2022-2023 Bridge Candidates

Candidate statements


Cathy Herbold Commodore Candidate

1       As we come out of COVID, what would you do to make the member experience better?

The member experience is best remembered with meeting people and sharing experiences together. Food, music, games, unique events both in the club and on the water all are an important part of this.  To that end I am working with House Events and the new Education Committee Chair to increase events and education programs that once again are calendared and promoted to encourage member participation.

We have developed over the past year new web access to communicate with our members and our next step is to find ways to encourage member participation in that tool. The PR Committee will play a key role in growing, educating and informing our members and we are teaming to build a committee of volunteers that can support this effort.

2       What are your thoughts about increasing member engagement?

The most important way to increase member engagement is to give them the information they need to participate. To volunteers we owe them clear information on what we are asking them to do and let them know how much it is appreciated. Members need to be invited to join in on events in a timely fashion that lets them include these activities in their calendars.  A personal contact to new members throughout the year is vital to continuing to meet their needs. The Cruising committee has tools they use to encourage everyone to get to know each other, a great model to build from and I will be asking them to share this with the Membership Committee. 

3       Other than improving the member experience and increasing member engagement, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the board to undertake?

The first priority is to continue to build financial stability for the club. While membership is one aspect of this we also heavily rely on a strong performance in income from the Event Center/Rentals. It is a priority that this area meets and or exceed goals and to that end we are expanding our marketing efforts.

Our Youth Sailing program is currently under transition and it too is a priority. We need to re-build a future for this program.  Our team will be working on this as we move into first quarter of the year to be ready for next season.

The recently completed financial review of the club has specific goals that need to be fully implemented.  Asset management is one area that requires we have a five year plan for fleet and facilities. I will task Fleet and Building Committee Chairs to develop those plans.

Financial reporting has been a part of the transition to new web based management.  While this was very challenging to implement it is now ready to support the clubs future stability.  I have a strong team built that will continue to deliver in this area.

I have had the opportunity to prepare for this role over the past few years.  The transition to new web based management systems  while challenging has given me a deeper understanding of the people and traditions of this club. Blending that with new business practices I believe prepares us for a more resilient organization.

The Covid experience while unique reminds us that we need to remain nimble to continue growth. I will continue to seek new opportunities as we role forward.  

Jim Haines Vice Commodore Candidate

1       As we come out of COVID, what would you do to make the member experience better?

Building on increased volunteerism, as outlined below, we should work toward increase the number of days the Club is open.  Members should also know that during non-business hours at the Club, the facility is available for them to enjoy, as they can obtain access to the premises.

We are working toward transition of member services portals on the BYC website, and this must continue.

Recently, as Covid restrictions have abated, we've started to hold more Friday dinners and special events. The more we can do so, the better the value Club members realize from their affiliation.  Along with social events, regular educational presentations should be organized.  I would like to see skills classes appropriate for all, with an emphasis on family boating.  The Club, with expert member volunteer instructors, could present sessions on topics like boat handling, water safety, weather consideration, lifesaving, and navigation/piloting.

2       What are your thoughts about increasing member engagement?

To improve member engagement, we should concentrate on encouraging and fostering connections between and among members, and between members and the Club.  That means increasing communications among the various groups within the BYC (e.g., cruising, sailing, racing, youth sailing) so that members feel better connected to one another and develop stronger ties to the Club.

We also need to continue to stress the critical role that member volunteer efforts play in successful Club operations.  Publicizing volunteer opportunities and, to the extent possible, organizing volunteer tasks so that members can both volunteer at, and participate in, particular events will be helpful.

3       Other than improving the member experience and increasing member engagement, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the board to undertake?

a.  BYC has, in addition to member dues, chosen to rely on Event Center rentals for a substantial portion of its income.  Covid had a detrimental effect on that revenue source, but as its affect passes, it is incumbent on us to be certain that operation can succeed on a disciplined, business-like, and viable basis.  We should never rule out option for use of our beautiful facilities, whether it be ongoing rentals, retaining a compatible tenant, or retaining a professional facilities manager.  The Board must consider and evaluate all options on an ongoing basis.

b.  To a large extent, the operation of the Youth Sailing Program mirrors the issues facing the Events Center.  We have had a longtime volunteer (Mike Powell) running that program successfully, with great help.  But Mike is leaving that role and the on-scene director for recent seasons will not be returning.  The Board must consider immediate operational needs, as well as structural/organizational needs for the program.  At present, the relationship is not well defined.  It presents logistical and financial difficulties that must be addressed.

c.  Finally, the Board must consider that financial stability and predictability are concerns that cannot be ignored.  Stability is the key to offering members the services, benefits, and experiences they deserve.   Continuing with the Financial Review undertaken this year and following through on the recommendations that were forthcoming from it will be essential.

Rich Sandeen, Rear Commodore Candidate


As we come out of COVID what would you do to make the member experience better?

