Living and Working Together: 5 Tips for Couples Who Do It!

R & B

So Here’s the disclaimer:  We purchased a Bed and Breakfast Inn Together before Marrying over 24 years ago,  but it hasn’t always been harmonious.  In fact, when we first met, we owned competing Inns in the same Town, Cape May, New Jersey.  Barry would say his inn was better.  I would dispute otherwise.  Over the years, we have owned and operated hotels, restaurants and retail businesses together and have lived to see another day,  in fact, many of them (24 Years Together).  In this article, here are our top 5 tips for couples who work and live together.

  1. State of the Union Marriage Retreat.  Each year on our calendar we schedule an annual, State of our Marriage Retreat.  Objective:  To create an independent and then joint 10, 10 and 10 lists.  (10 things we want to be, have and do).  It’s our way of honouring our individual preferences and supporting joint aspirations and dreams. For example: there’s no way I’m playing bridge and no way Barry will attend every Creativity Retreat. We have also used these retreats to tackle business and life challenges using (Creative Problem Solving) and plan life transitions and next chapters.
  2. Divide and Conquer: It became clear when we purchased our first inn together that we had different ways of doing things.  Our answer was “Divide and Conquer”.  I was in charge for weekend breakfast and Barry was in charge during the weekday.   Regardless of your desire to do everything together, our theory is there has to be one person on point with independent responsibility or you trip over each other.
  3. Have a Code Word: Staff and clients pick up on conflict.  Have a polite code-word that you can use when others are around (staff or employees) to indicate a need for a side conversation when you disagree.  I heard today of one couple,  who simply apply the salutation Mrs. or Mr. where there might be some disagreement on stated protocol.  Barry and I use “Mr. Bucky”. Our beloved, 4 legged friend as a sign for a needed sidebar.
  4. You are each other’s most important customer. This is the tough one Consider each other as your most important customer or executive. If truly you consider your partnership/marriage a priority, treating each other with TISP (Trusted, Important, Special and Pleased) will serve you and your business well.
  5. Remember your Because:  Literally, the very reasons you decided to both work and live together can get lost in the sauce of day to day business and life challenges. Remember your Because of both living and working together.

Rosemary Rein, is an Author and YPO/ Meeting and Leadership/Innovation Facilitator based out of San Francisco, California and Cuenca, Ecuador.  YPO Retreats and Rosemary Rein




5 Ways to be an Undercover Boss without the Reality Show


5 Leadership Touch Points to Stay In Touch!

I always have tissues when I watch an episode of  “Undercover Boss ” where there is  a top executive going undercover,  to experience what  life is really like for their employees and customers.  During the series, there is usually a “Moment of Truth” where the Boss experiences some good, bad or ugly first hand and makes a decision to make it right or reward an exceptional employee.  There’s also occasionally a bad apple that tells the story of a bad management or customer experience.

However CEO’s and Senior Leaders  need not wear a  disguise to listen to the  heartbeat of staff and customers. Here’s 5 CEO touch points that will keep you out of  your Ivory Tower and into the head and heart of your  customers and employees:

  1.  Greet all New Hires:  Recently I observed a CEO who  despite a frantic schedule, makes time to speak at every class of new leaders regarding the company’s guiding principles. Another CEO insisting on leading the 2-day class of high potential leaders.  First impressions are important and when they come from the top, even more so.
  2.  5 Calls/5 Emails: Ideally you might  be able to actually provide customer support by taking and handling  5 calls, handling 5 email or social media inquiries.  But if not, at least take time to monitor this touch-point.  You would be surprised at the problems and solutions you would otherwise not discover. The creators of Air B & B and Uber actually stand behind their product by providing rides and hosting.
  3.  Host Town Halls/Lunches: Transparency and willingness of the CEO to have a conversation with staff and answer questions is important to staying in touch.   Select a format that works best for you and your organization via either a quarterly town hall or lunches with random employees once a month.   Provide a means for employees and customers to write you with questions and recommendations.
  4.  Walk with not past your staff:  I once worked in a Global Headquarters, where a CEO walked right past organization staff without a  smile or greeting as though they were invisible.  If your organization is  at all about service and accessibility, make sure you don’t carry an  “Emperor without Clothes” demeanor.
  5.  Celebrate:  At all levels of management as in life, we tend to focus on the next goal or challenge vs celebration of what has been accomplished. Don’t miss an opportunity to celebrate achievements and what’s right vs what’s wrong with this picture.

