Meet our staff member Christopher

Our Canada Bay Club team members are a big part of what makes our Club such a special part of the local community. Many of our staff have been with us for a number of years and are part of the fabric of the club, connecting with members and being a part of their lives.

We value the fact that it’s the diversity of our people that helps to create a sense of family within the club. Our staff members have interesting backgrounds, stories and interests. Today we introduce one of our friendly front-of-house staff, Christopher, affectionately known to many as “Chris”.

Tell us about your early life

I grew up in Newtown and Coogee. I am Bicultural (Portuguese / Creole) with Portuguese and Kenyan ancestry. I started my first job, aged 14, with my cousin at Aluminum Australia factory making goblets and ice buckets, in a back-street factory in Newtown.

At 16 I moved out of home to live in Coogee with my cousin from New York. With a passion for music and dance, we formed the first black dance group performing gigs around discos and night clubs in Sydney and quickly gained a reputation as a support act, working with bands such as Renee Geyer, Dragon, INXS and The Models. At age 19 we even made it into the Guinness Book of Records (1975) breaking the world record for Modern Dance (the bump) by 27 minutes!

In 1976 my dance partner Penny Williams and I launched Paul Hogan’s nightclub, which was called PIPS and based in Potts Point. Twelve months later it was taken over by Blues singer Delilah and named Bojangles. We promoted funk music around Sydney discos and nationally. I then spent 10 years studying and working overseas as a professional dancer, choreographer and set designer. At the end of a colourful and exciting career as a dancer, I joined the corporate world through AGL in North Sydney, where I used my artistic flair and experiences in many roles. My most challenging and fulfilling role was as AGL’s Executive Chef/Corporate Event Stylist. During my 26 years with AGL, I looked after five CEO/Managing Directors and 18 boards of directors. I came to Canada Bay Club on February 22, 2016.

What does a typical day involve?

Although my shifts involve various sections of the club, I allow myself plenty of time to organise myself for my shift and day, making sure I have my act together. I like to carry out my duties with ease, and with no drama!

What’s the best thing about your job and working at Canada Bay Club?

I love working at Canada Bay Club; it has been very rewarding. Staff and Members are like extended family. Every day that I go to work I always have a good day.

I make it my business not to let the little things get me down and ruin my day. There are so many lovely members that make it all worthwhile. A lot of them are long term members and it’s great to be able to put a smile on someone’s face and make their experience at Canada Bay Club a good one. I always do my best to please Members and visitors at the club and be courteous at all times. I know that they appreciate it when we make the effort and hope they will want to come back.

My favourite part of my job is knowing that I have made someone’s day, which I like to think I do every day. I have been given opportunities to learn about various trading areas of the club, which has helped me to become more confident when engaging with members when asked about the club’s services and facilities. Saying that, I still have so much more I need to learn and understand!

How would you describe the team at Canada Bay Club?

Awesome – I Iove them all! We are like a close family.

And what about your regular customers?

I see myself as a friend they can talk with and confide in, whether for personal or business. I am around when they need me.

Who or what inspires you?

My beloved wife and my precious daughter both inspire me, reminding me how blessed I am. I am forever being grateful for what I have in my life.

Personal interest or hobbies?

My daughter has a rare disability and I have educated myself on every aspect of her condition. I make it my business to carry out my own research, and have since day one and I have faith that we will find a cure for my precious daughter, now age 18. I’m in the process in writing a book from a dad’s perspective about the challenges and trials of raising a child with a disability.

I have a deep interest in Metaphysics, the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time, and space.

My hobbies include cooking, gardening and reading!

Favorite places to hang out in the Inner West?

Bunnings, Officeworks and second-hand bookshops.

Favourite meal at the club?

Succulent lamb and wedges from the Brasserie!

Any other special memories or anecdotes about Canada Baby Club?

Since starting at Canada Bay Cub, I have come across acquaintances I’ve haven’t seen in over 30 years – this club reminds me that we live in such a small world!

One of the most special moments working at Canada Bay Club was when a member recognised me at the Sports Bar. Elaine was the head nurse at the NICU ward, training nurses and families on how to take care of the tiny premature babies, especially my baby girl who was born 16 weeks premature in March 2000. Elaine was the one who carried out the arrangements with the passing of my precious tiny baby boy, my daughter’s twin big brother, who only lasted 21 days of his very short life. I was over the moon to see Elaine after 17 years. Elaine even visited our home later and caught up with my wife and was thrilled to meet my daughter.

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