The top dealers and thought leaders of the automotive industry spent an evening rubbing elbows with tony bennett and his closest friends as guests of his 85th birthday party dinner concert. The glamorous, star-studded concert was part of the automotive leadership roundtable (ALR), a high-impact 24 hour event that featured vip entertainment and presentations from some of the brightest minds in the automotive industry.
The ALR 2011 Fall Series kicked off on Sunday, September 18th, with Tony Bennett's 85th Birthday Party Dinner Concert at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City's Lincoln Center. The concert was chaired by President Bill Clinton and hosted by Alec Baldwin, with featured performances by Elton John, Aretha Franklin and Alejandro Sanz. Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, Katie Couric, Regis Philbin, Richard Gere, Harry Belafonte, and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton also attended along with other celebrity guests. All ALR attendees, including Bill Underriner, incoming chairman of NADA, and Mr. Yoshimi Inaba, President of Toyota, were invited to celebrate with Bennett and his wife, Susan, during the birthday concert that benefited the Exploring the Arts Foundation.
The next day, attendees gathered for the Roundtable in the penthouse ballroom of the Le Parker Meridien Hotel with 360-degree views of Central Park and Manhattan. The Roundtable featured presentations by motivational speakers and industry thought leaders who shared their best practices, including Underriner, President of Underriner Motors; Keith Watts of Facebook; Jim Dunn, Vice President of JM Lexus, the #1 selling Lexus dealership; Jack Jackintelle, President & COO of Rick Case Automotive; Courtney Cole, owner of Hare Chevrolet; Bill Holiber, President & CEO of the New York Daily News; Joni Flynn of American Honda Company; Brett David, CEO of Prestige Imports, the #1 selling Audi dealership; and Hagen Durant of Classic Chevrolet, the #1 selling Chevrolet dealership. Following the Roundtable presentations, attendees were transported to Paragon Honda in Woodside. Vice President and General Manager Brian Benstock led a tour of the facilities, sharing his best practices for growing Paragon Honda into the world's top Honda dealer. The 2011 Fall Series was the second of two annual events hosted by the ALR organization, which gathers and connects the industry's best and brightest leaders. It's through a series of Automotive Leadership experiences that the country's #1 selling dealers, top OEM executives, and industry pioneers come together to learn and share with some of the top automotive thought leaders in an intimate and interactive environment. Other notable speakers of the past include Chip Perry of Autotrader; Dale Pollack of vAuto; Grant Cardone, sales expert and author; Stephen Croix of Sony Ericsson, the leading mobile provider in North and Latin America; and the Bryan Brothers, the #1 tennis team now and in history. The event has become the industry's most powerful think tank to date.
Last March, an elite group of top performing dealers, including the #1 top selling dealers from each brand, top OEM executives and other industry thought leaders, were invited to participate in this exclusive, By Invitation Only event that included a private five-star Awards Dinner at the world-famous Versace Mansion. When guests arrived on Monday, March 21st, they attended a star-studded pool deck party with industry leaders, celebrities and professional tennis players. The party was held at the prestigious ICON Brickell, designed by the legendary Philippe Starck, featuring an incredible dinner and decadent desserts, and live entertainment from Grammy-winning artists including singer/songwriter James Slater, The Big Bounce, Melky Jean, and the Bryan Brothers. At the party, ALR attendees interacted with some the world's top performing tennis players who were in town to compete in the annual Sony Ericsson Open, including James Blake, Fernando Verdasco, and Robin Soderling, among others. "It was the best industry event I've been to," said Sam Slaughter, owner of Bob Sellers Buick GMC, the nation's #1 Buick dealership.
On Tuesday, March 22nd, the attendees gathered for the Automotive Leadership Roundtable and a day of learning and networking. During the Roundtable, the industry's top dealers and thought leaders exchanged best practices for growing their businesses while building lasting relationships. Among the speakers were Chip Perry, CEO of Autotrader; Dale Pollak, founder of vAuto; Brian Benstock of Paragon Honda and Acura, the #1 selling Honda and Acura dealer in the world; sales expert and author Grant Cardone; Stephan Croix of Sony Ericsson, the number one mobile provider of North and Latin America; and Sean Wolfington of Tier10 Marketing, among others. Together with James Slater, the Bryan Brothers gave a surprise performance during the Roundtable after their father and motivational speaker, Wayne Bryan, shared the inspiring story of how his twin boys became the #1 tennis team in history, professional musicians and Ivy league college graduates. "I was blown away by all of the information we received," says Jim Dunn, vice president at JM Lexus, the world's top selling Lexus dealership. "There were a lot of heavy hitters here and people I respect in the business." Following the Roundtable, the attendees proceeded to the world-renowned Versace Mansion in South Beach for a highly extravagant five-star Awards Dinner to celebrate the accomplishments of the #1 dealers of each brand.
The dinner featured live entertainment from one of Miami's most sought after Cuban bands, a succulent gourmet dinner and desserts spread, an authentic Cuban cigar roller, a celebratory toast with Louis XIII cognac, and other treats. Guests had access to the entire villa throughout the evening, from its lavish historical suites designed by Gianni Versace for guests like Madonna and Elton John, to the rooftop terrace, Moroccan Room, and the famous Versace Lounge. "I've got 25 years in the business," said Ken Hicks, general manager of Westchester Acura. "It was an enlightening day, and it just shows that every day you can learn something new. And the awards dinner was first class – a great example of how we should be treating our clients."
The next Automotive Leadership Roundtable & Awards will be
hosted on March 19th and 20th in Miami Beach for the primary purpose of
recognizing the #1 dealers in every franchise
at the Awards Dinner on the evening of the 20th. In keeping with the tradition
of ALR events, attendees will gather to share their best practices for growing
thriving businesses and will
celebrate their accomplishments with another memorable evening at the Versace
Mansion. After arriving on Monday, March 19th, invited guests will attend Tony
Bennett's dinner concert
featuring Grammy-winning artists and other special guests at the Vizcaya Museum
& Gardens, the Italian Renaissance-style villa and formal gardens built
in 1916 as the winter residence
of industrialist James Deering. On Tuesday, March 20th, attendees of the
Roundtable will experience a unique learning and networking opportunity as they
exchange best practices
along with other thought leaders that include Doug Frisbie of Facebook; Cesar Conde, President of Univision; Bill Underriner, incoming Chairman of NADA; the Bryan Brothers; and all of the top dealers who attend. The Roundtable will be followed by another highly anticipated dining experience at the Versace Mansion. Attendees will receive the "Automotive Leaders" annual coffee-table book which includes the best practices and strategies of the #1 selling dealers by brand, and leaders in other industries, including LeBron James and Steve Wynn. Participants are also given access to the Automotive Leadership Network (ALN), a password-protected online network where the #1 dealers and industry thought leaders share best practices, articles and videos highlighting cutting edge practices and industry trends to provide leading dealers with the information they need to manage and grow their businesses.
Once RSVPs for this year's event are closed, a select group of tickets will be open to dealers on a first come, first serve basis, with access to the Tony Bennett dinner concert and the next day's Roundtable meeting, which will deliver extraordinary networking and social experiences. The organization will announce any extra space available on its website. The Awards Dinner event, however, is By Invitation Only due to capacity restrictions of the Versace Mansion's al fresco dining space, which seats 200 alongside the 10,000 Mosaic pool that is lined in 24k gold. The Versace Mansion is Ocean Drive's most infamous residence and the former home of Italian designer, Gianni Versace, who restored the historic home to its original glory.
"It is the Oscars of the auto industry," said Grant Cardone.
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