About the Author: This article may be reprinted with attribution.

Rosemary Rein is an Author and Keynote Speaker and Facilitator on Leadership and Innovation.  Rosemary hosts Leadership and Executive Team Retreats near her home in Napa Valley, California and at exotic retreat destinations around the world.





Nod to Napa Valley for Executive Retreat

We are thrilled to have our major hub for Executive Retreats located in beautiful Napa Valley, California.

Here are 10 reasons why Napa makes an ideal destination for YPO, EO and Senior Team Retreats:

  1. Silicon Valley Innovation.  Napa Valley makes for an exciting day and overnight executive retreat destination from San Francisco Bay and the mecca of innovation.
  2. Private and Boutique Hotels offers a range of options to custom design the meeting and lodging accommodation.
  3. Up, Up and Away
  4. Foodies Delight
  5. The Fruit of the Gods 
  6. The Nature of Inspiration 



What’s Next? Navigating Tsunamis of Business and Life

What's next

In working with CEO’s and Executive Leaders, a question that often comes up is “What’s Next?”

Transition and new chapters  can kind of creep up on you “we know the kids will be gone in 2 years” or they can fall from the sky without warning,  “We’re right-sizing and your job has been eliminated”

So how to navigate the Tsunamis of Business and Life?  

Here are  5 tips from my audio book published by Career Track/Park University,  Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life that may help :

  1. Awareness:  What are 5 things you want to be, have and do in the next 1 – 5 years? You will need a total of 15 index cards (5 for each of these 3 questions) for this reflection.  My husband and I  have  a state of the marriage retreat each year  where we complete this 5, 5 and 5 card sort separately and then over a glass of wine, share our common goals and differences.  Note: There is no way he will be attending every  creativity retreat and for sure I won’t be playing bridge, but we are aware of our own and each other’s aspirations. Be aware of your own dreams and aspirations and those most important to you.
  2. Adaptability: Curb your  enthusiasm!   Transitions are about change and that includes comfort with the ambiguity  of not knowing.  Caution for planners and over- achieving leaders:  Use the power of the pause. How often have you made a choice because something came up verses planning and waiting for the right opportunity?
  3. Skill:  The Power of Creative Problem Solving  What I love about CPS  (Creative Problem Solving) is the separation of divergent and convergent thinking.  Before settling in on a specific job, career or life choice begin by asking yourself an expansive question:  “In what ways might I… (filling in your aspirations).  Here’s an example:  “In what ways might I make the most, work the least and spend maximum time with my family?”  The only  rule in divergent thinking  is that rule of initially deferring judgement on any idea as you seek to generate the longest list possible including wild ideas!  Don’t worry:  Step 2 convergent thinking allows time for  review and ranking of  those expansive ideas,  based on criteria that  you define that will help  you make those right business and life choices.
  4. Conservation of Energy:  Consider  A  “Year of NO”  A top executive known for doing it all  told me their greatest breakthrough was designating a “Year of No” so they could focus on what was most important.  Getting to that next chapter may mean eliminating activities which are creating noise and obstacles to your personal  pivot point.  If you are selling your business or retiring, consider a hiatus where every day you have leisure time to really think about that next chapter. If you don’t have that luxury, consider eliminating those activities that fall outside of your big picture.
  5. Positive Mental Attitude:  Change is Hard: Embrace the head and heart of being an explorer not an expert You are free to be a student of life again and write your next chapter.

