Lagniappe – a very fraternal word
January 4, 2012New Orleans – the host city for the 2012 Alliance Annual Meeting – has a wonderful custom known as “lagniappe,” which roughly translates as “a little something extra.” In almost every restaurant, you’ll be served a small appetizer or a dessert – something you didn’t order and that wasn’t even on the menu – as an expression of this city’s passion for life and love of good times. Lagniappe is a very fraternal word. Ideally, we offer our members “a little something extra” that represents the difference between us and every other financial services provider. What’s your society’s lagniappe – and do you show it to your members in the ways as tangible as a restaurant in the French Quarter? A heartfelt (but not heart healthy) thank you… Let me start the New Year by saying thank you to all those members who sent the Alliance staff more than a little “lagniappe” over the past few weeks. Our cupboards and freezer are full of goodies that will likely last until at least Valentine’s Day. Your gifts have had a profound impact on all of us. Not only are we humbled by your generosity, but our collective cholesterol and blood sugar levels have placed the entire staff on American Medical Association’s “watch list” and resulted in a 25% increase in our health insurance premiums. But rest assured that these disturbing medical issues are not stopping anyone from grabbing just one more cookie, praline, or chocolate truffle – on the way to the gym, of course. And speaking of pralines… Last week I had the opportunity to conduct a site inspection of the Alliance’s new 2012 Annual Meeting headquarters hotel – the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans – and let me tell you “upgrade” does not convey the experience that this year’s meeting participants will enjoy. Remember, the meeting is now scheduled from September 6-8, 2012. I sure hope those dates make it more convenient for you to attend, because this is one Annual Meeting you won’t want to miss. Consider this: • How many chances do you get to stay at a Ritz-Carlton for $149 per night? You can afford to bring an additional member of your staff at these prices! Unlike most meetings held in big convention hotels where you are competing for space with other groups, the Ritz-Carlton is a more intimate hotel and the Alliance will be the only large group meeting there in early September. And the hotel location just can’t be beat. Within a few minutes’ walk you can browse for antiques on Royal Street, watch the riverboat traffic on the Mississippi, eat the world’s most delicious (and ridiculously affordable) oysters at Acme Oyster House, or get into God-knows-what-kind-of-trouble on Bourbon Street. • The program is going to be a blockbuster. Just two months before Election Day, James Carville and Mary Matalin will provide their unique – and often diametrically opposed – insights into what individual and what party will be running things in 2013. And, Jimmy Travis, our Saturday evening entertainer, will leave you laughing all the way to the airport on Sunday. We’ll be firming up an extra-special variety of general session and workshop speakers over the coming months and will keep you posted as the program takes shape. You can count on an educational program that will advance both your personal growth goals and boost your society’s bottom line. • There is just no place like New Orleans. There is music on every corner and magic in the streets. Its history combines equal amounts of piracy, royalty, political intrigue, and promiscuity. Nowhere is there such a collection of dreamers, artists, charlatans, gourmets, and hucksters. It’s crazy, but it works. You’ve just got to see it to believe it – especially if you haven’t been there since Katrina. The Alliance’s Annual Meeting provides a great opportunity to experience it – with a little “lagniappe” on the side! What topics would you like to see covered at this year’s Annual Meeting? Post your ideas here, or click here to submit your proposal for a workshop.