The first Chapman50 retreat was a remarkable weekend filled with strategic planning, team-building and friendship. The retreat provided a perfect opportunity to review the success of Chapman50 in its first year while also setting the tone for even bigger and better things to come.
The retreat kicked off on Friday night with a dinner hosted by trustee Joel Moskowitz at his beautiful home. Chapman University President Jim Doti & his wife Lynne cancelled previous plans in Washington D.C. to attend this exciting Chapman50 dinner. Mr. Moskowitz and his wife were gracious hosts and we are thankful that they opened up their home to our group. During dinner, Mr. Moskowitz shared his entrepreneurial story of founding Ceradyne, a manufacturer of ceramic plates used as body armor to protect soldiers. Established in 1967, he grew the business over four decades and it was eventually acquired by 3M for nearly $1 billion. This short story served as a great precursor to the rest of the weekend’s discussions pertaining to leadership, success and entrepreneurship.
Saturday morning and early afternoon were spent hanging out and relaxing at the pool together. This was a nice change of pace, as most of our time spent together in the past has been in suits at formal settings. This "retreat" aspect created an easy-going atmosphere that allowed us to start to build deeper friendships.
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, all members convened together in the conference room at the La Quinta Resort. The meeting was led by Sinan Kanatsiz who had a slideshow prepared that reviewed the past year's events and he also began the process of making plans for next year. This all-members meeting achieved some very key objectives:
1. Key group initiatives were discussed, clarified and agreed upon
2. New ideas and opportunities were suggested
3. Members were given an open environment to discuss anything related to Chapman50
Following the meeting, a fantastic dinner awaited us at the resort with food provided by Morgan's in the Desert Steak House. The food was top notch, the wine was flowing, and for the second night in a row members continued to develop friendships and learn more about fellow Chapman50 members.
The retreat wrapped up in style with a brunch at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort, hosted by Kai & Sinan Kanatsiz. This extraordinary venue was enjoyed by Chapman50 members and their family members, including children. The room was alive with youngsters having fun and playing together. Pictures and videos of the events from the weekend were passed around from member to member resulting in copious amounts of laughter and more memories being made.
After brunch ended, Chapman50 members began their trip back home. It was clear that this retreat provided each participant with a vision for their expanded and purposeful roles. The weekend was both fun and informative, and best of all, our planning and discussions contributed to the betterment of our alma mater. It couldn’t get any better than that!