Getaway2Give

10 Nov

G2G Logo

I admit to being a spoiled traveler.

Especially when it comes to vacations.

After years of cramming our growing family into hotel rooms, we began to rent houses when we traveled with the kids. We quickly learned that the home rental market is full of people that are better photographers than housekeepers. After a couple of memorable debacles, we invested with an equity-based destination club named Equity Estates. We were truly spoiled by the amazing, multi-million dollar homes in the portfolio. The business model is great, but getting in requires a large upfront investment.

When the Equity Estates sold out their first fund, two of the principals I respected launched a new vacation home portfolio named Getaway2Give. I immediately signed on as a member, investor, and charity partner. The G2G model is simple with much lower upfront costs and more variety. You become a member with a one-time fee, half of which goes to the charity of your choice – like, maybe, the Stelos Alliance. You receive a tax deduction for that portion of your membership fee.

After that, you have access to a diverse and rapidly growing portfolio of luxury vacation homes at discounts that range from $800 – $1500 per night. You can use these properties on an unlimited basis. No more cramming into hotel rooms and no more “vacation rental by owner” stress. You know that every aspect of your stay from the planning service to the on-site concierge to the home itself is going to be fantastic. Oh, and the company continues to support your favorite charity by donating 5% of your nightly rental fees to the organization you select.

The business model is even better than I can articulate here. G2G can offer big discounts off market rates by eliminating marketing costs and increasing the utilization of the homes in the portfolio. There are a number of add-on options available like the City Club that gives you free unlimited access to the properties in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Chicago. The portfolio of homes continues to grow with the membership in the collection. We have never been disappointed by a G2G vacation home.

I highly recommend that you look at the Getaway2Give offering. Ask yourself if you and your family would enjoy supporting your favorite charity while making memories and spoiling yourselves in a luxury vacation destination. You will never regret these experiences. Call me if you are interested and I will answer any questions you may have. Aloha!

Housley Stars!

9 Nov

2013 Fall Housley Class

Yesterday we wrapped up our fifth offering of the Housley Principled Leadership Program at Texas State University. The thirty students in the class are outstanding examples of the extraordinary young leaders that the Stelos Alliance was created to support. I am very proud of all of them for the commitment they made to themselves and their classmates. It has been a pleasure watching them mature week to week.

These young people know who they are, what they believe, and what makes them come alive. Their comments about the program validate its objectives. Here is what they said during our closing ceremony:

“Housley gave me the confidence to take risks.”

“Housley forced me to specify my mission in life.”

“Housley helped me define my strengths and grow up.”

“Housley clarified my values and caused me to reevaluate everything.”

“Housley changed my life.”

The program is full of high-talent student leaders that are prepared to make their mark on the world. In our final session we discussed the role of service in leadership and our obligations to each other. The students commented on my essay titled, The Debt.  All I can say is, “Look out world.”

I want to especially recognize the four recipients of the Housley scholarships. They are:

Rachel Wilson
Aleecia Head
Meghan Bates
Christian Carlson

Please join me in congratulating them for this recognition. They really are Stelos Super Stars.

In the spring we will continue to offer Housley at Texas State and are expanding the course to both Trinity and Angelo State Universities. You can read about the Trinity course offering here. Please let me know if you are interested in getting involved.

2013 Kalypsonian of the Year

3 Oct

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I was at a recruiting event in Texas last week and was asked the question, “What are the attributes you value when evaluating candidates?”

The first part of the answer was easy and boring. I said we want reliable people that possess a strong work ethic, creative types with sharp minds, and leaders that have demonstrated ability and ambition.

But what is it that makes the people of Kalypso special?

The people of Kalypso are so much more than just those great professional attributes I listed. They are as humble as they are smart, as funny as they are fearless, and they radiate positivity as they support their clients, colleagues, and compadres. They might have graduated at the top of their class, but they still know how to have fun in a state school kind of way. Most of the people on the team are a little bit quirky (this is a polite word for weird.)

In 2013, the person that best exemplified the Kalypso brand of professional was Colin Speakman – our Kalypsonian of the Year.

For the rest of the year he is only to be referred to as “Your Highness, Mr. Colin Speakman, Kalypsonian of the Year.” No abbreviations, shortcuts or informalities allowed.

The choice was not difficult. Colin is the Kalypso prototype. Not only is he an incredibly competent consultant, he displays all of the characteristics we admire in our colleagues. He is a great father and he accepts the fact that he is inferior to his wife in basketball, fishing, and just about any other activity that requires either brains or athletic skills.

Colin knows more about barbeque sauce than anyone else I know. As a kid in upstate New York he wanted to grow up to be a pumpkin farmer. Colin smiles a lot. He either knows something you don’t, or maybe he is just goofy that way. We all love Colin and I am proud to have him as a colleague and even happier to call him a friend.

Colin is an optimist and a dreamer. He is a Cleveland Browns season ticket holder.

At least he can say that he won something this year. Congratulations Mr. Kalypsonian of the Year!