Rosemary Rein is the Author of  “Go Wild Survival Skills for Business and Life” and a Keynote Speaker/Author based in Silicon Valley, California  rosemary rein . 

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10 Questions for Introspection

Hans Doller Art

Connected.  Original Painting by Hans Doller, Costa Rica

Here’s 10  questions for pause and reflection.  Not surprisingly,  the questions prompt  stories which engage both head and heart and can be used individually or in a group where  you have or are striving for trust and connection.

The 10 Questions

  1. Describe the best day of your life.  Describe the worst day of your life.
  2. List 5 crossroads in your life where your choice of paths made a difference.
  3. Who is the one (non-family member)person who has done the most to make you  who you are today? How was that person significant to you?
  4. Share an event that strongly influenced your life?
  5. If by magic you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? and why?
  6. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? What is stopping you?
  7. What are 5 things you couldn’t bear to lose?
  8. What are the 5 words you would use to describe your personal brand?
  9. What is your perfect day?
  10. If you could take a 1 month trip anywhere in the world and money were not a consideration.  Where would you go and what would you do?

About the Author:

Rosemary Rein is the Author of “Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life”. She facilitates Executive Leadership Forums and Retreats for the Young President’s Organization, Entrepreneur’s Organization and Senior Leadership Teams in Silicon Valley, California, Costa Rica and other retreat destinations around the world. Rosemary Rein and YPO Forums and Retreats



Jeffersonian Dinner: Compassion is Served


Forget the cocktail chit-chat, bring on a feast of social innovation

As both Director of the Largest non-profit in the World, United Way Worldwide and the web-site  committed to free knowledge, Wikipedia, I have attended my share of events to support worthy causes. From auctions to campaign kick-offs to thank you receptions, fundraising is frequently by necessity on the menu for today’s non-profit organizations.

Compassion is served

I was intrigued  to attend  a very different event sponsored by hosted at a private home in Pacific Heights, San Francisco.   Our invitation included only one request: Bring a story about a time in  life when we were touched by someone’s compassion while at school.  We would be dining with 10 guests  who we didn’t know,  representing business, philanthropy and education for a conversation that mattered.


Jeffersonian Dinner Parties – Dining with a Difference

Inspired by Thomas Jefferson, who detested idle chit-chat and preferred inviting  guests to his table from different walks of life to discuss important matters of the day,  the  Jeffersonian Dinner party begins with an invitation to 10 – 12 people you would like to have at your table.  A theme or topic is selected and  a thought-provoking question is sent to your guests in advance.   The only real rule of the evening:  rather than just talking to the one person beside you at dinner,  you talk to all of your fellow guests.

In my evening at the Jeffersonian Dinner Party,  sharing our  personal stories of compassion both connected and inspired us.  The contrast of the tragedy of the mass shooting in Orlando earlier in the week, standing in stark comparison.    By dessert we imagined more.   How might we make sure that  Kindness  is not an Elective and Care and Compassion,  not Violence is the News Headline.

Blog References: Each year 30% of students are the target of bullying and cyberbullying. No Bully is an evidence based program that leverages student empathy to bring this crisis to an end.

Rosemary Rein is a Writer and Keynote Speaker on Leadership, Innovation and Community Engagement.  She resides in San Francisco Bay, California




