Category: business trips


Florida Getaway: Part Two

March 3rd, 2013 — 4:48pm

Monday, my business-pleasure getaway to Florida continued with a drive to Orlando for the Starwood Sales & Operations Kickoff conference. The annual event brings together nearly 3,000 Starwood associates from across North America — and was my first big exposure to what a global, dynamic company Starwood is.

Opening general session at Starwood Kickoff

Kickoff was held at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, an expansive Westin-Sheraton resort located a short boat or bus ride from the park. The conference began with a general session featuring energizing speeches from
Starwood’s CEO and global sales leader.

Then, it was time for a dazzling Black and White themed welcome reception.

The Black and White Reception

The expansive ballroom featured more than a dozen delicious food and beverage options prepared by finalists in the HOTchef and starMixologist competitions. From grilled cheese lollipops and rattlesnake tostadas to a basil cranberry margarita and dragonberry martini, it was hard to decide a winner but so much fun to sample all the worthy nominees.

Equally delightful — getting to share the experience with my Westin New York Grand Central colleagues. The night ended with a fireworks display and dessert reception at Epcot Center.

My colleague Jhana and I at Epcot Center

Day two was equally action packed, with multiple breakout sessions including one that described the Westin hotel experience. I learned a few new things about the brand I’m so lucky to work for — including a new partnership with Delta bringing Westin’s Heavenly Beds in flight, and allowing for crossover rewards.

Our evening reception was held on the causeway between each hotel.

Conference attendees filled the Swan-Dolphin causeway for an evening reception

More than a dozen different food stations featured such delights as dim sum, fresh tacos, and lobster rolls. It has to be said — Starwood knows how to host a first class event.

The conference reinforced how excited I am to finally be in a job where I feel both happy with where I am and hopeful about what lies ahead. If you’re at a career crossroads, take it from someone who came to Starwood after a job I detested — the right thing is out there.

I look forward to one day soon saying the same about my love life!

| business trips, Westin New York Grand Central

City Lights Gala

December 9th, 2009 — 12:07am

Sunday night, I enjoyed my first post-PDA injury outing and headed over to History Starts Now’s City Lights Gala.

HSN founders Kristina Lee Grandstaff (left), Rachael Lechliter and me at the City Lights Gala

Held at the swanky and intimate Aspen Social Club near Times Square, the event drew about 100 guests supporting HSN’s mission — to raise awareness for the fight against sex trafficking of minors in the U.S.

Smart and dedicated co-founders Rachael Lechliter and Kristina Lee Grandstaff gave a brief presentation that included the story of a young woman whose sister was trafficked in Queens. You can watch a video with her personal testimony at HSN’s website.

The crowd at Aspen Social Club

The gala featured open bar for the first hour and a yummy selection of hors d’oeuvres. While I was sampling a bite of cheese, email marketer Lak approached me.

“What are some of your favorite ‘cheesy’ events?“ he said, clearly amused by his food-inspired pun.

Lak sat down next to me, telling me about his recent divorce and move to NYC from Virginia and how difficult it is to meet people here.

Given the lopsided guy-girl ratio in Gotham, I was surprised by Lak’s complaint. And equally surprised when he said his taste is very specific, and that he prefers classy women. Since I practically trip over fabulous, single women every day, I’m skeptical of his claim that there’s a shortage of this type in the Big Apple.

“What are you doing for New Year’s?” he asked suddenly.

Though the invitation was a bit much after only five minutes of conversation, I appreciated Lak’s honesty about having to relearn the dating ropes after his eight-year marriage-induced sabbatical.

Equally candid about his single status – IT customer support rep Noah.

While chatting about the charms of the Pacific Northwest, Noah told me that his job requires being on the road 80% of the time, making it impossible to sustain a relationship. I nodded empathetically, newly grateful that most of my traveling is dictated by pleasure.

After taking a bite of the delicious cupcakes from Desserts by Tawny, I thanked the lovely hostesses and called it a night. The work that Kristina and Rachael are doing is truly inspiring. Visit History Starts Now’s website to find out how you can be a part of it.

Coming up…being minus a plus one at another wedding and dinner with SingleEdition.com founder Sherri Langburt.

| Aspen Social Club, business trips, charitable events, child trafficking, City Lights Gala, Desserts by Tawny, History Starts Now, Sherri Langburt, SingleEdition.com

City Lights Gala

December 8th, 2009 — 7:07pm

Sunday night, I enjoyed my first post-PDA injury outing and headed over to History Starts Now’s City Lights Gala.

HSN founders Kristina Lee Grandstaff (left), Rachael Lechliter and me at the City Lights Gala

Held at the swanky and intimate Aspen Social Club near Times Square, the event drew about 100 guests supporting HSN’s mission — to raise awareness for the fight against sex trafficking of minors in the U.S.

Smart and dedicated co-founders Rachael Lechliter and Kristina Lee Grandstaff gave a brief presentation that included the story of a young woman whose sister was trafficked in Queens. You can watch a video with her personal testimony at HSN’s website.

