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A Conversation With Stephanie Berriman

24 MAR 2022

 A Conversation With Stephanie Berriman!

Senior Men's Captain, Greg Bright, recently caught up with your new Golf Operations Manager, Stephanie Berriman, in an effort to get to know her better. 

Steph joined ClubLink in 2005 as a seasonal Sous Chef at Rattlesnake Point.  In 2007, she accepted a year-round Executive Sous Chef position at the club, which she held until 2013.  Following the birth of her daughter, Hannah, Steph returned to the club as Corporate Event Food and Beverage Coordinator and in 2018, she took on the role of Corporate Event Golf Coordinator.  In late 2021, Steph was appointed to her current role as Golf Operations Manager.

Our interview has been edited for length and flow.

Where were you born and where have you lived?  I grew up in Welland until I was 13 and then we moved to Port Colborne, where my family still lives.  After high school, I spent a year in New Zealand and Australia where I fell in love with food and wine.  Upon my return to Canada, I moved to Toronto and enrolled in the George Brown College for Culinary Management.  After graduation, I apprenticed under well known chef, Stephen Treadwell, at Queen's Landing Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  I stayed with him for three years before moving to England, where I worked at the Paris House restaurant honing my skills in the art of pastry and baking.  I came back to Canada in 2004, but returned to Europe in each of the next two winters, to work in the hospitality industry in France.

Tell me about your family?  I met my husband Simon at college.  He's also a trained chef.  Hannah is now 10-years old and she's a competitive dancer, which keeps us both busy with carpooling and traveling to competitions throughout Ontario.  Fortunately, most of them are not in the heart of the golf season.

Were you involved in sports growing up?  Yes, I played basketball, volleyball, and baseball from elementary school, all the way through high school.

Fiction or Non-Fiction?  Both!  Reading is one of my passions.

What are some of your other favorite leisure activities?  I'd have to say mountain biking, camping, and hiking would top the list.

Would you say you're a curious person and, if so, what has sparked your interest lately?  I'm somewhat curious.  I'd say the rising prices in the housing market, over the past year or so, have caught my attention.  I'm interested to see how this plays out over the next 12-18 months.

What led to your career at ClubLink?  I met the Clubhouse Manager at Glen Abbey one day during brunch.  He came over to our table and when he learned we were chefs, he took an interest and connected me with Chef Simon Stenekes at Rattlesnake Point.

What necessitated your career shift away from being a chef and towards other roles at the club?  After my daughter was born, both Simon and I couldn't maintain our careers as chefs; working the crazy hours while trying to raise a young child.  It was a heartbreaking decision, but it was the right one at the time.

As Corporate Event Golf Coordinator, you hosted some large events at the club.  Tell me about one that comes to mind!  Wow, we have hosted some amazing golf events over the years.  I'd have to say the annual Toronto Blue Jays tournament was my favourite.  Seeing the players introduced on a small stage in the golf cart area, and then listening to their speeches, was so much fun.  I met many of the players, both past and present, including Joe Carter who thanked me for hosting the event.  Getting to speak with him was a real honour and a cool experience!

How's your golf game?  As you know, I didn't grow up playing golf but I'm working on it now.  I'm currently taking lessons from Rich Storey, so ask me again in a few months.  At this point, I've only played the Rattler, but you can expect to see me on the big courses, at some point this year.

What are the key responsibilities in your new role as Golf Operations Manager?  I am responsible for all aspects of our day-to-day golf operations.  All golf employees are under my supervision.  The scope of the job is wide - from building strong member relations and providing exceptional customer service, to managing financial budgets and the daily tee sheets.

The majority of your professional life has been spent with ClubLink, working in various aspects of the golf business.  What's the best part?  Now that's a difficult question.  There are so many things.  I love the seasonality, and I love that every day is different.  At the height of the season, we are crazy busy, but when things do slow down, I can take time for myself and my family.  I love meeting our members and learning their stories.  ClubLink is a first rate organization to work for and our staff are like a second family.  And I also love all the new apparel and shoes that arrive each season.  What girl doesn't?

COVID has been very disruptive but it's also provided us with new opportunities.  What's it been like for you?  When COVID-19 hit and we made the decision to largely eliminate outside events, my role changed entirely.  I started working in the golf shop, I worked as a Starter and I worked with the Senior Men's League.  I also managed our golf staffing requirements and provided support wherever it was needed.  During the winter months, I spent time with our Assistant Superintendent, Christine Kumagai, to learn and understand the turf side of our business.  All these experiences helped to prepare me for my new role!

What was your biggest personal challenge during the pandemic?  Frankly, I really struggled with working from home, and having my daughter there being schooled online.  It was tough and stressful.  I enjoy going to work and having that separation between my job and my home life.

Coming out of the pandemic, what's the biggest challenge you see us facing at RattleSnake?  We are definitely going to be impacted by supply chain disruptions, as well as the rising price of fuel and food this year.  Also, the availability of tee times will be another challenge, given the renewed interest in our sport.  These challenges and others will be receiving the brunt of our attention throughout 2022.

Thanks, Steph!  I look forward to seeing you on the course this year.  You're welcome, Greg.  It's been my pleasure!