5 Tips for Hosting Inspired and Productive Leadership Retreats

  1. Just One Thing: What is the one thing your team will walk away at the end of your retreat?  Until you have that answer, don’t think about an agenda.  Leadership meetings  are often crammed and jammed with a stew of agenda items. Be ruthless in keeping to your core retreat outcome.
  2. Stimulate All of Their Senses:
    From Wine Tasting Events, to Fly Fishing, we plan YPO Forums and Executive Leadership Retreats which offer locations and social activities that  inspire creative and innovative thinking.  In addition to tapping into brain power, tap into sensability!
  3. Uber Mapping/Graphic Recording 
    One of the reasons we like UBER  is we  can track and see the progress of our ride. Consider graphic recording of your meeting which helps participants see the progress of their work.
  4. Themes Build Teams;
    Consider selecting a retreat theme. (Example: Play-Create-Succeed for an Innovation Retreat) Don’t forget to merchandise and brand your retreat as you would a product in both the invitation and wrap-up/celebration experience and communications.
  5. Hire a “Hit” Man/Woman
    Calculate the salary of every staff member going to the retreat in addition to hotel/travel costs. A professional meeting facilitator and event planner can insure your investment produces results and liberates you to be an active participant and thought leader.  /  Rosemary Rein is an Executive Leadership and YPO/EO Faciliator based in  San Francisco Bay, California.  She is the Author of “Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life” hosting creative leadership retreats in Silicon Valley and at retreats destinations around the world.



YPO Go Wild! Leadership Retreat


The Author of “Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life”  Rosemary Rein in South Africa.  Rosemary’s  Book on Wilderness Survival Skills is the theme of YPO Forum retreats hosted in Costa Rica and  South Africa  Go Wild! Go GREAT! Survival Skills for Business and Life.

During a  3 – 7  day annual leadership retreat,  executive members of  Young President’s Organization  (YPO Forums) explore how the 5 principles of Wilderness Survival apply to not only surviving but thriving in business and life.


YPO Forum leaders explore the Survival Principle of  Adaptability on a thrilling White Water Rafting Adventure set amidst the natural paradise of tropical, Costa Rica.

Go Wild! Go GREAT! Leadership Safaris are hosted by   The 5 principles of Wilderness Survival become a blend of mantra and motion at transformative retreats,  where forum members learn about themselves and each other.  The 5 Wilderness Survival Principles outlined in Rosemary’s book on life and leadership,  serve as the GPS for the 4 day executive learning adventure set in exotic destinations.

The 5 Keys To Wilderness Survival explored in the YPO Go Wild! Go GREAT! Safari

  1.  Awareness
  2.  Adaptability
  3.  Skill
  4. Conservation of Energy 
  5. Positive Mental Attitude

YPO Retreats works with the  forum moderators in selecting and booking the retreat destination, facilitator and experiences as well as handling of on-site logistics.   Other themes linked to innovation, improved relationships, parenting and work/life balance. A retreat itinerary and location proposal is provided to Forum moderators, so unique goals and preferences of the group become part of a co-created design.

For support in planning and hosting your YPO Forum Retreat contact:

Permaculture: Lessons for Leadership

 In what ways might  Permaculture Farming  offer lessons for today’s Organizational Leaders?  In the retreats we facilitate  for YPO, EO and Executive Teams, we seek retreat destinations,  where nature is the fuel for innovation. We found an Air B & B in the countryside outside of Silicon Valley, California, providing an ideal opportunity for a senior team to review how the 12 principles of  Permaculture could help them identify areas of growth, impact and sustainability. (Yes, we have them feed the pigs with their leftovers after lunch and I have to say, they get permaculture principle  6:  No Waste.


 Here’s the 12 point Permaculture Playbook. How many principles are being addressed in your organizational strategy.

Permaculture-Principles (1)There are the 12 principles of permaculture as described by David Holmgren.

  1. Observe and Interact – “Beauty is in the mind of the beholder”
    By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”
    By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach”
    Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the working you are doing.
  4. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”
    We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Negative feedback is often slow to emerge.
  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – “Let nature take its course”
    Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine”
    By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design From Patterns to Details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees”
    By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”
    By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”
    Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and Value Diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”
    Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”
    The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
    We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.