BYC is a place of connections. COVID was brutal on connections across all people and walks of life. We have a new website for communication between board and members groups and members. We need to continue to grow and improve that website as a way of informing members of opportunities to connect with other members around activities of common interest. With a full board of trustees next year I would like to see the education committee revived and bring learning opportunities for our sailing and cruising fleet as well as those interested in boating in a safe and fun way.


What are your thoughts about increasing member engagement?


I think part of the membership committee and board’s work should include an effort to

welcome new members, not just give them an orientation and tour. We need to seek them out and introduce them to other members and activities that might interest them. Show new members how the club works, point out work that has been accomplished by volunteers. Let them know that the bartenders are members who volunteer and one of the reasons we are able to keep the door open. Point out and explain the work that needs to be done in order for the club to function and grow. This should be ongoing over the first several months of a new members time at the club. Find out what skills and interests they have and whether they are interested in helping in an area that interests them.


Other than improving the member experience and creasing member engagement, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the board to undertake?


The first priority is working with the other youth sailing programs to create a cohesive youth program supported by BYC and run by the Community Boating Center in a way that provides opportunity for community youth to learn sailing and discover the beauty of being on our local waters. This should provide revenue to keep the fleet maintained, provide excellent instruction, be sustainable without creating undue resource loads on any organization. This work has begun and needs to be completed to provide a robust youth sailing program for 2023.


Secondly, we need to continue the work on accounting and budget software so we have an accurate picture of where the club is financially. This will allow us to expand member benefits and plan for future capital expenses.


Thirdly, we need to assess building needs and develop a plan to make our building a place that can not only host our members but bring community rentals and or a tenant to utilize our wonderful waterfront resource to its full potential. This will boost resources and allow us to continue to provide our members with a club that is the place to go for boating, socialization, connections and learning.

David Marod Fleet Captain Candidate

As we come out of COVID, what would you do to make the member experience better?

I am seeing a great deal of involvement as we start our post-Covid era, and we need to continue driving value with interactive activities with our clubhouse and events. Things we have started doing again, like NFL kickoffs and potluck to Friday night dinners and Jam night, have been great. In addition, after running the fun run and organizing the party, I think we could hold a couple more member/friend events that cater to getting members back in the clubhouse and meeting new members in the form of a few more themed parties throughout the year. I have some ideas as fleet captain next year to introduce a rookie rally to give non-racers a short series to race their non-race boats and a small boat regatta for jack-n-jill Racing in the small club boats for an evening or two.

What are your thoughts about increasing member engagement?  

Member engagement requires getting members into the club for a fun evening of social well-being and fun. We have to draw the membership back into the club. This will require a complete database of members to contact and inform about what is happening. We will need to cater to those members' wants. Cruising, Racing, dinners, drinks, a night on the deck, a themed party, social activity, and game. We need to get people involved.

Other than improving the member experience and increasing member engagement, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the board to undertake?

The three most essential items facing the board this next year are the following, not necessarily in order. We must be able to track all of our assets all the time responsibly. Many moving parts require attention. In addition, each chair committee needs to know upfront what the budget for events is and if those events are neutral or a cost so each chair can budget accordingly in committee. Lastly, we need to get back to transparency in our accounting as quickly as possible so we can all be aware each month of the overall financial health of our club. 

Board of Trustees-First Year

Neil Bennett 

             1.     As we come out of COVID, what would you do to make the member experience better?


·       Explore the return of member casual events; perhaps negotiating with some of our rental tenants in kitchen, or volunteers on the BBQ for ‘Steak Night’, or Sunday special occasion brunches.


2.      What are your thoughts about increasing member engagement?


·       Establish an emphasis on boating related seminars; as example – an outing to Inati Bay to learn how to anchor, stern tie and raft.


3          Other than improving the member experience and increasing member engagement, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the board to undertake?

·       Fiscal budgetary management- we have come a long way that has not been easy (many hats off to the volunteers who championed his task), and we would benefit from a blend of older, experienced members who bring institutional memory and younger, fresh ideas members.

·       The building needs to be secured; many needed projects were cobwebbed during pandemic. A fresh restart is needed.

·       Support and focus on our financial assets-the Event Center is a needed revenue center, as is membership retention.

Jane Bright


1. As we come out of COVID, what would you do to make the member experience better?


We need to give members more reasons to come to the Club frequently all year. Once there, we should structure ways for them to meet and interact with members they do not already know. We should consider adding frequent, informal events-game nights, movie nights, contests for best appetizers, education sessions, travel info, etc. and encourage members to suggest events and activities that would be of interest them. 


I’d also like to see us recruit member ambassadors who model a culture of “talking to strangers” as well as design structured “get to know you” activities. Since we no longer require sponsors, we need to fill that mentor void proactively. 


Note: Getting members who race and/or cruise involved in their activities of choice is much easier because the interest is already there. We do, however, need to continue to communicate about our active racing and cruising programs particularly to new members.


