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February 2017 – Where the Wild Ideas Are

When we don’t know where our next creative idea is coming from, it may be time to get the wheelbarrow out of the sand to think differently.  Moving outside of our stuck spot and comfort zone doesn’t have to be a grand gesture and we don’t have to have it all figured out.  We just need to get moving, the ideas are out there.

As we amplify our life with people and experiences, the energy flows.  Creative ideas can come in so many different places.  It may be an observation from a 6 year old, a Facebook post by an insightful thinker, an audio book, an old movie, a country western concert, a classical symphony, or just grabbing a bite to eat with someone who inspires you.  

Consider these jump starters:   

  1. Travel – Go away.  Get in your car, on a plane, or schedule Lyft or Uber.  Some of the neatest ideas come from changing the landscape.   My favorite place for inspiration?  A trip to NASA, both Space Center Houston and Johnson Space Center.
  2. Conferences – Look for a conference that excites you and sign up today.  Don’t procrastinate.  You will meet likeminded people or those who will challenge you.  My favorite conference?  Fast Company Innovation Festival.
  3. Movies – The small screen at home is great.  But for immersion and a big impact, head to the big screen with a Movie Group, a group of invited neighbors and friends, for discussion afterwards.  My current favorite movies?  LaLa LandHidden Figures, and Lion.
  4. Books on Tape – Audible and IBooks provide much entertainment and new ideas in the dead, boring commute time.  My favorite audio books are often read by the author. Consider “Think Like a Freak” or “Big Magic”, both read by the author.
  5. Podcasts – Another way to stay current in a frantically changing world is listening to podcasts.  The quality and production value have become terrific.  Listening to them on Amazon Echo or Google Home makes cooking or cleaning a pleasure.   My favorite podcasts? “How I Built This” and “Radio Lab.”
  6. Volunteer – Sometimes we just need to get over ourselves and sideline our problems for a while.  Working with a team to build a house for a worthy new homeowner or helping a young person find a path forward can create a sense of gratitude like nothing else.  My favorite?  Habitat for Humanity and anything that helps foster kids.
  7. New Partnerships – New and creative partnerships are energizers.  Consider the resources you have to share and the relationships you want to build.  Then join one cool group, either professional or personal. Bring one of your hobbies or passions to work.  Get involved and be helpful to another department in your company.  Maybe it starts with getting together for coffee.

Thinking more strategically about what you need to be more successful, more informed, and more motivated starts with new input.  New and wild ideas have reach, impact and excitement to them. Step out, move the wheelbarrow out of the sand, and find people that will make you better. And then pay it forward to others.

November  2016 – Everyone Is Lucky

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I have a personal philosophy that a big part of success, maybe even 50%, is luck. But luck only comes to those who are actively moving, creatively thinking, and consistently observing what is happening around them. They spot possibilities, because they have opened up their world and are willing to put in the hard work when an opportunity presents itself. These possibilities can come in many forms and here are two very different examples.

The first example is when Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the founders of Instagram, entered a highly competitive marketplace. Their focus was to develop a user friendly app where people could regularly check in with each other with photos.  They recognized in 2009 that there were phones in everyone’s pocket that had a camera, and they spotted a powerful “visual” communication revolution brewing.  At the time they were living on PB&J sandwiches. They were also working day and night for months, trying to figure out how to differentiate. Kevin became burned out by the project and took a trip to Mexico with his girlfriend. While walking on the beach, they were discussing the new app. She loved the idea, but didn’t think she would post much since her photos weren’t nearly as appealing compared to Kevin’s friend Greg. Kevin explained that the only difference was that Greg used filters to make them look better. She responded “So you should probably add filters to your app”.  Voila.  This was an intersection of luck and hard work.  Photos with enhancing filters took their app to a whole new level and became the right approach to building a huge community of users. Today, luck and hard work have taken Instagram to a 50 billion dollar company.

The second example is about a family out west that couldn’t get together on what to do last Thanksgiving – a cruise, a trip to the coast, or stay at home for a family get-together. There were politics involved too, very divisive politics. Finally it occurred to the family members that serving Thanksgiving dinner at the local City Mission together was the safest choice. From that dinner, they got to know a smart young man with a troubled past. He was ambitious and motivated but needed a breakthrough in his life. After a few months, they invited him to live at their home, finish his GED, find a job, and get launched into a career.  The family said last Thanksgiving was the luckiest Thanksgiving of their life. Almost one year later, that young man has finished his GED, is enrolled in a community college and has embarked with enthusiasm and this family’s support in a career. Luck and hard work collide.

So we do get lucky. Everyone gets lucky. The difference is whether or not we have enough focus, patience, and resilience to take that luck and capitalize on it.

