Because of our yearly performance, we were awarded a trip each year around March. In the mid 90’s, we met all of targets and were awarded a trip to Brazil in March of the following year. It was to be a week of fun and business in the resort of Buzios, 3-4 hours north of Rio de Janeiro via a private bus. The team consisted of all the country sales managers in the small products division in Latin America. We had people from Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. Buzios is famous because of Brigitte Bardot, who lived for an extended period of time in Buzios and brought fame and all the tourists to town. It went from being a small, quiet fishing village to being called the Saint Tropez of Brazil. Just because a famous star had stayed there and brought the town our of obscurity. The town is quaint, beautiful, with lost of beautiful beaches and far enough away from the big cities to be a weekend retreat for the rich and famous.
First, we met in Rio de Janeiro and held 2 days of meetings at one of the local hotels to review the results for the year and the plans for the next year. All in terms of sales of small machines such as personal copiers, printers and multifunction machines. After all the presentations and plans being shared, we packed up and took a bus to Buzios. Arrived late in the afternoon and settled in one of posadas by the sea. We could walk to town and the several beaches around the town. Each day, we had excursions and activities such as skin diving, parasailing, snorkelling, shopping, etc. At night, we would meet at one of the restaurants, eat and then spend the rest of the night at one of the local bars. It was the summer season and they showed films every night at the local square on a big screen in the open air. It was like seeing films on a drive-in without the cars. Everyone seems to walk in Buzios as everything is within reach. Our hotel was called the Casa Branca and the rooms were beautiful and seemed to face the main street and the water. The village is quaint and has beautiful facades and cobbled streets. Reminiscent of its past as a tranquil fishing town.
We had a great time enjoying the streets, the movies, the restaurants and bars, and the camaraderie developed over the week with teams members from all over South America. People whom we talked everyday but never got to see in person over a more relaxed setting. Thanks to those friendships and alliances developed during Buzios and beyond, we were able to achieve the best year ever in our International division in terms of sales, profit, and units sold. We actually opened new channels of selling in both Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. The friendships developed in Buzios helped us in overachieving our targets during the year and that is what allowed us to achieve the best year ever and the subsequent bonus trip. Going to Egypt for an all expenses paid trip of a lifetime. But that is for another story.