Kalypso Recognized by Consulting Magazine

28 Sep

Consulting Magazine is out with its annual “Best Firms to Work For” edition and, once again, Kalypso was honored to be named in a handful of important categories. We were listed as a “Top Ten” firm for having a strong firm culture, doing interesting work, and having a positive impact on clients. Can you imagine better categories for a consulting firm?

We pride ourselves on having a strong set of core values that define our culture and set us apart. Among those values is a belief in the power of creativity and innovation to solve the world’s most pressing problems. This is the source of all that interesting work that we have the privilege of doing for clients every day. Delivering on the promise of innovation means moving the needle on our clients’ results. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing the outcome of your efforts highlighted in an annual report or – even better – on a store shelf.

I think that the good folks at Consulting have us pegged right. The people of Kalypso work incredibly hard within a culture where we genuinely care about one another’s success. We have fun doing the work we love while delivering on the promise of innovation for the best clients in the world. Kalypso is not only one of the best consulting firms to work for; I believe it is the greatest firm ever.

Read Consulting magazine’s “Best Firms to Work For” edition here.

A Tribute

20 Sep

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Today is the first session of the fall edition of the Housley Principled Leadership Program. This is our fourth or fifth semester. I can’ t remember. I do remember why we do this. It is a fitting memorial to my best man. I am excited to meet the new class today and hope that each of them will come away from the experience with the self-awareness to become people of consequence. The world needs people who have come alive. I want these students to live lives that matter. This is my eulogy for the program’s namesake, my good friend Kevin.

 

April 23, 2008

This day, devoted to the memory of our friend Kevin Housley, offers an opportunity for reflection and celebration.  It is a curious and difficult thing – this notion of celebrating life in the wake of death – but I had a great teacher.  Twenty years ago this January Kevin and I, and many of you here today, tragically and unexpectedly lost another friend, Bill Hogue.  As we gathered at the funeral, shock and sorrow hung over us all.  But Kevin refused to let that stand.  He said that “life is for the living” and led us all to a place called “31 Flavors” for some living; this 31 Flavors did not serve ice cream, but daiquiris.  We talked and laughed as we told our favorite stories about Bill late into the night.  That is what Kevin expects of us.  To celebrate a life well lived and to share a story or two about how he touched each of us.  It is now my responsibility, as it once was Kevin’s, to lighten things up.

Kevin is my best man, not just at our wedding, but in my life.  When I was seventeen and entering Southwest Texas State, it was Kevin that took me under his wing and guided me through my first couple of years.  If I remember correctly, Kevin was 22 when we met and was not in any danger of graduating.  Over the next few months I would learn why.  Every hour with Kevin was a “happy hour”.

He had a knack for taking life’s setbacks in stride.  He was a “when life gives you limes, make a margarita” kind-of-a-guy.  One weekend when the two of us were in trouble with our respective girlfriends – deservedly so I am certain – we found ourselves without dates to a big sorority formal.  Not one to dwell on misfortune, Kevin took me on a road trip to San Angelo that is still talked about to this day.  Ask Jeff Curry.  More than 20 years later we did the same thing when he lost the election.

Speaking of his run for the state house, I view it as a measure of our friendship that Kevin never once asked me for the vast amounts of photographic evidence I have of our youthful exploits.  Of course he really had nothing to worry about.  I had such faith in his ability that I was holding out until he ran for higher office.  And, contrary to rumor, I was not the one behind his policy position that “every man, woman, and child in Tom Green county should have a gun.”  It is no wonder that my mother refers to Kevin as “your Republican friend.”

As we matured (no laughing please; I will admit to being a work in process) Kevin was a man of strong religious conviction.  Our many faith-versus-reason theological discussions often ran well into the night.  Salvation was a popular topic and a source of heated disagreement.  Kevin was a “straight is the gate and narrow is the way” sort of Methodist who refused to come around to my more Unitarian worldview.  Even though my Methodism might be more casual, I can hold onto the lines of a hymn: “When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain; but we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.”  For the sake of our everlasting friendship, I sure hope that Kevin is wrong about the width of that gate.

For me, Kevin is supremely one thing – a friend.  Our relationship was easy even when it was contentious.  We are both strong-headed and both agreed with Emerson who said, “Better to be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo.”  There was no danger of that happening with either of us.

If we are going to quote Emerson then we should also give his friend Thoreau his due.  He said, “A man cannot be said to succeed in life who does not satisfy one friend.”  Kevin satisfied me and I am sure, based on the size of this crowd, that he was successful on that account many times over.  It is my charge to take his friendship and “pay it forward” by being a better friend to those that remain. Doing that takes precious time and bundles of energy, but Kevin took that time.

The prayer that our friend Bill Hogue was carrying in his wallet the night he died begs us to do that.  It is called “Slow Me Down”.   The first line goes like this:  Slow me down, Lord, I am going too fast, I can’t see my brother as he goes past.

Well, slowing down in not in my DNA so all I can do is take the message to heart and make sure that Kevin knows what a blessing his friendship is to me and how much I cherish the memories of the time we spent together.  I am a better man because of him and an even better man I hope to one day become.

That is his gift to me.  And for that I am eternally grateful.  I miss you and I love you.  Goodbye to my friend.  Goodbye to my “best man.”

 

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