Club Welcomes New President
Chairman Teresa Holmes opened the January Town Hall meeting acknowledging the energy and buzz in the room, “It’s an exciting day, I can feel it in the air, the Members, the Associates, it’s a momentous day for Ocean Reef Club because of our special guests, our new Club President Serge Rivera and his family.”
Before inviting Serge to the podium, Holmes first thanked the Search Committee for their efforts and also thanked the Club’s Senior Vice Presidents, management and staff for “stepping up and pitching in without hesitation.”
Preceded by just three long-term Presidents in the Club’s 26-year Member-owned history, Holmes reiterated that Serge has a phenomenal 30-plus year, successful track record in the hospitality world, well-versed in providing first-class owner and guest services and experiences. Also noting his understanding of what it means to live in a private club—and what it takes to be a private club. This coupled with his keen financial acumen, vast experience with capital projects, and the fact that he’s a Florida native who loves the water, it is sure to be a winning combination. Teresa said, “We believe we made the right choice for Ocean Reef. The timing was serendipitous. We are so fortunate that Serge chose us, and we are truly excited about the leadership and all that it means for our Membership and Club.”
Welcome Serge Rivera
With a thank you to the Search Committee, Serge also wanted Members to know that this Club had a thoughtful group of individuals leading the search, stating, “They were excellent.”
He went on to tell Members exactly why he wanted to be here, and why he wanted to be a part of this experience. He noted that by far the facilities are second to none with impressive scale, yet soon realized that was not what the Search Committee set out to convey. “Both Mike Sullivan and Teresa Holmes, independently, were not speaking to me about the operations but rather the culture of the Club and community, describing it through the traditions. I really knew that Ocean Reef was something truly special. In my experience, this is the one factor that gels an organization and group.”
He went on to describe the sense of belonging that is so important, and so evident here. For those reasons and many more, Serge and his family are excited to be a part of Ocean Reef Club.
Next Chairman Holmes illustrated some very positive points from the Holiday season, including the advanced Dining Reservations for Equity Members (12,000 reservations in just two days) and additional Dining options during the peak periods, all keeping the traditions alive.
Members reacted instantly with great applause to the statement by Holmes that, “We are nearing the finish line on the new Islander.” She announced the Ribbon Cutting date, Thursday, February 21 at 10:30 a.m. for Members to celebrate and tour the new Islander. The official opening date is likely around the same time as the Ribbon Cutting.
Vice Chairman Bob Manzo touched on a range of topics from Real Estate to Membership to Masterplanning. As he opened, “Hopefully this is the final time you will hear something from the Club on Irma.” He proceeded to report on the final settlement numbers against the Club’s payments, commitments and lost profits, anticipating receipt of the final payment this week. In summary of the post-Irma period, Manzo said, “When you look at this, we put the Club back into full service, upgraded many existing amenities and got paid for our lost profit. That is a fantastic outcome.”
A brief overview of the positive membership and real estate trends demonstrated that both are working in concert. Social Membership’s Sweet Spot of 2,350 has been maintained with a waitlist of 229 at the end of fiscal 2018. The Club is also realizing a positive impact from the acquisition of Russell Post’s real estate business in March of 2018 with continued strength in market values.
The Ocean Reef Clubhouse is moving ahead and Members can look forward to hearing more details at April’s Annual Meeting. The improvement of the Buccaneer Island Lagoon is also a priority with a goal of making it more useable for all Members.
The Welcome Center/Multi-use project, in conjunction with ORCA, announced in November, is currently on hold. While there is still a need, the Club and ORCA have mutually decided to reevaluate the project to further consider the options. There will be more to share in April.
In closing, Bob reminded Members of the statement made in November regarding the financing of these projects, “The idea is not to have to do an assessment to build these projects and I am happy to say that is still the thinking.”
Charity Front & Center
At the opening of Town Hall, Chairman Holmes gave a nod to Keys Children’s Foundation’s incredible luncheon and speaker and highlighted the $1 million that KCF has given to education in the Keys community. She closed by bringing it full circle with a reminder to every one of the upcoming ALL CHARITIES weekend, “It’s all about community – and the greater good.”
If you would like to watch the video recording of Town Hall, you can visit oceanreef.com/members/townhall