2. What are your thoughts about increasing member engagement?


As well as the above, we need to do a much better job of explaining what these traditional events are. We rely on cliques and institutional memory to convey information, frequently puzzling new members and causing some to feel they aren’t part of the in crowd. We may be a club, but we still need to sell, explain and market to our existing members, not just to potential members. 


For example: 


What is the Tom and Jerry Party? Why do we have an event named after a cartoon the night before Thanksgiving when so many members are traveling, entertaining out of town guest or cooking…assuming it is named after the cartoon? Might there be a good story we could share for those who don’t already know? 


Jam night? If you are not a musician, what does Jam Night mean? Peanut butter and jam sandwiches? Who is invited? Are there auditions? Is the bar closed to members who aren’t participating in Jam Night? What time do the musicians start. Do you need an instrument or is singing enough? What kind of music do they play? There are many questions we should be answering as we promote Jam Night. 


These are opportunities to both remind current members what fun these activities are and entice new members to participate.

3. Other than improving the member experience and increasing member engagement, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the board to undertake?



Focus on cash flow seasonality and consider new income streams such as minor fees paid to the club for Friday night dinners to at least cover cleaning charges. 

Revisit membership drives and find incentives other than eliminating 100% of the initiation fees to attract new members while creating event heavy and well-advertised schedules for September–November to help retain existing members. 


As an almost all volunteer business, the only work that gets done is the work volunteers feel like doing, when they feel like doing it primarily through committees of one or two people. It is much more difficult and challenging than running an organization with paid staff and Covid exacerbated the situation further.

To help committees meet club needs, we could develop some goals with committee chairs and members. For example, the By-laws state:

‘The House Events Committee shall develop plans for and assist with social and entertainment activities for the Club, coordinating its decisions with the Public Relations Committee.”

Could the committee set a goal for the number of dinners, educational seminars, game/movie nights per month? What could they develop as a draw for Thursdays? What additional resources could other committees provide to help?

Another operational challenge is that our committees work in silos. Other than board meetings, we do not have any institutional process for committees to work together and we are missing opportunities for synergy and coordination. Ongoing cross committee contacts could and should be developed. 


Volunteer Engagement

We need to start selling volunteering as fun, interesting and rewarding. Most of our committees are committees of one or two leaving us exposed when members have conflicts. 

I recommend adding a Volunteer Corner to the Jibsheet with information about different groups, enthusiastic quotes from volunteers who enjoy what they are doing and recognition of individual volunteers. We also could enlist those members who are well connected to make personal appeals to people to get involved. Email blast appeals are typically much less effective than one-on-one direct approaches to recruit volunteers. 


We are in a rebuild mode post Covid, our institutional memory is thin, and it appears our membership is aging. We have many challenges. I’d like to continue on the team as we also think in terms of opportunities for both now and the future.

David Sheperdson,

1       As we come out of COVID, what would you do to make the member experience better?


Covid put an end to BYC's educational meetings and workshops.  I would like to help resurrect the program as a service for members that is both entertaining and helpful.  I would bring to the task some past experience gained organizing lecture series, conferences and workshops.


2       What are your thoughts about increasing member engagement?


In person meetings and interesting and useful presentations and workshops (combined with food and drink) will hopefully help attract members back to the club.



3       Other than improving the member experience and increasing member engagement, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the board to undertake?

· Increasing volunteer participation

· Fiscal responsibility (income/expenses/budgeting)

· Strong well organized core programs around racing, education, youth programs, bar/food and cruising

Mike Unger 


1: Just one of the thoughts I had to make the member experience better we should, create a regular dinner schedule because not everyone drinks but we all need to eat !. We come to the club to socialize and knowing a tasty dinner is a regular occurrence we can count on should produce an increase in members making thier way to the club in the evenings. 

Potlucks & BBQ provided by members with raffles for free meals would be a fun twist.

Steering members toward the Facebook group and Jibsheet to promote the meal schedules with plenty of "advance notice" Should produce results.


2: This took some thinking.

In my opinion, to increase member engagement we should target specific age groups and tailor events or activities that appeal to those age groups. We have families with kids, 30 somethings, middle aged and seniors. Not everyone is going to engage and it will require volunteer effort but if we look at opportunities to make our club a fun and exciting place for all age groups I think it could be a successful endeavor. 


3: Holy Cow, Here it comes!!

: Top Priority! " Building Maintenance " Other than our members the building is the most valuable asset we have. I have extensive experience with maintenance planning and have noticed some issues that need to be addressed. I know money drives this but it must be made top priority!!


: "Fund Raising" if we cannot obtain enough money to maintain the building through members and event rentals then we seriously need to look at fundraising opportunities. 

I think Cathy H. will have some wonderfully effective ideas.


: "Public engagement"

When most people think of a yacht club they think of a bunch of old stuffed shirts quietly sipping brandy and smoking cigars. We need to look at opportunities, like a float in a parade or radio adds to effectively engage the public. Portraying what a fun and fulfilling place the Yacht Club is to be should increase membership and produce positive results!