 Living life believing that it is rigged in your favor, along with consistent hard work, unlocks the fullness of life. It turns mistakes into lessons learned, chaos into order, and fear into a better life. As this Thanksgiving approaches, I am immensely thankful for all the luck, the missteps, and the many opportunities in my life. I wish you and your family an abundant and joyful Thanksgiving.

 

November 2016 – The NASA Leadership Experience 
Inside the Space Center

In times of uncertainty, there is no better approach than to challenge ourselves to reach for the stars.  Literally and figuratively, we must push beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary.  From impossible to possible.  From status quo to what can be imagined and achieved.

The Bixler team has crafted an experience that pushes thinking, creativity, and innovation beyond a typical leadership retreat.  We offer The NASA Leadership Experience that is inspired by space travel and cutting-edge research and development.  In a two-day, behind-the-scenes VIP experience at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston, corporate teams find out what they can become through teamwork at the highest levels.

Learning firsthand about the successes, failures, and extraordinary commercial spinoffs of space travel, teams expand their approach to problem solving and calculated risk taking.  This immersion in space travel – past (Apollo), present (ISS) and future (Mars) – identifies new ways of thinking, leading, and innovating for professional growth.  It also creates a unique opportunity for team bonding and collaboration.

NASA’s charter is to ensure that their discoveries are made broadly available to the public.  As a highly successful entity, NASA has already answered some of this century’s most challenging technical problems.  Learning about the partnerships that have commercialized space technologies and produced new products is fascinating and profitable.  From smart phones to GPS, artificial limbs to enriched baby food, disease detection to disease prevention, robots to new software codes, NASA’s collaborative partnerships will continue to have a significant impact on the global economy.  In this creative environment, leaders open up to new ideas and expanded thinking.

Due to the nature of this experience, we have a limited number of teams that we are able to schedule. Please reach out to me or one of our team members if you would like to learn more about The NASA Leadership Experience provided by Bixler Consulting Group.  We customize each event to include key NASA personnel, current and retired astronauts, hands-on training, and an experience like none other. We are also encouraging the advancement of STEM and will be happy to provide contact information on student programs that NASA and Space Center Houston offers.

June 8, 2016 – Houston, TX – NASA & The Johnson Space Center

Inspired in Houston at the Johnson Space Center.

Inspired in Houston at the Johnson Space Center.

In June, our team of Hilton General Managers participating in The Executive Roundtable™ program, had the unique opportunity to have a behind-the-scenes VIP experience at NASA and the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.

Inside the Space Center

Inside the Space Center

The group was exposed to the inspiration and innovation that is the core of the NASA mission.

Reclining seats for a long flight.

Reclining seats for a long flight.

The NASA Executive Retreat is a customized leadership experience that will expand thinking, innovation, and advance each executive’s ability to grow themselves and their team members.

The Apollo XIII Mission Patch

The Apollo XIII Mission Patch

The NASA perspectives on teamwork, problem solving,  innovation, and the technologies that were created at NASA and widely used in products today (cell phones, GPS, medical devices, solar power, etc.) illustrate the impact that NASA Space Missions have had on our economic growth.

With Astronaut TJ Creamer

With Astronaut TJ Creamer

Our NASA program provides a customized framework to develop these foundations of leadership through greater self-awareness, accountability, and teamwork.

 

March 30, 2016 – Atlanta, GA –  SHRM Pegasus Awards

Margaret Brake and Shelley Hammell, Senior Consultants at Bixler Consulting Group, were nominees  for the SHRM Atlanta Pegasus Awards.  Both were nominated as outstanding contributors to corporate leadership development.

 

MB SH at SHRM awards


 

February 4, 2016 –  Nashville, TN – LEAD2016 Awards

Two Bixler Consulting Group clients, McKesson Corporation and Hilton Worldwide, received top honors at the international LEAD2016 Leadership Excellence Awards for leadership programs developed by Bixler Consulting Group.

The LEAD2016 Awards from HR.com honor the best in global leadership development. To a standing ovation onstage at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, McKesson took first place for Best Team Development  and Hilton Worldwide took second place for Best Executive Coaching and fourth place for Best Experienced/Senior Leaders Program.  Margaret Brake, Shelley Hammell, and Susan Bixler joined McKesson and Hilton on stage to accept their awards.

McKesson WinLEAD Award - McKesson

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January 21, 2016 – Washington, DC – Hilton Executive Roundtable™

The Hilton Class of 2015 toured The White House, the Capitol, and had a group lunch with Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson in the Senate Dining Room.   It was a day to celebrate our U.S. heritage and gain a perspective on the last 250 years as we viewed portraits of presidents and first ladies and discussed great leadership, both past and present.

