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Country Club Manager Honored for Leadership

Bradley Cance receives his leadership award from Michigan State University.

Bradley Cance receives his leadership award from Michigan State University.

Bradley Cance, general manager and chief operating officer of the Bethesda Country Club was recently honored by his alma mater, Michigan State University with his selection into the 2013 Hall of Fame "Class of Mentors."

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Bradley Cance

Cance was chosen for the coaching and mentoring support he has given to students from the university. He has counseled and guided interns, and assisted future club managers in their searches for employment within the industry. He has also been one of the top two or three alumni in Destination Auction donations each year for 10 years. Cance received the award at the university’s annual Celebration of Leadership, held on Nov. 9, 2013 in New York City.

Cance, who graduated from the School of Hospitality at MSU in 1989, began serving on the board of directors 12 years ago and is now a member of the executive board. He serves as a national representative for the Washington DC Club Managers Association of America. His career in hospitality began at the front desk of the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. “I wanted only the best and was determined to learn from ground zero,” said Cance. He came to Bethesda Country Club in 2011 from the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach, Fla. Cance and his wife Mary Beth chose to make the move to give their two children, Harrison and Hunter a place “to call home.” Cance’s dad was a career executive with American Airlines and growing up, he moved 16 times; Mary Beth, 12 times. Having a permanent home is important to both of them.

“My dad was the reason I entered the hospitality field,” said Cance. “I remember one time when he had to calm down an irate passenger (who was a regular flyer on AA.) He actually hopped on the San Francisco flight to Chicago and sat next to the passenger, apologizing on behalf of the company. The two became friends. I have adopted the same concept of customer service and gracious hospitality.”

In the past few years, the Bethesda Country Club has built a new tennis center, renovated their fitness center, built a Golf Course Maintenance facility and made extensive changes to the clubhouse infrastructure.

"I came to BCC after the members decided to go forward with improvements," said Cance. "It's been a good decision and the facilities and club are in great shape. They chose to improve the facilities even though the economy was difficult. This is a family club that has generations that will support it for years to come. I have to give kudos to the leadership among the members of BCC. They have been invaluable in making the club an outstanding facility.”

Cance has also brought about important improvements and changes to BCC. When he came to BCC, Cance was given the opportunity to fine-tune operations, to introduce concepts and programs, to hire new staff and to introduce initiatives. He brought in the award-winning Chef Chris Mayo from the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach — “a chef who is ‘big on presentation and quality’,” said Cance. “His cuisine is contemporary American with a French influence.” BCC has increased the numbers of weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs and corporate events held there each year. He has also hired new managers and staff. “I am in the people industry and I understand that the most important resource for success is the people I choose and lead,” he said.

Other positive changes have come for BCC employees because of Cance’s guidance. There is a new employee dining room, an employee wellness program (the club was just recognized as #4 in the nation for healthy clubs by Prevo Health Solutions) and a team spirit. “We are always looking at how we are going to meet and exceed the member’s needs and expectation — but also at how to make the work experience positive for our employees. It’s a win-win.”

Cance serves as a mentor to his employees as well as to recent grads from MSU. “I help others set clear, concise and reachable goals. I tell them to be proud of what they do. Many have gone before them and blazed a path of excellence with hard work, dedication, risk, self-sacrifice and a desire to be the best at what they do.”