Friday, August 26, 2016

The Sassy Goose / CRE Tech Intersect / Brevard Music Center / Toots Thielemans (1922 – 2016) / Felix / Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshops

The Sassy Goose
Recently I met the owner of The Sassy Goose, a beautiful piece of real estate in North Carolina.  Then went to visit on a scouting trip for the location of our next family reunion.  When I was there, I realized it could also be the location of a special executive coaching retreat that my partner Liz Weiner and I have been talking about.  

From their website:

The Sassy Goose is located on 57 acres central to some of the best hiking and biking in all of Western North Carolina — DuPont State Forest, Caesar’s Head State Park and Pisgah Forest. The views here at 3,000 feet above sea level are spectacular.

The beauty and privacy of the property is enhanced by a lovely six-acre lake that is great for swimming and fishing. Three canoes, a pontoon boat, and a separate, well stocked, catch and release trout pond are located on the property and available to guests at no additional charge.

Whether you're a couple looking for a fantastic weekend getaway in the mountains or a group of family and friends looking for a place to hold a great reunion, you can find both at the Sassy Goose.

Check The Sassy Goose out here.
CRE Tech Intersect
CRE Tech Intersect is a grassroots organization founded by Pierce Neiken.  Their events are a fabulous way to get an immersion into what is happening in the world of commercial real estate technology.

I was able to attend one of these events in NYC (they’re now conducting them in San Francisco, Austin and London).  Walking from table to table, simply asking people to tell me what their company was doing was fascinating. 

It took me back to the first commercial real estate technology event held in NYC in about 1997 and hosted by Peter Pike, one of the very early bloggers in commercial real estate.  For CREOL, the startup I was with, it was our first exposure after coming out of the garage.  There were only 6 exhibitors!

At CRE Tech Intersect there will probably be 35 exhibitors – some established CRE Tech and data firms, like RCA, who are sponsors of the event, but more early stage firms and true start-ups with new ideas on how technology can make our industry more efficient.  Here’s the information and a link to register. 

Brevard Music Center
This summer, I’ve been able to spend four weeks in my new ‘home’ of Western North Carolina.  It’s given me the opportunity to discover the mountains, the forests, waterfalls and cultural centers – all within a 30-minute drive! 

The Brevard Music Center has a summer program for college and high school students.  During the final weekend of the ‘semester’ I was privileged to see a classical music concert.  The venue is very cool – has a roof but no sidewalls.  A small number of people sit on the lawn and picnic.  The real, unexpected treat was when I went down early for the show.  I parked and heard some music coming from the venue.  Walking in I saw a full orchestra and what appeared to be a 200-voice choir playing a piece. They were rehearsing, I learned, for the final show of the season the next day.  As with rehearsals, there were stops along the way where the conductor coached the orchestra.  I love classical music but don’t know or remember the names of pieces.  This piece sounded incredible.  I shot an 8 second video clip and texted it to my son Brian, assistant professor of music at the University of North Carolina – Asheville.  He wrote back, “Dad, they’re playing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – one of the greatest pieces ever written!  Shortly after getting the text, the orchestra started up again and this time played the entire piece from start to finish.  I’m getting chills writing this to you now.  It was absolutely incredible.  The show I had bought a ticket for that night was very good but this rehearsal session, during which there were only about 30 people in the audience – probably parents of the students and some faculty – was the highlight.

Then, last Friday night I went back to the same venue and caught a show by Gillian Welch.  She is one of my son Kevin’s favorites. I had not seen her before but Gillian and her husband, who perform as a duo, were great.  They play what is probably referred to as bluegrass but it was more diverse than that.

The final cultural experience, an unexpected one was when I was walking aimlessly and came upon Flat Rock Playhouse.  I had heard of it before and saw that cars in front of me were pulling into the parking lot.  I followed and asked a very nice parking attendant, “Is there a show this afternoon?”  Yes, he said.  “Do you think there are tickets left? Yes, he said.  “By the way, what show is it? “  9 – 5 he said. It was the play based on the movie for which Dolly Parton wrote all the music.  I was able to secure a very good seat.  The show was great. The acting, staging and singing was Broadway quality. I later learned that many of the actors at this theatre are members of the Actors’ Equity Association – the primary trade group for actors in America. 

My explorations and getting lost (one of my very favorite things to do) is opening my eyes to some great stuff.  It’s no wonder Western North Carolina has become a magnet. It’s very cool and I’m starting to meet some very nice people!

Toots Thielemans (1922 – 2016)
From the New York Times obituary.

Toots Thielemans was one of the only musicians to have a successful career as a jazz harmonica player, died on Monday in Brussels. He was 94.

That Mr. Thielemans played jazz on the harmonica was unusual enough. Even more unusual was how he first gained international attention: by playing guitar and whistling in unison.

It can be heard on the soundtracks of movies including “Midnight Cowboy” and “The Getaway.” It was featured in television commercials and on records by, among many others, Ms. Fitzgerald, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones, who once called Mr. Thielemans “one of the greatest musicians of our time.” For more than four decades, it has been heard in the opening theme music of “Sesame Street.”

Here’s my Toots Thielemans story. In college, I managed the varsity basketball team.  We were on a flight back to New York from a game in Virginia and I randomly met Peter Duchin.  Peter is the son of Eddie Duchin, a famous bandleader and Peter is a celebrity bandleader and recording artist himself.  He liked me and invited me to visit him in his Madison Avenue office the following week.  Peter was looking for someone to work with, as an intern, to help him and learn about the music business.  I jumped at the opportunity and started hanging around his office and helping out as asked.  One day he invited me to attend his recording session.  I went into the studio – it was my first time in a professional recording studio - and found a seat in the corner.  As the session evolved, gentlemen joined the group and one pulled out a harmonica.  Then, over multiple takes, the group performed the song.  I can’t remember the names of the other musicians but trust me; they were heavy hitting New York City session men.  The gentleman with the harmonica was Toots Thielemans – whom I had never heard of.  He was amazing. I had never heard anything like that come out of a harmonica.  This was truly one of those very special musical moments in my life.

Felix / Weiner Women’s Leadership Workshops

As we continue to do our part to improve gender diversity in the industry, Liz and I are pleased to announce the upcoming schedule for our Women’s Leadership Workshops – exclusively for women in the commercial / institutional real estate community.  Developing and enhancing the professional presence of women is the foundation of our 4-hour interactive professional development program.

Women from over 70 firms have already attended our programs across the country! Here’s what a few participants have said:

·       “… left with great takeaways, as well as motivation to implement them.”
·       “Great program – I would recommend to all the women in my network”
·       “Very eye-opening and fun at the same time.”
·       “Brought to the surface all the issues I felt were stopping me from moving ahead and learning I wasn’t alone”
·        “I learned a lot about myself. I am able to identify things I do that I want to change for the better.”
·       “Very empowering, stimulating”
·       “Appreciated the casual, collaborative atmosphere”
·       “Fascinating and eye-opening discussions!”
·       “Interactive sessions were great and also learning that I am not the only one struggling with social / gender bias”
·       “The concrete tips and advice were most valuable as well as perspective on things like personal brand, first impressions, etc.”

*Please reach out if you would like to sponsor a program in your city or if your firm would be interested in discussing an internal women’s leadership workshop.

Here’s the link where you can learn more and register.

Triple Falls at Dupont Forest, NC

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