By Susan Salisbury
The Palm Beach Post, Fla.
Pam Swensen is chief executive officer of the Executive Women’s Golf Association. Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, it has more than 14,000 members in 108 major U.S. cities as well as in Canada, South Africa, Bermuda and Italy.
Each month it hosts more than 2,000 events to get women engaged in golf and use it to develop business connections and friendships.
It’s important to know how to play golf because the informal camaraderie and conversation on the course is a business-building opportunity, Swensen said.
The EWGA’s golfing and other events are scheduled on weekday evenings and weekends.
“Golf is the sport of business and EWGA firmly believes green grass can break glass ceilings!” Swensen said.
Hometown: Brockton, Mass.
Where you live now: West Palm Beach
About your non-profit: The Executive Women’s Golf Association celebrates 25 years in 2016 as the leading organization unifying businesswomen though golf. Having started here in West Palm Beach in 1991 with a golf clinic for 28 women, our purpose is to get women comfortable to learn, play and enjoy the game of golf for business and for fun and ultimately use this informal network to build business relationships.
How your business has changed: With the recession, everyone who had a job was and still is required to do so much more. So time and how one allocates it becomes a daily challenge. Golf is known for taking time to play. However, when we surveyed 1,000 women golfers, 71 percent said the game helped them develop important relationships and more than half said being able to talk knowledgeably about golf had contributed to their success.
First paying job and what you learned from it: Working for a family owned clothing store in my hometown and being given the freedom to create the store front window displays. It provided me with a weekly challenge to understand what our customers wanted, what worked, what didn’t and the power to engage with our customers and being flexible to make changes if something didn’t work.
First break in the business: A former LPGA Professional asked me to manage her upstart golf event management company.
Best business book: Race for Relevance by Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers.
Best piece of business advice you have received: Success is not a solo endeavor. Reach out and embrace your team members.
What you tell young people: Don’t underestimate the power of having golf as a skill set on your resume. It’s a conversation starter and can be a game changer.
What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County? Being a member of the Leadership Palm Beach County Class of 2015 has opened my eyes to the extensive community outreach programs in the county and at the same time the resource challenges. Palm Beach County’s future depends on the preservation and enhancement of a wide range of integrated elements. Knowledge is power. Education and awareness build a better community.
Where we can find you when you are not at the office: Gearing up for EWGA’s Par 3 Challenge Event (come join us!) being held at the Palm Beach Par 3 at the end of June or at dog friendly restaurants like Cantina Laredo on PGA with my golden retriever.
Favorite smartphone app: I travel a lot so my go-to apps are the Delta App to track my luggage and Google Maps to get me to where I need to go.
What is the most important trait you look for when hiring? Enthusiasm, preparedness, have you done the research on what EWGA is all about? Do you play golf? since it does tell a great deal about an individual and the desire to make a difference!