It is my pleasure to begin this month with some amazing, positive news. Staff Commodore Monroe Wingate and his wife Peggy Patrick have entrusted an investment advisor with a $1 million endowment to benefit Junior Sailing at the St. Francis Yacht Club via the St. Francis Sailing Foundation. Our junior sailors will soon be the recipients of the hearts and resources of two of our finest members. Thank you, Monroe and Peggy—you are truly generous!
Sixty days into my new role as Chairman of the finest yacht club in the world, we are encountering some strong headers and some shifts. The headers were foreseen and a function of the 2017 election. In our two Board meetings thus far, we have discussed several disciplinary complaints, acted on a few and remain active on a few more.
Our objective is to act swiftly in a measured, balanced way. In April, we expect to host either a Town Hall membership meeting or a series of smaller membership briefings. We will transparently address some of the issues we have been tackling. As I am sure you can understand, there will be some details of our process that will not be shared.
The 2017 election revealed to us that our Bylaws and Rules & Regulations are outdated in a few key areas: they do not address or accommodate electronic communication, social media or fluid member-to-member communication. In addition, they do not provide enough controls or check-points in the campaign process, especially during a contested election. We take the issues created by the election very seriously.
As a result, we have tasked an Ad-hoc Committee to review our Bylaws and Rules & Regulations with an objective to refine our election process and related rules to ensure we are never again in the challenging situation of the 2017 election. This Ad-hoc committee’s chair is Director Medea Bern. Members include Jan Minar, Director Dave Wilson, 2018 General Counsel John Fitzgerald and 2017 General Counsel Adam Gambel—a fine balance of experience, perspective, legal expertise and fairness. This committee will brief the Board monthly and is scheduled to have final recommendations at our May 2018 Board Meeting.
As we navigate these headers, we are also focused on our Club’s future and meaningful shifts. We are experiencing shifts in the demographics of our Club and the way our members engage with the Club. These shifts reflect the demographics of the Bay Area, which have changed in the past ten years: our job market is one of the hottest on the planet, comprised primarily of Generation X and Millennial populations. There are over two million people in these two generations in the Bay Area and we believe they are the future of our membership.
We have several committees focused on these shifting dynamics. Under our Membership Committee with chairperson Elizabeth Little, we have our Membership Development Committee led by Michelle Harris focused on attracting new members, a new Member Engagement Committee with Ron Young focused on how we engage our existing members and a Long-Range Planning Committee with John Kerslake focused on long-term membership values and interests as well as membership categories, dues and experiences to ensure alignment with demographic shifts. Together, these committees represent a forward-looking focus on you, our membership.
I have received calls and emails from many of you. Your passion for StFYC is remarkable. Please know I am listening and am sensitive to our recent past. At the same time, I am responsible for the vision of our future. The first step of our future is for us to engage as a membership, use our fine facilities and to release the tension of our recent past.
The St. Francis Yacht Club’s role in the maritime world is to set the highest of standards in pursuit of extraordinary experiences. Please join our Flag Officers, Board of Directors, our amazing Committees and our fine members in realizing this vision.