Flagler County, FL – It’s an unusual guest list in the middle of a mid-term election cycle, but the Flagler Tiger Bay Club is one of the few political organizations that can manage to get Republicans, Democrats and NPAs in a room together for a civilized discussion. There’s even wine involved.
It’s a brilliant scenario and one that happens near monthly at Tiger Bay Clubs across Florida.
With a guest list that reads like a Who’s Who of Flagler County, the Flagler Tiger Bay Club marked its fourth anniversary with a wine tasting and social event on Wednesday evening at Channel Side in Palm Coast.
Just one day after the primary election, the event offered a chance to congratulate winners and discuss the outcome while networking with attendees from across the region.
In Polite Company
Started just about five years ago as a result of a conversation between friends Greg Davis, a member of the Tiger Bay Club of Volusia County and Don Madden, a member of the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida, the pair founded Flagler’s own Tiger Bay Club.
In a short four years we have become the premier civic engagement group in our county, because we have earned our reputation for civility,” said Madden, pleased to watch the organization attract like-minded individuals interested in politics and civility.
“The growth of the Flagler Tiger Bay Club over the past four years speaks to a desire of good people on all sides of the aisle to come together as friends and neighbors to listen respectfully to diverse points of view,” he said.
“That sense of community was on display at our annual wine tasting gathering. And the wine was good,” he added. “Greg and I both felt enormous gratification watching all sides come together as a community last night. That was our goal, and that was the vision we championed.”
Building A Team
Among the organization’s earliest community leaders to step forward in 2018 was Jake Scully.
The friendships formed over the years have created a solid bond among individuals who are accustomed to leading the discussion in any board room. Transitioning off of the organization’s board this month, it was a poignant moment Scully was presented with the ultimate reward during the annual meeting and wine tasting – an oversized version of the club’s signature tiger, with personalized bandana.
“Jake Scully and I have widely divergent political leanings; but there is no better friend,” said Madden, a Republican, of his Democratic colleague. “He is one of the first people I strong-armed into joining our club and one of the pillars of our success.”
Even the analytical Davis choked up when recognizing Scully’s contributions to the community and organization.
“Jake Scully stepping down from our Board is a big loss. Jake has been with us from the beginning and was instrumental from day one in building Tiger Bay Club and making us who we are. Jake is one of the OG’s of Flagler Tiger Bay Club and will be missed. He has earned a well-deserved rest but is still a member,” said Davis.
“I remember our first organizational meetings when we formed the club. It was a few brave souls willing to take the leap of faith and build a team of rivals for the betterment of our community. I believe our results are self-evident in Flagler Tiger Bay in what can occur when you bring people together of different parties, priorities, and beliefs in an atmosphere of civility, willing to listen to the other person’s point of view with respect.”
Leading the Way for the Next Generation
Building the Flagler Tiger Bay Club’s reach through the Young Executives and Young Tiger programs, Davis is optimistic about the organization’s future while reflecting on the past year’s accomplishments.
“Flagler Tiger Bay Club had another phenomenal year last year. COVID through all kinds of challenges and unlike many organizations we grew increasing membership by 26%. Our average attendance for our luncheon meetings was 82 members and guests. We continued our great lineup of speakers. We put in place our final piece to ensure continuity of operations with our hiring of a part time Executive Director. Our Young Executive Program grew by 100%. We have an enthusiastic corps of Young Executives fully engaged in growing our Young Executive membership and creating programs tailored to young executives in our recently launched Tiger Bay After Dark offering that is open to all. We were 150% of our scholarship objectives raising and awarding $30,000 in scholarships to deserving Flagler County high school students,” shared Davis.
Mingling with members and getting to know the guests, Davis raised a glass on another successful Flagler Tiger Bay Club event.
“Last evening’s wine tasting event was fabulous and maybe the best in the four years Flagler Tiger Bay has been hosting this event. It was truly an elegant affair. I have not got the final tally yet, but we have several new members who signed up last night. It was heartwarming to see the results of our combined efforts on display last night with Democrats, Republicans, and NPA’s celebrating our mutual accomplishments in a safe place for civility. We truly have substantial more in common than in differences.”
The evening was sponsored in part by Chiumento Law, with libations by Uncork’d Wine Bar in Flagler Beach and hors d’oeuvres by World Plate Catering.