Summer 2017

Meet Creatively

We’ve all done it. Every company tries to create a new, inviting and exciting environment in the same old conference room. If we’re being honest with ourselves, innovation and passion for the task at hand can be severely diminished in a four-walled room that very rarely has windows. Experts agree that meetings or conferences should […]

We’ve all done it. Every company tries to create a new, inviting and exciting environment in the same old conference room. If we’re being honest with ourselves, innovation and passion for the task at hand can be severely diminished in a four-walled room that very rarely has windows.

Experts agree that meetings or conferences should have a specific agenda, end time and a break every 30 minutes. But what are you doing to ensure the quality of work produced by your team is excellent? Here in the Lehigh Valley there are a few venues to choose from that can easily give your organization a change of pace for a meeting but “none quite like Bell Gate Farm” says owner Stephanie Stevens.

The Environmental Challenge:

Leadstrat.com is a wonderful resource for when meetings become mundane and unproductive. They supply articles, lists of ideas and even facilitators when necessary. Specific ideas for “spicing up your space” include: removing the table from the meeting room, having couches and comfortable chairs on hand, playing Mozart in the background and even meeting outside. These suggestions present their own challenges, how many companies other than Google have extra living room furniture on hand? Hotel ballrooms are a popular alternative for corporate meetings, but the price companies pay for the convenience of having accommodations on site, and the reality that you’re still in that “same old format” takes away from the objective of thinking outside of the box to engage leadership and creativity from your group.

The Issue of Space:

Take a moment and compare your client facing spaces to your internal spaces. The difference is almost always the amount of room devoted to windows, art, and open space. Chances are the lobby, and waiting area at your office is more beautiful and inviting than any conference room on site. Employees need both emotional and physical space in order to be effective and engaged. The Harvard Business Review states: “The open office has a lot of critics these days. But it remains the dominant form of workplace design for a reason: It can foster collaboration, promote learning, and nurture a strong culture.” Unfortunately, not all industries lend themselves to an open office 100% of the time; financial or legal for example; but there is a solution for when a more open and collaborative space needs to be utilized.

Planning and Timing:

How many times has a meeting been called inconveniently at 4:30 PM on a Friday with no set end time? How productive have those meeting ever actually been? Timing, planning and meeting space are essential when expecting a positive result from key players in your organization. Plan a meeting midweek and serve breakfast or lunch to break up the week and encourage a positive attitude towards the tasks at hand. “Midweek specials” scheduled offsite are especially effective as it encourages the group to create something together to foster familiarity. Michael Wilkinson, Managing Director at Leadership Strategies states “If they create it, they understand it, they accept it, and they own it.” Imagine your group, in a new setting at a strategically timed meeting solving issues for your company in a productive and positive manner. How do you find such a space?

The Solution:

Hotel conference rooms or restaurant private rooms are not a solution that will solve the issue of bland or mundane meeting spaces for your team. Bell Gate Farm, located at 7081 Bell Gate Road in Coopersburg Pennsylvania has both indoor and outdoor spaces to choose from that will easily supply a healthy change of environment. 233 acres of land and amazing views provides the literal and emotional space needed for a productive meeting.

Stephanie Stevens put a lot of thought and energy into each choice she made for her state of the art venue. She ensured that the spaces could be used for more formal events such as weddings or fundraisers but also created an intimate touch that lends the environment to more collaborative and creative corporate meetings. Her personal originality and ingenuity are adamantly represented in each piece of comfortable furniture available in the space, and she even foresaw the needs of a traditional corporate meeting space such as televisions for presentations or the ability to speak to a large group with individually controlled speakers and microphone access.

“I really hope this article inspires people to mix it up a little when it comes to their next important meeting” – Stevens

Share This:

Dining out in Italy

Many anniversaries are celebrated over a great meal in a special restaurant. With direct flights from Philadelphia and Newark, it is so easy to spend a long weekend in Rome, Milan or Venice.  The recent addition to high-speed trains allows for quick access to other cities. In honor of Network Magazine’s second anniversary, we are […]

Many anniversaries are celebrated over a great meal in a special restaurant. With direct flights from Philadelphia and Newark, it is so easy to spend a long weekend in Rome, Milan or Venice.  The recent addition to high-speed trains allows for quick access to other cities.

In honor of Network Magazine’s second anniversary, we are celebrating by listing our favorite restaurants in Italy that are perfect for any type of celebration.   Whether you are planning a short trip or a longer vacation to Italy there are some important things to know about dining in Italy that is different from here in the states.

Up until a few years ago, restaurant etiquette included ordering multiple courses that included an antipasto, primo (pasta or soup), secondo (meat or fish), cortono (vegetable side) followed by a salad and dessert.  Coffee is served after dessert, not with it.  Dinner is an event, intentionally taking a few hours to complete.  Italians feel that the meal is to be an experience and to spend valuable time with their family or friends.  While the courses are small, it still can be too much for most visitors, and even the younger generation of Italians is making a shift from the traditional style of dining.