Blog References: David Holmgren is best known as the co-originator with Bill Mollison of the permaculture concept following the publication of Permaculture One in 1978. His passion about the philosophical and conceptual foundations for sustainability which are highlighted in his book, Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability

Rosemary Rein, is the Author of Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life and a Global Keynote Speaker and Facilitator on Leadership and Innovation.  Rosemary facilitates retreats and forums for Executive Teams including the  Young President’s Organization and Entrepreneur’s Organization.   Plan your Leadership Retreat connected to Permaculture.

Visit   (239) 910-3354

Wine Making Wisdom & Leadership

Wine Tasting

In this YPO (Young President’s Organization) Forum  Adventure: YPO Executive Leaders  learn about wine and each other  in Mendoza, Argentina, while decanting  lessons in leadership 

The Importance of Tasting and Correction. Wine makers care for their harvest like children.  There is a daily tasting of wine from wooden oak barrels awaiting the precise moment when the grape is  worthy of the family name. There is also course correction along the way and every year the relentless pursuit of better quality. Successful organizations  know that the key to longevity is attention and care to product quality and continuous improvement.

It’s About People: The charming  Frederico Cassone is passionate about his family wine and jokes that “If you don’t like my wine, don’t worry!  Wine is about people, just Like me!” Although this family need not worry about people liking their wines, (The Obra Prima Malbec was both rustic and deliciously elegant) we were so charmed by this winemaker, that if the wine was not to our liking, we would have bought a bottle anyway as a memory for the experience he provided.  Likability of Leaders matters as does the buying experience.

Importance of Branding:  Wine makers seek to build a unique brand reputation. What are   5 words other people  use to describe you?   It’s a question worth asking as leaders strive for greater self-awareness of how they show up to others and defining their personal brand of leadership.

Don’t rely on one Profit Center & Protect the Big Crop: To minimize risk from inclement weather conditions, wine makers often have various vineyards in different parts of the country so if one area is hit by inclement weather,  the other vineyard is their insurance for uninterrupted production.   Winemakers also  frequently plant olive trees as a second crop and use decoy fruit trees so that when the grapes are ripe, the birds will go for the sacrificial fruit on the trees and not the grapes. Protect your big crop with risk assessment and consider multiple profit centers and suppliers.

Take Care of  Vendors:  One of the wine makers we talked with in Mendoza noted that if one of his  suppliers has a bad year due to inclement weather, he still buys from him.  The reason:   Because long-term  relationships are more important than one bad crop.  Take care of your vendor partners.  Value long-term relationships over single business transactions.

Leverage Technology:  Argentina’s  wine renaissance is due in large part to innovative technology brought in by foreign investment. That technology has enabled the country to maintain it’s long tradition  in wine making but increase production and quality through  cloning of the best vines.  Maintain important traditions but  Leverage technology to enable your organization to grow and increase efficiency.

Develop a Global Perspective. The Cassone family has raised their children to  receive education and training abroad but always come back home to Argentina. Walter Bressia noted that when he begins thinking of creating the perfect wine,  he leaves Argentina and first envisions end customers in the United States,  France or  Canada.    Walter said that part of his success is also due to working for and learning from other companies before venturing into his own business.   Welcome and seek employees that have experience beyond yours and get out of your own neighborhood for global inspiration.

Passion is The Secret: We  asked Walter Bressia  what are the qualities needed of a successful winemaker? “Passion for Wine is # 1 and Loving what you Do” is # 2″  The winemaker went on to say  “What I have given to the wine is minuscule in comparison to what the wine has given to me”. Walter acknowledged the patience of his wife for his “other woman–aka wine”.  He laughed and noted that “I am better with wine than with women. At least the wine allows me to improve”  ” The secret sauce of Successful Leaders and Entrepreneurs is their undeniable passion and loving what they do.

Blog References

Thanks to our Fruit of the Gods Experts, Walter and Bodega Bressia, Familia Cassone and Bodega Tempus Alba in Mendoza Argentina.

Rosemary Rein is Author of “Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life” .he facilitates Executive Learning Adventures for YPO, EO and Executive Teams  in the US, Latin America, India and South Africa. / 239-910-3354