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Senate Dining Room Photo 1


 

January 19 & 20, 2016 – Washington, DC – Hilton Executive Roundtable™ Graduation

Ten top general managers graduated from the Hilton Executive Roundtable ™ in a full day of individual presentations on personal development, team growth, and business results.   Their 12-month program provided them with individual coaching, tools and ideas to bring back to their teams, a renewed commitment to personal goals, and a recognition that the best years are ahead.

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January 4, 2016 – Kick-off Class for the Embassy Suites Circle of Leadership 2016

The Embassy Class of 2016 met together for the first time with their coach, Margaret Brake, to begin their 12-month journey.   As successful general managers from Embassy Suites around the country, they were invited to be a part of this customized leadership development that has been offered by the Embassy Suites brand since 2007.   Identifying key indicators in January, each general manager will be given group and individual coaching throughout the year, to improve team performance, increase business metrics, and grow personally and professionally.

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December 9, 2015 – McLean Virginia – Doubletree by Hilton Circle of Leadership™ 2015

The Doubletree by Hilton Class of 2015 graduated with powerful individual presentations by each general manager on key metrics and personal growth.   CARE Cup winners were recognized as each member of the class aspired to develop a stronger culture. “You don’t inspire your teammates by showing them how amazing you are. You inspire them by showing them how amazing they are.”

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November 21,2015 – Atlanta Habitat for Humanity Dedication of a New Home

Every year 50+ Habitat homes are built in Atlanta by volunteers for hard working new homeowners. The effect on the families is both immediate and enduring.  They move into a brand new home and received homeowner education for one year. Their new homes are safe, beautiful, well built, personalized to their taste, and they have a 30 year, interest-free mortgage. The long-term effects are stronger neighborhoods, better schools, and a higher rate of children graduating from high school and college.

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November 19, 2015 – The Hilton Hotel in Cleveland: Under Construction

Teri Agosta, the GM for the new Hilton Hotel in Cleveland, will open for the Republican National Convention in July 2016 with a stunning hotel. The sleep rooms are exceptionally designed, the lake views are spectacular, and the convention space is state of the art.   It is right next to the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. This will be an icon in Cleveland for many years to come.

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November 11, 2015 – NYC Fast Company Innovation Festival

Serena Williams is interviewed by Bob Safian of Fast Company on her enduring and creative partnership with Nike. As a multi-faceted entrepreneur, Serena offered her thoughts on how “Pressure is a Privilege” and the struggles, failures, and growth she has experienced that made her stronger and more compassionate.  Her future plans include athletics, design, art, and more leadership responsibilities.

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November 10, 2015 – NYC Fast Company Innovation Festival

Gwyneth Paltrow shares her story of starting small, thinking big, and moving fast. She has become a resource for her many famous friends who are also starting their own businesses. The success of Goop is exponential as millions of readers benefit from the advice on her website, which has expanded into a full scale retail brand.

FullSizeRender(4)


 

November 09, 2015 – NYC Fast Company Innovation Festival

The iconic Union Square Cafe in New York City provided a site visit at the festival. The restaurant closes its doors after 25 years – but first provided a nostalgic tour by the General Manager. Danny Meyer has consistently had Union Square Cafe and 3 of his other restaurants listed in the Top 10 best NYC restaurants. Shake Shack went public last year and the franchise is growing.  As the Union Square Café relocates to a new spot in 2016, the magic of fine dining in a relaxed, friendly neighborhood environment will continue.

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October 29, 2015 – Metro Chamber Insights on Leadership – The Apple and ATT Partnership

Glenn Lurie, President and CEO of ATT Mobility, interviews the inventor of the App Store – Eddie Cue, SVP of Apple – to discuss their rocky partnership that ended up as a huge win for both companies. The friendship and the trust that developed between two very different entities twenty years ago created a partnership that has benefitted hundreds of millions of users worldwide. ATT was the first mobile company to partner their service with Apple which led to the creation of the App Store, one of the most remarkable business inventions in the 21st century.  The story of the ups and downs, Glenn sleeping in his car in the parking lot overnight to be the first one in the ATT office,  the initial enormous disparity in revenues and size between ATT and Apple, and the ultimate success of their vision has become legendary and a model for how to make big ideas happen.

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June, 2015 – Embassy Suites Circle of Leadership Mid-Year Retreat

The 2015 Embassy Suites Circle of Leadership Retreat, Leveraging Strengths Through the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument,  at Brumby Hall & Gardens in Marietta was hosted by Bixler Consulting Group for a select group of Embassy Suites General Managers.  The Circle of Leadership attendees received advanced HBDI leadership development from senior coach Margaret Brake and came away with ideas and inspiration to take home to their teams.  A terrific group, they represent some of the best Embassy Suites from California and Seattle to Charleston and Atlanta; from Chicago to Columbus, from Maryland to Tennessee to Texas!  We look forward to continuing leadership development with this GM group the rest of 2015 and graduating this inspired class in November.

