Where do you take a group of young execs with a sense of adventure? For the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) Southern 7 Chapter, that would be Bermuda.
The YPO network is made up of more than 23,000 business leaders in 130 countries, all under 50, who are also the chief operator (or president) of a company, and were accepted into the network before turning 45. While the group is well traveled, many attendees had never visited Bermuda and were blown away by all it had to offer, according to Emilie Samet, co-chair of the event.
“Bermuda offers the tropical feel of other island destinations and has the sophistication of European influences and downtown Hamilton,” says Samet. “It’s safe to say [there’s no place] like Bermuda.”
About 160 attendees and their spouses participated in the meetings’ educational sessions. “[The group] doesn’t just come together for business development, but also personal development to learn about health and wellness, as well as business,” says Samet. “The philosophy behind it is that ‘as better people, we’re better business leaders.’”
Full Sail Ahead
At the recently renovated Rosewood Bermuda the theme of the event was “Go Full Sail,” playing off the island’s sailing influence and the fact that it recently hosted the America’s Cup, but the overall goal of the meetings was for members to “let their sail up and experience all that they could,” according to Samet. “We brought in speakers that could push them in the way of business and personal development and health, and provided opportunities that allowed them to explore Bermuda, which included a lot of adventurous activities to get them out of their comfort zones.”
The country’s leader (or premier) attended the opening night event to welcome the group, tell them about the history of Bermuda and give insight into what was happening on the island. The evening continued with a traditional dancing demonstration by the Gombey dancers and music played by a children’s steel pan band. “A Taste of Bermuda,” with seafood chowder and British cuisines, rounded out the cultural experience.
Between meetings, attendees were encouraged to sign up for activities that explored the more active elements of the island. Samet remembers three activities that stood out for the attendees. One involved repelling into a cave located on the Rosewood property, while another involved either jet skiing or taking a catamaran around the island to some of the various cliff-jumping spots—some that were 40- to 50-ft. Attendees also had the option to experience a regatta (or sailing race) at the exclusive Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, where sailing specialists split the group into teams to compete in a race that culminated in an awards ceremony.
“Sailing from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is a big deal, not only because it is exclusive and boasts a rich maritime history, but also puts you in the heart of Hamilton harbor where there is great energy and many other boats coming and going,” says Samet.
The group loved the island so much that some attendees were looking at real estate at the airport before they’re flight home, according to Samet, who shared yet one more reason to return to the island. The airport does customs on the Bermuda side, so when attendees arrived back in the US, they didn’t have to go through the lengthy process.