Under30CEO was on the scene as the most dynamic group of young movers and shakers came together in Miami at the Ritz Carlton for a business retreat like none other. Summit Series was a jam packed weekend full of skydiving, Amazing Race style scavenger hunts, discussions on taking your company public and making a difference and of course private parties at the most glamorous South Beach night spots. Attendees had the opportunity to bond in a relaxed setting forming close ties with friends instead of stuffy networking sessions. With an average age of 29, Summit Series members were able to relate to each other easily; everyone was open and approachable looking to have a blast in Miami.
Movers and Shakers
It seemed everyone in attendance was taking an industry and flipping it on their head. Technological innovators in print, television, music, automobiles, and healthcare were all present. Attendees were hand selected by the Summit Series Team led by Elliot Bisnow. Two elements were taken into consideration: 1. Is the person doing something amazing and 2. If the person did not have fame or money would Summit Series members want to be their friend? This created a remarkable atmosphere with people talking about everything from heli-skiing 3x a week to how to control rampant speculation on Wall Street.
Mornings started off with body and mind workouts among peers—what better way to get to know each other then sweating it out doing military line sprints up and down South Beach? Camera crews were on the scene snapping photos as professional soccer player and founder of Green Laces Natalie Spilger ran through the agility ladder in the sand. If you weren’t interested in the bootcamp sponsored by Gillette, meditation or yoga led by one of the world’s premier Ashtanga Yoga masters were also available as waves crashed nearby.
Friday started off with a bang as 200+ young entrepreneurs scrambled across Miami on a scavenger hunt, competitors had the task of getting an owner of an exotic car to let them in the front seat, posing with a model and finding a piece of Versace’s personal art collection. Contestants traveled on foot and via taxi cab, using GPS enabled smart phones, and emailing their pictures to the judges for more clues to the position of where the Summit Series had buried one of their own alive. These tasks set the tone for the weekend creating an environment of problem solving team building in the sun.
Afternoon sessions were led by individuals who had conquered their industries. Speaking topics included “Creating a Hit Series,” by Tony Disanto, President of Programming at MTV and Noa Tishby Producer of HBO hit series In Treatment or a discussion on Branding by Drew Slaven Brand Manager of Mercedes Benz. Everything was open forum instead of lecture based; there were no teacher/student relationships here, as it was discussions among peers. With some of the brightest minds in the world in the room, sessions were fast paced and energetic and the experienced innovators debated the ways in which the world was changing.
Creating Social Good
The theme of the event seemed to be both doing good work and doing good. “That is your tweet” joked Yosi Sergant as he told his story of creating the Obama Hope initiative and creating a global phenomenon. Yosi explained how when he was only doing good work for money his “soul rotted.” After hearing the young men and women talk about their efforts trying to solve problems like suicide, the war in the Uganda, and child abuse, the consensus was that “there is way more to life than $18 cocktails” as Scott Harrison of Charity Water said.
Speaking of cocktails, the completely transparent Summit Series gave CEOs a chance to kickback and relax at some of South Beach’s finest night spots. Friday nights party was presented by GQ at the Temple House, South Beach’s largest private home now owned by entrepreneur Daniel Davidson. Mr. Davidson had pictures on his phone of photo shoots with everyone from Jay-Z to Playboy Bunnies. Everything was walking distance from the Ritz Carlton in South Beach; the three brand new Mercedes Benz parked outside with “Official Vehicle of 2009 Summit Series” stamped on the side were not needed. Lunches were held at local restaurants with the tab picked up by Summit Series, night clubs were just a few blocks away and of course the suites were all overlooking the beach.
The final discussion session on Saturday was called “The Next Big Thing” where 25 of the world’s brightest minds pitched for 3 minutes each something that they believed was the way of the future. Pitches included stories of children being used as human shields in the war in the Congo by Falling Whistles’ Sean Carasso and better doctor patient relationships in the health care industry using social media by Aaron Blackledge. People were truly looking to change the world with every pitch concluding with a call to action to their new friends.
The young leaders came away from the Summit with both new friends and open minds. The Summit Series gave individuals exposure to new industries, initiatives that many attendees would not ordinarily get to hear about operating in their own niche. After the weekend Summit Series members will be keeping in touch via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, collaborating virtually and socializing in their cities of origin. A list of Summit Series members active on Twitter can be found here http://bit.ly/31j8Ml or visit http://summitseries.com for more information.
Author Matt Wilson is co-founder of Under30CEO and a member of the Summit Series. Find him on Twitter @MattWilsontv