You will no longer see a raised eyebrow from your waiter if you don’t follow these old-world traditions, but the crucial rule of restaurant dining is that you should order at least two courses.  That waiter will still expect to order a primo and a secondo or an antipasto followed by a primo or secondo, or a secondo with dessert. Traditionally, a secondo is not a “main course” that would serve as a full meal. It’s a common mistake for tourists to order only a secondo, thinking they’re getting a “main course” complete with side dishes. What they wind up with is one lonely piece of meat.

Gone too are the days when a type of restaurant told you what type of menu it offered. An Osteria used to be a very casual place, similar to a British tavern. It was a place where you could get a quick, inexpensive meal from a limited menu with the option of renting a small room for the night, where the children hung out after school and departed when the men came in after work.    A Trattoria meant you were in a family run eatery, the mother usually was cooking, and the family members served your food.

The simple hearty food was available served on wooden tables without tablecloths. The Ristorante was reserved for special occasions; jacketed waiters served meals from a professional chef in the kitchen offering an extensive menu and table-side cooking.   Now the lines are blurred and include Pizzeria, Enoteca, Baccaro, Café, Pasticceria and Tavola Calda, so it’s important to look at the menu posted outside the entrance.

Eateries are quite used to diners who order courses to split; but, if you’re not so hungry, you might head for a pizzeria or baccaro to sample some quick bites.  There are no ‘doggy bags’ in Italian restaurants.  Italians don’t like leftovers, preferring to cook each meal from scratch.  Only in the past few years have Italians started taking out food from restaurants, pizzerias or grocery stores, but the doggy bag is still a difficult idea for them to grasp.

The most frequent question we get from our villa renters is on tipping.  There are still differences of opinions throughout the travel community, but we asked our people on the ground that included our Italian relatives, owners of villas, tour guides, drivers and restaurant owners and they all came up with the same response:  Italians expect a tip from Americans because it has always been our custom to tip, it has become the barometer of their quality of service. They don’t expect it from Italians or other Nationalities. We tell our guests it is not mandatory, but if you feel you must tip, no more than 10% of the bill.   Before you do tip, check the bottom of your menu for the words servizio incluso that means the service tip is included, and you can then leave a little loose change as an expression of gratitude. Note that it servizio incluso most likely not be on the bill, so you must look for it on the menu.

TIPS = To Insure Proper Service started in 17th-century Taverns of Britain and was embraced by Americans shortly after with much resistance.
Waiter!  The check, please!  It is considered rude for a waiter to give you a check without asking for it.  Many Americans will become frustrated by not getting the check, ruining a perfectly wonderful meal and blaming it on the waiter.  Most restaurants seat only once, your table is yours for the night.

Italians consider it rude to chase you out of their establishment by presenting a check.  When you are ready for your check, just ask the waiter, Il Conto, per favore.  (ill CONto Pear FA vor eh).

If you find you can’t honor reservations, please call so they can offer it to another guest.  Their livelihood depends on it.

The following restaurants range from small family run inexpensive places to elegant 5-star dining, all suitable for celebrating a special occasion.

ROME
Il Bacaro – this is one of Rome’s most romantic restaurants, small and cozy located on a little alleyway.  A creative menu will make it one of your not to be missed places. On a beautiful summer night, opt for the vine covered terrace, candle lit in and out.  Via degli Spagnoli, 27 +39 06 687 2554
La Pergola – the best restaurant in Rome, by the famous German chef Heinz Beck. Elegant and extraordinary it is located in the Cavalieri hotel offering the most incredible view of the city.

Antico Arco offers the best dishes from around the 20 regions of Italy with a contemporary flair. They have an extensive wine list and always changing by the restaurant’s own sommelier.  Piazzale Aurelio 7, this restaurant is in the quiet residential area called Gianocola.    Reservations a must +39 06 581 5274

Baby –   the ‘offspring’ of the famous Amalfi coast Dal Alfonso 1890 holds up to the expectations of this world-renowned restaurant as well as the steep prices.  Chef/owner Alfonso and his son Ernesto comes up from the Amalfi coast at least one day a week to plan menus and overseeing the restaurant.    Vial Uiisee Aldrovandi, 15

FLORENCE
Trattoria Sostanza – One of Florence’s best, this trattoria has been around since 1869 before Italy was unified.  You will be sitting among Florentines any day of the week.  They serve the perfect Bistecca Fiorentina the right way. Or try the chicken with butter and the artichoke tart.  Via del Porcellana, 25 +39 055 212691

Ristorante Cibréo and Trattoria Cibréo – choose from the elegant and more expensive ristorante or the casual trattoria.  The food comes out of the trattoria’s kitchen and walked over to the ristorante. The difference is the menu at the trattoria is smaller and less expensive.  One of Italy’s best restaurants.  Ristorante via dei Macci 118r, Trattoria Via de Macci 112r +39 055 234 1100

