Earlier this year I received an invitation to attend the SITE Midwest USA SMART Forum. I didn’t respond as I knew there were a lot of very qualified folks in their chapter that deserved the opportunity to attend. They didn’t need me trying to push my way to the head of the line and taking one of the spots. (People always look at me funny when I yell “Outta the way Grandma or you’re going down!”, and don’t act like you’ve never had that thought.)

Brandi Ronk, a SITE Texas member AND board member for SITE Midwest USA, insisted that I apply. I did, and I was accepted. I have to admit; I was curious as to what they had created. I was on the hunt for ideas to bring back for SITE Texas.

The day came, and I flew to Cancun, sharing the flight with three fellow SITE Texans – Casimiro Ramerez, Janet Hoppenstein and Ruben Perez. Greeted by the SITE Midwest DMC partner, Tropical Incentives, we hoped in the waiting transportation, joined on the ride with longtime friend, Roberto Romero, Tropical’s Director Corporate Business Development.

Before we knew it, we had arrived at the Paradisus La Perla in Playa del Carmen. Greeted with a cold washcloth – so refreshing – then escorted to our private registration, complete with multiple gifting stations, activity confirmation, badge pickup, food, and cocktails. Do I need a room? Couldn’t I stay here in the lobby? No?

While my brain was sorting that out, a young man came up to me, advised that he was Angel, my butler, and was ready to escort me to my room in the Royal Service section. Can my day get any better?

One fun-filled reception, dinner on the sand later, seemingly bottom-less glasses of wine later and I was headed back to the room to test drive the mattress and confirm that it was up to its assigned task. It was.

Day 2 – The morning kicked off with a series of speakers followed by breakout sessions. Then it was on to lunch where we enjoyed a short fashion show, followed by Jim Adams of Performance Strategies in Indianapolis with his version of walking the runway. Not to be viewed by the faint of heart!

From there it was off to an afternoon of activities and sponsor hosted dine-a-rounds for the evening. Loved it!

Day 3 – One last round of breakouts, a scavenger hunt in Playa del Carmen then back to the resort to cap it off with a very cool lunch that had us all taking. Pop quiz – how many lobster tails can you eat? (I’d give you my answer, but you might not respect me later.)

For our final night, we were hosted by Grand Velas – Thank You, Cynthia Kunz, Global Sales Director for Velas Resorts for one last over the top evening.

Speaking of Texas…
We represented! Chapter members Rubin Perez with Lamont & Associates, Janet Hoppenstein with Experient, Casimiro Ramirez with Posadas and past Board Member, Brandi Ronk with Melia (our host), Chris Savage with Ryon International and immediate past President and yours truly with GlobauxSource and a past Chapter President. Add fellow attendee Monica Palacios with HB, and you have a LUCKY SEVEN from the Lone Star State.

Quick shout-out to all my friends with SITE Midwest USA – THANK YOU for a great event! And thank you for including me.

Closer to home…
If you didn’t join us June 13 for our Stay Cool With SITE Texas event, you missed some really great craft beers from our friends with Four Corners Brewing, some of the best ice cream anywhere from Howdy Ice Cream and their special needs crew (amazing kids BTW) and some very cool photography options with Kelli Price Photography. Kelli is an active member of SITE SE and happened to be in town for a client gig and made the most of it by joining us for the evening. Joe Bob says “Check her out”.

Last but not least, a big Thank You to our friends and sponsors Attendee Management and Jim Woods Photography. Without these two, our lives would be a lot more difficult.

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