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June, 2015 – DoubleTree by Hilton Circle of Leadership Mid-Year Retreat

The 2015 DoubleTree Circle of Leadership Retreat, Leveraging Strengths Through the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, at Brumby Hall & Gardens in Marietta was hosted by Bixler Consulting Group for a select group of DoubleTree General Managers.  Brumby Hall, a pre-Civil War landmark, was built by Colonel Arnoldus Brumby in 1851.  As an historic landmark, it is located next to the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel & Conference Center.

Retreat attendees received advanced HBDI leadership development from senior coach Margaret Brake, were given flight instruction from FliteTest for their personal quadcopters, and had an opportunity to fly a Delta jet simulator at the Delta Flight Museum.

This exceptional group of General Managers came away with ideas and inspiration to take home to their teams.

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June, 2015 – Hilton Executive Roundtable™ Retreat

The 2015 Hilton Executive Roundtable Retreat, Lessons from the Past…Inspiration for the Future, at Brumby Hall & Gardens in Marietta was hosted by Bixler Consulting Group for an exceptional group of Hilton General Managers.  Brumby Hall, a pre-Civil War landmark, was built by Colonel Arnoldus Brumby in 1851.   As an historic home, it is located next to the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel & Conference Center.

Retreat attendees were inspired by Rob Palleschi, Global Head of Hilton Hotels and Resorts, received advanced HBDI leadership development from senior coaches Margaret Brake and Lisa Dugan,  gained valuable insights on wealth and happiness from author David Geller, learned leadership lessons from Abraham Lincoln as told by Dr. Gene Griessman,  received flight instruction from FliteTest for their personal quadcopters, and had an opportunity to fly a Delta jet simulator at the Delta Flight Museum.

This dynamic group of General Managers experienced leadership in a new way that brought them closer together as a group and gave them new ideas and inspiration they could take home to their teams.

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May 17, 2015 – Millennials Raise $100,000 for Homeless Veterans and celebrate Memorial Day

The first annual Trinity Combine Decathlon was conceived and organized by 10 Atlanta Millennials with a goal to raise $100,000 to benefit homeless veterans at Trinity Community Ministries.  They met and surpassed this!   126 former professional but mostly non-professional athletes competed for bragging rights; more importantly they found a way to give back to veterans in need who gave so much for our country.  Trinity Community Ministries has helped over 1,000 homeless men since 1988.

Willis Reavis, a former homeless veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, competed in the Combine.  “The opposite of success isn’t failure because failure is part of success, but it’s quitting.”  Willis has reclaimed his life with a full time job and a bright future through the Trinity House residential program.

The Combine event included a 400-meter run, a football throw, a 40-yard dash, a 500-meter row, bench press, pull ups, dips, vertical jump, a 200-yard shuttle run and an 800-meter run.   Sponsors included RockTenn, Synovus, Ironwood Insurance, Bixler Consulting Group, Trader Joes, Lulu Lemon, Kind Bars, CrossFit 404, and King of Pops.

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January 21, 2015 – Hilton Graduation, McLean, Virginia

The 2014 class of Hilton General Managers recently graduated from the Hilton Executive Roundtable, a year-long leadership program provided by Bixler Consulting Group.  There were a host of luminaries in the audience, including Rob Palleschi, Global Head of Full Service Hilton. The presentations highlighted a variety of personal achievements and strong business results from this past year.  The theme that echoed over and over was that when you start in business, you work on yourself.  But you become a leader when you work on the development of others.  Congratulations to this dynamic group of Hilton GMs.  As life-long alumni of the class, their leadership will enhance their teams, the Hilton brand, and provide continued support of each other throughout their careers.

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February 3, 2015 – Lessons in Leadership featuring Steve Cannon, CEO, Mercedes-Benz USA 

Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, was warmly welcomed today to the Atlanta business community, which was recently chosen as the new national headquarters for the company.  Hala Moddelmog, President of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, led a lively discussion on how the father of 9 children successfully runs the U.S. business.   Following were my favorite take-aways.

What keeps him up at night – How to find and hire the best people.  “Great people have the natural inclination to build cultures of service and community in every department, at every location.  Culture is transportable, a movable feast.  It provides a huge benefit relative to the investment. I have studied culture and as an economics major, I know it provides the greatest ROI to an organization of anything that we can do to build the business.  ”   

His favorite non-profit –  Along with his class at West Point, Steve Cannon founded “Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.”  The foundation has provided 16,000 college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty.

His favorite book – Team of Rivals – A prize winning biography of Abraham Lincoln’s political genius in assembling a contentious but powerful cabinet. As Cannon hires 600 employees for his Atlanta management team, he is committed to building the most well-rounded team possible.