Enotecca Pinchiorri has the highest Michelin star rating, and is fit for a king down to the Renaissance palace dining room. They offer the best of Florence, Tuscan and Italian cuisine and the largest wine list in Italy.  Via Ghibellina 87,   +39 055 242 777

VENICE
Ristorante Quadri – two stories above the famous coffee house on the Piazza San Marco, book far in advance to reserve one of the couple of tables that look down over what Napoleon called Europe’s living room. The owner of the famed Le Calandre restaurant is in charge of the kitchen, serving food that has a complexity not normally associated with the simplicity of Italian cuisine.  For more traditional Venetian cuisine and lower prices, the abcQuadri on the ground floor is also a special treat. No matter you dine at one of their restaurants, make sure you end your first night at the café tables outside with a nightcap while you listen to the orchestra.   Piazza san Marco 121

Osteria Boccadoro – in a quiet neighborhood with little foot traffic you will find this charming, elegant restaurant right on the edge of a campo (piazza in Venetian).  Request an outside table in the warmer months for a beautiful and romantic setting. Campo Widman, Cannaregio district +39 041 521 1021

Trattoria alla Rivetta –  For years it was the lunch spot for neighboring merchants and gondoliers before reaching all the guide books.  For an exceptional experience call Patrice at Papavero Villa Rentals for the name of her favorite waiter who will make you feel like a native.  Salizada San Provol, +39 041 528 7302

MODENA
In 2016 Osteria Francescana was named the number one restaurant in the world.   In 2017 it came in second but still holds the number one position as the best restaurant in Europe.   This Michelin three-star osteria is in the culinary capital of Italy, the Emilia Romagna region, known for Bolognese sauce (just call it ragu in Bologna), Prosciutto, parmagiano cheese, and the true balsamic vinegar.  The Getting a table here is harder than getting tickets to Hamilton, the reservation book opens three months out and you can reserve on line.  Via Stella, 22 Modena

Share This:

The Magic of Wine

Drinking Time and Space Did you ever stop to think that when you are drinking a glass of wine, you are actually drinking the elements of time and space and eons of geological evolution? In a sense, wine grapes are tiny, juicy, complex time capsules that have captured the energy of the sun, gained sustenance […]

Drinking Time and Space

Did you ever stop to think that when you are drinking a glass of wine, you are actually drinking the elements of time and space and eons of geological evolution? In a sense, wine grapes are tiny, juicy, complex time capsules that have captured the energy of the sun, gained sustenance from the soils and weather conditions during their months-long ripening process and delivered all of this through the magic of fermentation to the glass in front of you.

Winemaking is first and foremost farming, and like many other crops, grapes are sensitive to the conditions where they are grown. Bananas like the tropics, apples prefer cooler climes, and various grape varieties are no different – Riesling prefers mildly cooler zones, whereas Bordeaux varieties thrive in warmer conditions.

But on a much finer scale than most crops, grapes can absorb detailed nuances in the geological and climate conditions where they are ripened. And unlike many crops that are quickly consumed after harvest, wine grapes are given a second life through the process of fermentation that preserves them, capturing their expression of the time and place where they were grown, sometimes for decades.

This character can easily be dissipated – too much oak and the wine tastes like oak. Poor soils and overcropping result in mediocre wine. Blend and manipulate the wine and the sense of place disappears in a sea of winemaking techniques and processing. But quality-oriented practices such as restricting yields, hand harvesting, minimal intervention and processing in the winery, all enhance a wine’s ability to preserve and express the elements of where it was grown.

Perhaps nowhere else is the essence of terroir so closely regulated and obsessed over than in the vineyards of Burgundy’s Cote D’Or. Over millions of years, geological evolution has created the fault lines, erosion and complex shifts in the ground underfoot that make each vineyard unique. Over hundreds of years, the vineyards that adorn these precious slopes have been farmed and observed, with every subtle nuance noted.

Each vineyard is delimited, named and ranked from basic Bourgogne Rouge and Blanc, through Village level, and up to the revered Premier and Grand Crus. Tiny differences in the mix of limestone and marls, or the position on the gentle slopes, can mean the difference in quality that is reflected in prices that can be hundreds of dollars per bottle different – even for wines made from grapes grown just a few meters apart in some cases. The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grown here are the conduits through which the elements of these fabled terroirs are conveyed. In Burgundy and many other regions, “place” is the key to a wine’s quality.

If the bones of a wine’s character are determined in the vineyard, it is during the growing season that its final expression is set. There are numerous conditions and risks that grape growers have to confront, many of which can influence the final wine. A quick look at the growing season gives some insight as to what farmers have to contend with to create a perfect bottle of wine.

