Melanie van der Hoop named to Head PGA of Ontario
MARKHAM, ON-- Melanie van der Hoop, a modern sports management specialist with high profile credentials and a commitment to excellence has been promoted to lead the Professional Golfers Association of Ontario, the association announced Thursday.
"Melanie combines specialized sports management knowledge with an inclusive leadership style, exceptional people skills and a determined drive to meet and exceed her goals," Simon Bevan, President of the PGA of Ontario announced Thursday. "While her appointment represents a departure from our long-standing tradition of naming a PGA member to head our association, the changing landscape of our business dictates that we hire someone with the specialized skills to grow our association and improve upon our ability to support our membership.
"Our experience with Melanie in her role as Operations Manager over the past 15 months, combined with her sports management experience, made her the enthusiastic and unanimous choice of our Board of Directors to assume the Executive Director's role and lead our association into the future," the President said.
University provided the foundation towards Ms. van der Hoop's goal. "I pursued a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology because I was interested in learning about the relationship between people and performance. I captained my university soccer team for four years and deepened my understanding of the value of teamwork and the subsequent power that results from working towards a common goal. This is what defines my management style today," she said.
Ms. van der Hoop gained valuable sports management experience working with the Ontario Speed Skating Association and the Invictus Games Toronto 2017. "The former taught me how to support individuals in High Performance programs striving to achieve their dreams and reach their athletic potential. The Invictus Games provided the experience of collaborative management of venue operations, international sport organizations as well as the demands of training and deploying all sport-related volunteers in a high profile, high-stress environment," she said
Ms. van der Hoop was responsible for recruiting and managing more than 700 volunteers to support operations during the Invictus Games, which saw more than 550 competitors from 17 nations compete in 12 adaptive sports.
For Ms. van der Hoop, this appointment is an exciting step forward in a carefully planned career. "Sport is, and always has been, a passion and a staple in my life. I believe there is a strong correlation between success in sport and success in business, and it's no secret that there are a multitude of soft skills learned in sport that apply to all facets of life. Today, I strive to give our members the opportunity to achieve their professional goals and I am grateful to be trusted to lead the PGA of Ontario," she said.
"I may be very new to the game of golf but my experience, both working in non-profit sport and serving a community of members through sports, is transferrable. I believe we can put some new ideas to work to help improve our ability to support and serve our membership," she said.
The Board of Directors has no doubt that will happen. "Not only does Melanie possess skill sets that are of particular interest to us, but her emergence to a leadership level was a natural evolution," the President said. "Through various events and circumstances throughout her last 15 months, she has worked with our small office team to ensure smooth and seamless operations. Although she is quick to credit the team around her, Mel's initiative to assume responsibility and her ability to lead her team and direct the association have become apparent to our entire Board."
Those abilities were also apparent to some of the members with whom she came in contact. "One of our members mentioned her performance on a specific issue with which he was involved. Although the outcome was not what he expected, he did not hesitate to praise her performance with an unsolicited recommendation that I hire her to lead the association," Mr. Bevan said.
Teamwork is an ongoing theme in Ms. van der Hoop's thinking. "Whatever was accomplished at the PGA of Ontario in the last 15 months is a direct reflection of the willingness of our small staff to work together to accomplish our goals. Both Stacey Hewett and Kristine Schmidt are very generous with their co-operation and support. They know their jobs and perform them effectively," she said.
While Ms. van der Hoop is new to the sport of golf, she is determined to learn quickly. In the past year she has completed the first two levels of Rules Certification. At her urging, all three staffers have taken golf lessons from PGA of Ontario pro Jaime Steedman. "Mel is incredibly athletic. She can hit the ball and has terrific potential. I was struck by her contagious enthusiasm. She is fun to work with, she is not afraid to laugh at herself and she made this a really fun learning experience for her team," the Head Teaching Professional at Ladies Golf Club of Toronto said.
"I am very aware that I have much to learn about the golf industry," Ms. van der Hoop said, "but I am not worried about it. I am surrounded by 1,300 of the top golf professionals in Ontario so I know where to go to find the answers. I should add that I am very interested in knowing their opinions, understanding their needs and receiving their input. I will make it a priority to ensure that happens."
The PGA of Ontario is the provincial grouping of some 1,300 PGA certified golf professionals involved in playing, teaching and managing golf throughout Ontario. It is responsible for accreditation, education and supporting its members through a variety of programs, events and services.
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Melanie van der Hoop
PGA of Ontario