Focus on…

In this new series of articles linked to our Club Corner newsletter, we will meet club organisers and talk to them about their work and experiences.

Brian Pahlmann – Club Manager, Aberdeen AAC

What is your role at the club and what does it involve?
I am club manager for Aberdeen AAC. It is primarily an administrative role with a wide range of responsibilities within the areas of club development, finance, member satisfaction, partnership development, human resources, fund raising, marketing, and anything else deemed appropriate by the club’s committee.

What made you apply for the Club Together role and what have you learned during your time in post?
Honestly, curiosity.  I had only been in Scotland for a few months and was only casually looking for work. I wanted something in sport and/or fitness and I had thought for some time that I had the skill set for a leadership or management role.

I have learned the importance of effective and timely communication. It is a challenge with our club due to its size and the fact that we are not always in the same place at the same time to interact in person. It is not like we are a business where we all are together nine to five, Monday through Friday.  So, we have to work hard to stay in touch and communicate clearly.

How has your role benefitted the club?
I think one of the major benefits of me filling this role is my outsider’s perspective. I am American, only acquainted with the sport of athletics, not familiar at all with club sports dynamic in the UK. By nature and also as a result of this perspective, I ask a lot of questions, often taking discussions back to the basis of the issue. I think this has helped maintain focus and to justify what we do. One specific example is that I was able to facilitate the creation of a club mission statement and club values with descriptive statements. I hope, over time, that these will develop unity within the club. Already, the committee is using these as a guide for discussion and decision making.

What do you hope to deliver in your role over the next 12 months?
One of my major projects currently is to review and revise our current website. My primary goal is to assure all the information is clear and concise and navigable for all, especially those unfamiliar with an athletics club. Secondary to that, I hope it will be attractive to potential funders and partners. Another major project is fundraising for construction of the club’s proposed Photo Finish & Officials’ Training Room at Aberdeen Sports Village. I hope to have it fully funded by year’s end.

What would be your message to any club considering investing in a paid member of staff?
First, be clear regarding the expectations and responsibilities of the role. Then, be patient in searching for the right person. Otherwise, find a good project manager and a good communicator, especially one who listens well. Finally, choose a person who will challenge the club, not just accept status quo because it is the easy approach.

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