The Hawaiian Islands provided a picturesque setting for the seventh annual Lynette Owens & Associates (LOA) Insurance Advisory Board meeting. Attendees experienced first-class hotels and service at the Kapalua Bay Hotel & Villas on Maui and the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows on the Big Island, as well as during a post-meeting visit to Lanai's Manele Bay Hotel. Not only did attendees leave with a warm aloha spirit to take back with them, but they also gained knowledge from three compelling speakers.

The Millennium Bug: A Blessing in Disguise? The Y2K problem is actually the greatest sales and marketing opportunity of all time. That's the view of Tom Higgins, business development specialist for Denver, Colo.-based LOGIX Solutions Inc., which supplies Year 2000 services for Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies. "If Y2K causes major depressions in client or customer stock portfolios, customers and clients will be open to do business with new companies. And they are going to conduct their business with those that show the greatest leadership and do the best job at remediation," said Higgins. "Companies need to take advantage of this breakdown of customer loyalty. It's a golden opportunity for the first, second, and third groups [of companies] that figure out how to do this."

In Higgins' view, the year 2000 problem may end up being a blessing in disguise for those with a winning strategy. "Companies that are unprepared will experience total business disruptions," he said. "But those that are prepared will reap the benefits and reap market share."

What Will Happen? The possible scenarios for one minute after midnight, December 31, 1999, as Higgins sees them: nothing will happen or the whole world will shut down.

Higgins advocates preparing for the second scenario. "Even though Wall Street was tested last week and all went well, go cautiously with these kinds of signals," he said. "Contingency planning is the most critical thing that you can be doing."

Higgins told attendees that there is genuine concern about Y2K coming from great minds worldwide. "Edward Yar- deni, one of the world's top economists, believes that by the end of 1999, there is a 70 percent chance that we will be in a worldwide depression," explained Higgins. "The greatest risk lies in not making any decisions or plans for how to deal with Y2K."

According to Higgins, there are four options for Y2K solutions: replacing, reengineering, and remediating systems--or reallocating budget resources. "Replacing mainframes is pretty scary not just for the cost, but to successfully integrate new mainframes by the year 2000 is difficult. Reengineering is so time-intensive that that option has been virtually dismissed," said Higgins. "Remediation is what most firms are doing."

Reallocating resources, he said, isn't the most favorable option. It involves taking funds that have been set aside for non-Y2K related activities--such as introducing a new product or marketing to new customers--and reallocating these funds to pay for year 2000 costs. And in the worst-case scenario, reallocation could ultimately involve cutting jobs. "If a company has an operating division that is marginal that it has thought of selling or disbanding, it may have to terminate the division and use the funds to cover year 2000 expenses," said Higgins.

Then what exactly does the most viable option--remediation--involve? The first step is to identify what Higgins labels "mission-critical" systems. "If we didn't have automation, what would be critical manually to have in a company? Answer this question and you have mission-critical," said Higgins. Once a company identifies what is mission-critical, it should fix those systems first, in order of importance.

A New and Improved Product: YOU Brad Hirni, a professional speaker and adjunct professor of marketing at Webster University in Kansas City, Mo., revealed to advisory board attendees the Seven Keys to Mastering the Art of Networking. They are:

(1) Think of yourself as a product.

(2) Maintain a positive attitude and strong self-confidence.

(3) Have the courage and desire to establish new connections.

(4) Be useful to others as you seek information.

(5) Discipline yourself to think proactively about the information you need and want.

(6) Follow up on commitments made to others.

(7) Express "thank-yous" frequently.

According to Hirni, the greatest single personal trait that helps people sell themselves well is a positive attitude. "This influences every other trait," he said. "If you don't have a good attitude, you may not exhibit other traits that are necessary for networking."

Make a commitment to frequent social interaction, Hirni said. "Remember, connections are contagious!"

