Five years after the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort’s closing, longtime general manager Katie Moulton and owner Murf Klauber still talk Colony every day.
Katie Klauber Moulton worked “seven days a week with more weekly hours than I could count for 25 years” as general manager of the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort alongside her father, longtime resort owner Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber.
She was 13 when she started working at the resort, armed with a pitcher of water and coffeepot.
Then, the Colony closed Aug. 15, 2010, amid lawsuits, and the job that consumed most of her waking hours was gone.
“After it closed, I sat at home one day, and it hit me,” Moulton said. “I didn’t know how hard I was working until I wasn’t.”
Moulton took time to relax. She caught up with lifelong friends. She immersed herself in work for the luxury real estate business of her husband, Michael Moulton — a job she still handles today.
But her epiphany came at the top of the Ringling Bridge during one of her frequent walks.
“I was walking and having a moment of unpleasantness a few years ago about what was happening at the Colony and how we failed to come to a settlement when I had a big ‘Aha!’ moment,” Moulton said. “I realized we failed in all of our settlement agreements, negotiations, mediations, etc. and in each, there was typically a trained professional third party leading those discussions.”
Those professionals often saw anger, distrust, high emotions and little chance of a resolution. What they didn’t understand in most cases, Moulton realized, was what was at risk if resolution wasn’t reached.
“I knew I could do better than that and help people,” Moulton said. “So, I worked to become a certified mediator.”
For the two years, Moulton has volunteered for the Sarasota 12th Circuit Citizens Dispute Resolution Program as a mediator.
“I have 60 cases under my belt with a very high settlement resolution rate,” Moulton said.
Moulton says she’s often complimented for achieving a settlement among parties where the judge thought there was no chance for resolution.
“I don’t think there are many people who know better than I do that you don’t want your issues to ultimately get decided before a judge,” Moulton said. “You are better off coming up with and agreeing to something you can all live with.”
"I don’t think there are many people who know better than I do that you don’t want your issues to ultimately get decided before a judge."
— Katie Moulton
Now a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator, Moulton is also a partner and executive director of Cayuga Hospitality Consultants, a group of global mediators/consultants for the hotel industry made up of fellow Cornell University School of Hotel Administration graduates.
In her spare time — which she now has more of — Moulton enjoys cooking, exercising and “living the downtown life.” She and her husband sold their Bird Key home in 2013 and live in a Sarasota condominium.
Moulton, though, said hardly a day goes by that she and her father don’t bring up the Colony.
“I miss my employees, the guests and helping people have a good time,” Moulton said. “I hope that property can do that again for people as soon as possible.”