The best years are those suited to grapes’ goldilocks personality – they like things juuust right. A dream vintage has a perfect balance of minimal but well-timed rainfall, warm, sunny days that are not too hot, and cool nights. These are conditions that set the stage for a slow rise of sugars, allowing time for the grape’s flavors to develop while acidity stays fresh and all of the grape’s components come together in perfect harmony.

In more challenging years, cool conditions may result in wines with higher acidity, more structure or greenish tannins, and less concentration and flavor and a shrillness. Hot years can show the heat with pruney, overripe notes, lower acidity and higher alcohol or wines that can be somewhat flabby. In these years, growers and winemakers have to adapt their vineyard management and winemaking practices to minimize the effects of the weather to produce the best wines they can. But the signature of the vineyard and vintage often remain an indelible component of the wines’ story.

In the end, the wine in your glass is the culmination of all of the influences of the vineyard where it was grown, the specific conditions during the season, and the winemakers’ touch, with each year unique in terms of its style. So the next time you enjoy a glass of wine remember – you are drinking in a time and place, and experiencing a unique liquid expression of a year’s worth of sun, earth, and hard work, all captured in a grape. Cheers!

Share This:

Cigar Reviews Summer 2017

5 Vegas Gold Toro Honduras 6.0”x50 Mild 92-Rated Silky at first glance, this golden Toro has a pleasant, barnyard pre-light aroma and feels solid. The Ecuador Connecticut wrapper is gorgeous, and graces a well-aged blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan long-leaf tobaccos. The smoke is creamy. Almost buttery. Spice greets my palate upfront, eventually giving way […]

5 Vegas Gold Toro

Honduras 6.0”x50 Mild
92-Rated

Silky at first glance, this golden Toro has a pleasant, barnyard pre-light aroma and feels solid. The Ecuador Connecticut wrapper is gorgeous, and graces a well-aged blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan long-leaf tobaccos. The smoke is creamy. Almost buttery. Spice greets my palate upfront, eventually giving way to ample hints of peanut and cashew. There’s even a slight sweetness mixed in, which lasts until the spice returns for a finale. Mild, yet incredibly eventful, this is a daily burner for sure.

Diesel Rage Torpedo

Nicaragua                            5.0” x 56               Medium-Full
93-Rated

Earth. Vanilla. Coffee. Sweet cedar. Spice. I’ve burned a ton of Diesel Rage(s??) and the 56-ring Torpedo showcases these flavors in grand fashion. Ecuador Habano Sun Grown wrappers extra-fermented to an Oscuro state hug a ligero-laced recipe of Nicaraguan long-fillers spawned by Cuban seeds. The result: a luxurious marriage of strength, complexity, and balance that grows more intense throughout the burn but never overwhelms. Tons of big boy flavor delivered in smooth fashion, that’s Rage.

Mi Querida SakaKhan

Nicaragua                            7.0” x 50               Medium-Full
92-Rated

All Nicaraguan long-fillers mingle inside a dark and toothy Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. All are aged extensively and blended to perfection, creating Mi Querida. This Churchill-sized vitola unleashes a wealth of chocolate and sweet Maduro undertones from the get-go, opening up midway through to unveil espresso, oak, earth, and a dash of pepper. It’s tasty, and jam-packed with tobacco to burn super slow. Consider Mi Querida your sleeper pick that covers the spread, and then some.

Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Imperial Maduro

Nicaragua                            6.0” x 54               Medium-Full
95-Rated

Since grandma was a girl, this gem has been a darling among cigar enthusiasts. I decided to burn the Imperial Maduro to tell you why. This dark, 54-ring cigar is dense, solid from head to toe, and feels heavy in the hand. Upon lighting, a rich, lush bouquet smacks my palate and coats each taste bud with heavy, creamy smoke. After a few minutes, the richness gives way to a deep core of coffee, cocoa, earth. A unique nuttiness lingers on the finish, and is complemented by hints of spice and toast. No twists or turns throughout the burn, just a complex, superior handmade worthy of celebration.

Partagas Black Label Clasico

Dominican Republic        5.25” x 54             Full
93-Rated

This beast is dark and oily to the touch. Once burning, thick clouds of gray smoke fill my office. Aromatic clouds, smelling of charcoal and earth. Love that. The flavor is big and chewy, dishing out robust notes of earth met by a delicious touch of leather just before the exhale. Retrohale (exhale through the nose) to appreciate the true full-flavored nature of Partagas Black – you’ll discover layers of subtle nuances, including coffee bean and black pepper. Expect a slow, satisfying burn from this cigar.

Share This:

Can Creativity Drive Revenue?

Whether it’s an idea for a new product or an innovative way to solve a business challenge, companies today should embrace creativity if they want to stay relevant in the marketplace. We are rapidly entering an era of creative intensification, and corporations that are unwilling to foster a creative environment will find it difficult to […]

Whether it’s an idea for a new product or an innovative way to solve a business challenge, companies today should embrace creativity if they want to stay relevant in the marketplace.