His strategy for Mercedes –  To sell the entry level Mercedes (which is almost the same price point as a loaded Ford Focus) to Milllenials and keep them as loyal Mercedes customers all their lives.  “We want to continue to provide one of the safest cars in the world and bring all the controls to the steering wheel, so that the driver never needs to look down at a display screen or let go of the wheel.” 

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December 10, 2014 – DoubleTree by Hilton Graduation, McLean, Virginia

The 2014 class of  the DTbH General Managers recently graduated from the Bixler Circle of Leadership year-long program with a host of luminaries in the audience, including Chris Nassetta, CEO of Hilton.  The five presentations highlighted a variety of personal achievements and strong business results from this past year.  The theme that echoed over and over was that when you start in business, you work on yourself.  But you become a leader when you start working on the development of others.  Congratulations to this tremendous group of DTbH GMs.  As life-long alums of this class, their leadership will continue to enhance their teams and the brand of DTbH!

2014 Graduation Class photo_crop_ w-Chris Nassetta


November 19, 2014 – Embassy Suites Graduation, McLean, Virginia

Ten enthusiastic Embassy Suites General Managers from Puerto Rico to North Carolina to Montreal graduated from the 2014 Circle of Leadership year-long program.  Their graduation speeches were worthy of inclusion on TEDTalk and their continued influence on the brand will make a difference for hundreds of team members and many thousands of guests. Congratulations to all!

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October 24, 2014 – MACOC Reception, Atlanta, Georgia

(photo courtesy of MACOC)

Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, moderated the “no holes barred” discussion with Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, and Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta, at the Metro Chamber of Commerce event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta.  The candid banter and authentic engagement with the business audience was electric. Persistence, transformative life experiences, and risk taking were the predominant themes in the lives of all three business leaders.

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October 14-16, 2014 – Hilton Global Owners Conference, Orlando, Florida

Over 2,000 owners of the 10 different Hilton brands gathered at Hilton Orlando to learn more about the exciting future of all current brands (Conrad, Waldorf, Hilton, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, Homewood 2, and Hilton Grand Vacations) and get introduced to the two new brands — Curio and Canopy.  Chris Nassetta, with his 4 global leaders plus the entire external speaker line-up, was stellar and the food and entertainment top notch.  Not surprising for the world’s largest and most iconic hotel brand.  Look for their 100th year-long Anniversary Celebration in 2019.

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August 27-28, 2014

The recent Hilton Executive Roundtable Retreat, Lessons from the Past…Inspiration for the Future, at Brumby Hall & Gardens in Marietta was indeed a success.  Brumby Hall, a beautiful pre-Civil War home, was built by Colonel Arnoldus Brumby in 1851. It is nestled next to the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel & Conference Center. Retreat attendees were inspired by the global head of Hilton Hotels and Resorts, received HBDI personal coaching, a riveting leadership lesson from Abraham Lincoln, flight instruction from FliteTest for their personal quadcopters, and the opportunity to fly a Delta jet simulator at the Delta Flight Museum.

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May 21, 2014 – Delta Air Museum. Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta, hosted a Chamber of Commerce reception at the new Delta Air Museum, scheduled to open to the public on June 16th.  It features a bona fide flight simulator where an instructor takes 4 “pilots” for a one hour ride and everyone gets to fly solo for 10 minutes.  The museum is housed in two 1940 hangars, features multiple flight exhibits, and is a great setting for team building and corporate events. www.deltamuseum.org.

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Bixler Blog …

June 8, 2016 – Houston, TX – NASA & The Johnson Space Center

Inspired in Houston at the Johnson Space Center.

Inspired in Houston at the Johnson Space Center.

In June, our team of Hilton General Managers participating in The Executive Roundtable™ program, had the unique opportunity to have a behind-the-scenes VIP experience at NASA and the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.

Inside the Space Center

Inside the Space Center

The group was exposed to the inspiration and innovation that is the core of the NASA mission.

Reclining seats for a long flight.

Reclining seats for a long flight.

The NASA Executive Retreat is a customized leadership experience that will expand thinking, innovation, and advance each executive’s ability to grow themselves and their team members.

The Apollo XIII Mission Patch

The Apollo XIII Mission Patch

The NASA perspectives on teamwork, problem solving,  innovation, and the technologies that were created at NASA and widely used in products today (cell phones, GPS, medical devices, solar power, etc.) illustrate the impact that NASA Space Missions have had on our economic growth.

With Astronaut TJ Creamer

With Astronaut TJ Creamer

Our NASA program provides a customized framework to develop these foundations of leadership through greater self-awareness, accountability, and teamwork.

March 30, 2016 – Atlanta, GA –  SHRM Pegasus Awards

Margaret Brake and Shelley Hammell, Senior Consultants at Bixler Consulting Group, were nominees  for the SHRM Atlanta Pegasus Awards.  Both were nominated as outstanding contributors to corporate leadership development.

