Every Spring, a well of excitement begins to fill up inside of me. I am sure part of it is the weather warming up, but the majority of the excitement stems from a three- day family reunion I have had the pleasure of attending the past four years. Some of you may be thinking “what is this guy talking about? A THREE day family reunion? I do love my family reunions, but really three days?” I truly do enjoy all my family gatherings, but the one I get so excited about in the spring is Impact Palooza, Impact Advisors’ annual retreat. Now you are thinking I am completely crazy, but just take a few minutes and look through all of the amazing celebrations we had at our 2017 Impact Palooza gathering.
At the end of April, our Impact Advisors family, Winners and guests, gathered together for our 10th Annual Impact Palooza celebration. Winners have gathered together each year around this time for the last 10 years to celebrate our accomplishments and plan the course for heading into the future. While we do gather to learn and grow together, we also find time in-between our learning sessions for reconnecting with friends we’ve worked with, greeting new Winners to the Impact Advisors family and enjoying some fun activities.
This year’s gathering was extra special as we celebrated Impact Advisors 10 years of existence and service in the HIT industry. To commemorate the inception of the company by Andy and Pete Smith, who wrote their vision for Impact Advisors on the back of a Southwest napkin during a flight home, our theme for the 2017 Palooza celebration was Flying High. Our Happyologist, Michael Nutter, coordinated every detail seamlessly to incorporate all we could to make our experience at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando, Florida, feel like we were on the flight with Andy and Pete from day one.
Michael even reached out to Southwest CEO and Chairman Gary Kelly to share the story of Impact Advisors humble beginnings on the back of that Southwest napkin and to share the similarities around our employee and service focused cultures. In response to the message, our event was decked out with Southwest napkins, peanuts, and pretzels. We were even featured in the April edition of the Southwest Magazine and we had Southwest representatives join us for our very special charity event at Palooza.
Our gathering kicked off Wednesday evening during the welcoming celebration where we had a surprise activity set up for our Winners and their guests. With help from our Southwest Airline’s representatives, Miss Florida, Courtney Sexton, and our Impact family members, we packed 200 backpacks with craft supplies, toys and games for kids receiving treatment at Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando. Each backpack was topped with a personalized luggage tag to encourage the kids through their journey.
On Thursday afternoon, the backpacks were delivered by our very own Andy Smith, Pete and Sue Smith, and Michael Nutter with help from our Southwest Airline’s representatives, Miss Florida, Courtney Sexton and Orlando Magic’s Bo Outlaw. This was just one way to follow through on Impact Advisors mission to “Create a positive Impact” during our annual family gathering. I believe Pete Smith said it best, “I am blown away by the unwavering dedication of our Associates and the organizations with which we have partnered to create this special day for the children being treated at Florida Hospital for Children.” Pete, we are thankful for the opportunity and are also blown away by the collaborative Impact we can make in such a brief timeframe.
We still had even more fun to pack-in to our three day gathering. Outside of our presentations, dinners and charitable giving, we also had some scheduled fun time and more surprises. This year at Palooza, we had our regular family favorite activities: a golf scramble, spa time, kayaking down Shingle Creek and “me time” by the pool. We also had an additional theme-focused activity that gave our Winners the option to really feel like they were flying high in an indoor skydiving event at the Orlando iFly Indoor Skydiving facility.
To keep everyone in style during the event and to help us get into the spirit of flying, we had some awesome Impact Advisors swag. Each Winner and their guest got a pair of Impact Advisors Aviators and their own 10-year Impact Advisors Anniversary wings. We also had an exceptionally fun surprise gift to help our Winners streamline life at home. Each Winner received an Impact Advisors styled Echo Dot as a small token of appreciation for the great work they do every day.
With so much fun going on at this year’s reunion, it seemed impossible to add anything else into the schedule but we had one more surprise that would wrap up our time together. In light of our 10 year company anniversary, a small committee of us began collecting thank-you notes from all of our Winners for Andy Smith, Pete Smith, Maria Smith and Todd Hollowell to thank them for the wonderful company they have established and making every day a blessing to work for Impact Advisors.
Reflecting on our time together this year, it is incredible to think that we were able to fit so much into only three days. With video competitions, new Winner presentations, keynote speakers, family meals, filling backpacks, enjoying activities and celebrating 10 years of amazing accomplishments, it felt like our three days was a full week! And yet, I still wanted more…more time with each Winner and their guest to catch up and hear how things were going for them. The good news is, there is always email or a phone call.
So for now, the time has come to patiently begin the countdown and planning for next spring and our 2018 Impact Palooza family gathering. Until then, stay happy and healthy, Winners, and enjoy every single day.