We are rapidly entering an era of creative intensification, and corporations that are unwilling to foster a creative environment will find it difficult to compete with those that do. So how does it work? How do you bring more creativity into a place of business? Can it be used to drive revenue?

Absolutely.

For starters, it’s about being willing to foster an environment where employees feel comfortable and are encouraged to share their thoughts openly. Leaders within the business must be prepared to listen to everyone’s ideas because the best leaders understand that innovation can come from anyone, regardless of their position in the company.

That’s what trips most people up. When leaders feel like all the ideas must come from them, they miss a tremendous opportunity to gain insight from the people who are in the best position to help the company grow — the employees.

For example, a two-year, in-house creativity course at General Electric resulted in a 60% increase in patentable concepts, while creativity-training participants at Pittsburgh Plate Glass showed a 300% increase in viable ideas compared with those who didn’t take the course. Those are significant increases and worthy of attention.

Linda Naiman, founder of Creativity at Work, said, “For innovation to truly flourish, organizations must create an environment that fosters creativity; bringing together multi-talented groups of people who work in close collaboration together — exchanging knowledge, ideas, and shaping the direction of the company’s future.”

But you must be willing to go all in. For creativity to truly deliver an ROI, everyone in the company must be on board. Check your ego at the door and embrace a culture where everyone can feel safe to voice their opinions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a room and witnessed someone get destroyed because they had summoned the courage to speak up, only to be told by management, “Well, we’ve tried that already, and it didn’t work!”

That employee took a risk to offer a thought, only to be made to feel like their contribution was silly and unworthy of consideration. Creativity will not flourish in that type of toxic environment.

Too often, today’s risk-averse business conditions don’t support creative thought and ideation the way they should. Most are great at tracking production costs, profitability, taxes and payroll. Essential items that go into running a successful business. But, creativity doesn’t receive the same status and gets brushed aside.

Consider the recent survey on creativity by Adobe who surveyed business people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, and Japan. 80% of respondents felt that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth. 75% said they are constantly under pressure to be more creative at work. Therein lies the challenge. Creativity isn’t something that can be mandated. You can’t order employees to be more creative, then criticize them if positive results don’t immediately show up on your spreadsheets. Businesses that tap into the power of creativity stand a much better chance of developing new products, unlocking new markets and discovering new revenue streams. Focus on creating an environment for employees to grow and develop creatively, and support their efforts by allowing them to take risks.

Don’t stigmatize mistakes. Be willing to entertain different opinions. Have the courage to try new approaches. Embrace ambiguity. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Be open to hearing the things you need to hear as opposed to what you want to hear. Do these things consistently, and you’ll see an impact.

Creativity is real, and it’s here to stay. Those companies who are brave enough to accept that fact can capitalize on creativity’s undeniable power and use it as a force for change and growth.

The good news is the future only comes one day at a time. The bad news is if you’re unwilling to bring creativity into your business, you won’t have much of a future to worry about.

Share This:

Plan Your Winter Vacation Now

The Arrabelle dubbed the “Holy Vail of Luxury Ski Resorts” If skiing in the Alps has always been on the top of your to-do list, but the inflated Euro, increased travel warnings in Europe and those long flights to Austria have made travel there less than appealing; simply pack your suitcases and head to Vail.  […]

The Arrabelle dubbed the “Holy Vail of Luxury Ski Resorts”

If skiing in the Alps has always been on the top of your to-do list, but the inflated Euro, increased travel warnings in Europe and those long flights to Austria have made travel there less than appealing; simply pack your suitcases and head to Vail.  Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Vail, Colorado, is home to the 2nd largest single ski mountain in North America and a winter wonderland of lavish chalets and world class resorts.

Vail is easily accessed by Eagle airport and the 30-minute shuttle takes you directly into Vail city center.  Like a postcard from Switzerland, Vail is reminiscent of a small European ski village.  Resorts line the narrow streets that blend with the design and feel of Vail’s original Alpine developers and every 15 minutes free buses loop the town dropping off skiers, shoppers, or diners throughout the quaint village.  I was amazed at the mounds of 10 feet of snow found at the ends of the streets, but not a single speck of snow or ice could be found on the sidewalk.  I soon learned that the sidewalks are heated, and protected speakers that project sounds of trendy music are discreetly tucked in among the scenery.  This is the great OZ of upscale ski towns and home to a new resort that puts skiers “wants” first.

In the heart of Vail Square, at the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola, is the less than 2-year-old Arrabelle Resort. Vail square’s prime location that contains upscale boutiques, an ice rink, and fire pit makes the Arrabelle the crowning attraction.  This seven-story boutique hotel is the crème de la crème of a ski in/ski out lodges.  The Arrabelle’s team of designers extensively traveled to the heart of Europe’s famous alpine locations in order to recreate the feel of an authentic and iconic Alpine resort.

