Chauffeur Driven and the National Limousine Association (NLA) want to extend our thanks to all our attendees, sponsors, speakers, and mentors who made our first-ever (and hopefully only) CD/NLA Virtual a rousing success. While 2020 has thrown enough monkey wrenches at us to fill a garage, we’re thrilled that we were able to offer the industry two days of timely education along with some much-needed networking and socializing. Until an actual COVID vaccine is available, the CD/NLA Virtual was just the shot in the arm that hundreds of operators needed to recharge, reset, and reinvigorate their passion for their business.
Once again, our behind-the-scenes staff, spearheaded by the CD/NLA Show Education Committee, deserves a standing ovation for their months of hard work toward delivering another first-rate event. Co-chairs Tracy Raimer of Windy City Limousine & Bus and Jason Sharenow of Broadway Elite Worldwide (our moderator supreme!) upped the game with a schedule of sessions that engaged and entertained the industry.
The CD/NLA Virtual would also not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors, specifically Platinum Sponsors Ford/Lincoln Limousine & Livery Vehicles and Lancer Insurance; Gold Sponsor Chosen Payments; Silver Sponsors Cadillac and Curtis Gabriel; and Bronze Sponsors Above All Transportation/Boston Car Service, Dolphin Transportation Specialists, The Driver Provider, and Fari VIP Design. We appreciate your continual and unwavering support.
However, we’d be remiss in not thanking YOU, the operators, for joining this year’s event. You took a chance on this new format, and with your participation and engagement, it was well received by attendees and presenters, alike. While we can’t wait to see our friends and colleagues at our next in-person, we’re glad we got to share these two days with you—whether it was in one of our educational sessions, Operator Mentoring breakouts, or one of the dedicated networking events.
“I am glad that so many of you took advantage of CD/NLA Virtual and hope you left the event feeling inspired and rejuvenated. It was an excellent two days filled with so many educational takeaways and great networking opportunities. I enjoyed seeing so many old friends and getting to make new ones during the Operator Mentoring Program and Network Shuffle,” says NLA President Robert Alexander of RMA Worldwide.
Working with the CD and NLA leadership, the Show Education Committee assembled a kick-ass list of speakers from inside and outside the industry. Your peers shared ideas on diversifying your offerings, what’s happening on the international corporate travel scene, and tips to reset your business, while industry experts gave a snapshot of the insurance market moving forward, how you can maintain your idled fleet and what you need to do to get your vehicle road-ready for when the time comes, and even an exit plan or bankruptcy protection for those who need to start fresh. Bill Faeth of Limo University also offered sessions on social media skills for current times as well as advice from operators who are capturing retail markets.
Of course it was our stirring State of the Industry with Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association and Economist Chris Thornberg that got many of you talking and thinking. Barbara Burgess of The Wright Foundation challenged attendees to show themselves a little self-care during these stressful months and to escape the cycle of negative thinking. Entrepreneur and motivational speaker Mary Crafts shared her incredible story and inspired so many to never give up during the Women in the Industry event (a special thanks to the CD/NLA Women’s Leadership Council for spearheading). Finally, comedian Chip Chantry had us rolling with laughter while we learned a few intimate details of our special industry guests—including CD Publisher Chris Weiss—during a game of Never Have I Ever.
“Hosting a virtual conference was not something that we necessarily wanted to do, but with the combined efforts of the Show Education Committee, dozens of speakers, and staff members, we collectively pulled of a fantastic event that was the next best thing to being in person. The two days were packed from start to finish with relevant content from re-starting your business to providing a real-time outlook on the economy. We have heard nothing but positive feedback and the ROI for those that attended was exceptional,” adds NLA Executive Director Kyle Hammerschmidt.
While the sessions and networking were jam-packed with valuable and current information, the CD/NLA Virtual also offered some amazing news that will help our industry for the foreseeable future. During Wednesday’s Breakfast Meeting with Alexander, Bill Faeth of Limo University, and Weiss, plans were unveiled regarding the development of an affinity health insurance plan to serve the NLA members. Unanimously approved by the NLA Board during its November meeting, plans are moving forward to have coverage begin on or about April 1, 2021. Ultimately, the goal is to save members money on their health insurance premiums while offering similar plans to what members may currently have. Hammerschmidt is encouraging operators to take part, as more individuals in the plan means more potential savings since the risk is spread out among a greater number of people.
“While a virtual event could never replace the excitement and memories made at an in-person show, I am sure we can all agree that CD/NLA Virtual provided us with a much-needed opportunity to connect with each other and reset ourselves and our businesses. As we head into a new year, I hope we will all be to join together in person soon,” says Alexander.
Visit cdnlavirtual.com for more information.