MB SH at SHRM awards


February 4, 2016 –  Nashville, TN – LEAD2016 Awards

Two Bixler Consulting Group clients, McKesson Corporation and Hilton Worldwide, received top honors at the international LEAD2016 Leadership Excellence Awards for leadership programs developed by Bixler Consulting Group.

The LEAD2016 Awards from HR.com honor the best in global leadership development. To a standing ovation onstage at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, McKesson took first place for Best Team Development  and Hilton Worldwide took second place for Best Executive Coaching and fourth place for Best Experienced/Senior Leaders Program.  Margaret Brake, Shelley Hammell, and Susan Bixler joined McKesson and Hilton on stage to accept their awards.

McKesson WinLEAD Award - McKesson

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January 21, 2016 – Washington, DC – Hilton Executive Roundtable™

The Hilton Class of 2015 toured The White House, the Capitol, and had a group lunch with Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson in the Senate Dining Room.   It was a day to celebrate our U.S. heritage and gain a perspective on the last 250 years as we viewed portraits of presidents and first ladies and discussed great leadership, both past and present.

FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender (1)

Senate Dining Room Photo 1


January 19 & 20, 2016 – Washington, DC – Hilton Executive Roundtable™ Graduation

Ten top general managers graduated from the Hilton Executive Roundtable ™ in a full day of individual presentations on personal development, team growth, and business results.   Their 12-month program provided them with individual coaching, tools and ideas to bring back to their teams, a renewed commitment to personal goals, and a recognition that the best years are ahead.

FullSizeRender copy


January 4, 2016 – Kick-off Class for the Embassy Suites Circle of Leadership 2016

The Embassy Class of 2016 met together for the first time with their coach, Margaret Brake, to begin their 12-month journey.   As successful general managers from Embassy Suites around the country, they were invited to be a part of this customized leadership development that has been offered by the Embassy Suites brand since 2007.   Identifying key indicators in January, each general manager will be given group and individual coaching throughout the year, to improve team performance, increase business metrics, and grow personally and professionally.

FullSizeRender


December 9, 2015 – McLean Virginia – Doubletree by Hilton Circle of Leadership™ 2015

The Doubletree by Hilton Class of 2015 graduated with powerful individual presentations by each general manager on key metrics and personal growth.   CARE Cup winners were recognized as each member of the class aspired to develop a stronger culture. “You don’t inspire your teammates by showing them how amazing you are. You inspire them by showing them how amazing they are.”

FullSizeRender(8)


November 21,2015 – Atlanta Habitat for Humanity Dedication of a New Home

Every year 50+ Habitat homes are built in Atlanta by volunteers for hard working new homeowners. The effect on the families is both immediate and enduring.  They move into a brand new home and received homeowner education for one year. Their new homes are safe, beautiful, well built, personalized to their taste, and they have a 30 year, interest-free mortgage. The long-term effects are stronger neighborhoods, better schools, and a higher rate of children graduating from high school and college.

IMG_0215


November 19, 2015 – The Hilton Hotel in Cleveland: Under Construction

Teri Agosta, the GM for the new Hilton Hotel in Cleveland, will open for the Republican National Convention in July 2016 with a stunning hotel. The sleep rooms are exceptionally designed, the lake views are spectacular, and the convention space is state of the art.   It is right next to the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. This will be an icon in Cleveland for many years to come.

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November 11, 2015 – NYC Fast Company Innovation Festival

Serena Williams is interviewed by Bob Safian of Fast Company on her enduring and creative partnership with Nike. As a multi-faceted entrepreneur, Serena offered her thoughts on how “Pressure is a Privilege” and the struggles, failures, and growth she has experienced that made her stronger and more compassionate.  Her future plans include athletics, design, art, and more leadership responsibilities.

FullSizeRender(5)


November 10, 2015 – NYC Fast Company Innovation Festival

Gwyneth Paltrow shares her story of starting small, thinking big, and moving fast. She has become a resource for her many famous friends who are also starting their own businesses. The success of Goop is exponential as millions of readers benefit from the advice on her website, which has expanded into a full scale retail brand.

FullSizeRender(4)


November 09, 2015 – NYC Fast Company Innovation Festival

The iconic Union Square Cafe in New York City provided a site visit at the festival. The restaurant closes its doors after 25 years – but first provided a nostalgic tour by the General Manager. Danny Meyer has consistently had Union Square Cafe and 3 of his other restaurants listed in the Top 10 best NYC restaurants. Shake Shack went public last year and the franchise is growing.  As the Union Square Café relocates to a new spot in 2016, the magic of fine dining in a relaxed, friendly neighborhood environment will continue.