Throughout the resort, fireplaces crackle and windows are perfectly positioned so that when you sit fireside, the views of the slopes are spectacular.  This lavish resort features 62 elegant rooms/suites that average 550 square feet.  Every room contains a classic canopy bed with rich red hues and a fireplace.  High-end flat screen TV‘s, DVD players, BoseTM MP3/CD alarm clock radios, complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access,  in-room safe and humidifier are standard in every room.

The large stylish marble bathrooms include a shower and separate tub, double sinks, another TV, plush bathrobes and over the top heated floors.

Every guest is served by a butler and customer service standards here rise to incredible levels.  Slope side ski and boot valets epitomize the 5-star experience created to exceed the standard “ski” resort inclusions.

Endless amenities for Arrabelle’s guests include access to their stunning heated rooftop pool and hot tubs which not only provide exclusive privacy but also offer sweeping views of the mountains. The Arrabelle’s Spa and fitness center is an astounding 9,000 square foot facility that features six massage rooms, two facial rooms, a Vichy Shower/Swiss Shower room and a couple’s therapy room. At the end of a long ski day, the spa offers treatments that focus on feet, ankles and sore leg muscles. It’s no wonder that the Arrabelle’s story like picture perfect location and luxurious amenities have an Olympic downhill gold medalist, Lindsey Vonn, calling it her home.

However, if by chance you are not staying at the Arrabelle while you are in Vail, you can still get a sampling of the vintage yet totally chic vibe at one of their two highly rated restaurants. Centre V and Tavern on the Square beckons visitors of Vail Square with its inviting atmosphere and upscale ambiance. The European influenced Centre V is a romantic spot with candlelit tables and French cuisine.   Tavern on the Square is a pub where guests can cozy up and enjoy après-ski.

The Arrabelle’s European flair and prime location combined with over the top amenities only add more glamour to the Austrian-like village that has brought ski lovers, celeb’s and families to Vail for years.

Share This:

You Can Get There From Here

Vacation air travel can be a huge hassle. When looking to fly to your vacation destination, though you prefer to fly out of Lehigh Valley International, that usually means a connecting flight to Philly or Newark.  In order to get a non-stop flight, you have to drive an hour and a half. Using general aviation, […]

Vacation air travel can be a huge hassle. When looking to fly to your vacation destination, though you prefer to fly out of Lehigh Valley International, that usually means a connecting flight to Philly or Newark.  In order to get a non-stop flight, you have to drive an hour and a half. Using general aviation, you have access to thousands of nonstop destinations not easily reached by the airlines.  While many airlines offer direct flights to vacation hot spots, there are more than a few locations where they can’t go non-stop. Take Key West for example. Many airlines provide flights in and out of the island; however, none are non-stop from our area. This is due to the shorter runway in Key West. Larger commercial aircraft cannot safely take off and land. Most carriers will have a connecting flight near the Miami area, where you will be required to board a smaller aircraft or finish with a long drive.  General aviation aircraft are able to fly into Key West direct from anywhere in the Northeast.  Another great vacation spot is St. Simons Island in Georgia.  SSI is a prime location next to several resorts and golf courses.

While there is an airport on the island, no airline offers commercial flights to this location. Once again, this is due to a short runway.  Airlines will fly into Brunswick airport, just north of the island, requiring another drive to get to your ultimate destination.

Often with air travel, you will find delays at major airports. Whether it is a departure or an arrival delay, it can cost you valuable time. Luckily, there are many smaller airports around major cities that make traveling easier through private aviation. Unlike the airlines, which are restricted to a set schedule and routing, a private aircraft is able to skirt around delays by choosing an alternate airport that is less congested.  From there, operators are able to help arrange ground transportation to take you to your final destination, often getting you there before the airline has even taken off.

If you have ever thought of taking a destination vacation out of the country, you may know how difficult it can be to ensure you have the proper paperwork (don’t forget your passport or visa!) and find flights that work around your travel dates. Private aviation is here to make international trip planning a breeze. One of the more increasingly popular destinations is Cuba. Since the travel restrictions to Cuba have been eased, many have engaged in the idea of “stepping back in time” and visiting the quaint island. Being that the travel restrictions have just recently been lifted, it may be confusing as to what information you need to provide before your trip. While general “tourism” is still not allowed, there are certain categories of travel that may apply to you such as “people to people,” where you will be interacting with locals and learning about their culture. Let general aviation operators help you through the process of confirming which category you could fall under. Most operators have contacts in Cuba to even help plan your day to day itinerary and make the most of your visit.

There is no need to worry about visas and other requirements. Provide the flight operator with your passport information and everything else is handled for you. Upon landing in Cuba, you will find all customs and immigration paperwork has been filed accordingly, and you can be on your way to an exciting adventure. The same applies to your return flight back to the States.  A U.S. Customs agent will meet you plane-side and clear you on location. No more waiting in long lines to be seen by the next available agent. You can be on your way home from a relaxing vacation less than ten minutes after landing.

