Hospitality Executive Exchange (HEE) created another intimate and dynamic opportunity for key food & beverage professionals and select supplier partners to exchange insights, ideas and information during HEE East in Florida, at the beautiful JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. HEE East was held November 1–4, 2017 with more than 120 participants engaging in candid conversations, open dialogue and interactive sessions, all geared to help elevate beverage strategies and partnerships.
Jen Robinson, CEO/Duchess of The Pineapple Group, which owns and manages HEE, stated, “We are overwhelmed with gratitude at the positive response to the program we have created with The Exchange. It has resonated with both supplier partners and multi-unit operators because it is small and intimate, yet very impactful. HEE is a dynamic vehicle with a focus on conversations in every part of our agenda. We have built a unique opportunity that is relaxed and laid back but extremely productive for all of the participants.”
The Exchange is known for being out-of-the box and fresh, and HEE East did not disappoint. It was the most successful program to date, creating a buzz that will provide great inspiration for Robinson as she begins planning for 2018.
HEE East kicked off with an Amazing Race that focused on pit stops, detours and roadblocks that we all face in the industry, while also engaging participants in unique team-building tasks. Michael Waltrip, two-time Daytona 500 winner, was the welcome kick-off speaker. He addressed the group with humor and a story that left the HEE family standing with applause. The Duchess Pop-up was one of the favorites of the program; it was a one-of-a-kind mixer with unique libations and conversations for all.
Other highlights of the program were the one-on-one meetings; Cocktails and Culinary of Tomorrow presented by Breakthru Beverages; a family-style breakfast with Wolfgang Lindlbauer, who shared industry insights from a 30-year career and his current passion for online training; Mezcal My Way featuring Chef Danny Mena; and finally a Tricks of the Trade session with Kim Haasarud and Philip Raimondo, which was interactive, engaging and introduced the HEE family to some amazing ideas for the coming year.
A special award was created to celebrate and honor Teddy McAleer, who was the chairman of the HEE Advisory Council and a huge advocate of the program. The Teddy Mac Award will be given out once a year during HEE East to an individual who exemplifies all of the qualities that Teddy represented in the industry. Nominations were received from May until August and a committee determined the ultimate winner. The recipient of the 2017 Teddy Mac Award is Beth Borkosky of Blue Chair Bay Rum.
HEE continues to be one of the most talked-about programs in the industry with its unique format focusing on face-to-face meetings, education and networking. Stuart Melia, Co-Chairman of the HEE Advisory Council shared, “There is not another program in the industry that feels like a family, where every conversation matters. HEE shines with a format that allows all participants to have immediate resources and connections, not only with their vendor partners but also with their peers. It has become the ‘it’ conference in the industry.”
Next year, The Pineapple Group will celebrate its 10-year anniversary, a milestone that Robinson shares with all of her industry colleagues. The next Hospitality Executive Exchange will be held on the West Coast on April 29–May 2, 2018 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Space is extremely limited, so for any supplier partner or multi-unit operator interested in attending, please email Jen Robinson, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information today, or visit the website, www.hospitalityexecutiveexchange.com for details of the program.