multiple interests, perspectives, and especially the Club/Association’s business and financial objectives. Successful administration of all operations while meeting annual tactical and strategic goals and expectations is critical as is keeping a clear appreciation of maintaining high member satisfaction levels in the course of doing so.  The GM/COO will be leading all aspects of the organization and will have the “visionary leadership” to make necessary and sometimes bold decisions in the best interests of the Club and Association.  Consequently, possessing a respectful and diplomatic style in combination with being a good ‘thought partner’ with the Board is critical.

The Board’s expectation is for a GM/COO who offers up thoughtful, proactive plans and solutions to issues and strategies affecting the Club and Association and the ability to meet its mission; essentially having a “here is the plan and this is why I believe it’s in the Club and Association’s best interests” mindset, being able to articulate the ‘why’, and then implementing and executing upon the plan once approved.  Board members are active Club users and are not looking to ‘run the club,’ but rather be “partners” with the GM/COO on critical issues of note beyond general operations, which are his/hers to manage.

The GM/COO is the clear leader in ensuring that the Wilderness brand, as a quality residential country club community in Naples, is known and maintained through consistent focus on priorities, goals, and objectives that have been mutually established and reviewed in conjunction with the Board of Directors. 
The GM/COO is the ‘face’ of Wilderness, to members, staff and external constituencies and reciprocal clubs, and is expected to ensure that the best interests of the membership are maintained and enhanced through his/her leadership.  Of extreme importance is the continual development and support of an effective and dedicated team of department heads, supervisors and staff, and professional infrastructure, consistent operating standards and execution, and overall leadership to all groups within the organization.  In doing so, and as noted, it is expected that the GM/COO is “visible and sincerely engaged and approachable” with each of the key constituencies that contribute to the Club and Association’s overall success.

In addition to leading all management functions with gross revenues of over $8.0M, food and beverage revenues that will likely continue to increase with increased member satisfaction, and a staff of approximately 55 associates in the height of season (October-April), the GM/COO will lead the preparation of annual operating and capital budgets, and be a catalyst in updating the strategic plan.  He/She will work with the Board to identify clearly defined and measurable annual initiatives and budget objectives, presenting plans and recommendations to the Board for approval.  These plans will be backed with reasoned, well-conceived tactics, which he/she will own and be accountable to attain. 

The GM/COO will be a key player in the design and execution of all potential capital projects, some of which are currently in process. The GM/COO will be a primary catalyst in designing and implementing a ‘game plan’ toward successfully addressing each issue.

Organizational Structure:
Wilderness operates under the General Manager/Chief Operating Officer organizational structure. The GM/COO reports to the President but is ultimately responsible to the Board of Directors of both the Club and the Association, which has 11 people in those roles.

Direct Reports include:
COA Manager, Head Golf Professional, Golf Course Superintendent, Executive Chef, Food & Beverage Manager(s), Director of Communications, Tennis Professional, and Controller.

The GM/COO provides support and guidance to all committees, which are advisory to the Board of Directors. 

These committees include the following:
Executive, Audubon, Buildings, Grounds & Pools, Membership, Golf Operations, House, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Tennis, Finance & Audit, and Meetings, Voting & Proxy.

Key attributes, characteristics and style of the successful new leader include:
  • The GM/COO must be a “hands on” interactive leader who directly monitors the operation and mentors the staff throughout each day; someone who recognizes and embodies the details necessary for consistency and high levels of satisfaction in all operations and amenities.
  • The GM/COO must possess a personality that is genuine, likable, positive and upbeat and one that projects attractive qualities that puts people at ease.  Honesty, straightforwardness, integrity, accountability, leadership and dedication.  The GM/COO should be able to inspire and motivate others, earn the respect of the members and employees as well as the community (both internal and external) at large.
  • Energetic with a passion for people and building relationship; a proven record of success in this regard is critical.
  • Possessive of outstanding communication skills, both verbal and written, as he/she will be a primary communicator to all constituencies within WCC, as well as with those who support WCC’s efforts.
  • The GM/COO must be a true leader who can work closely with other leaders in a team concept, both with staff and volunteers.
  • The GM/COO should be “confident yet humble and an astute listener with a bias for action.”  He or she must also have the ability to engage in a meaningful fashion with both the members and the employees (beyond the board) to execute on day to day operations and ensure the long-term strategy is attained and is actively involved in creating it.  Being very “forward thinking” and able to create action plans once support for any changes is achieved is critical.
  • The GM/COO must be confident in their abilities yet possessing natural humility in his/her interactions with others.
  • Being creative, innovative and mission oriented; anticipating how the Club and Association continues to evolve is important, as is being actively ‘networked’ in the industry to the point of being on the forefront of trends in clubs, communities, and economic cycles.
  • Naturally outgoing, conversant, respectful and diplomatic, but able to say “no” when appropriate without alienating members or staff while doing so.
  • Understanding this is a unique and diverse operation that combines traditional elements of club management with coordination and understanding of a condominium owners association that requires an even higher level of empathy, authenticity, and responsiveness. 
Some of the broader management and leadership functions and responsibilities of the role include:
  • Provides leadership, mentoring, training, and organization for all employees.  Outstanding team building and development skills are critical.
  • Maintain and regularly update the Club Standards of Operation, recognizing that status quo isn’t always relevant.
  • Prepare for and conduct regular management and staff meetings to best ensure engagement and education of all contributing constituencies to Wilderness’ success.
  • Contributes to the governance process as an active participant with the Board and Committees, clearly recognizing the need to take accountability and responsibility of the GM/COO role.
  • Possessive of an exceptional financial aptitude commensurate with executive duties within a multi-million-dollar operation.
  • Developing and leading a quality, proficient management team to drive business results, operate revenue centers within established guidelines, actively coaching, instilling team accountability, and rewarding successes.
  • Serving as the “Behavior Model” for direct reports and all levels of employees; actively aware of his/her influence on the team with his/her ‘tone at the top’ modeling.
  • Actively conferring with administrative personnel and reviews activity and operations to determine changes in programs, operations, or personnel.