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October 29, 2015 – Metro Chamber Insights on Leadership – The Apple and ATT Partnership

Glenn Lurie, President and CEO of ATT Mobility, interviews the inventor of the App Store – Eddie Cue, SVP of Apple – to discuss their rocky partnership that ended up as a huge win for both companies. The friendship and the trust that developed between two very different entities twenty years ago created a partnership that has benefitted hundreds of millions of users worldwide. ATT was the first mobile company to partner their service with Apple which led to the creation of the App Store, one of the most remarkable business inventions in the 21st century.  The story of the ups and downs, Glenn sleeping in his car in the parking lot overnight to be the first one in the ATT office,  the initial enormous disparity in revenues and size between ATT and Apple, and the ultimate success of their vision has become legendary and a model for how to make big ideas happen.

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June, 2015 – Embassy Suites Circle of Leadership Mid-Year Retreat

The 2015 Embassy Suites Circle of Leadership Retreat, Leveraging Strengths Through the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument,  at Brumby Hall & Gardens in Marietta was hosted by Bixler Consulting Group for a select group of Embassy Suites General Managers.  The Circle of Leadership attendees received advanced HBDI leadership development from senior coach Margaret Brake and came away with ideas and inspiration to take home to their teams.  A terrific group, they represent some of the best Embassy Suites from California and Seattle to Charleston and Atlanta; from Chicago to Columbus, from Maryland to Tennessee to Texas!  We look forward to continuing leadership development with this GM group the rest of 2015 and graduating this inspired class in November.

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June, 2015 – DoubleTree by Hilton Circle of Leadership Mid-Year Retreat

The 2015 DoubleTree Circle of Leadership Retreat, Leveraging Strengths Through the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, at Brumby Hall & Gardens in Marietta was hosted by Bixler Consulting Group for a select group of DoubleTree General Managers.  Brumby Hall, a pre-Civil War landmark, was built by Colonel Arnoldus Brumby in 1851.  As an historic landmark, it is located next to the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel & Conference Center.

Retreat attendees received advanced HBDI leadership development from senior coach Margaret Brake, were given flight instruction from FliteTest for their personal quadcopters, and had an opportunity to fly a Delta jet simulator at the Delta Flight Museum.

This exceptional group of General Managers came away with ideas and inspiration to take home to their teams.

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June, 2015 – Hilton Executive Roundtable™ Retreat

The 2015 Hilton Executive Roundtable Retreat, Lessons from the Past…Inspiration for the Future, at Brumby Hall & Gardens in Marietta was hosted by Bixler Consulting Group for an exceptional group of Hilton General Managers.  Brumby Hall, a pre-Civil War landmark, was built by Colonel Arnoldus Brumby in 1851.   As an historic home, it is located next to the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel & Conference Center.

Retreat attendees were inspired by Rob Palleschi, Global Head of Hilton Hotels and Resorts, received advanced HBDI leadership development from senior coaches Margaret Brake and Lisa Dugan,  gained valuable insights on wealth and happiness from author David Geller, learned leadership lessons from Abraham Lincoln as told by Dr. Gene Griessman,  received flight instruction from FliteTest for their personal quadcopters, and had an opportunity to fly a Delta jet simulator at the Delta Flight Museum.

This dynamic group of General Managers experienced leadership in a new way that brought them closer together as a group and gave them new ideas and inspiration they could take home to their teams.

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May 17, 2015 – Millennials Raise $100,000 for Homeless Veterans and celebrate Memorial Day

The first annual Trinity Combine Decathlon was conceived and organized by 10 Atlanta Millennials with a goal to raise $100,000 to benefit homeless veterans at Trinity Community Ministries.  They met and surpassed this!   126 former professional but mostly non-professional athletes competed for bragging rights; more importantly they found a way to give back to veterans in need who gave so much for our country.  Trinity Community Ministries has helped over 1,000 homeless men since 1988.

Willis Reavis, a former homeless veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, competed in the Combine.  “The opposite of success isn’t failure because failure is part of success, but it’s quitting.”  Willis has reclaimed his life with a full time job and a bright future through the Trinity House residential program.

The Combine event included a 400-meter run, a football throw, a 40-yard dash, a 500-meter row, bench press, pull ups, dips, vertical jump, a 200-yard shuttle run and an 800-meter run.   Sponsors included RockTenn, Synovus, Ironwood Insurance, Bixler Consulting Group, Trader Joes, Lulu Lemon, Kind Bars, CrossFit 404, and King of Pops.

