We had the good fortune of connecting with Steffi Kordy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Steffi, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I started my corporate event company, it was very important for me to include sustainability. I had already been working successfully in my field for 10+ years for another company, so I did not have to reinvent the wheel completely, but I wanted to make sure that with each event, I either integrate sustainable practices or give back to the people and places that were our backdrop. I guess you can say I added a topping, which is very important to me and makes me feel gratified. Fast forward to today, another 10 years later, I am serving as the Sustainability Champion on the board of SITE (Society of Incentive Travel Excellence), where I can further spread my passion and knowledge for social and environmental practices to others in my industry.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My company Cocoon Incentives is in the business of creating special events and unique travel experiences for corporate groups. Think about a major corporation inviting their top 50 performers to a very special trip, that has to wow even those, that have very deep pockets. So the idea is to create an itinerary and spice it up with elements that “money can’t buy”. Our clients come from all over the world, so you have to know what will “wow” them, because they have different expectations and backgrounds. An American might not be impressed with a rooftop dinner on a dowtown high-rise but might be intrigued by dinner on top of the Swiss Alps with alphorn and yodeler, which again for a Swiss might not be that special. It takes intercultural understanding paired with a profound destination knowledge to find the right locations, activities, hotels and to set the tone with a theme. Like a good Superbowl half time show, little is left to chance, you always have to have your A-Plan, but also Plan B and C. On the other hand, you have to be flexible enough to change things on the spot as you read your group. It makes me very proud to see when our participants had their time of their lives and are inspired, motivated and return to their home with memories to last a lifetime. What makes my company different from other event agencies is what I call the “EQ”, the emotional quotient to anticipate my groups interests and I gained this experience from living and working around the world for many years. I create a unique program for international groups coming to the U.S. and likewise am currently expanding our outbound business, where we are taking American groups to other countries, in particular to Europe, where my roots are. Of course, with the current pandemic situation that our world is facing, this will be a big challenge for the travel industry and mine in particular. Another distinguisher is my company’s focus on sustainable practices. While it has recently growing track in the industry, not many make it a priority to incorporate sustainable practices. It is my goal to make my clients have a great time, but also to make sure that we leave a positive impact on the people and places we visited.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would recommend them to stay at the 1Hotel in South Beach, which is my favorite hotel along the beach. We would have a drink on its gorgeous rooftop overlooking the ocean as the sun sinks behind the skyline of Miami. To give them a good overview of Miami, I would take them on a Jetski “around town” – there are not many places in the world, where a city tour by water makes more sense than on the road. We would ride a bike or rent a convertible and go to Key Biscayne. If my friend is into tennis, I would make arrangements to play inside the Crandon stadium – what a great experience to play where tennis legends from Serena Williams to Roger Federer have played, all for about 20 bucks an hour. We would move on to Bill Baggs State Park and its lighthouse and end the day with a drink at Rusty Pelican for a great view of Miami from the water. I would show them the Everglades by airboat, but also on kayak, which I find much more in line with nature as there is no noise and you truly see its wildlife. For food with a fabulous ambiance, I would take them to Juvia on Lincoln Road and for an after-dinner drink and music at Bodega.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents allowed me travel the world and always have a safe harbor just in case I would need it. This has given me strength, courage and the freedom to pursue my dreams. My husband supported me tremendously when I went from being employed to becoming a business entrepreneur. And along the way, too many people to mention shaped and sharpened my work skills, from previous co-workers to industry friends and even clients.