Last week I sat with a friend hanging on every word as he recounted a recently played foursome at the exclusive Burning Tree Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
The golf course was in meticulous condition. The service was attentive. The post-round lunch in the restaurant was top notch in quality and company.
Yet, there was uneasiness in his tale, audible in the tone of the teller and with me, the enthralled listener.
That’s because Burning Tree is for men only. There are no female members, no female guests and, from what I’ve been told, only a handful of female staff.
Like the Augusta National Golf Club that hosts the Master’s Tournament each spring, Burning Tree revels in its sexist stance.
I have never been confused for someone who is proper or politically correct. My humor is off-putting for the sensitive and I pepper my business speak with four letter words. In fact, I caution prospects and potential employees that my personality is an acquired taste.
However, a few months back I was asked by PR Week magazine to interview for an article about diversity in the communications industry. The writer expressed admiration for Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) because one of my partners is a woman in her 30s who is of Indian descent. (It should be noted my other partner is a 40-something white male.)
With little hesitation I declined PR Week’s invitation to speak on the record about diversity. Why? Because I don’t believe much in it. My partners are exceptional and proven communicators, and have each played a critical role guiding Strategic on its path to a social media methodology very much aligned with measurable sales outcomes.
For me, that’s all that matters.
It is for this reason that I harbor distaste for establishments like Burning Tree and C12 Group, a professional organization comprised solely of Christian CEOs.
Black…white…Jew…Christian…Muslim…female…male…old…young…gay…straight. Put it all aside in business and focus on exceptional talent, performance and commitment.
That is what has made our country such a global powerhouse. At times, I think we lose sight of this.