I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend and colleague, Simon T. Bailey, Business Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker and Founder of The Brilliance Institute. If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear Simon speak, you are missing out! Simon is the type of man who changes the space he is in. Through his kindness, tough love, story telling and infectious laugh, Simon is changing leadership and organizational culture one presentation at a time. I was thrilled that my travels last week took me to Florida, Simon’s home base, so I could interview him for our Playground Chatter web series. Although we could only find a corner in a busy hotel lobby and the sound is not perfect on this video, I am confident you will enjoy hearing from the one-and-only Simon T. Bailey!
Enjoying a round-the-world trip is the ultimate RECESS! What would be top of your list of places to visit?
Check out these great tips from CNN.com
We are ready to help your dream come true! Book your next vacation today!!
We are proud of our affiliation with Cadence Travel, which allows us to offer our clients full travel planning capabilities. Cadence is recognized in the travel industry as one of the top agencies internationally. Given that Cadence is a member of the Virtuoso Network, it allows us to offer our clients the best in luxury travel and experiences. We are delighted when we have the chance to work with our clients to plan fabulous adventures, tours to wonderful places and family experiences.
Hasn’t the dawn of the internet caused a decrease in the need for working with a travel agent? NO! We all agree that the internet provides the vehicle to learn about new and exciting places but someone still has to take the time to actually coordinate all the details. On average, we spend 10-12 hours coordinating a 2-week trip overseas for our clients. If you spent 10 hours planning your vacation, you would need a vacation from your vacation planning! Isn’t there something else you would like to do with 10-hours?
As “Architects of Experiences,” we are well positioned to step in to ease the burden of travel planning. Wouldn’t you rather just make one call to your personal concierge to discuss your travel desires rather than being glued to your computer researching which 4-star hotel will meet your needs?
Coordinating your travel plans is just one way we help design a lifestyle management program that allows you to benefit from the gift of time!
We were excited to see Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch, appearing on NBC’s TODAY show this morning. Matthew was interviewed by the TODAY show’s Ann Curry for a segment titled “When to Use a Travel Agent.”
We look forward to helping you plan your next trip!
We are busy getting around town interviewing CEO’s and cool kids for our new web series, Playground Chatter. Yesterday we spent the day with Dr. Micah Parzen, the CEO of the San Diego Museum of Man. How does someone with a very demanding position incorporate recess into his life? Take a look….
If you are reading this article, it’s more than likely between the hours of 9-5 and you are sitting at your desk (which is owned by the company), reading this on your computer (which the company provides) and taking a “break” from your “demanding” work (which the company pays you to do). From the outside, you look busy because your eyes are aimed at the screen. This should make your manager happy. The reality is that this virtual “smoke break” will not be just the standard 15-minute break from your workload. Instead, it will morph into 2.09 hours per 8-hour workday, not including your lunch break or allocated break time, according to American Online and Survey.com  That’s 2.09 hours PER employee. Now multiply that by the number of employees you see in your immediate eyesight and you realize that there is a whole lot of nothing being done each day. The research by American Online and Survey.com has shined a bright light on the fact that employees are wasting twice as much time as their employers think they are wasting. And to really add salt to the employer’s wounds, Salary.com ran the numbers and found over $750 Billion (yes, with a B!) is spent on salaries (translation= compensation for actual work) for work that was never performed. Who’s pulling a fast one on whom?
Now before the employees start muzzling me for exposing the dirty little secret, it’s important to take a look at why they are spending so much time sitting at their desks without actually producing any relevant work for their employers. Given the current economic implosion, it’s easy to justify the feeling of burnout most employees are experiencing and the overwhelming inability to manage work / life balance.
53% of employees would opt for a personal assistant rather than a personal trainer. 
Only 14% of Americans take two weeks or more at a time for vacation. The average American spends more time in the bathroom than on vacation. 
88% of employees say they have a hard time juggling work and life. 
70% of working fathers and working mothers report they don’t have enough time for their children. 
64% of Americans report that time pressures on working families are getting worse, not better. 
