How the CORE: Club Disrupted New York's Social-Club Scene
Its not often you have lunch with someone and she uses the words zeitgeist and curation in the first few minutes.
But Jennie Enterprise did – multiple times. Because that is what she, and her partner Dangene, are all about – understanding the current zeitgeist, a.k.a. the spirit of the times, and curating the best information and experiences around it.
They believe in constant, yet efficient, learning and their passion for it was infectious. I almost forgot there were other people in the room.
Almost. But not really.
Because those “other” people can be the likes of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Skybridge founder Anthony Scaramucci, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, fashion designer and activist Kenneth Cole and former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold.
They are all members of Manhattan’s prestigious CORE: Club, a haven that Enterprise founded in 2005 so the world’s greatest minds could have a place to come together, share ideas, learn and do business.
Membership Really Does Have its Privileges
Enterprise’s members are some of the most exceptional innovators in the world and, as a result, she has tried to offer services that she feels are exceptional as well. She hand-picked some of the smartest people across all industries to be her founding members. She hand-delivered an invitation that wowed them and has since won awards, and invited them to see the space and hear her concept.
They were asked to put up $100,000 and nominate one more exceptional person.
“And now it is a self-selecting community,” she says, like other clubs, where members have to nominate new members. Now initial membership fee $50,000 and annual dues are $17,000. Today CORE: has 1,400 members.
As for the staff, there are 80 now, all of whom went through a rigorous hiring and training process that included emotional-intelligence testing.
But Enterprise holds her to staff to a particular standard because they integrate themselves in the members’ lives. They know members’ families, personal assistants, and IT people. They know members’ drinks, the food they liked served at meetings, whether out-of-town members will need access to one of the four suites, and their outside interests.
Because while it is about getting that business deal done -- and countless have been closed in their impeccable dining room over meals prepared by world-renowned chefs – it’s about making their visit seamless and addressing that “zeitgeist.”
Leave It to a Woman to Make Life More Efficient
“We wanted to create a constellation of experiences that could be part of a bricks-and-mortar program,” says Enterprise.
So the cultural programs were added – approximately 380 of them. Walk in the lobby and there's art on the walls and in the adjacent gallery. Some $80 million worth of art has come through. Or, you can watch a private movie screening in their theater.
Before your lunch meeting, you can grab a workout, have that horrible age spot on your face removed at dangene, CORE:'s “skinovation” institute, get a haircut or maybe even sit in an the intimate lecture with luminaries like Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, artist Jeff Koons or famed photographer Albert Watson, who has photographed everyone from Steve Jobs to Jay Z.
And they keep reinventing ways to curate all these experiences and have members discover them in a time-efficient way, says Enterprise. “It’s about being hyper-productive,” she says.
Because the thought leaders of today just don’t want to learn about their own industry. They want to learn about everything.
Strive for Balance
As she has curated every experience at the CORE: Club, she has done the same with her personal life.
After years of marriage she found passionate love with Dangene, her wife and partner. And now they move together on this mission of information accumulation and their quest to become ultimate editors.
So much so they edited their last names. Instead of the excessive hyphenation when they got married, they just changed it. So Jennie Saunders and Dangene McKay-Bailey legally became Jennie and Dangene Enterprise.
And now, in a similar fashion, the Enterprises are purposely planning their future.
Expansion plans for the CORE: Club are in the works with locations from Miami to Abu Dhabi. “We are looking in cosmopolitan cities where our clients spend the most time,” says Enterprise.
And she is searching for the right partners to replicate what they did in Manhattan. But as you wait for Enterprise to find the perfect space and partners so she can build a sanctuary near you, you can still embody the CORE: Club philosophies in your own life.
- Don’t stop learning. Just do it in the most efficient way possible.
- Surround yourself with people who are thirsty for knowledge and who want to create things that change the world.
- It’s not just about you do. It’s about what everyone else does so learn to appreciate that.
It’s about the zeitgeist.