SITE Southern California President Patrick Burkhardt is President and Chief Idea Person for Luxpitality, an international representation company driving leads all over the world to its luxury hotel partners. In 2015, Patrick, along with Eric Otto, started Luxpitality and the company now has over 50 brand ambassadors and offices in over 30 countries. Prior to Luxpitality, he was National Sales Manager for Hotel Del Coronado and Beach Village at The Del handling high end groups and developing the international market. His time with Hotel Del allowed him to become very involved with SITE Southern California. From 2012-2015 he held the chapter VP of Communications position and in 2016 was elected chapter President.
SITE: Being a chapter leader is a volunteer position and requires a significant time commitment. What motivated you to assume a SITE chapter leader position?
Patrick: I had this role in my sights since I joined the board in 2013. The minute I joined SITE I felt a connection unlike any other association I have been a part of. It has been rewarding to be able to give back to great causes and, with our Holiday Event as such an amazing platform, allowed us to also nurture client relationships into long lasting friendships. The entire board has been very supportive and played a huge role in my development to becoming Chapter President. Now as President I have never been more excited with the tenacity of my board. We are truly making a creative impact and together we are working to be different and a little funky at times!
SITE: SITE SoCal’s tagline in 2015 was “Elevate the Experience” with a goal to make the chapter’s offerings more relevant and membership more beneficial and rewarding, resulting in SITE SoCal being named Chapter of the Year. How are you keeping the momentum going in 2016?
Patrick: Geraldine Gatehouse did an amazing job “Elevating the Experience” last year and, because of her leadership and our amazing members, we were recognized as SITE Chapter of the Year. Without Geraldine’s structure and approach I would have never been allowed to #Bringbackthefunk while delivering a “Creative Impact”!!
We are taking what we learned and implemented in 2015 and throwing in a little twist. You will notice some creativity, especially with our AWESOME Young Leader team where during the May Luncheon at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe they introduced “Sweatworking the New Networking".
SITE: Last year the chapter introduced a new mentorship program and that is continuing in 2016. How has the program benefited members (both mentees and mentors) and helped with retention and recruitment?
Patrick: We are constantly looking for ways to add amazing value to all our members and with such a great team of Young Leaders we thought the mentorship program would be well received. This allows all generations to work with each other. We have had an overwhelming response of returning Mentors and Mentees, as well as new additions. I strongly believe every chapter should have a program like this. So much can be learned from a mentor and I think it’s safe to say that mentors can also learn some thing from their Mentees.
SITE: SITE SoCal is very committed to giving back to the community. The Charity Poker Tournament is a unique event that has been very successful in raising funds for the San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation. How did this event get started and why is it now one of the chapter's most popular events?
Patrick: It started out as a wild idea from one of our very own!! It quickly grew into a great success and we keep adding more features to the event each year. The San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation is near and dear to our hearts so we selected them again for 2016. I feel that if we continue to build awareness with for any cause it will establish a more personal connection with the individual and the charity.
I believe that reinventing ourselves and continued evolution will ultimately keep everyone coming back and will grow the Poker Tournament even bigger. Watch out World Series of Poker… we are coming for ya!!
SITE: When recruiting new members, what do you tell them are the greatest professional and personal benefits of being a member of SITE?
Patrick: I believe this is different for many people. At first it’s about connecting with your industry along with great educational topics, relationships and having the ability to give back. It quickly evolves from the normal elevator pitch to something a lot deeper. The sense that you have just joined a new family of like-minded individuals and, if we all work together, we can make great things happen and really move the needle. Whether it’s by throwing an awesome event such as the Holiday Event or Poker Tournament to raising insane amounts of money for amazing causes. We would never be able to do that if we didn’t work together as team!