Work is inevitable but does it mean we have to give up our personal life for the sake of a paycheck? Not at all. It just means that employers should recognize that work / life balance is a huge motivator for employees. So if you can’t beat ‘em, why not join ‘em? A corporate concierge program can bring sanity to an otherwise scattered workplace filled with unsuspecting managers overseeing unproductive workers.
Texas Instruments is a perfect example of a company that understands happy, stress-free employees make for profitable champions for the business. According to the Texas Instruments website, in 2010, their concierge program served more than 2,900 U.S. employees and fulfilled more than 8,000 requests. They also expanded on-site services, providing 1,276 employees an opportunity to save a trip away from the work site during business hours. 
Implementing a corporate concierge program equates to:
- The ability to retain and recruit quality talent
- A far more productive and engaged workforce
- A reduction in absenteeism
- A lower level of stress within the workplace
Corporate concierge programs can be operated either virtually, with employees having access to the concierge through email or a dedicated website, or on-site, where employees can interact with the concierge in a face-to-face engagement. The concierge is retained to provide a solution to the employee’s work/life balance problem.
Frequent requests include:
- travel coordination
- errand running,
- household management
- personal shopping
- personal assistance and
- event planning
Imagine stopping by the concierge desk in the morning on your way into work with a request for designing and planning tonight’s dinner party; only to leave the office 8 hours later armed with the necessary groceries, a customized cd for background music, a paired wine selection and personalized favors for each guest. A corporate concierge becomes the one-stop solution for the time strapped employees. Without a concierge, the employee must manage this to-do list from their own desk and their lunch hour is spent running the errands.
As the workforce begins to shift from retiring Baby Boomers to Generation X & Y prodigies, employers need to evolve. What worked “back in the day” in terms of designing a workplace is completely foreign to today’s up and comers. Gen X & Y demand instant gratification because they have grown up in a world of access.
Although this might seem extravagant to those over the age of 45, the “children are the future.” (cue Whitney Houston). I think this is what Darwin would call “survival of the fittest.” The strongest employee benefits package will become King of the Jungle. If you don’t make their life easier, I’m sure your competitor would be glad to invite them over. Now is the time to be a trailblazer and create a workplace that can be a place for a Gen X / Y’er to park themselves for a while because their work/life balance needs are met, versus just being a hop, skip and a jump on their resume.
Nicole R. Matthews is Chief Experience Officer of RECESS by The Henley Company, a concierge firm specializing in events travel and lifestyle experiences. She set out to create a company that gives clients the gift of time to experience life. Living a life that incorporates RECESS is a commitment, not just a hope and a dream. Working with corporate clients, busy individuals and executive families, Nicole designs lifestyle management programs that create work / life balance. She champions the implementation of corporate concierge programs because she knows happy employees are productive employees. When she is not in the office, Nicole can be found with a Diet Coke in hand planning a trip to somewhere that requires her passport, kicking a soccer ball, drooling over fabulous accessories, scanning her social media sites (@henleyco / FB= Recess By The Henley Company) or belly laughing with her family. Follow her journey on her blog: www.henleyco.wordpress.com.
 Salary.com, 2005
 Circles, 2001
 The Families and Work Institute
 Aon Consulting, 2000
 Family Matters Survey; The National Partnership for Women & Families, 1998
 The National Partnership for Women & Families; Family Matters Survey, 1998
 Texas Instruments, 2012
Welcome to our new web series, Playground Chatter, which will allow us to interview big names and cool kids in town about their definition of recess. Since we are on a campaign to reinstate recess for grown ups, we want to start by taking a walk down memory lane by having a discussion about what recess meant to the junior version of our interviewees. Our hope is that we can get them to promise (and pinky swear!) that they will join the playground bandwagon and incorporate more recess into their lives!
Our first interview is with Dr. Joe Goldblatt, the big kahuna, Godfather and architect of the special events industry. This is the guy that has done and seen everything in our industry. We have become a profession because of the work Dr. Goldblatt has committed to developing our education, certification and industry ethics. He was recently in San Diego to lead a Master Class through the University of San Diego. It was fabulous to be the student again and not the teacher. I have a new enthusiasm for my industry and world domination, thanks to Dr. Goldblatt’s encouragement!
