A Culture of Compassion
Founded in 1972, The Claremont Club is a multi-use athletic, aquatic, tennis, and social facility located on 19 beautiful acres in Claremont, California. With a staff of over 250 employees, The Claremont Club proudly serves over 10,400 members and is committed to providing the highest quality of service to its members, their families, and the surrounding community. For this month’s Client Spotlight, we sat down with Mike Alpert, President and CEO of The Claremont Club since 1997, and Tracy Stepp, Director of Human Possibilities, who has worked for the club since 1986 and witnessed its growth from the ambitious vision of founder Stanley Clark to the world-class health club and wellness center that it is today.
Change From Within
Perhaps the most striking feature of The Claremont Club is its culture of compassion and giving. Upon joining the team in 1997, one of the first things that Mike Alpert chose to focus on was his management team. He began hosting annual management retreats that gave the team time to grow and bond together. It was his hope and belief that:
If they could room together and live together for a few days, maybe they would learn to hug each other at the end of the three days and understand that they all dealt with the same things.
As it turns out, his theory was right, and it was from this refreshed framework that the team realized they needed to not only love one another, but also begin giving back to the community. Alpert is a firm believer in under-the-radar philanthropy, explaining:
[You shouldn’t] talk about what you do because then you start doing it for the wrong reasons. [We decided] we’re going to do it for the right reason, we’re not going to talk about it, we’re going to do everything anonymously.
From this conviction was born a new tradition of adopting families suffering extreme financial difficulty between Thanksgiving and Christmas, spending time with them, and bringing them gifts ranging from basic necessities to offers for a free year of haircuts, facials, summer camps, personal training sessions, and anything else the team could provide. Nearly two decades later, this tradition is still going strong, and The Claremont Club is honored to be able to sponsor about 14 to 18 families each holiday season.
The giving hasn’t stopped there, though. Soon after, The Claremont Club began the Living Well After Cancer program as a joint effort with the Pomona Valley Hospital to use exercise and socialization to help women with breast cancer. Through support groups, exercise, cooking classes, family support, and complete access to The Claremont Club, this program has grown from an initial group of 8 women to now over 1,000 women (and men!) who have been helped.
Beyond this, The Claremont Club began one of its most renowned projects rehabilitating spinal cord injury (SCI) patients through The Perfect Step movement. Other philanthropy includes a partnership with the Angels Organization to give Angels Baseball tickets to students as a reward for being good citizens by allowing them to treat their families to a major league baseball game; an after-school program for students struggling to learn English and other academic subjects through custom teaching methods and fun, engaging activities at the club; a year-long Pediatric & Young Adult Cancer program with City of Hope; and a Cycling for Parkinson’s program with Kaiser Permanente.
Over the past twenty years that Mike has served as President and CEO of The Claremont Club, the organization has seen tremendous growth, both financially as well as in its people. In describing what separates a good company from a great company, he attributes The Claremont Club’s success to the cumulative efforts of every member of his team, the support of surrounding hospitals, and all of their partners along the way, as well as a focus on two factors:
You have to have a great culture based around people and family, and you have to create and maintain meaningful and purposeful work… You can’t lose sight of your core business, but those are the things that really make companies great.
Mike’s vision of a culture based around people and family sustained by meaningful and purposeful work is something that is very dear to Southland Data Processing and is a key component in all our client relationships. According to Tracy, SDP is always willing to help with any unexpected situations or payroll needs that may arise, even if there isn’t a quick fix. The relationship, ownership, and initiative to make things happen that each member of the SDP team brings to the table parallels the people-focus and desire to do more found in The Claremont Club, and has undeniably fueled the growth of this relationship over the years.
One thing Mike said that really challenged us was that he realized he had this huge facility, so why not use it to make the world a better place? He went on to give examples of how dry-cleaning facilities could offer cleaning services to homeless individuals, restaurants could donate extra food to those who couldn’t afford it, etc. Our challenge to you this month is to take inventory of what you have – whether in your personal or professional life – and ask yourself how you can use it to spread love and make the world a better place.
And in the spirit of giving, The Claremont Club is offering our readers a 7-day free pass to their facilities! It is our hope that you will enjoy The Claremont Club as much as we do!
SDP Client Spotlights: Celebrating Our Clients
Every month, we highlight one of our amazing clients with our SDP Client Spotlight. Here at Southland Data Processing, we’re in the people business, and strive to always put our clients first. If you or your organization is interested in becoming our next Client Spotlight, please contact us at [email protected] and we’d love to hear your story!
Photos by The Claremont Club