Whether you are looking for the most direct flight or are planning an international trip, call your local general aviation operator, LR Services, and explore a new kind of travel that is easier, faster and smarter!

Share This:

Think Like a VC

The television show Silicon Valley is at times irreverent and occasionally hyperbolic in its depictions of startups and venture capital investors. Despite this (or perhaps because of the hilarious parody), the show has been a great way to introduce outsiders to a side of the business that can feel very foreign to those that have […]

The television show Silicon Valley is at times irreverent and occasionally hyperbolic in its depictions of startups and venture capital investors.

Despite this (or perhaps because of the hilarious parody), the show has been a great way to introduce outsiders to a side of the business that can feel very foreign to those that have spent their careers in large corporations.
Why try to understand the world of venture capital investing? Because the mindset of a venture capital investor (VC) can provide some new perspectives no matter what size or stage of your organization.  Here are just a few ways you can think like a VC:

1.    “Bet on the jockey; not the horse.”
This cliche may be overused, but the sentiment is still key to the investment philosophy of most VCs. In the context of a startup, investors care more about the strength of a team than the product or the business model. Does the team bring a diverse skill set that includes both business and technical talents?  Is the CEO a charismatic leader that will inspire early customers to take a chance on an unproven product? Is this the team that will be able to overcome the multiple hurdles faster than others to be the first to market?
Larger organizations could benefit from spending more time thinking about their teams. Are the right teams assigned to the right projects? Are teams diverse enough? Are employees asked to lead teams able to inspire others with their own passions?  Are teams incentivized to move quickly?

2.    “Be wrong more than you are right.”
VCs are comfortable with knowing that they’ll be wrong a majority of the time.  Instead of over-analyzing each opportunity to try to predict success or failure and only investing in the lowest risk propositions, VCs use a portfolio approach to balance risk.  By starting with a number of relatively small bets in a number of startups, VCs are able to watch startups progress over time and continue to invest in those that continue to hit milestones and show promise.

Instead of approving a few large projects, larger organizations would be well served by starting with a larger number of smaller investments. In addition to diversifying risk, this approach helps avoid the dreaded “zombie” project. Most companies have a few of these lurking in the corridors.  A team will continue to work on a “zombie” projects despite extremely strong signal that they will not be successful simply because the project is still being funded.  By breaking up the budget into smaller investments, all projects need to reapply for additional funding, and only those that deliver against measurable metrics survive.

3.    “More is always better.”
As mentioned above, VCs know that they’ll be wrong.  But they don’t have to like it. Most track their “anti-portfolios”: a list of startups that they considered but decided not to invest in for one reason or another.  And that list often includes startups that have gone on to be considerable successes.
As a result, most VCs suffer from fear of missing out on the next big thing.  As such, VCs typically can’t get enough deal flow: investor lingo for a continuous influx of new ideas and opportunities. VCs know that, while they can’t guarantee that they won’t pass on an opportunity that is eventually successful, they certainly can’t invest in it if they don’t see it.

Adopting this approach at a larger organization can be transformative.  For an organization to adopt a portfolio approach, an organization must first evaluate a much larger pool of concepts than are typically considered during a traditional corporate funding process.  Many organizations will host hackathons, hold calls for innovative proposals, and talk to a much broader cross-section of employees to discover new opportunities. As a result, employees feel like their ideas are heard and are more invested in the organization.

These are just a few ways that thinking like a VC can change your approach to innovation within a larger organization. One other tenet that VCs embrace? Learning from failure.  So give some of these ideas a try.  If it doesn’t work perfectly at first, consider what you’ve learned and iterate. Now you are thinking like a VC!

Share This:

Your Daily Growth Appointments

Personal growth is an absolute requirement for Leaders. We cannot stand still. We must continually pursue personal growth in order to increase our capacity to lead. Growth does not happen automatically. Time and experience do not necessarily equate to growth. If we want to grow, we must be very intentional about the pursuit. It has […]

Personal growth is an absolute requirement for Leaders. We cannot stand still. We must continually pursue personal growth in order to increase our capacity to lead.

Growth does not happen automatically. Time and experience do not necessarily equate to growth. If we want to grow, we must be very intentional about the pursuit.

It has been said that you cannot predict the future, but to some extent you can control your future by controlling what you do today and every day. You must be purposeful and you must be consistent.

Growth compounds with consistency. Even small steps forward, if done on a consistent basis, will add up to large growth over time. The key is your daily routine. What are you doing to grow every day?

I have found that Daily Growth Appointments provide me with an excellent framework for consistent growth. Even though I am not perfect in my execution, this daily routine has paid big dividends. Some days and weeks are better than others in terms of visible progress. The important thing is to engage the process every single day because, while it may not look like progress is being made, growth is occurring beneath the surface.

My Daily Growth Appointments

Work Out 5:00-6:00 am

During this time, I weight train or do a cardio workout. It is a great way to start the day and clear the mind.

