CEO | Capstone Hospitality
Brian Friederichs, CEO of Capstone Hospitality, which specializes in membership sales for private clubs, discusses what leadership looks like and why his father embodied those traits, how the pandemic was one of resilience for his company, and what's a good playlist to check out on Spotify.
The First Call: Please give us a short overview of your company.
Brian Friederichs: Our team seamlessly partners with private clubs to implement our innovative and proven methods for driving membership sales. Capstone works with clubs and organizations across North America, bringing each a customized sales plan, renewed energy, and competitive spirit. On average, Client Clubs enjoy a 407% increase in sales from year prior to partnering with Capstone. Our goals are simple — drive membership sales and set clubs up for long-term success.
TFC: What is your handicap index?
BF: I'm a former mini tour pro, so I have never established one. That tends to hurt me in money games as my friends like to remind me that I'm a "pro" and give me no strokes.
TFC: What time do you wake in the morning, and what time do you typically start the workday?
BF: Well, my wife and I just welcomed our first child on 2/2/22 so our normal routine has changed drastically. Typically though, I wake up around 6:30ish- knock out some emails, plan my day, maybe get out for a quick surf, then hit the office around 9.
TFC: What are key elements to leadership or to being a good leader?
BF: I believe all great leaders have a vision for where they are going as well as the ability to motivate and hold their teams accountable to get there.
TFC: What changes, if any, have you made based on the events of the past year?
BF: Wow, I feel like I could write for days about this. 2020-2021 was so many different things for our business and others. Ultimately, membership-based models saw a boom — golf, social, yacht, city, boat clubs. Initially, though, it was concerning as many of our client clubs were closing their doors due to the pandemic. Some wanted to pause contracts and a few even cancelled as they were laying off their own employees — what a tough time for leaders and staff.
As many organizations had to furlough employees, we made the decision early that we would commit to our staff and not layoff anyone due to COVID challenges. We really dug into how we could innovate and navigate this as a team. Ultimately, I believe it made us a better company. Our team developed some incredible systems that we may not have without those challenges. I'm very proud of how they all worked through these past few years.
TFC: What's the secret to your success?
BF: What a tough question. I don't think there is any secret — work hard, innovate, surround yourself with great people, and treat them right.
TFC: Who is your role model?
BF: My father was/is my role model. He passed away suddenly back in 2019. He was a lifelong educator and community leader, holding roles from a teacher and coach to principal and finally to working in their church as the minister of development. The way he lived his life taught me so many things: always have integrity, strong work ethic, perseverance and, most importantly, treat people with love and respect. I hope I can carry a similar legacy to my kids one day.
TFC: Knowing what you know today, what professional advice would you give a younger you?
BF: Have more balance early on — life is a marathon, not a sprint. Not every situation is "make it or break it," even though it may feel that way sometimes. Although I believe it served me well in our early stages of the company, I see now that some of the situations I worried about are really minuscule in the grand scheme of things.
TFC: What’s the last book you read?
BF: I don't read many books. Lots of articles though on a wide range of topics. Last one I read was a Golf Digest piece on Morgan Hoffman and how he has dropped off the grid and living in the Nosara Peninsula in Costa Rica — one of my favorite places on earth. Really interesting. I may or may not have looked at flights after it.
TFC: What’s the last movie you saw?
BF: Does Ozark count as a movie?
TFC: What’s on your playlist?
BF: Lots. Waylon Jennings, Slightly Stoopid, Hank Williams Jr., Fat Freddys Drop, Bob Marley, Grateful Dead ... The playlist Chill Jazz Vibes on Spotify has been a frequent listen recently. Check it out. Prettttyyyyy good.
TFC: When I’m not at work, you can find me ...
BF: Surfing, working in the yard, reading, barbequing.
TFC: What is your greatest extravagance?
BF: Probably our Amelia Island beach house [in Florida]. Both my wife and I work hard — it's a great place for us to reset and get back to a base level. A lot of ideas for our businesses have come while being there. So, that basically means it's a business expense, right?
TFC: What was your path to the golf industry?
BF: First and foremost, playing golf through the junior ranks, college, then pro. I've worked lots of different jobs within the golf industry, as well. From picking the range, washing carts, building clubs, food and beverage, caddying, membership director, and now running Capstone Hospitality for the past 10 years. Golf has been so great to me — I hope to do a small part in growing the game and introducing it to others.
TFC: What are the favorite golf courses you have played?
BF: Besides all of our great client courses?? Tobacco Road in [Sanford,] North Carolina stands out to me. It's so quirky and fun. It's not the best layout in the world, but I can't think of one that I have had more fun playing.