The holiday decorations have been put away and my favorite season is behind us once again. This year I decided to take a break between Christmas and New Years and clear something off of my "bucket list." (Technically, I don’t have a bucket list, but this was something I have wanted to do for a long time.) With the United States and Cuba talking about opening up their borders more freely, I desperately wanted to see it before it became just another beautiful Caribbean island. So with careful planning a friend and I applied for a visa that would allow us to travel Cuba. We departed to Havana on December 28th and spent an amazing 8 days exploring Cuba, meeting and hanging out with locals and taking in the experience. For a land that is in some ways "frozen" in 1960, in many other ways it is a modern country. WiFi moves at a snails pace, but at least they have WiFi. Cell phones are not everywhere but they do exist. Private homes have computers and printers and the people are generous, honest, joyful and genuinely happy. Politics were discussed in hushed voices but not a single armed militia was seen the entire trip. We were welcomed with open arms everywhere we went and people loved to discuss the American way of life. We discovered a country where socialism brought about a needed change at one time, yet regardless of the constraints placed on people, they proceeded to educate themselves, stay optimistic and be open to a world of possibilities.
I kept hearing about how this would be like taking a vacation in a museum - a throwback to an era gone by - but it truly wasn’t. Yes, there were vintage cars everywhere - and most in perfect condition, handed down from grandfather to son to grandson and operated on parts and pieces they were able to find from other countries. I think the American naiveté, or perhaps our arrogance, assumed that without the USA, Cuba would not progress. Progress it has…I clearly see the possibilities of doing business in Cuba. And with the level of integrity we witnessed in the people we met in our travels, the Cubans are going to be a wonderful source of talent in the not so distant future. I look forward to watching this beautiful country and its amazing people develop as a source for contract labor and outsourcing.
So, 2014 went out on a high note in Cuba and I welcomed 2015 with open arms. I personally love January, regardless of the sketchy weather…days are now getting longer, people are done with the frantic pace of the holidays and everyone seems to be able to focus at work again. At SIG we are not only heavily involved in getting ready for our Summit in March, but are also deep in the throes of planning all the Regionals, Symposiums, Town Hall Teleconferences and Webinars.
For our Spring Global Summit, we are returning in March to the beautiful Amelia Island Omni Plantation resort located just outside Jacksonville Florida on Amelia. We have a wonderful agenda developing and lots of innovative sessions shaping up. Some of you may have been at our Summit in Amelia Island a few years ago…so this is our own little throwback to days gone by…but it is complete with fresh content, innovative ideas and new companies to meet. I hope you plan to join us!