CMAA – Meet Our Members

Hi!  I’m Douglas Edward Alphonso Kirkham and when I am not trying to change the world I am the Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Bay Club (the Hub of excitement in the Inner West and Gateway to the M4!)

I hold the ACCM award, much of which I was able to obtain due to Recognition of Prior Learning when I moved Industry Sectors from Accommodation Hotels to Clubs.   I have a Diploma of Business with a Hospitality and Catering major from the Regency College Hotel School in South Australia.  I recently completed the Clubs NSW Certificate IV in Governance from the Canberra Institute of Technology.  In addition I have taken a few Post Graduate subjects to update my knowledge in Finance and Marketing.

1) What is your biggest  or has been your  biggest challenge with the club/ area?

I would suggest the biggest challenge that I have come across in recent times would be the requirement to keep the Club relevant to those around us.  The Market, Demographics, Technology, and Regulations are changing probably more rapidly than we are able to.  It keeps me awake at night!  Sometimes I get so focused on optimising our products I can miss the need protect the Customer Experience and Customer Relationships.  I have to constantly remind myself that it’s not all about these products that matter, but about our relationships.


2) What have been some of your achievements or highlights since being at the club?

Looking back across the last six years I think we have achieved similar outcomes to our peer group.  One area though that I feel particularly pleased with is diversity within our workplace.  Interestingly I feel that our diversity has had a very big impact on the positive customer relationships we have built.  One of our team members is in a wheelchair.  As a Reception Team Member he is very often the first and last impression that patrons will have with our organisation.  He models outstanding behaviour.  I have actually witnessed patrons change their demeanour when walking through the door, when they clearly decide that their day wasn’t that bad after all.   We have a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander community on our Team.  This Team Member takes enormous pride in her community and is very proud to give our patrons some insight into its history.  Our Functions attendant has some learning challenges.  His work ethic is second to none and he is deeply respected by his team mates for the hard work that he performs.  We have in recent times brought in two members of the Deaf Community to work with us.  To my surprise and delight their workmates and patrons are learning Auslan sign language spontaneously.  Both are out working amongst our patrons proving that there is simply nothing that they cannot do.  These team members offer all the productivity that their colleagues do with the added bonus of positively impacting our customer relationships as well.  What’s not to love about that?


3) Is there a piece of advice or something compelling you have learnt that you can pass on to our readers and up and coming managers?

If I was to offer an observation to someone wishing to really make their mark in this industry I would suggest that they cultivate an “enquiring mind”.  Keep asking “why” until you have satisfied yourself, then move on to the next “why”.   I believe you will have a more fulfilling career and you will be a more attractive candidate for that next dream role.


4) Outside of the club and your role there. Do you have any hobbies or passions.. tell us a bit about you?

Outside of the Club I enjoy a whole other life.  Service to the Community and being able to make a contribution is important to me.  Those who know me, know that I ride a bicycle for fitness and mental health.  I am the President of the 500 member Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club, Australia’s second largest Bike Club.  I am a licensed Cycling Coach and along with both my children, ride and race with the Club.  My wife on the other hand would simply be happy if I didn’t appear in the daylight dressed in Lycra.  I love riding my bike and I cover around 10-12 thousand kilometres per year.  I like to share the joy of cycling with others that do not enjoy the same opportunities that I have.  To this end every year I donate a “Freedom Wheels” pushbike via TAD NSW to a child with Cerebral Palsy.  I know there are many, many worthy causes but it makes me feel good to donate an ongoing experience rather than simply a dollar amount to something I am not necessarily emotionally invested in.  Finally, I have been a Justice of the Peace for about ten years.  I spend a few hours a month witnessing documents, mainly for the Members of the Clubs I have worked in, but also the General Public.  My experience is that mostly older members like and trust our brand and feel secure that their documents can be dealt with by a “trusted friend”.