Take Charge of Your Life The title of speaker W. Mitchell's new book, It's Not What Happens to You, It's What You Do About It, is also his philosophy on life. Mitchell shared that philosophy with attendees and their families at the LOA advisory board's closing session, giving a moving speech that encouraged all present--including chil- dren--to take charge of their lives.

Mitchell, badly burned after a motorcycle accident and confined to a wheelchair after a subsequent airplane crash, first asked attendees if they had ever been in prison. Nobody had. He continued: "I have. This wheelchair was once a prison for me. It was as effective as any bricks or bars. This unusual appearance was once a prison for me. Schools, jobs, and relationships were all once a prison for me," he said. "Now, is there not one of us that has never been in prison?"

Attendees were immediately drawn into Mitchell's story of how to cope and even prosper with personal and professional change. Mitchell used his motorcycle accident as his first example. He talked about saving up for a new bike and christening it, excited and feeling like the master of his own fate, on the streets of San Francisco. "What I was not thinking about that day was the laundry truck that was going to smash into me," said Mitchell. "In a split second, I became a human bonfire. I burned and burned until one person took a fire extinguisher and put out the flames.

"Anyone has the power to take action," he said of that person. "Do what you can with what you have, where you are."

The accident taught him about taking responsibility for change. "I didn't wake up until two weeks later, and the medical procedures were 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Mitchell said. "When my doctor asked me what procedures I wanted stopped and what I wanted changed, he allowed me to take responsibility for what had happened. In that moment, I think, the doctor gave me back my life."

Mitchell explained that responsibility does not involve blame, fault, or guilt. He talked about how he could have spent his days blaming the driver of that truck. "But the word 'responsibility' means the ability each of us has to respond," said Mitchell. "What you focus on in life is what you get back. What you think about is what you become."

Two years after the accident, Mitchell moved and started a new life for himself in Crested Butte, Colo. Then, when a plane crash took away his ability to walk just two and a half years after the move, Mitchell didn't allow his wheelchair to become a "prison." Instead, he prospered, serving two terms as mayor of Crested Butte. "Today this wheelchair has taken me to speak to presidents and parliaments. It made me realize that it's not what happens to you, it's what you do about it."

Member Property News The Windsor Court Hotel, New Orleans--Charles A. Magill, Jr., Director of Sales & Marketing As an Orient-Express hotel, Windsor Court continues to uphold the traditions of its prestigious company. The hotel's Grill Room restaurant won the 1998 Mobil Five Star Award, one of only 14 Mobil Five Star restaurants in the U.S. Windsor Court is also a AAA Five-Diamond hotel for the 12th year in a row. A $5 million refurbishment of walls, furniture, drapes, and carpets has begun and will continue into 1999.

Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, Calif.--J. Thomas Baker, Director of Sales Under the ownership of Destination Hotels & Resorts since September 1997, this legendary 109-year-old hotel will undergo $50 million worth of capital improvements to enhance the quality of guest rooms, meeting space, and public areas over the next five years. A refurbishing of the ocean towers--with $15,000 dedicated to each room--was recently completed, and renovations of guest rooms in the poolside building are slated for completion by the end of December. Renovations of all meeting space were completed in September, and 1999 will bring new furnishings to the hotel's Victorian building.

The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, Big Island of Hawaii--Laurie Jo Rogers, National Sales Manager The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows recently contracted with PowerLight Corporation to become the first hotel in Hawaii to be powered by commercial-scale solar electric energy. The Power Light PV system will cover 10,000 square feet of the hotel's rooftop, and over its life will displace some 14,500 barrels of oil that would otherwise be burned to generate the electricity necessary to operate the 350-room hotel. The solar plan is not the only environmental project at the Mauna Lani. The AAA Five Diamond property nurtures Hawaiian green sea turtles in its saltwater ponds, then tags and releases these endangered animals every July 4 on "Turtle Independence Day."