The following priorities have been identified as recommended primary focus:
  • Be “present” and positively approachable where needed to develop strong member and staff trust and confidence; approachability, follow up, and candid, respectful interactions are key.  Being engaged and part of every operating department is critical, as is becoming the “face of Wilderness!”
  • Develop the Board and Committee relationship, working to create a strong bond and communication exchange of diplomatic openness.  Ensure that well-intended member volunteer involvement is appropriate and in support of the Club’s goals.
  • Immerse into the Club’s financial and business plans to fully understand the Club’s history and model for success.
  • Work to ensure a smooth and successful transition.  Wilderness functions at a high level at present; a successful outcome will include understanding and embracing the Club’s “culture,” and quickly developing relationships with members and staff.
  • Create a ‘State of the Club’ report after a 90-day review, outlining key evaluations of all operating departments, processes and procedures as well as personnel.  Present an action plan for Board approval that addresses improvements to services, programming and other necessary actions or recommendations.  Recognize that the strategic plan is a tremendous guide but needs to continue to evolve as market conditions and recognition of key competitive advantages are identified.
  • While Wilderness is not a ‘turnaround’ project by any means, having a “turnaround mentality” and never becoming complacent or ‘status quo’ in approach is critical.

A minimum of 7 years of progressive leadership/management experience preferably in a private member-owned country club residential community with multi-dimensional operations, or leading hospitality operations outside of the club industry in a similar hospitality operation.  Consideration will be given to those not currently in a GM/COO role, but who have been part of top performing clubs or club community operations.  Additionally, considered will be those from outside the club/community industry who have demonstrated and verifiable success in other hospitality environs and who can validate their ability to function in a non-profit, volunteer board and committee situation.

Verifiable success in the key attributes noted above.

A demonstrable record of personal success, unimpeachable reputation, a hunger for “being the best,” recognizable and naturally articulate, because of experience and success, in communicating how and why results were achieved.

  • Preferably, a college graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration or Hospitality Management with a minimum of five years of significant management experience in a similar, private, member-owned premier club/community environment. 
  • Preferably, possessing a Certified Club Manager (CCM) and/or a Certified Chief Executive (CCE) designation or similar professional development achievements.
  • Community Association Management (CAM) certification or willingness to obtain such upon employment.

Salary is open and commensurate with qualifications and experience.  The Club, along with the typical senior staff benefits, offers an excellent bonus and benefit package.


Please upload your resume and cover letter, in that order, using the link below.  You should have your documents fully prepared to be attached when prompted for them during the online application process. 

Preparing a thoughtful letter of interest and alignment with the above noted expectations and requirements is necessary.  Your letter should be addressed to Mr. Chip Miller, Search Chairman and the WCC Search Committee, and clearly articulate why you want to be considered for this position at this stage of your career and why WCC and the Collier/Lee County area will be beneficial to you, your family, your career, and the Club if selected.

Your interest in this role must be communicated in the above manner no later than Friday, September 20, 2019 and preferably sooner.  Interviews are expected to occur early October with the process completed later that month and the new GM/COO assuming his/her role in a reasonable amount of time thereafter.

IMPORTANT:  Save your resume and letter in the following manner:
“Last Name, First Name - Resume” &
“Last Name, First Name - Cover Letter – WILDERNESS CC”
(These documents should be in Word or PDF format)

Note: Once you complete the application process for this search, you are not able to go back in and add additional documents.

If you have any questions, please email Patty Sprankle: patty@kkandw.com

Lead Search Executive:

Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM
561-747-5213 – Jupiter, FL


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