Effective Then… Effective Now

With a background of many years’ experience in serving its members and in enabling them to serve each other, The Executives’ Association of San Diego has achieved a unique place in local business life. Combining a serious purpose with a warm, friendly, informal manner of operation, The Executives’ have throughout the decades followed a singular purpose: business growth and financial success.


A response to economic uncertainty

In the early 1920s San Diegans were alert to the threat of a general business decline from World War I. To meet this threat and to hedge their bets on the future, local business and professional men formed a local chapter of the International 100% Club. Their reasoning was sound. The new Club was designed for one task, and that task was neatly summed up in an organizational announcement; “The sole purpose of the club is to promote, facilitate, and further the interchange of business information that will enable members to secure new business and thereby make money.” Whatever their feelings were about the need for another club in what was a well-organized city, local businessmen could hardly resist a mission statement ending with “and thereby make money”.


A new club is born

Organization of the new group began in the fall of 1922, and on January 6, 1923, the president of the International 100% Club presented the charter that marked the official beginning of the San Diego 100% Club. Four days later the first regular meeting was held and a president and officers were elected. The club quickly began operation and in short order members began to realize its effectiveness. Sticking to their original policy of avoiding civic, cultural, or social activities, the members found the interchange-of-business policy to be successful and profitable for all concerned. Word of the group’s success spread rapidly and within a few months after its establishment, the San Diego 100% Club boasted nearly 80 members.


A new name

In 1925 the International 100% Club organization became the International Executives’ Association, as member groups thought the new name would more closely describe their clubs.


San Diego stands on its own

On August 4, 1927, The Executives’ Association of San Diego filed papers of incorporation. A charter was granted and the club began operation as an independent, local organization, affiliated only informally with similar clubs in other cities.


The great depression

It goes without saying that San Diego’s business community, along with the rest of the nation, was rocked by the depression of the 30s. The Executives’ Association of San Diego, with its tradition of business interchange and valid lead-giving, was almost entirely responsible for the success of some of its member firms in battling this financial storm. At the very bottom of the depression, with business failures climbing rapidly, members of the Association intensified their efforts to help themselves by helping each other. Understandably, membership in the Association did decline during the depression years, but not to the extent suffered by other professional and service clubs throughout the city. The Association had proved its worth – and proved it during an unprecedented national financial chaos.


Training new executives

Early in 1930, with echoes of the market crash of the previous October still ringing through the business world, members of The Executives’ Association of San Diego decided to expand their organization. It was a wise move, for the expansion plan resulted in the formation of the “Junior Executives,” an organization that immediately joined in to help member firms weather the depression. The new group paralleled the activities of the senior organization and offered younger executives an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of membership in the business-building club. This junior group is known today as the Associate Executives.


world war II

The nation had no more than climbed out of the depression when it found itself in World War II. Again, as they had during the trying times of the previous decade, Association members joined to help each other solve the problems of critical shortages, manpower, price ceilings, rationing, and the other war-born problems that plagued businesses. However, wartime manpower problems caused meeting attendance to fall off sharply and, by 1944, attendance was down to less than a half dozen members. Because of the devotion of this small group, the meetings continued without interruption through the war years and the Association continued to provide business-building ideas for its members.


The post-war era

The end of World War II saw a rapid increase in Association membership as San Diegans made the change to a peacetime economy and as members returned from wartime service to take their places again in San Diego’s business community.


98 years young

The end of World War II saw a rapid increase in Association membership as San Diegans made the change to a peacetime economy and as members returned from wartime service to take their places again in San Diego’s business community.


100th anniversary

On February 6, The Executives’ Association of San Diego celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Brigantine’s Portside Pier, with current and past presidents who continue to support its mission of helping local businesses network and grow, including many second or third generation in addition to our Charter member of 100 years MarshMcLennan.