Christi Turdo: Trailblazer of Glenbroook Racquet Club
Image courtesy of Glenbrook Racquet Club.
Christi Turdo is the definition of a self-made woman. From an early age, she learned that talent would only get you so far. The real motivators that have kept her a relevant trendsetter in the tennis community are dedication and passion.
Turdo discovered her lifelong love for tennis at the age of 10 as a junior player in West Palm Beach, Florida. There, she mastered her craft and earned a full scholarship to play tennis at the Ohio State University. Turdo knew that somehow, she wanted to utilize her love of the sport to help new generations find the same rush of energy she felt from the sport that gave her so much. So, after graduation, Turdo was on the move back to her home state of Florida where she took over management of her childhood club. What Turdo did not realize at that time, though, was how demanding the sports club business could be.
Though the experience at her home club did not go as planned, Turdo did not let this deter her from continuing her journey in the racquet sports industry. Turdo decided to move back to the Midwest where she spent time rebuilding a club in Columbus, Ohio. Over the years, Turdo started to gain a reputation of taking dying clubs, revamping them and kickstarting profitable businesses.
Then, in 2010, Turdo's greatest project to date took flight. The Glenbrook Racquet Club, located in Northbrook, Ill., became available for purchase. Turdo had already helped to build two other clubs in the area and decided it was time to buy her own club. Knowing that she cound not do this one our own, she engaged a commericial real estate group to partner with her in the purchase of the club, ready to put her own blood, sweat and tears into it. After a year and a half, Turdo bought out her partners and has been the sole owner for the past 9 years.
When Turdo first inherited the club, she knew there would be countless hours of work, but she was ready for the challenge. The slow rebuild of the club included over a million dollars of renovations. The club has resurfaced the 10 indoor new tennis courts, installed state of the art LED lighting, a new lobby, bar and gorgeous locker rooms. Turdo's expansion project came to fruition just over a year ago. In an effort to maximize the program offerings, she purchased a piece of property up the street that houses seven indoor dedicated 10 and under courts, which are shared with a new and growing pickleball program. Turdo has also managed the completion of a brand-new paddleball facility associated with the club. This new property will now be the home of the Glenbrook Paddle Club.
While Turdo sits in the seat of power at Glenbrook, the team of women who surround her on the management side have been instrumental in the growth and success of the club.
"It's [Turdo's management team] just a really good fit," said Turdo. "It's hard to find the right people, but I've been lucky and blessed and grateful that I have found the right people for us to be a success."
It is because of that drive that the whole management team shares that brought Glenbrook through the hard times of the COVID-19 shutdown. Turdo was determined to lead her team effectively through an uncertain time to come out the other end stronger.
"Being in the service industry, once you lose a day of service, you can't really get that back," said Turdo. "My whole focus and my whole goal with this pandemic...was to understand and educate others on how we could continue doing what we love to do in a safe and healthy environment.
"We all know that tennis presents a very safe social distancing space, and I was determined to lead our club and others back to the courts and through this difficult time."
Turdo believes it is a testament to her talented staff and their overall determination that they have been able to maintain a strong tennis community, even when they were away from the courts for months.
"You're developing not just tennis, but you're developing relationships, families, societies and communities of people," said Turdo.
As the racquet club begins to return to normal, Turdo reflects on her experiences that brought her to where she is today. With her determination and grit leading her through any situation, she hopes to be an example for other female trailblazers in the industry.
"I was raised by my parents to do everything with integrity, honesty and respect, and when I look in the mirror at the end of the day, if I had all of those things in place, I didn't really care what people thought of me," said Turdo.
"It's not really a job, and it's not a career, it's a passion; it's what I love and a part of my being, and if you can live your passion every day and make a difference in peoples' lives through what you offer, then you have success!"
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