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A Podcast in our Series: Women in our Industry
Cari Buck grew up at one of the elite clubs in Massachusetts, The Wianno Club.. Her father was the director of tennis at the summer club in Osterville, Massachusetts. She’s never forgotten those days, and from those childhood summers and watching her father managing and marketing a tennis department she knew what she wanted to do. Cari, did just that, and is one of those rare finds: a female director of tennis. Cari is well-versed in our industry, having worked as a general manager for World Team Tennis, as a USTA coordinator and marketer, at the Tennis Channel, and, most recently, as a department head – a Director of Tennis. And as the latter, she believes the future is bright for women in the industry.
Tennis Is the Vehicle, But It’s Really About Service and Marketing
Cari believes that we often neglect our calling as directors. We are not only in the tennis industry, we are also in the business of hospitality, Being a pro, a director or any department head “is all about customer relations.” Keeping social media up to date, engaged and working with your members and students on a day-to-day basis is instrumental. When a pro is on the court all the time, they never have the time to look at the big picture. Income is from time on the court, but the time off the court is invaluable to build business and customer relations skills. “Making sure your management, your staff, your members – all of them are getting what they want.”
Confidence Without Arrogance
As a director of tennis, the dedication to the role and the club – the director needs to be invested with the members – is a way to show the added value of a great director. “Members want to see you off the court and have time with you to discuss ideas off the court.” As we at BTB have been saying for years, Cari realizes that listening to members is just as important as building a forehand. We can take what we learn as a singles player and how we have had to coach ourselves to a director’s role, which at times can be quite lonely.
What To Look For In a Director
Clubs run searches, with search consultants and executive search firms, far too often without really understanding what that club should be looking for in a new director of tennis. “You can’t teach personality,” says Cari, and we have to understand that a director is always on show. Too often, she believes, clubs look at the candidate too much on the court and too often don’t look deeply enough at matching the values of the club to the suitable candidate.