For our fourth retreat, Chauffeur Driven went back to Cali May 6-8 and brought along nearly 190 industry professionals for a few days of networking, education, and falling in love with San Diego from the shoreline to the skyline. We had a lot of sponsors whose generosity helped make this spectacular event happen, including Platinum Sponsors Grech Motors and Ford-Lincoln Limousine and Livery Vehicles.
America’s Finest City emerged as a popular destination and clear winner with every industry poll we sent out, and the perfectly situated and beautifully appointed Pendry Hotel made our early May stay one extra-special experience that was loaded with California flair.
“Going back to my college town of San Diego for business was such an amazing experience—but the experience would not exist without the precise and detail-oriented planning of CD to make this retreat one for the history books,” said Gold Sponsor Jeff Brodsly of Chosen Payments. “Every single turn was perfect, every venue, education topic, pool party, and the crowd that this event offered was beyond top notch. Being able to learn, network, hang with clients, and pick up substantial new business = major success. Can’t wait for next year!”
We kicked off our retreat at a thoroughly SoCal locale by heading to Coasterra for our Opening Dinner & Reception—and some incredible views of the city, the bay, and one awesome sunset as San Diego beautifully transitioned from daylight to nighttime. Coasterra has earned its place as one of San Diego’s premier Bayfront dining destinations, and we got to find out exactly why during an evening of tasty locavore Mexican fare, live music courtesy of Ottopilot, and lots of networking as old friends met up and new friends met for the first time. Many thanks to Grech Motors for providing transportation to and from the venue.
“I love San Diego!” said Ira Goldstein of The Black Car Fund in New York, N.Y. “The CD Executive Retreat has a great mix of work and pleasure. It provides the perfect opportunity to network and conduct business in fun venues and locations, and also draws a very friendly crowd.”
Getting to know our host city is just one part of our retreats’ appeal: A trio of timely topics and one wholly interactive learning experience comprised the backbone of an educational agenda that we couldn’t have put together without the dedication of our hard-working Education Committee. Committee co-chairs Jason Sharenow of Broadway Elite Worldwide and Kristen Carroll of The LMC Group, as well as Matt Assolin of Nikko’s Worldwide, Alan Candeub of Park Avenue Limousine, Sami Elotmani of Destination MCO, Kim J. Dolniak of BEST Transportation St. Louis, and Tony Simon of Reston Limousine all put in tireless hours ensuring that we deliver another slate of world-class learning opportunities.
CD brought in great speakers for an interesting financial class they’re making me learn while still keeping it fun! The retreat is one of my favorite events each year. We can’t wait to welcome y’all to Texas next year. – Gary LeCamu of Diamond Limousine Service in Hempstead, Texas
Our very first session on Monday covered the all-important topic of Are You Making Money? presented by Dawson Rutter of Commonwealth Worldwide and Jessica Boulerice of The LMC Group and moderated by Sharenow. We were thrilled to hear all throughout and well after the event how accessible and engaging our speakers made this session, and are looking forward to seeing the long-term benefits attendees got from learning all about examining the financial health of their companies and boosting their profits in the process.
“Dawson Rutter is a wealth of knowledge, and the session taught me that it’s okay to fire unprofitable accounts if they won’t renegotiate a profitable contract or rate,” said John Rafftery of Executive Limousine & Coach in Ventura, Calif.
After lunch, it was back to business with Safeguarding Your Company From Sexual Harassment, delivered by Brooke Keil of Emerson Hospital and Ann Plunkett of Workplace Partners. Providing both an HR and legal standpoint, the presenters fielded tons of real-life questions while discussing the importance of fostering a workplace free of abuse, harassment, and toxicity. With the #MeToo movement empowering victims of abuse and encouraging them to speak up, many of our attendees raved about how important it is to address this sensitive but important topic.
