Marina del Rey: Landside and Waterside Shenanigans!

Thursday, May 12 was the final Leadership Academy session before our class graduates on June 10 at the annual Installation Dinner Gala! This last session was a wonderful ending to the entire Leadership Academy experience; for the past seven months we’ve come together once a month to learn more about our surrounding community—both its history and future—and the leaders that help it succeed each day. Yesterday we were treated to the inner workings of doing business in beautiful Marina del Rey.


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Tony P’s Dockside Grill in Marina del Rey


Our day started off with a light breakfast at LAX Coastal Chamber member Tony P’s Dockside Grill in Marina del Rey. Tony Palermo, co-owner, was gracious enough to open his restaurant early to accommodate us—thank you Tony! Our first presenter was Gary Jones of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors. Gary spoke about the improvements and renovations that are underway in Marina del Rey and the future of the area. Because Marina del Rey is an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County, it is the County that is responsible for maintaining the Marina and providing leases to business owners, and it was interesting to learn that there are a variety of issues that are specific to Marina del Rey. Questions were asked about the renovation of Fisherman’s Village, the number of slips for boats in the harbor, and the level copper in the water, and Gary did his best to answer them all.

After Gary’s presentation, our moderator Kevin Walsh took over and had us discuss causes of stress and management, changes in the work place, and the role leaders have in their organization. Quick conversation topics, right? Kevin must’ve had a plan because everything seemed to come full circle since the very first session.

When conflict arises in the workplace, two questions that people often find themselves asking are “Why are they doing that?” and “Why don’t people think like me?” When dealing with conflict and making decisions, it is important to remember both sides of the situation. Employers and employees often think differently, so we were given paperwork with different phrases (such as “Job Security,” “Good Wages,” and “Appreciation For My Work”) and told to order them by importance. After we compared our own results, Kevin showed us the results from a worldwide study. Did you know that employers believe that employees most value good wages? When in reality, it is work appreciation and a feeling of comraderie that employees feel come out on top. In fact, check out what the company Chobani did recently, I bet those people felt included! Kevin reminded us that we are all importance pieces of a system and it takes a good deal of communication and empathy to find the perfect balance.


Dusk v iew from Villa del Mar Apartments & Marina


Next up, we had the pleasure of hearing from two Marina del Rey lessees themselves: Tony Palermo of Tony P’s Dockside Grill and Kelly King of Villa Del Mar Apartments and Marina. This writer’s favorite moment was when both gentlemen spoke about doing business in Marina del Rey. As previously mentioned, because of its unincorporated status, Marina del Rey is under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County. This means that any renovations or changes that business owners want to make need to be approved by the County board. Simple things like color schemes, new equipment, even vending machines—the county needs to be notified. Needless to say, this makes for quite a complex and interesting relationship between the two groups. Tony did mention that although hoops need to be jumped through at times, there is no other place like Marina del Rey, and he is happy to be there.


Leadership Academy participants aboard a Hornblower yacht


We ended the day with a harbor tour provided by Hornblower Cruises & Events. This was a wonderful time; we had cocktails, we chatted, and we even saw some California sea lions. It was a nice and quiet moment to bond together before the real party on June 10, when we will “Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!”*

If you are looking to support this year’s graduating class (or are a part of!), please join us at this year’s Installation Dinner Gala, June 10 at the Marina del Rey Marriott. Tickets are selling quickly, and we always sell out every year, so make sure to reserve your spot today!


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And as always, if you would like to ask more questions about how to participate in Leadership Academy yourself, let us know and we will make sure to invite you next year.

*Let the good times roll!

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