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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

Retreat to Move Forward

Filed under: Editorial, Travel

Hey there Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the fabulous fall weather. Me? I’m still grasping on to the last remnants of summer, my favorite season, which is why it was so awesome that 100+ ASI staffers from the Editorial and Distributor Sales departments went on a two-day retreat last week to historic, Victorian Cape May, NJ.

Each year, The Powers That Be at ASI (read: Tim Andrews, the president/CEO and Rich Fairfield, the Chief Revenue Office who oversees the Editorial, Marketing, Supplier and Distributor Sales departments) encourage each team to spend a day or two off-site to brainstorm new ideas and participate in team-building and bonding activities. Through these events, each department comes up with creative, innovative concepts to implement during the next 12 months. (One idea from a marketing colleague that didn’t fly, thank God? A Web cam hooked up to my computer so viewers could watch — and listen  to — what goes on in Editorial every day. Trust me. NO ONE deserves that…)

My favorite part of ASI’s retreats is the get-to-know-your-colleagues networking activities. For example, the editors work very closely with the marketing team and supplier sales on a daily basis. The distributor sales folks? No so much. So it was fantastic this time around that Editorial got to spend some quality time with the Distributor Sales & Services teams, who up until this point had never gone on a departmental retreat before.

“It was refreshing to get out of the office and spend a couple days in the beautiful town of Cape May, New Jersey,” says Rachel Bartol, an account executive with ASI’s distributor services team. “Since the retreat was in a relaxed setting, I was able to connect on a more personal level with co-workers and managers through various team-building events, which we don’t always get to do in the hectic workplace. The sessions were interactive, informative, and helpful to better myself and I can’t wait until next year!”

Ironically, I was just having a conversation last month at an industry event with the head of marketing and the head of sales for two Counselor Top 40 suppliers. They were each lamenting that the owners of their companies don’t believe in company retreats. “Listen,” I said. “For sure, they’re not cheap to do and you’re missing two days of work, which can be frustrating, especially when you’re on deadline or trying to close sales. But — make no mistake — the payoff down the road is huge, on a multitude of levels.”

Tim and Rich get that, which is why they rock. (Addendum: Tim also rocks because as the last five of us who closed Cabanas beach bar in Cape May squinted when the dreaded “last call” lights came on, it was Mr. Andrews, I’ll have you know, who cajoled the bartender to give us one last round of shots for the walk back to the hotel. And that, my friends, is why he’s the cat’s meow. ; )) Scroll down for some fun photos from ASI’s retreat!

More next week from the U.K., where I’ll be covering Sourcing City’s Marketplace Event (www.sourcingcityevents.co.uk) in Farnborough, England!


— M

(From left): ASI Awards Editor Karen Akers; Managing Editor Joan Chaykin and Editorial Proofreader Patty Cangelosi. (From left): ASI Vice President of Distributor Services Dan Dienna; ASI Vice President of Distributor Services Rob Spike; and ASI President/CEO Tim Andrews.
Dawn Shurmaitis, ASI’s public relations manager, and Larry Basinait, ASI’s executive director of research services. (From left): Advantages’ magazine staff writer Jenn Vishnevsky; Patty Cangelosi, Stitches Editor & Executive Director of Professional Development Nicole Rollender and Karen Akers.
If you’ve ever wondered why we call Andy Cohen, editor of Counselor magazine, “Captain Killjoy,” just take a look at his expression. No one does misanthropy like Andy… Jenn Vishnevsky and Jack Flohr, director of membership services in ASI’s marketing department.
ASICentral content editor Vinnie Driscoll and senior designer of ASI’s magazines, Hillary Haught. (From left): Pierre Schnog, senior designer of ASI’s magazines; Diane Pizzuto, graphic designer for ASI’s magazines; Mark Pricskett, ASI’s editorial photographer; and Carole Seymour, ASI’s editorial office manager.
(From left): Chuck Zak, ASI’s editorial copywriter and Joan Chaykin. Deb Curtis (left), ASI’s executive director of audience development and analysis, and Jenn Vishnevsky.
(From left): Simone Dorsey, an account executive on ASI’s distributor membership sales team; Tim Cripps, an account executive in ASI’s distributor marketing services team; and Arianna Rigney, an account executive on ASI’s membership sales team. (From left): Pablo Pizzichini, executive director of ASI’s distributor services; Rafael Dosman, manager of ASI’s membership sales team, and my favorite new person I met at the retreat!; and Melissa Dillon, manager of ASI’s membership sales team.
(From left): Andy Cohen; ASI’s marketing director of supplier membership and digital advertising, Colin Graf; Larry Basinait; and ASI senior vice president of professional development & editor-in-chief, Melinda Ligos. Wearables editor C.J. Mittica (“Chaz” to you and I…) and Chuck Zak.
(Clockwise from bottom left): JJ Nese, director of distributor services; Ryan Law, director of distributor services; Dan “The Man” Brown, executive director of distributor services; Matt Beeman, an account executive in ASI’s distributor membership sales department and the lovely Rachel Bartol, an account executive with ASI’s distributor services team. (From left): Anthony Carroll, an account executive in ASI’s distributor services department; Rachel Bartol; Steve Cattau, director of ASI’s distributor services; Pablo Pizzichini; and the woman with one of the most awesome names ever, Joan Miracle, director of ASI’s distributor services.
ASI’s Chief Revenue Officer and publisher of its magazines (and my “handler”), Rich Fairfield (left), and Tim Andrews, ASI’s president/CEO. ASI managing editor and star of The Joe Show, Joe Haley (left), with his ASI BFF Dan Dienna.
Colin Graf (who we call “El Diablo” here in the Editorial Department due to his notable talent of being the euphemistic straw that stirs the cocktail at parties and events) with the fabulous Meghan Bogarde, a director in ASI’s distributor services department.