An Educational Journey on the Management Conference
Cruise to Alaska
by Holly Biller
Have you ever awakened to the site of snow capped peaks, rushing blue waves and dense greenery surrounding you on all sides? Or the view of an encroaching mass of jagged blue ice the size of a small city? How about sitting in a room full of managers in different fields, but learning they are struggling with the same workplace situations that you are? These were just a few of the varied experiences attendees recently had during the premier Management Conference and Cruise to Alaska.
The Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas cruise ship with its 13 decks of splendor, comfort and elegance departed June 4 from Vancouver, B.C. Once participants settled into their staterooms, the conference opened with a welcoming cocktail party in a private Hollywood-themed lounge. As the ship embarked, the top deck offered a breathtaking view as we began our way north to our first port of call, Juneau. A total of 42 people from 16 companies sailed with AGRR Magazine to Alaska.
The conference was designed with morning classroom style lectures and discussions, which then broadened into case study work and presentations at the end portion of the week. Though seminars began early in the day, attendees were always prompt and continually offered insight and scenarios that were applicable to their work places, as well as potential solutions for their colleagues facing similar situations.
It’s difficult to imagine being able to focus on work with so much to take in around you. However, the sessions were designed to work compatibly with the cruise and ports of call visits. “Conferences are always beneficial,” stated Dave Zoldowski of Auto One in Brighton, Mich. “And this management conference cruise has given me material I can incorporate into my business.”
John Baker, of Sandler Sales Institute in Irving, Calif., covered management basics, hiring and firing techniques, how to work towards better profits and provided ideas on how to bring in new business leads. Barry Maher, of Barry Maher and Associates in Helendale, Calif., presented the importance of communication, different styles and effective techniques for managers to handle various confrontations. Management style profiles were given to each attendee by Debra Levy, publisher of AGRR and USGlass magazines with an accompanying session on how to improve on the weaknesses and recognize each manager’s strengths. “Coming in I didn’t know what to expect,” stated Larry Mroz of Auto One in Garden City, Mich., “but I’m walking away with a lot of new things to try.”
Hiring and working with 20-somethings was also a hot topic discussed at length. Potential scenarios were presented through a dramatization of an interview segueing into an open panel forum where attendees compared ideas regarding what factors work and what 20-somethings are looking for from their employers. Attendee David Erickson of Erickson Glass in Longview, Wash., stated “I think the conference has been very informative. I’ve got some new ideas on how to run my business. It certainly got me thinking.”
Rounding out the week was a group case-study. Final presentations were made by all attendees on what they had learned and how they planned to implement new changes on their return to the office. The camaraderie formed during the week of sessions was marked by attendees gathering one another’s contact information, sharing in many good laughs and stories and promising to keep in touch. These factors all contributed to the creation of a post-cruise online message board available to all attendees to chat and share photos from the trip.
As you can imagine, it certainly wasn’t all work and no play. There were formal dinners, excursions on shore depending on each attendee’s tastes, lounges for dancing and the ever-present all-you-can eat buffets. The cruise provided a perfect blend of education and entertainment, surrounded by the most spectacular scenery, atmosphere and opportunities. The recipients of this memorable outing asked where the next conference would take place, perhaps the Caribbean, or the Atlantic over to Europe? Wherever the seas may take us, it’s bound to be another incredible opportunity—one we don’t intend to miss and hope you don’t either.
For information about being a part of the next cruise conference to the Caribbean, visit
Holly Biller is the marketing director with Key Communications Inc., the publisher of AGRR magazine and glassBYTEs e-newsletter.
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