Meet the People
Behind the Mission

Meet your colleagues who are fueling the future of the club industry by helping to fund scholarships and grants or by tapping into the resources The Club Foundation provides. We are spotlighting those individuals who benefit from the scholarship opportunities, those who contribute to the Foundation regularly, and the many who do both.

Scholarship Recipient Spotlight

Meet Millie!

Ava Spece, Director of Development of The Club Foundation, had the privilege of talking with CMAA member Millie Harper, CCM, who serves as Assistant General Manager at North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh, NC. Millie discovered her passion for Clubs as a student member of the Texas Tech University chapter of CMAA. She spent 8 years in Chicago at elite clubs and then moved to North Carolina where she has worked her way up through the ranks of the industry for the past 10 years. She has been involved in the profession for the last 20 years and has worked hard during that time to take advantage of networking and educational opportunities through CMAA, receiving her CCM in 2014. She is passionate about mentoring others and loves being a part of the CMAA family. Ava met Millie for the first time when she volunteered to serve as one of the members of the Scholarship Task Force for The Club Foundation:
Millie Harper

Ava: What is your favorite thing about the work that you do?

Millie: Idea generation is one of my favorite “jobs” to do. If it isn’t creating an event for membership, it’s strategic planning for the future of our Club. It’s amazing to see a plan come together, whether a kids’ party or new building construction, it feels great to know you made something happen! And even better – there is always something new to be created in our business. Never a dull moment.

Ava: What scholarship(s) have you received from The Club Foundation and how have they helped you achieve your career goals?

Millie: I have received the Sally Burns Rambo scholarship three times. This scholarship has helped me in a number of ways. It certainly allowed me to complete the necessary class requirements for my CCM. But it also allowed me to meet life-long friends and build relationships in the process. There is nothing more valuable than being able to connect with these people, learn from their experiences and share your own with them.

Ava:  Can you tell us about your most memorable club member?

Millie: One of my favorite members in my career was Jim Pesoli. He was a board member at Rolling Green Country Club in Arlington Heights, Il. This was a special member who took the time to mentor me and help me grow as a young professional. Stricken with cancer for many years, he created Kids Fight Cancer, a non-profit in Chicago. He asked me to be part of this organization and I was proud to serve. We hosted many amazing fundraisers and events together. He and his huge Italian family were generous and fun! They were passionate and driven and brought me into the fold as one of their own. He really helped give me a sense of belonging in the community, which I had never really had before. He also gave me great advice during my professional transitions. He had a magical smile and never made an enemy. In fact, he and his wife attended my wedding and I still have their photo. He was one of the members I can truly call my friend.

Ava: What is your favorite meal served at your club?

Millie: I don’t care what anybody says – I love our Prime Rib and Roasted Brussels with Bacon.

Ava: What’s the best professional advice you’ve been given?

Millie: Times get tough. No doubt about it. In this business, once you get through each tough time or rough patch, if you don’t still love what you are doing, you need to find something else that fits. Life is too short to work this hard and be miserable.

Ava: Why is The Club Foundation mission important?

Millie: The Club Foundation is a crucial piece of a Club Manager’s growth. The Club Foundation literally fuels the “life cycle” of managers’ careers. The financial support offered by The Foundation is the only source for many managers in our industry. Many clubs simply cannot afford to cover the cost of their managerial team to attend conferences and participate in education required to further their careers. I know that without The Club Foundation, the CMAA education would be difficult for many. With their mission of support, managers learn, grow and help others do the same.

Ava: Why should CMAA members donate to The Club Foundation?

Millie: Without generous donations from our members, The Club Foundation cannot effectively support those that want to thrive in clubs. If we want the best talent, the strongest, and best-trained managers – we must contribute to their growth. Through The Club Foundation, our donations support the rising stars the industry needs. It is the right thing to do.
It may sound cliché, but I just wouldn’t be where I am without the support of The Club Foundation and other CMAA members. I love serving our industry and I will continue to donate in any way I can, in the hopes it will help others as much as it has helped me.