From operations intern to recently-hired Executive Director of the Georgia PGA, Scott Geary took full advantage of his experience and connections he forged along the way.
During a nine-year full-time AJGA career, Geary started as a tournament director in Operations, moved into a regional role, and ultimately, after five promotions, ended as Director of Business Development.
Geary developed and executed strategic business plans for 140 tournaments based on stakeholder goals. He was the first staff member to conduct an AJGA championship with zero variable expenses (a program now termed "Project Zero" which aims to redirect budgets toward improving member experience rather than on-site AJGA staff expenses) and secured over $5 million in sponsor and donor support.
Geary was hired into the Executive Director position at the Georgia PGA, as one of the youngest in history. At age 33, his unmatched work ethic, experience, and passion for golf ultimately led to the new role.
He reflected on five best pieces of advice for others looking to stand out in the workplace or break into the golf business:
1. Never give up on something you want.
I learned this early on. I knew I wanted to work for the AJGA, so as an intern, I called and called (about a full-time job). I called so much that the hiring committee asked me to stop. The moral of the story: if you want something bad enough, don't ever give up (unless of course they ask you to for a few days).
2. Take advantage of your entire network.
If you want to achieve a goal - say, completing a project, be sure to use your ENTIRE network to do it. I once asked my grandmother (and other family members) to write a check to help cover variable tournament expenses. This helped lead to the "Project Zero" program that allows more dollars to be driven to member experience and/or increase local charitable proceeds.
3. Always help others.
Never be afraid to extend a hand to someone in need, even if it makes your situation harder. One of my favorite AJGA stories is that I once witnessed a rules official lend a golf cart to a volunteer who needed to use the restroom. He continued with his role, on foot ... for 45 minutes. I never forgot that moment and have taken that customer service mindset with me throughout my career.
4. Rely on personal mentors for support.
Build your own personal Board of Directors to guide you along your career. Listen closely to what they say ... even if it's about their seven-city high school tennis championships. The best piece of advice I ever received is to keep your head down, grind away and take ownership of everything you are tasked to do.
5. Immerse yourself in a culture where you can build strong relationships.
Find a role where you can build long-lasting and meaningful relationships. For me, a workplace that feels like home can help you cope and celebrate when big life moments occur. For example, I proposed to my wife outside the AJGA home office. The AJGA was my family, and just like with any family, it was time for me to leave home and grow. I am beyond grateful and excited for that opportunity with the Georgia PGA.