‘I have 120 children!’
The Capital Club is run more like a relaxed home than an exclusive private-members club. Its general manager Emma Cullen tells Shiva Kumar Thekkepat that family values are also the key to business success
Emma Cullen oozes charm, which as the general manager of one of Dubai’s most prestigious privatemembers clubs, she puts, along with her wide smile, to good use. Whether she’s talking to a VIP guest, one of her staff or Friday, her natural allure as the head of the Capital Club in the city’s trendy Dubai International Financial Centre is evident.
The 44-year-old is very persuasive and always has been. “I always directed everybody in the family since I was a kid,” she says. “I was quite the organiser.
“I consider the club like a home and try to create a family environment for my staff here.’’
The Australian insists that she’s firm when she needs to be, but her steeliness is wrapped in her motherly nature.
Emma and her husband, Russel Matcham, don’t have any children, “But I have a cat, Lolo, and I am actually the mother of 120 – my staff!” she quips.
She may be joking, but her family attitude towards business is a big reason why the club is so successful.
“We’ve created this family environment nt within the teams,” she says. “We treat everybody as we would want to be treated d ourselves. That’s our philosophy.”
An all-inclusive organisation
Having so many staff with different backgrounds would present issues for most bosses, but Emma makes a special effort to understand and include everyone ne in the organisation. “It’s very important that we understand each other’s cultures, s, each other’s values and our upbringing,” she says.
In her four months at the helm of the club, which has 1,500 members and encourages professional and social networking, Emma has been involved in overseeing all of its operations – a daunting task, but one she relishes.
“I’m extremely passionate about work,” she says. “I know it’s a cliché, a buzzword everyone uses these days, but that’s the truth. I feel the passion in my stomach. I often ask myself what it is that drives me, and I am not afraid of asking even my subordinates if I don’t know something. It’s not competitiveness, it’s about doing the best.”
She learnt this most valuable lesson as a child when her grandfather, a farmer, taught her the saying, ‘Good, better, best; Never let it rest; Until your good gets better; And your better becomes your best.’
“That is really is my driving principle,” she
Emma’s beaming smile endears her to club guests and staff alike