Pray/Reflect/Plan/Write  6:00-6:30 am

During this time, I do the following with respect to my top goals and priorities, which will change over time as goals are achieved.

  • Express gratitude
  • Seek wisdom
  • Ask myself
    • “What is going well?”
    • “What is not going well?”
    • “What activities should I do more frequently?”
    • “What activities should I do less frequently or eliminate?”
    • “What should I do differently?”
    • “What else should I be doing?”
  • Write down what I have learned.

    Possibility Thinking 6:30-6:45 am

Possibility Thinking is the process of allowing your mind to work on a large goal and arrive at the possibilities related to accomplishing that goal.

As an example, if you have a goal to double your income this year, spend fifteen minutes each day thinking into all the possible ways of doubling your income. Sit quietly with a pad of paper and a pen and as you think, write down every idea that comes into your mind. Don’t pass judgment, just write. Do this every day for 90 days. If you miss a day, start over at day one.

At the end of the 90 days, review what you have written. You will be equipped with a greater awareness of how to accomplish this large goal. Use this new awareness and the ideas that you have written to develop a plan. Input the items of this plan into your Pray/Reflect/Plan/Write process.

Read and Learn Something New 6:45–7:15 am

During this time, I read with the mission of learning something new. It may be a new book on a personal growth or Leadership topic, or I may reread all or part of books that I have read previously, knowing that this time I will see new things.

Evening Pray/Reflect/Plan/Write 9:45–10:00 pm

It is helpful to pray, reflect, plan, and write in the evening while the events of the day are still fresh in my mind. This time consists of the same elements as the morning reflection time but is usually shorter. This helps me to wind down and sets me up to have a productive Pray/Reflect/Plan/Write appointment the following morning.

I encourage you to create your own Daily Growth Appointments. You can use the plan that I have outlined here and modify it to fit your needs, or you can create something completely different. The important thing is to define your Daily Growth Appointments, get them into your calendar, and keep them every day.

Share This:

So you’ve got their business card… Now what?

Hopefully, you’ve made a great connection with them and gave a lot of value in the interaction. When networking you should be giving 51% more value. Always try to add more value to help that person in this relationship.  No, that doesn’t mean selling them all of your products.  Ask a lot of questions and […]

Hopefully, you’ve made a great connection with them and gave a lot of value in the interaction. When networking you should be giving 51% more value. Always try to add more value to help that person in this relationship.  No, that doesn’t mean selling them all of your products.  Ask a lot of questions and try to find out what they need help with and help them.

Maybe they told you they just bought a new house and the roof needs replaced.  Make special note of that because it will be very important in a moment.

You left a networking event, and you have a handful of business cards from the new people you met.  Here is what you should and should NOT do with them.

1 The next day, email them or shoot them a call.  Here is where you will provide value because you are going to help them out. If they need a new roof, you are going to send them the names of some of your friends in the roofing business.  Maybe they mentioned they needed to find a gift for their husband’s birthday coming up, so you send them some awesome gift ideas.  This is where you will create tremendous value.

*DO NOT automatically add them to an automated email list or send them an automated email.  They will most likely take it personally (and not in a good way), and you will end up destroying all the value you just worked so hard to create.  You must ask before adding them.

Also, if you do recommend another company’s services, please make sure they are very professional and won’t make you look bad. Once again that will kill the value you just worked to build.

 2 Send them a handwritten note.  This is something that is extremely overlooked and is still an excellent way to build your personal and professional network.  It doesn’t have to be long or anything about yourself, just a nice quick note saying it was great to meet you and look forward to connecting more.  You can even throw in a call to action saying, call me and we can do lunch soon!

Trust me this goes a long way and shows the other person you care enough to take the time to write them a note.

 3 Get social.  Find the people you connected with not just on LinkedIn but across all social media.  Let’s be honest; business is no longer just done on LinkedIn but across all social platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. By becoming friends with people on social media, you can start building the relationships more AND finding out more about them and how you can continue to create value for them.  As most of us do, we talk about our businesses success and have other people talk about our business successes on social media.  This is a great opportunity for them to see others talking about your successes, which in turn is a great way for that person to see how you can help them without you saying, “look how great me, my products, and my services are!”

What we are doing here is a ninja approach to selling.  You are working to create so much value to other people, allowing them to see that you actually care about them, and want to help them.

They will see your accomplishments and other boastings about the value you create, which in return will get them to finally contact you and say, how can we work together.  OR even if they can’t use your services but since you created so much value for them, they may refer you to other people who you may be able to help.

Remember people do business with people they know, like, and trust. So ask yourself when making a call, sending an email, or going to a meeting…How can I add so much value to this relationship and will this help build my know, like, and trust factor?

I’d like to leave you with this-
There isn’t a lack of business, money, or opportunity in this world there is only a lack of people going after it!

Find me on all social media platforms @DennyCorby and please come say “hello” at the next Network Magazine event.

Share This: