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Kathryn G. Carruth

Executive Director's Message

I want to thank past president Julie Bruggner and the entire search committee for putting their faith in me to guide this next chapter at MBCA. It’s such an honor to serve the members and many stakeholders of this wonderful organization.

Although MBCA has had a few rough years, I believe we can revive and rejuvenate by embracing our rich history as we welcome and celebrate Mercedes-Benz’s future, our future! I envision digging deeper into our shared love of the iconic brand to make real connections among enthusiasts who work and play together. Now, more than ever, the opportunity exists to integrate MBCA’s culture into people’s lives and schedules. We have so many tools available to identify enthusiasts and build

 our community.

My goal is simple: to serve our current membership while successfully attracting and setting up the next generation; I believe the key to this is by delivering benefits at the section level first. The more digital our world becomes, the more valuable tactile experiences are, so by helping the sections and their leadership deliver rich experiences, we create opportunities for the whole. I’m asking for open channels of feedback and dialogue to ensure we are respectful of our current members while propagating a new generation. However, this will require us to be intentional about bringing new voices and skill sets into the association’s decision-making roles.

As we execute strategic, systemic changes, I request the leadership and members to be open-minded and have the discipline to see the process through. We must create a structure that is sound and business-oriented, designing our governing documents, leadership team, budget, and programming around the needs, interests, and benefits of tomorrow’s members. The transformation process can be uncomfortable and challenging initially, but building a sustainable future will be very rewarding.

Membership in MBCA is not characterized by monetary value but rather the relationships, causes, and intrinsic value of the Silver Star. Appealing to multiple generations and subsets of members requires a targeted rather than generalized approach. Relevant and memorable experiences create opportunities to show the true value an association brings, such as:


-           Delivering innovative, exclusive value in an inclusive way.

-           Expanding personal and business opportunities through united individuals.

-           Content curated specifically for enthusiasts.

-           Lowering individual costs by distributing expenses across a broad network.


It is critical MBCA serves the needs and interests of the entire community — not just a tiny fraction of it — and offers opportunities for people of all career stages, lifepaths, and geographies to be involved and benefit from the association’s deliverables and reach. If we’re to succeed, we’ll need to develop targeted solutions that resonate with our segmented audience.

Combatting membership decline requires forward-thinking and a willingness to change, adopting new strategies. Not every strategy will work, but we can start with planning for tomorrow’s members by:


1. Starting Early – Through scholarships, internships, hands-on educational opportunities, and other programs, we must build relationships with young people to invest in our future members.

2. Initiating Newcomers – Be accommodating to potential members, ensuring the local sections are accessible and welcoming and have the tools needed to initiate newcomers.

3. Embracing the Future – It is essential to understand which technology platforms our future MBCA members use, what’s important to them, and how they will spend their free time.


In sum, just as Mercedes-Benz is committed to building the world’s most desirable cars, we too can and must build the most desirable Club. I hope you’re as excited as I am about the future of MBCA!

Thank you for your trust.