Enjoy our first Playground Chatter –
Remember LIFE IS A PLAYGROUND – GO EXPERIENCE IT!!
It’s becoming a tradition that we spend the first weekend in January in Cabo to conduct a business development seminar with the event professionals in this beautiful corner of the world. Our friends at Lifestyle Villas are wonderful partners and they handpick the vendors to be included in the workshop. This year the topic was Pricing for Profit! I always love sharing the stage with my girl, Marley Majcher, The Party Goddess. This year was a bonus because my darling sister Jodi was able to tag along. What better way to start the year than talking business in paradise? We are locking in dates for 2013 so keep your eyes peeled on our blog for more details so you can join the fun next year.
There are LOTS of very talented people who we have to thank for a fabulous weekend. The more event professionals we meet in Cabo, the more impressed we become with the business climate in Mexico.
Without hesitation, I would recommend every one of these vendors:
Lifestyle Villas (Lifestylevillas.net) – Ali & Sheri Ordonez are the owners of Lifestyle Villas, the largest lifestyle management company in Cabo. I freak’n love these two! Ali & I met several years ago at a concierge conference. We became fast friends, which had nothing to do of course with his access to the most stunning luxury villas in Cabo!! We quickly figured there was plenty of reason to partner and we have been off to the races ever since. I’ve been lucky to travel lots of places around the world but Villa Serena stopped me in my tracks. We are talking 5500 sq. ft of beach front loveliness. The entire experience with the Lifestyle Villas team is first rate. They truly define a quality customer service experience. Susana on the Lifestyle Villas team is a total rock star and always manages every detail of our stay from arrival to activities to departure. Why would you chose to stay in a hotel in Cabo when you could have this personalized service in a stunningly beautiful home?
Cheque (Lifestylevillas.net) – He is driver extraordinaire. He picked is up at the airport so we didn’t need to deal with any nasty taxis. Before even leaving the airport he gave us an ice cold bottle of water and a super refreshing towel to tidy up for our drive. He is super sweet, helpful and informative. We are all convinced we need a driver at home too!
Daniel (Lifestylevillas.net) -Our personal concierge – LOVE him. He’s the go to guy for everything for our stay. He makes sure we had dinner reservations (super swanky or just down and local like we like it), delivered snorkel gear so we could just walk out the back door and putz around, coordinated Cheque’s arrival, finalized our breakfast menu and just overall made sure we had everything we needed for a flawless experience. Let’s not forget his daily dose of homemade guacamole and fresh margaritas!
El iTaKate Catering (www.casianos.com) – Love their mantra – “No Menu, No Rules, Spontaneous Cuisine.” Yea! They provided this super decadent lunch of lobster rolls, flank steak sandwiches, little coconut chicken salad leaves and white chocolate dipped strawberries and Mexican cookies and pastries. Their service was so attentive, professional and sweet. We wanted to bring them home in our suitcase they are so fabulous!
A Matter of Taste Breakfast (www.CateringInCabo.com) – The morning of the seminar we started with a fabulous spread from A Matter of Taste. You think you have tasted fruit until you taste fruit in Mexico and then you realize that everything else you’ve been eating has been a fraud! We were treated to delicious muffins, cinnamon rolls that made you want to cry they were so good and of course the aforementioned fruit! We met A Matter of Taste last year when they attended our workshop and treated us to a crazy delicious dinner. They continue to blow us away with their quality.
Suzanne Morel (SuzanneMorel.com) – If there is ever a company you want to know, it’s the team at Suzanne Morel. Seriously – the greatest spa experience you will ever have. They turned our crazy huge beach front villa into a spa haven! The Suzanne Morel team discretely set up massage tables in each of our bedrooms. Rose petals were sprinkled through the doorway to greet us as we headed to our table of paradise. When our face wasn’t pressed into the little massage table snorkel, we could look up and see the waves crashing onto the beach. This is the second year we have had the pleasure of enjoying Suzanne Morel’s services. To say we have a serious girl crush on this company is an understatement!
