Jones, ACBL’s Chief Financial Officer, was asked by the Board of Directors to fill in as the acting executive director in May; on Monday he was offered the position on a permanent basis.
“We are pleased Joe has accepted this challenge,” says ACBL President Jay Whipple. “He has demonstrated his willingness to do whatever the ACBL needs done over the past months. What the Board sees clearly is that Joe cares tremendously about the organization. He’s a solid leader.”
“I feel fortunate to be part of a community of people who find joy in being with each other and competing at the bridge table,” Jones says. “I look forward to working with the Board of Directors and staff to bring more people to the game.”
Jones views himself as the Board’s partner in executing their primary focus, which is growing membership. “Unless we’re growing, we’re losing ground,” he says. “We will expand our work with clubs and tournaments to retain our members and bring new members in.”
His management approach, he says, is to build relationships, listen, understand and appreciate. “I like people to feel appreciated.” He is, however, willing to make hard decisions. Internally, he is working with the organization’s executive team to align priorities. “We need to develop a greater sense of urgency around membership,” he says.
He looks forward to working with 2019 ACBL president Russ Jones. “I think Russ and I are going to work very well together,” he says. “We’re both practical.”
As a self-described “finance guy,” Jones puts ACBL’s fiscal health high on his priority list. “Financially the ACBL is strong. We need to preserve that … we want to make sure we’re an organization that’s thriving 10 years from now and serving our members.”
Technology is also high on Jones’s list of concerns. “We’re moving in the right direction. We still have some old technology that is unsustainable, but we have talented IT people doing good work.”
Jones took up bridge after coming to the ACBL and loves it. He looks forward to playing and advancing his game as his work schedule allows. He has a special empathy with Intermediate/Newcomer players that affords him a close connection with most of the the League’s membership who are not Life Masters.
District 16 Director Paul Cuneo headed up the search committee tasked with filling the vacant leadership position.
“The Board has a relationship with Joe,” says Cuneo. “We appreciate his openness. We respect his background and experience with the ACBL.”
Cuneo says the search committee performed a detailed rating process on the 21 resumes received. The committee then invited six of the candidates for a video interview of 45 minutes to 1.5 hours in duration. For guidance in their candidate evaluation and structured interview process, the committee retained EASI Consultants. The field was further reduced, and a second round of interviews held.
In addition to Cuneo, the search committee included: Joann Glasson, District 4; Georgia Heth, District 8; A.J. Stephani, District 11; Claire Jones, District 18; and Richard Popper, Board of Governors Chair. Additionally, Greg Herman of Seattle WA was invited be on the committee.
Cuneo says that one of the first things the committee addressed was the change in title from CEO to executive director. “It’s not a change of duties or salary,” Cuneo says, “but perception. We feel that executive director more closely aligns with the partnership dynamic the Board envisions.”
Jones has worked at the ACBL for eight years. He is a lifelong resident of Memphis TN. He attended Christian Brothers University in Memphis where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and he is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. He and his wife Julie – who is a neonatal ICU nurse – have a son and two daughters.