We really wouldn’t be able to say enough good things about the CD Executive Retreat, from the educational sessions, the networking, and The Executive Game. Definitely a grand slam home run! – Ron Stein of Exclusive Sedan Service in North Hollywood, Calif.
“It not only covered the topic of sexual harassment but also other great topics that went beyond this uncomfortable conversation,” said Nancy Vargas of DH2 Chauffeured Transportation in College Point, N.Y. “As a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, I feel that it’s a conversation we need to have in the workplace and with our colleagues. It will help keeping everyone in check, whether they’re an owner, employee, dispatcher, or affiliate.”
Our Platinum Sponsors enjoyed the opportunity to highlight some of their offerings with the Vehicle Showcase immediately after our first day of education wound down. Retreat-goers got an up-close look at Grech Motors’ newest buses, as well as Lincoln’s 2018 Navigator.
Then it was off to an evening 15 stories above the city at The Ultimate Skybox. This one-of-a-kind rooftop experience overlooked another brilliant sunset, a nearly panoramic view of the city and beyond, and the best seats in the house as the hometown Padres took on the Nationals in one very picturesque evening. As attendees oohed and aaahed over the views, renowned magician and mentalist Ben Silver dazzled the crowd in his own right with some awe-inspiring mind tricks and sleights of hand.
Many thanks to our transportation providers California Limousine Service, MiB Transportation, La Costa Limousine, and Epic Limo for moving our attendees in style with their Grech vehicles.
The retreat has a nice relaxed atmosphere, making it easy to introduce yourself. We learned a lot about the industry, like how many operators need manufacturers’ help sorting through the process of purchasing motorcoaches. Understanding their needs will make it easier for us to do business with individual companies. – Gold Sponsor Mitch Guralnick of MCI
Our second day of education began with a bang as Temple University’s Jeffrey Montague discussed Seizing Opportunities With Millennials, Hospitality & Tourism with Sharenow moderating. This highly interactive session opened up a dialogue among three different generations while uncovering ways to harness Millennials’ outside-the-box thinking to the benefit of transportation companies. Montague drew parallels between hospitality and our own industry, reiterating that service-based jobs all call for a careful touch and that college programs grooming grads for parallel industries are rich with potential talent.
“In terms of the education, I can honestly say this is the first time in years that I have attended all of the seminars, as they were extremely helpful,” added Mary Johnson of Alliance Limousine in Ardsley, N.Y. “Jessica is a sharp, articulate speaker, and I found Jeffrey Montague’s insight into doing business with Millennials very smart. I think the fact that he mentioned we should hire them to keep that part of our business fresh was very intelligent.”
We closed out the educational portion of the event with our debut of The Executive Game. Strategy Leaders modified this gamified learning experience for our retreat, which pitted eight teams against each other to see who would finish the game with the most retirement money—and some bragging rights. Congrats to Team One’s Shawn Glasgow of Peak Limousine, Kathy Kahne of Windy City Limousine, Terrie Lane of Grand Avenue Limousine, John Oulton of Richmond Limousine, Brandan Stein of Exclusive Sedan Service, Brion Svenson of Four Star Limousine, and Nancy Vargas of DH2 Chauffeured Transportation on their victory!
Attendees got to check out San Diego Tuesday afternoon and evening with a trolley tour courtesy of Old Town Trolley Tours and a free night to explore the town, with many staying with us through Wednesday to take advantage of an optional trip to the famed San Diego Zoo.
“CD’s San Diego retreat was a grand-slam home run, from the unexpected pre-show pool party to the great networking sessions and educational content,” raved Edison Kahakauwila of L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services in Victoria, British Columbia. “The depth of the speakers and their collective information gave life to what we all do in this industry. I am definitely looking forward to see my new colleagues and friends in Austin 2019!”
We loved seeing everyone in San Diego! Whether you’ll be joining us again next year or making your first trip out to one of our can’t-miss retreats, start planning ahead now for when the CD Executive Retreat heads to Austin, Texas, to make the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown our home away from home May 5-7, 2019.