Annie Murphy and Pez Gato Marine Adventures / Tropicat Cabo (PezGato.com / Tropicatcabo.com) – If you are looking for the best experience to enjoy the water in Cabo look no further than Annie Murphy and her team at Pez Gato Marine Adventures & Tropicat Cabo. The sunset cruise aboard her catamaran was stunningly beautiful. What’s better than taking in the marine life frolicking in the Sea of Cortez / Pacific Ocean, while enjoying margaritas and the most breathtaking sunset? The catamaran is a perfect for special events, group tours and families. We even had the pleasure of watching a wedding proposal take place on the bow of the ship. The Tropicat team is super professional, attentive and want to make sure you are having a wonderful experience. They didn’t disappoint!
Growing up in Southern California, just a stone’s throw from Mexico, I have eaten my share of good Mexican food. Little did I know, everything I’ve previously eaten is now chump change compared to heaven on earth I had last week in Cabo!
Introducing Las Guacamaya’s – THE MOST DELICIOUS Mexican food you will ever eat! This fun little “locals” joint in San Jose Del Cabo is nothing fancy but what they lack in linen napkins and good china they make up in quality and service. Seriously, if I could make a dress out of their tortillas and accessorize it with salsa and guacamole I think I would. We ordered way too much food and we didn’t care one bit. It just meant we had leftovers for lunch the next day. They started the meal by bringing us a fried cheese roll up. Like literally cheese they baked in a pan and then rolled up right at the end while it was still hot to make a tube. You know every nutritionist is passing out at the sheer thought of eating fried cheese but who cares. You can’t believe the glory in front of you and promise yourself you’ll do an extra mile next time just so you don’t have to pass up this experience. Guacamaya’s will forever be on my list of restaurants to visit when in Cabo. We can’t thank Daniel, our concierge at our villa for the recommendation. We will talk about this amazing dining experience for a very long time.
PS – the Corona’s are by far the coldest in all of Cabo and if you promise to buy your taxi driver an ice cream he will stop at the Wal Mart on the way home so you can finish the binge with a gelato!!
I’m a BIG fan of Tim Ferriss, Author of The Four Hour Workweek. It’s not so much his intention to get people to work no more than 4 hours a week but his commitment to working at living, versus living at working that has my full attention. If that doesn’t support the philosophy of RECESS, nothing does! I stumbled upon his blog about lifestyle costing today and thought it was worth sharing.
Here’s an excerpt but you should read the whole post to grasp the full concept of defining what it really costs to live the life you want:
Consider the question: What would you do, day-to-day, if you had $100 million in the bank? If still blocked, fill in the five “doing” spots with the following:
1 place to visit
1 thing to do before you die (a memory of a lifetime)
1 thing to do daily
1 thing to do weekly
1 thing you’ve always wanted to learn
Chances are that the ultimate TMI figure will be lower than expected, and it will decrease over time as you trade more and more “having” for once-in-a-lifetime “doing.”
How great is the concept of “once-in-a-lifetime ‘doing” versus “more ‘having?” Here at RECESS we can’t agree more! The “having” just accumulates more stuff in your surroundings, which if we are honest with each other just means you are housing it until you sell it in the next garage sale for a fraction of the price you really paid for it. The “once-in-a-lifetime doing” become the experiences that fuel your lifetime journey and feed your soul. Given the choice, we would rather do than have any day!
What’s on your “doing” list for 2012?
Happy New Year!
We hope you have had a wonderful couple of weeks celebrating with friends and family! We are busy brainstorming, serving our clients and planning our world domination! Just another day at Experience Recess!
Check out our new company philosophy! We think it sums up our intention pretty darn well!
At Experience Recess…
We love to play.
We love to exercise our imagination as much as our bodies.
We love to wonder and think creatively.
We love when wearing flip-flops means we are dressed up!
We love to have an experience worth talking about.
We love when our “to-do” list is “done.”
We love creating memories with our families.
We love when quiet time means “my time.”
We love taking time to have a great conversation with friends!
We love when grown-up’s have play dates!
We love to Experience Recess!
What is your philosophy for designing the life you want to live this new year?