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Carol Taylor: Filling Many Roles in the “Family” Business

Carol Taylor: Filling Many Roles in the “Family” BusinessCarol Taylor, executive assistant from the Marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco, CA, has worked with Boca Terry for four years. We decided to sit down with her and learn more about the Club and her role in it:

In what ways do you find that the Marine Club is unique?

The Marines’ Memorial club is here to help assist, serve and educate veterans and our community at large. We are a private non-profit organization. The Association was initially started as a memorial to the marines who fought in the South Pacific during WWII. San Francisco, being a major port for ships, the Marines’ Memorial provided a well-deserved place of respite for the marines on RR.

Though the Association was started for and by Marines, but, it is open to all branches of the US Military. And, membership is provided to the “currently serving” at no cost to them.

I am not sure this would be considered unique, but many of our employees work here for decades. I started here 1987 as a young army wife residing at the Presidio of San Francisco, which has since closed. I love it because of the family atmosphere. We care about each other: If someone suffers a loss, we grieve with them; we support accomplishments; it’s just a wonderful place to work. And because of that family atmosphere, you really don’t feel like you’re at work—it’s more like your second family. The success of the organization is a shared success! Working here is less stressful than many other jobs where employees feel they are being micromanaged. We know what needs to be done; we figure it out and get it done.

Can you please describe your typical day at work?

I don’t have a typical day because I do a number of things. Aside from being the executive assistant to our CEO, I also manage our Reciprocal Club Program and our club store –which of course is how I came to discover Boca Terry. This is very typical in our environment as a whole: We all wear a number of hats!

Tripadvisor named the Marines Club Memorial Hotel a winner for the Certificate of Excellence in 2014. What is the staff doing to continue success in the New Year?

Right now, we’re in the midst of renovation; we are renovating all 138 of our hotel rooms. And, beginning in January, we will start renovations on our restaurant. As you can see, we have big plans going forward for 2015. We completed renovation of our theater lobby last year! Our Theater holds a lot of history of its’ own. A number theater, film and movie legends frequented the Marines’ Memorial Theatre back in the early years.

We see that the club’s hotel has 138 guest rooms, a fine dining restaurant, a 564-seat theater, a full service health club, and a large space for events. Do your club members have access to all these amenities? Which ones?

Absolutely! They are the reason we exist. We are almost totally member supported. We have nearly 25,000 members! We do everything with them in mind.

Is the hotel only accessible to members’ family and friends?

Members may add their children on their membership if they are over the age the age of 21. Members are welcome to sponsor family and friends on a space-available-basis.

What else do members have the benefit of enjoying through the club? What is one of the biggest benefits to joining?

The biggest benefit really is the Reciprocal Club benefit. Aside from that, we have an onsite athletic facility; they may even join for the small fee $50 a month, which may allow them access to other locations as well.

Because we are so well located, in the Theater and Union Square district, members enjoy the advantage of a great rate when they stay-over. The neighboring hotels charge hundreds of dollars more than our members pay.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of working for this company?

Again, the family-like atmosphere, but also just feeling appreciated. You know, the club goes out of its way to make each employee feel appreciated. A lot of that is attributed to great leadership: our President and CEO. Of course he’s a great leader, he is a retired marine general! Over the past 13 years he has managed to change the face of the club!

What are some of the ways you honor the Marines and other military that join your club?

Nearly all we do is with them in mind; they are the lifeblood of this organization. For instance, we have promoted and hosted programs that address Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It’s become a lot less stigmatized in recent years. Those suffering with PTSD are getting more help than ever before.

We are also heavily involved with Fleet Week, with particular focus on humanitarian aid, assist and disaster relief. We host the “George P. Shultz lecture series” (Former U.S. Secretary of both the Treasury and Labor) here at the Marines’ Memorial. These lectures attract people of many interests.

Our most popular annual event would be our Marine Corps Birthday Ball held every November. This past November marked the 239th birthday of the Marines Corps!

Every February we host the annual “Gold Star Parents Event”, sponsored by the Blue Star Parents. The Gold Stars parents come and bring photos of their son or daughter, or anything they want to share from the person they lost. They display them on tables, poster boards, and however else they’d like to display. We offer counseling for them, because we know that they are still hurting. Our managers—we go and mingle and ask questions, and we listen as they talk about their loved one. We have a memorial service in our theatre where we light a candle and read the name of each person, as a slide shows the photo of those who were lost. We are really proud of what is accomplished through the Gold Star event. We also have a floor dedicated to “The Fallen” where we install a nameplate on the wall for each of the Fallen of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Which Boca Terry products do you use in your establishment?

Bath robes. We have been working with Boca Terry for about 4 or 5 years, and this last time, I decided we needed a new look to compliment the new room renovation. We changed the robe and the artwork. It was quite an ordeal; took a couple months for us to get it just right. We started in August! Bruce is very patient and wanted to see us happy with the final product. He sent sample after sample and never lost patience with us! Boca Terry is by far the best company I have worked with in my many years of doing this job. He even assisted with ideas doing the early stages. We absolutely love the end result. Many members of the staff have commented on the look of quality and the new embroidery concept.

How was the ordering process for you? Was the Boca Terry staff helpful?

Boca Terry is a great company and I really enjoy working with them. They really care about the end result. My experience with Boca Terry is unlike any that of any other vendor –I mean that in a positive way of course. Boca Terry is really special to me because they seem to have a vested interest in customer satisfaction; other companies say it, Boca Terry demonstrates it!

Would you recommend Boca Terry products to others? Why?

Without a doubt! As I said earlier, they provide an excellent product and they work with the customer until the customer has a satisfied result. Back when the image was still in my head and I couldn’t offer anything concrete to work with, Bruce helped get it from my head onto paper. Then he worked with me until we got the art duplicated on the robe exactly the way I envisioned it. They are very patient! Bruce said to me, “we’ll keep at it until it’s just right!” To have a vendor with that amount of dedication to its customer is such a rarity! They have a wonderful product to begin with, and our new design turned out better than I even envisioned it. The fact that they work so hard at getting the final product right, makes me a Real Satisfied customer!

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