Lana'i Resort Partners--Todd Winston, Director of Sales World-class golf is a favorite sport at the seaside Manele Bay Hotel and the upcountry Lodge at Koele. Based on speed of play, level of service, accommodations, food, and other activities, Conde Nast Traveler readers named The Lodge number one among the Top 50 Golf Resorts in the World. Manele Bay captured the number-three spot. New this year is a Tee Time package that includes unlimited play on both resort courses, The Challenge and The Experience.

Halekulani/Waikiki Parc/Kapalua Bay Hotel & Villas--Janet Kato White, Director of Sales To mark its 15th anniversary, Halekulani is offering a Gracious Meeting Program through December 25. Available to groups of 15 or more (minimum two-night stay), the package includes continental breakfast, working lunch, complimentary meeting room, and specially priced ocean-view rooms. The Kapalua Bay Hotel & Villas features new bathrooms with spacious soaking tubs, dual vanities with granite counters, and new mirrors and lighting.

The Breakers, Palm Beach, Fla.--Jim Mostad, National Sales Manager A new oceanfront conference center, spa, and beach club will be completed at The Breakers by early 1999. The $25 million expansion--including a 15,000-square-foot ballroom, 8,000 square feet of prefunction space, five boardrooms, and a new banquet kitchen--is the final phase of a seven-year, $100 million revitalization. A $75 million face-lift to rooms, corridors, restaurants, lounges, and retail offerings was completed recently.

Monterey Plaza, Monterey, Calif.--Mike Boyer, Director of Sales and Marketing Monterey Plaza is adding a new floor, and in January 1999 a full-service European health spa and three luxury suites will open on the new fifth story. At 10,000 square feet, the health spa will include two outdoor Jacuzzi tubs and a fireplace deck. The suites (the largest planned at 2,400 square feet) will have ocean views from their outdoor decks. The project will cost the hotel more than $4 million.

The Inn at Bay Harbor, Bay Harbor, Mich.--Michael Choiniere, Director of Sales and Marketing A gracious new Boyne USA resort opens in November in northern Michigan. The five-star, 300-room Inn at Bay Harbor will offer 30,000 square feet of meeting space and the Bay Harbor Golf Club, with 45 holes along the bluffs and granite shore of Lake Michigan. Also available: The Bay Harbor Yacht Club and an equestrian club.

Continental Airlines--Linda Ferguson, Meeting Sales Manager Continental's fleet now features The Next Generation 737s. The 737-700, which seats 124 passengers, and the 737-800, seating 155, have recently been added. Scheduled for completion in the year 2000 is the 737-900, which will seat 170 passengers. October also brings 14 new Boeing 777s. New destinations for Continental this year: Santiago, Chile; Glasgow, Scotland; and Shannon and Dublin, Ireland. Also new: a direct flight from Newark, N.J., to Honolulu.*

After 10 years of marketing a select group of hotels to the life insurance industry, Lynette Owens & Associates (LOA) recently expanded into meeting management services. In order to facilitate this expansion, LOA member supplier Karin Alderton-Kilburg, owner of the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based event production company Set Solutions, has joined LOA as director of operations.

LOA's goal is to help clients with limited or no in-house meeting management personnel. The company plans to work as an extension of its clients' staff and assist with all phases of meeting planning and execution--from general session production to ground transportation.

"We work directly with the contact person within the company to help them plan all aspects of the meeting while we do all the leg work on behalf of the company meeting planner," says LOA president Lynette Owens. "We also can submit suggestions based on our wide range of experience--such as proven speakers, appropriate teambuilding events, menus, and themes--that will greatly enhance their programs."

LOA will offer meeting clients detailed spreadsheets of costs and a calendar of important deadlines. The company also will provide an on-site registration team and has a travel staff available around the clock. "We are confident that this new service will enhance the meeting experience of our clients," says Owens.

Also new to the LOA team is Pam Carpenter, regional sales director, who will be based in Orlando and serve East Coast accounts. She had held sales management positions at several Orlando area attractions before joining LOA.