Ryan is an award-winning, industry-recognized Club expert and coach who specializes in providing strategies to help Clubs strengthen their operations, improve their Member experience, build winning teams and increase their overall Club health and success.
With over 28 years of experience in the hospitality industry, serving not only large corporations including Walt Disney World, ClubCorp and Arnold Palmer, but also 22 years working in Club Management, Ryan has both the hands-on skills and business acumen needed to create an unforgettable Member and guest experience.
Ryan’s understanding of the challenges faced by Clubs and their leaders inspired him to launch his hospitality and business consulting company in 2005. Due to the rising interest from Clubs, given Ryan’s expertise, he spun off a dedicated Club-centric division in 2015 called Strategic Club Solutions. Through SCS, Ryan helps boards, owners and management teams unlock opportunities within their Clubs, taking them to previously unthinkable new heights.
Ryan has served over 200 Clubs and received numerous awards, including Boardroom Magazine 2019 Excellence in Achievement for Strategic Planning, Golf Inc. 2019 Advisor of the Year, and CIO Applications Top Club Management Solutions Provider. He is a national speaker and recognized as an approved CMAA speaker. He has presented over 55 presentations nationally on topics including “Next Level of Strategic Planning,” “Infusing Performance Management and Culture to Build a Winning Team,” and “The Secret Sauce to Managing Costs and Delivering an Experience in F&B.”
Work with Ryan to connect the patterns and find core problems at your Club rather than just treating the obvious symptoms. You’ll see tangible results and a positive impact that will transform the success of your Club for years to come.
“I started Strategic Club Solutions in response to my colleagues in the Club industry. I’ve been fortunate and strategic in surrounding myself with successful alliances in years past. This business allows my team and I to now help others.”
“With years of experience in private Club management and decades in the hospitality industry, I’m able to bring solid financial practices.”
John brings 30 years of experience serving as a Business Strategist and Advisor to Clubs to achieve lasting results. Through his experience, John delivers strategic and financial insights that focus on the foundational relationship of finance and operations, bridging a traditional gap between the two disciplines. These insights build a stronger foundation for a Club to perform to achieve financial health and operational strength.
John’s significant experience as a business leader aids his clients to achieve ongoing improvements. With a resume building success in organizations like Kemper Sports, First Tee, Potbelly, Jimmy Johns, and Deloitte & Touche, his breadth of business and financial acumen combined with Club and hospitality management make him the perfect addition to the SCS team. John aligns financial and business goals with a Club’s capabilities to ensure a best in class Member experience and financial health while also stretching the Club to achieve at its full potential.
John also provides significant experience in raising and securing long-term capital, mergers and acquisitions, improving cash flow and developing programs to reduce costs without negatively impacting the member or customer experience.
Lastly, John has a working knowledge in the back-of-the-house aspects of a Club by working with executive management and accounting staff. This helps Club staff improve their financial acumen relative to their roles within the Club along with improving financial and management reporting to align with a Club’s strategic and tactical goals.
Kevin J. Ehlert, CCM, FMP has a thirty-year professional career in private club management with a specialty in 100+ year old historic clubs. Most recently, Kevin served as the General Manager at the venerable Wisconsin Club leading the team of professionals at the prestigious city club in downtown Milwaukee and their full-service country club. In addition, he was the Assistant General Manager for the 5-Star Platinum and Distinguished Emerald Club designated Interlachen Country Club’s where he oversaw the execution of the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup. Additionally, Ehlert’s club management experience includes Chief Operating Officer for the Sutter Club in Sacramento and The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis.
Ehlert also served his fellow CMAA managers in various duties and responsibilities including as the President of the Upper Midwest Chapter, board member for the Wisconsin Badger Chapter and on committees for the Golden State Chapter. He has been involved on National committees such as Chapter and Member Service, Certification, Wine Auction and various at-conference volunteer opportunities. Kevin is a member of CMAA’s International Wine Society, the National Club Association and a Level I Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Furthermore, he earned the National Restaurant Association’s Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) certification in 2002 and certified club manager (CCM) designation in 2013 and is a member of the Club Management Association of America Honor Society.
Kevin’s experience includes the governance and operation of 501(c)(7), 501(c)(3) and for-profit clubs. He brings a unique perspective to club consulting through financial and asset management, capital improvement, enriched member and staff satisfaction, team development, service enhancements, 501(c)(3) restricted fund and endowment administration, and has extensive expertise in new construction and the restoration and operation of historic clubhouses. Ehlert believes that the club experience needs to be reimagined for the future and that all generations benefit in being part of this community. His passion for the club industry is evident in the commitment to developing the young managers and rising stars in club management.
Kevin and his wife Cheryl reside in Menomonee Falls, Wi with their daughters.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to share what’s taken me a lifetime of experience to perfect.”
“I have the unique advantage of bringing inside perspective to our clients. Having served years in the back of the house, I know what it takes for establishments to do it right.”
Maikel is a 20+ year veteran in the hospitality and private club industry. He has worked in every aspect of food and beverage including private country clubs, find dining, special events, concessions and bar management. Other areas of expertise include profit and loss analysis, strategic planning food and labor cost controls, menu development, payroll, human resources, information technologies, audio visual, and employee development. He started his career as a line cook. Maikel resides in Thiensville, Wisconsin with his wife Michelle raising two boys.
