Domestic Violence

Gail Davis, 06 April 2009

Leslie Morgan SteinerYou would have to be living under a rock to not know about the recent Chris Brown and Rihanna incident. Larry King, Oprah and everything in between is covering this topic.

Domestic violence is a sad and complicated issue. It’s an issue that never goes away, that people need to keep hearing about.

That’s why we’re proud to represent Leslie Morgan Steiner. Leslie is the author of “Crazy Love” – a new book released on March 28.

Leslie is someone I have truly enjoyed getting to know. From the first moment you meet her, you’re drawn to her warm and open personality. She is attractive and confident. It does not take long to realize how smart she is. Her degrees from Harvard and Wharton come as no surprise.

I first got to know Leslie when her husband was a client. I remember thinking it was so neat that he was so very proud of her. He told me about her shortly after she published her first book, “Mommy Wars.”

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Milestones and Celebrations

Gail Davis, 25 March 2009

Gail Davis with son KyleMy oldest son turned 21 today, and I can say with a smile on my face that it’s a great feeling watching my son become an adult.

I am proud of the work I put into parenting and I am equally relieved that he has become an independent adult. I like what I see and consider it a sort of accomplishment.

Gail Davis & Associates will be 10 years old in May. In retrospect, starting a company, or even leading one, is a lot like parenting. I’ve let it grow, figured out when it’s better to let go than hold tight, and at the same time, I have never stopped being committed to the areas I believe require my constant involvement.

The greatest testament to my company’s maturity was my ability to take AND ENJOY a two-week vacation earlier this year. It was able to run without me. I could see the commitment of my team to handle the details and customer service with a high degree of professionalism. Their ability to see the big picture and the overall goal of the client's event is what keeps loyal relationships alive in this business.

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Meeting...No meeting? Speaker...No speaker? What's a planner to do?

Gail Davis, 10 March 2009

Gail Davis and Nando ParradoI spent 20 years on the corporate side. I understand the drill. I know the questions and I’ve lived the stress.

Even in the best of times, it was not uncommon for me to be summoned to the top floor about one month out from our large corporate incentive event. Some executive looking to be the hero would ask to run the numbers to see the financial impact of cancelling our event.

The reality of most speaker and venue contracts is that you are committed within 60-90 days of the event. I would live through the drill and, in the end, we had the event.

But that was just the math.

What message does it send to your top performers (or your association members) if you cancel an annual event? You can’t put a number on it.

I agree that companies receiving a huge bailout from the government cannot afford the perception of spending money on an incentive trip. But for all others, the decision to not have a meeting is a grave option.

Now more than ever, employees need inspiration and incentive. They need to gather in a form of community, hear from their leadership and listen to knowledgeable information from an outside source.

Outside speakers bring perspective. They often share experience and research that is not available within the corporation. The right speaker can make an employee feel special and, more importantly, loyal to his company. Loyalty is not cheap, especially in an era of minimal pay increases and absent bonuses.

I started my business 10 years ago. Before that, I managed the sales incentive program for EDS. The chairman of our company understood the true importance of this event. He often said, “Without sales, we have no company.”

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It Was No Coincidence

Gail Davis, 19 January 2009

Kristine WandzilakI believe there are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason.

I had a big birthday last year. I planned my own party and had friends flying in from all over the world to celebrate. Two days before the big event, I was asked to attend a presentation at my church. The timing was not good as I had my focus on other things. The person issuing the invite said, “Gail, you don’t want to miss this.”

In my experience, especially when I look at amazing discoveries like Nando Parrado and Cathleen Lewis and Rex Lewis-Clack, those are the calls that peak my interest.

The speakers that evening were Kristina Wandzilak and her mother, Constance Curry.

I went to hear them speak and I was completely blown away.

Kristina and Connie wrote The Lost Years - a book they coauthored in 2006.

The Lost Years is a heartfelt story about the struggles, dangers and disappointments of drug and alcohol abuse. It’s a beautiful reminder that you should never lose hope … that it’s never too late for a happy ending.

The story is powerful and engaging. Although the message is “tough stuff,” it provides so much hope. Unfortunately, I think it is one of those stories too many of us can relate to, which is exactly why their story needs to be told.

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Let's Get Healthy with Todd Whitthorne and Gail's Tips for Healthy Meetings

Gail Davis, 10 January 2009

Todd WhitthorneIt is overdone and cliché and yet I continue to be drawn to all the news articles giving tips on how to achieve better health in 2009.

I noticed that Oprah is doing five (yes, five) special programs this week focusing on how 2009 will be her year to finally achieve true health.

Of course, I grabbed the latest People magazine with one inspiring story after another on how regular folks lost half their weight.

It isn’t often you see a sensible real life example in front of your own eyes – which is exactly the reason we are featuring Todd Whitthorne on our home page this month.

Todd is President and CEO of Cooper Concepts, a division of the famed Cooper Aerobics Center. He also happens to be one of our most sought after speakers.

Every time we book Todd, we get rave reviews. He has several different presentation topics, but most of my clients love the presentation called “Fit to Lead.” In this presentation Todd explains how employees and employers can (and must) work together to impact not only the waistline, but the bottom-line as well. From reduced medical costs, increased productivity and lower absenteeism, this information can ultimately save your organization hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Nando, Sonia, Tim and 2008

Gail Davis, 16 December 2008

Sonia NazarioJust yesterday, Nando Parrado addressed one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And he did it in Portuguese.

I’m constantly amazed at the talents of our speakers, but more than that, the opportunity they have (and we by way of working with them) to tell their stories and touch lives around the world.

When I look at it that way, 2008 was a banner year for touching lives. And I was privileged to be in the audience for many of those moments.

For example, a complex issue like immigration can be polarizing, but Sonia Nazario puts a human face on the topic. I was lucky to work with her earlier this year.

As a Pulitzer Prize winning author and former Los Angeles Times columnist, she knows about immigration. She made the trek from South America to the U.S. on top of a train in order to understand the odyssey of young children trying to get to their mothers. Her presentation is full of facts, awesome photography of griping images, and the complete backstory to go with it.

Of course, the client made a lot of great decisions that were perfect for her presentation. The venue was an old rail station and the typical floral arrangements were replaced with cars from an antique train set.

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