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Q&A with Leslie Remme

Leslie, who has 20 years of experience in association management and consumer marketing, is the NGCOA’s new director of membership. After three months on the job, here are a few of her thoughts on challenges, opportunities and her golf game.

Q: What do you see as the association’s biggest challenge when it comes to member programs and relations?

Our biggest challenge doesn’t change. It’s delighting our members through extraordinary service and fulfilling the membership promise, which is the reason they joined the NGCOA in the first place. Those things are tougher today than ever because operators are looking at every line item in their budget, and with any kind of organization, members are continually asking themselves if they’re getting the value they expected. Our job is to make sure they don’t have to think twice about their answer when it comes to the NGCOA.

Q: OK, turn that one around. What’s the biggest opportunity for the association to really make a difference for members? 

Our mission is to connect people – our members and our chapters – to each other in ways that help them solve problems and take advantage of opportunities. In today’s world, we have so many different ways to connect people – electronically, in person and through various media. Our job is to listen to our members and to make sure we understand their business issues so we can facilitate the right kinds of connections and make sure they’re meaningful.  

Q: You come from a state chapter, having served as executive director of the Golf Course Owners of Wisconsin before joining the NGCOA. What do chapters want to see more of from the NGCOA, and how do you plan to make that happen?

They want us to recognize the challenges that come with their jobs. I know how many hats many of these executive directors are wearing every day. Their time is at such a premium. That’s why we have to be timely and efficient in the programs and communications we direct their way. Those people are outstanding ambassadors for us and the game, so my goal in some respects is just to stay the heck out of their way and let them do their jobs. The way to do that is by listening to them, communicating clearly and giving them the tools they need.

Q: Your background includes marketing and management responsibilities for a large association and a major consumer products company. How have those experiences shaped the philosophy you bring to the NGCOA?

The thing I’ve learned through the school of hard knocks is that you never know everything you need to know and therefore you have to listen to other people. I’m also a firm believer in customer service. It’s critical in any job, and it’s what defines an association. Our customers are the owners and the chapters. And we’re not providing them the best service if the programs we’re developing aren’t relevant to their needs. We won’t know that if we’re not listening well on the front end and benchmarking our progress on the back end.

Q: How’s your game?

My game is on the verge of consistency. Of course, I’ve been saying that ever since college. But the bar for consistency keeps being raised on me. I think I’m also getting pretty fearless about my game. I don’t seem to be thinking about how embarrassing that last shot was and just enjoying myself on the course. So, how’s my game? It’s great.


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