Laura is a marketing and branding expert who uses research-backed, neuromarketing best practices and principles to help Clubs define their brand and integrate it within every Member touchpoint and experience. She aids with brainstorming, messaging, branding, planning and developing deliverables to tell a Club’s story and create more loyal Members.
Laura founded and has directed a full-service marketing firm for 21 years and has experience working with a variety of clients in the restaurant and hospitality industries. She started a youth volleyball club in 2010 and works with 500 youths annually with camps and club opportunities. She serves on the MTEF Board of Education Foundation and is an active member of TEMPO Milwaukee. Laura joined the Team at SCS when we launched the SCS name in 2015.
For years, Laura has attended conferences like NMSBA (Neuromarketing, Science and Business), studied the theories of neuromarketing experts like Roger Dooley and taken classes from branding and storytelling champion, Donald Miller. She leverages her skills and experiences to create smart, proven strategies for Clubs that help them define who they are, what makes them unique, and what makes people want to be Members. Once she helps a Club understand its true identity, she uses this as a framework to develop influential messaging, creative deliverables and powerful Membership strategies.
Laura is a fun and engaging national speaker and is recognized as an approved CMAA speaker. She has presented nationally on topics including “The Power of a Brand,” “The Power of Pictures: Tips and Triggers for Motivating Your Audience Through Images,” “How to Use Brain Science to Better Understand Your Audience,” and “Using Neuromarketing Tips to Run a Better Club.”
When you work with Laura, she’ll challenge and encourage you to approach your Club’s brand and story with a fresh perspective while creating results that increase current Members’ pride and prospective Members’ desire to be a part of something so incredible.
“As a Strategic Club Solutions team member, I get to challenge, encourage and really stretch the ideas and tactically marketing strategies for our clients. It’s like our clients get an entire marketing agency when working with us.”
“Never underestimate the power of a well-designed environment. With a few changes, you can transform the way your members feel in your Club, how they use the space, and what they remember about their visit.”
Lyn is a consumer behavior specialist, business strategist and award winning interior designer with over 30 years of experience creating intentional and engaging environments that bring brands to life. She uses her knowledge of design, business, consumer behavior and environmental psychology to craft interactive and emotionally engaging experiences that delight customers, elevate brands and increase bottom lines. Lyn’s ability to create an exceptional customer experience translates perfectly to the club market — she shows club managers how to adapt their physical environments to maximize member interest and engagement.
Nevena has over 12 years working experience in various industries ranging from niche retail markets and administrative settings to private city clubs.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial & Organizational Psychology from DePaul University, her interests in employee turnover, organizational change, and other topics led her to pursue this area at the graduate level which she describes as the “people side of an MBA”.
Nevena most recently earned her Masters degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology as well as the prestigious SHRM-CP certification.
She strives to use her knowledge of Human Resources and psychological factors affecting employees at work to partner with businesses in need of a strategic business partner.
Employees across industries are all motivated by the same factors. What separates a good and a great organization is whether they listen to their most valuable asset, their people, to hear what is and isn’t working. What’s even more important is what they do about it.
Your digital platforms are often your first impression-makers. I enjoy helping clients improve their digital spaces in order to make a positive impression that sticks.
Allie brings 5+ years of marketing and communications experience to the team, specializing in digital strategy and social media marketing. She integrates knowledge from her degrees in Journalism, Strategic Communication and Psychology to effectively tell stories that inspire change among her target audience.
She also loves writing and crafting persuasive copy that sells. She has authored content for both local and national publications and enjoys using the power of words to make a difference.
Allie strives to use her digital and writing skills to help clients manage their digital spaces with strategy and messaging that moves the needle.
Mark brings over 20 years of experience in the private and public Club markets. As a PGA professional, Mark developed a reputation for elevating service and satisfaction at the facilities at which he has been employed. He brings the perspective of someone who has spent years on the “front lines” delivering results in the Club industry.
After years as the Head Golf Professional at a private Club, Mark pursued his dream of owning his own golf facility. Mark successfully transformed a struggling, semi-private facility by significantly boosting revenues and streamlining operations. Mark served as both the General Manager and Head Golf Professional, working and investing in every aspect of the Club. Following the successful sale of his golf course in 2019, Mark joined the team at SCS.
Mark is a Certified PGA Professional in the areas of General Management, Golf Operations, Instruction, Merchandising, Executive Management and Ownership/Leasing, positioning him in the top 1% of the 29,000 PGA Professionals nationally. Additionally, Mark is a two-time recipient of the Merchandiser of the Year award from the Wisconsin PGA and was honored as a finalist for the National Merchandiser of the Year award from the PGA of America.
Ryan came in to a very difficult situation at our club and really added the strong leadership and management that was badly needed at our club. He really helped turn our club around and making it fun again. His help with our strategic plan and our Membership growth were phenomenal and just what we needed. I know he has earned the respect of the membership and the staff while dealing with some tough situations.