The crowd at Aspen Social Club

The gala featured open bar for the first hour and a yummy selection of hors d’oeuvres. While I was sampling a bite of cheese, email marketer Lak approached me.

“What are some of your favorite ‘cheesy’ events?“ he said, clearly amused by his food-inspired pun.

Lak sat down next to me, telling me about his recent divorce and move to NYC from Virginia and how difficult it is to meet people here.

Given the lopsided guy-girl ratio in Gotham, I was surprised by Lak’s complaint. And equally surprised when he said his taste is very specific, and that he prefers classy women. Since I practically trip over fabulous, single women every day, I’m skeptical of his claim that there’s a shortage of this type in the Big Apple.

“What are you doing for New Year’s?” he asked suddenly.

Though the invitation was a bit much after only five minutes of conversation, I appreciated Lak’s honesty about having to relearn the dating ropes after his eight-year marriage-induced sabbatical.

Equally candid about his single status – IT customer support rep Noah.

While chatting about the charms of the Pacific Northwest, Noah told me that his job requires being on the road 80% of the time, making it impossible to sustain a relationship. I nodded empathetically, newly grateful that most of my traveling is dictated by pleasure.

After taking a bite of the delicious cupcakes from Desserts by Tawny, I thanked the lovely hostesses and called it a night. The work that Kristina and Rachael are doing is truly inspiring. Visit History Starts Now’s website to find out how you can be a part of it.

Coming up…being minus a plus one at another wedding and dinner with SingleEdition.com founder Sherri Langburt.

| Aspen Social Club, business trips, charitable events, child trafficking, City Lights Gala, Desserts by Tawny, History Starts Now, Sherri Langburt, SingleEdition.com

A Visit To The Isle Of Enchantment

June 17th, 2009 — 9:26pm

Greetings from Puerto Rico, where I’m enjoying a visit to my new client, the Wyndham Rio Mar.

An oceanfront resort nestled at the base of El Yunque rainforest, Rio Mar is as charming as I expected it be — especially the warm and gracious staff. Upon arriving yesterday, I was welcomed with a scrumptious fruit and cheese platter and handwritten note from the resort’s PR coordinator Veronica. As Veronica showed me and my boss around, we got caught in a brief downpour that produced this stunning rainbow.

A surprise rainbow lights up the skies over Rio Mar

Like my first visit to the Isle of Enchantment back in ‘07 (to see Ricky Martin in concert twice), this one will be brief. I’m looking forward to returning again someday and exploring where my beloved grandmother grew up and, yes, maybe even catching another Ricky performance here.

In the meantime, I’m thankful all over again to have a job that offers such great perks. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s pre-departure spa treatment!

| business trips, oceanfront resorts, Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin, Wyndham Rio Mar

A Visit To The Isle Of Enchantment

June 17th, 2009 — 4:26pm

Greetings from Puerto Rico, where I’m enjoying a visit to my new client, the Wyndham Rio Mar.

An oceanfront resort nestled at the base of El Yunque rainforest, Rio Mar is as charming as I expected it be — especially the warm and gracious staff. Upon arriving yesterday, I was welcomed with a scrumptious fruit and cheese platter and handwritten note from the resort’s PR coordinator Veronica. As Veronica showed me and my boss around, we got caught in a brief downpour that produced this stunning rainbow.

A surprise rainbow lights up the skies over Rio Mar

Like my first visit to the Isle of Enchantment back in ‘07 (to see Ricky Martin in concert twice), this one will be brief. I’m looking forward to returning again someday and exploring where my beloved grandmother grew up and, yes, maybe even catching another Ricky performance here.

In the meantime, I’m thankful all over again to have a job that offers such great perks. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s pre-departure spa treatment!

| business trips, oceanfront resorts, Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin, Wyndham Rio Mar

My First Visit To The USVI

April 28th, 2009 — 4:14pm

One of the perks of working in travel PR is getting the opportunity to visit some of the world’s most beautiful places. This week, I’m enjoying a four-day jaunt (my first) to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A glorious sunset view from St. John

I’m down here working on a video shoot at our client, The Westin St. John Resort & Villas, a sprawling beachfront property where every staffer greets you with a smile.

Since arriving on Sunday, I’ve seen a fisherman nab a giant mahi mahi, witnessed an iguana feeding and enjoyed a sun-drenched ferry ride over from the mainland.

Just another day at the office!

| business trips, ferry rides, iguana feedings, travel PR, US Virgin Islands, video shoots, Westin St. John

My First Visit To The USVI

April 28th, 2009 — 11:14am

One of the perks of working in travel PR is getting the opportunity to visit some of the world’s most beautiful places. This week, I’m enjoying a four-day jaunt (my first) to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A glorious sunset view from St. John

I’m down here working on a video shoot at our client, The Westin St. John Resort & Villas, a sprawling beachfront property where every staffer greets you with a smile.

Since arriving on Sunday, I’ve seen a fisherman nab a giant mahi mahi, witnessed an iguana feeding and enjoyed a sun-drenched ferry ride over from the mainland.

Just another day at the office!

| business trips, ferry rides, iguana feedings, travel PR, US Virgin Islands, video shoots, Westin St. John

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