It’s our third and it’s still a charm! Nearly 220 industry professionals, spouses, and sponsors joined us in the City by the Bay for our latest Executive Retreat. Held June 25-28 at the newly refreshed Hotel Nikko in Union Square, the event was jam-packed with education, networking, and oh-so-much fun as we cruised the bay, learned from leading industry and business experts, and enjoyed sipping on wine during our Napa day trip. The event was made possible by all of our generous sponsors, including Platinum Sponsors Grech Motors and Ford-Lincoln Limousine and Livery Vehicles.
San Francisco was a top pick for our attendees (a close second was San Diego, which we are thrilled to announce is the location of our May 2018 retreat), and all that makes the Bay Area awesome was infused—as is our custom—in the event. Our deepest gratitude to Sam Amato of Gateway Global, Ray Cheng of Black Pearl Transportation, and Patrick O’Brien of O’Brien & Associates for sharing their local area expertise and assisting with venues and activities.
We kicked off our Opening Reception with a visit to the posh Starlight Room, a penthouse destination at the Sir Francis Drake hotel, where we were entertained by cabaret-style music, tons of cocktails, and breathtaking views of the evening skyline. It was a fitting opening for a king ... and we had the queens to prove it!
Our education is always a highlight of any event we hold, and we got down to work on Monday with two “shock scenario” sessions that focused on separate but equally important ends of your business. Sandwiched between our provided breakfast and lunch, Kathy Kahne of Windy City Limousine and Dawson Rutter of Commonwealth Worldwide explored issues in our first session related to finance such as price wars, loss of a major client, and an unexpected audit. The second session, presented by Kristina Bouweiri of Reston Limousine and Christina Davis of The LMC Group, detailed the human aspect of your business, touching on topics like the departure or death of a key employee, staff poaching, and even embezzlement. The sessions—moderated by Jason Sharenow of Broadway Elite Worldwide and Kristen Carroll of The LMC Group, respectively—showed attendees how to prepare for the things that they never see coming.
“Incredible speakers and topics were dead-on with everything we have going on in the industry. The educational sessions and all of the events were fantastic. I have come away with a refreshed mindset on how to work through the challenges and changes that have been occurring within my organization.”
—Mark Karolides of Tristar Worldwide in Boston, Mass.
For our Tuesday education, we invited FranklinCovey speaker Scott Robley—who travels the country to share his business management knowledge on a bevy of topics—to boil down the concept of embracing change, which is as simple and as complicated as it sounds. Organizations spend thousands of dollars on education like this so we were thrilled to have his expertise on hand for our attendees. Kudos to our entire Education Committee, including co-chairs Kristen Carroll and Jason Sharenow, Sami Elotmani of Destination MCO, Kim Garner of BEST Transportation, and Tony Simon of Reston Limousine.
“I took home great action items I can use right away. Dawson [Rutter] gave me ideas on how to look at my reports, Kristina [Bouweiri] gave me ways to look out for the unexpected, and Scott [Robley] gave me communication tools I have already started using with my staff and clients,” said Becky Laramee of All Points Limousine in Worcester, Mass.
“Dollar for dollar, this experience provided more value than most any event in the various industries we do business in. The group of people at this event were top-notch and the actual timing of the event itself was stellar. Can’t wait until the next one in San Diego!”
—Jeff Brodsly of Silver Sponsor Chosen Payments in Moorpark, Calif.
“I thought this was an exceptional retreat with fun activities, a great location, and thorough educational content. I really enjoyed all sessions! The FranklinCovey session was worth every penny. I downloaded Stephen M.R. Covey’s Speed of Trust book right after the conference and read it flying home,” said Kim Garner of BEST Transportation in St. Louis, Mo.
We were sure to include abundant opportunities for networking, especially during our more relaxed and city-focused evening activities. In addition to breakfast and lunch on Monday and Tuesday, our dinner events were a place where our attendees could kick back with a cocktail, enjoy the sites, and mingle with friends and peers new and old.