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January 21, 2015 – Hilton Graduation, McLean, Virginia

The 2014 class of Hilton General Managers recently graduated from the Hilton Executive Roundtable, a year-long leadership program provided by Bixler Consulting Group.  There were a host of luminaries in the audience, including Rob Palleschi, Global Head of Full Service Hilton. The presentations highlighted a variety of personal achievements and strong business results from this past year.  The theme that echoed over and over was that when you start in business, you work on yourself.  But you become a leader when you work on the development of others.  Congratulations to this dynamic group of Hilton GMs.  As life-long alumni of the class, their leadership will enhance their teams, the Hilton brand, and provide continued support of each other throughout their careers.

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February 3, 2015 – Lessons in Leadership featuring Steve Cannon, CEO, Mercedes-Benz USA 

Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, was warmly welcomed today to the Atlanta business community, which was recently chosen as the new national headquarters for the company.  Hala Moddelmog, President of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, led a lively discussion on how the father of 9 children successfully runs the U.S. business.   Following were my favorite take-aways.

What keeps him up at night – How to find and hire the best people.  “Great people have the natural inclination to build cultures of service and community in every department, at every location.  Culture is transportable, a movable feast.  It provides a huge benefit relative to the investment. I have studied culture and as an economics major, I know it provides the greatest ROI to an organization of anything that we can do to build the business.  ”   

His favorite non-profit –  Along with his class at West Point, Steve Cannon founded “Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.”  The foundation has provided 16,000 college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty.

His favorite book – Team of Rivals – A prize winning biography of Abraham Lincoln’s political genius in assembling a contentious but powerful cabinet. As Cannon hires 600 employees for his Atlanta management team, he is committed to building the most well-rounded team possible.

His strategy for Mercedes –  To sell the entry level Mercedes (which is almost the same price point as a loaded Ford Focus) to Milllenials and keep them as loyal Mercedes customers all their lives.  “We want to continue to provide one of the safest cars in the world and bring all the controls to the steering wheel, so that the driver never needs to look down at a display screen or let go of the wheel.” 

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December 10, 2014 – DoubleTree by Hilton Graduation, McLean, Virginia

The 2014 class of  the DTbH General Managers recently graduated from the Bixler Circle of Leadership year-long program with a host of luminaries in the audience, including Chris Nassetta, CEO of Hilton.  The five presentations highlighted a variety of personal achievements and strong business results from this past year.  The theme that echoed over and over was that when you start in business, you work on yourself.  But you become a leader when you start working on the development of others.  Congratulations to this tremendous group of DTbH GMs.  As life-long alums of this class, their leadership will continue to enhance their teams and the brand of DTbH!

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November 19, 2014 – Embassy Suites Graduation, McLean, Virginia

Ten enthusiastic Embassy Suites General Managers from Puerto Rico to North Carolina to Montreal graduated from the 2014 Circle of Leadership year-long program.  Their graduation speeches were worthy of inclusion on TEDTalk and their continued influence on the brand will make a difference for hundreds of team members and many thousands of guests. Congratulations to all!

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October 24, 2014 – MACOC Reception, Atlanta, Georgia

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Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, moderated the “no holes barred” discussion with Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, and Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta, at the Metro Chamber of Commerce event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta.  The candid banter and authentic engagement with the business audience was electric. Persistence, transformative life experiences, and risk taking were the predominant themes in the lives of all three business leaders.

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October 14-16, 2014 – Hilton Global Owners Conference, Orlando, Florida

Over 2,000 owners of the 10 different Hilton brands gathered at Hilton Orlando to learn more about the exciting future of all current brands (Conrad, Waldorf, Hilton, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, Homewood 2, and Hilton Grand Vacations) and get introduced to the two new brands — Curio and Canopy.  Chris Nassetta, with his 4 global leaders plus the entire external speaker line-up, was stellar and the food and entertainment top notch.  Not surprising for the world’s largest and most iconic hotel brand.  Look for their 100th year-long Anniversary Celebration in 2019.

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August 27-28, 2014

The recent Hilton Executive Roundtable Retreat, Lessons from the Past…Inspiration for the Future, at Brumby Hall & Gardens in Marietta was indeed a success.  Brumby Hall, a beautiful pre-Civil War home, was built by Colonel Arnoldus Brumby in 1851. It is nestled next to the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel & Conference Center. Retreat attendees were inspired by the global head of Hilton Hotels and Resorts, received HBDI personal coaching, a riveting leadership lesson from Abraham Lincoln, flight instruction from FliteTest for their personal quadcopters, and the opportunity to fly a Delta jet simulator at the Delta Flight Museum.

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May 21, 2014 – Delta Air Museum. Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta, hosted a Chamber of Commerce reception at the new Delta Air Museum, scheduled to open to the public on June 16th.  It features a bona fide flight simulator where an instructor takes 4 “pilots” for a one hour ride and everyone gets to fly solo for 10 minutes.  The museum is housed in two 1940 hangars, features multiple flight exhibits, and is a great setting for team building and corporate events. www.deltamuseum.org.

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