We closed Monday night with our private yacht cruise on the Hornblower, which featured a delicious sit-down dinner and plenty of spirits. It was a photographer’s dream as we sailed past all the quintessential attractions including under the Golden Gate and Bay bridges, right past Alcatraz Island, and near AT&T Park, where a night game was underway. We’re sure you spied a beautiful sunset shot or two on our or an attendee’s social media.
“The networking opportunities and learning experiences were priceless. I have attended several trade shows, which are also excellent, but the smaller group size makes it a much more intimate setting and enables better contact and networking with affiliates. It also enabled me to spend much more time with the people I have already established relationships with, but rarely get to see. This is an excellent retreat for newcomers as well as old pros, especially for those newcomers looking to connect and get an educational experience and advice from some of the more seasoned professionals. I plan on attending many more!” said Jaime McLaren of Concierge Limousine in Huntington Beach, Calif.
“Loved, loved, loved the sessions. Scott Robley’s session was especially good, as there was content that extended to both work and home life. This was my second retreat and my only regret is that I didn’t start attending sooner. I love the smaller groups of exceptional people, who are all focused on making our companies and relationships with one another better, in a more relaxed atmosphere. I already have San Diego on my calendar. Can’t wait!”
—Tracy Salinger of Unique Limousine in Harrisburg, Pa.
Wednesday was the reward for everyone’s hard work with a deliciously enjoyable trip to gorgeous Napa Valley. We broke into groups and boarded Grech buses for our excursion, where we visited three uniquely beautiful wineries (included in the price of retreat). We strolled through the cool, historic caves of Beringer Vineyards, rode hillside trams to the top at Sterling Vineyards, and relished the bucolic views at Artesa Vineyards & Winery, all while sipping several wines at each stop. The groups were also treated to a delicious buffet lunch at Napa Ford Lincoln. Of course, wine was flowing and the good times were rolling as we made our way back to San Francisco later in the day.
“I loved the seminar format: Two days of related sessions was riveting. I also loved the timings for events, which allowed sufficient downtime to either work or explore the local area. Another ‘grand slam’ for the Chauffeur Driven team, for combining content, networking, and recreation in a fantastic destination.”
—Barry Gross of Reston Limousine in Dulles, Va.
“The event felt much more intimate than others we have attended. The welcome reception at Starlight Room and the boat cruise were top notch—the food was great at both. We love the Chauffeur Driven team; they have an inclusive approach. Whether you are the owner or affiliate manager of a car service business, or in our case, a corporate travel technology company—they make you feel welcome. We always look forward to their events,” said Jackie Miehls of Silver Sponsor Deem in San Francisco, Calif.
“Chauffeur Driven outdid themselves again with this retreat. Amazing education and networking has already returned our investment threefold in less than a couple weeks. Amazing!” said Tammy Carlisle of Action Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in Atlanta, Ga.
“I truly enjoyed the 2017 Chauffeur Driven Executive Retreat. Each day was well thought out, the staff did a great job of communicating, and the accommodations were first class. If you have not experienced one of the Chauffeur Driven Retreats, I recommend signing up for the next one.”
—Todd Szilagyi of BEST-VIP Chauffeured in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Next up is our annual show, which will be held this October 22-25 at the spectacular Gaylord Palms in sunny Orlando—all under one roof! (You can also read more about our exclusive events on page 64 of this issue.) Next year, we take our Executive Retreat to the brand-new Pendry Hotel in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter, scheduled for May 6-8. Look for all the deets at the newly updated chauffeurdrivenshow.com. [CD0817]
Thank you to our generous sponsors!
Ford-Lincoln Limousine and Livery Vehicles
Creative Bus Sales
First Class Customs
Complete Fleet Livery Sales
Napa Ford Lincoln
A special thank you to our transportation providers:
ABC Worldwide Transportation, Beau Wine Tours, Black Tie Transportation, Ecko Worldwide, and Gateway Global