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Meet Steffi Kordy of Cocoon Incentives in Cutler Bay

Today we’d like to introduce you to Steffi Kordy.

Steffi, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am originally from Germany and I always enjoyed traveling and meeting people. I ended up combining both and making this passion my living.

After high school, I had taken a year off to travel the world. During my studies at the university, I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship on the island of Zanzibar and to work as a tour guide in places like Mexico, Dominican Republic, Thailand and Kenya. It was in Mombasa where I met my husband Isaac, who is from Chicago and the reason why I eventually moved to the States. But not so fast: While still at University and working during my semester break as a tour guide, I was asked to write a travel guide. Which, of course – I did. Many stories on travel and culture followed for various magazines in Germany. What a great way to get through college!

When I moved to the States, I didn’t feel comfortable enough writing in English. Instead, I applied to work for a Destination Management Company in Chicago. Several years later, when I moved to Miami, I started my own company combining what I learned in my previous years travelling and working.

However, I wanted to put my own touch on the business and I wanted to provide a service that’s “Outside the Box” – hence the name of my company “Cocoon Incentives”. We provide custom tailored events and incentive programs for the corporate world by thinking outside of the Cocoon. Our clients get inspired and spread their wings like a beautiful butterfly after experiencing an event with us.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There are always challenges with any job. In my field, everything has to go perfect, because the event only happens once! We have to “wow” people every day anew. The challenge is that my clients have already done and seen a lot, so you have to up the ante every single time. Which is what I love to do, because I don’t like to do the same thing twice but much rather experience something new. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done, but if you keep a healthy dose of curiosity, the world is your oyster!

Another challenge is that I have to rely on other people to perform perfectly. We plan the events many months in advance and in the end, it comes down to the last link in the chain of command to make sure all goes seamless. Being an event planner means you are a bit of a stickler or some would argue a perfectionist. It is sometimes challenging to have this mind set with all the suppliers involved. That’s why you have to build a network of reliable partners, this does not happen overnight.

Another challenge I see is to bridge various cultures, because I work with an international clientele. It is sometimes not easy to bridge the cultural craters.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My company Cocoon Incentives is a very specialized travel agency. We occupy a niche called “Event and Destination Management”, which means we know our destinations very well in order to suggest “insider” venues or activities. We only work with corporate groups of 10 and more. We work with world renown companies such as Unilever or Samsung but also with lesser known companies like start-ups.

While we also facilitate meetings or one-day events, we mostly create multi-day incentive itineraries. These are special trips for the best performers or best clients of a company. They are being rewarded with a “trip of a lifetime”!

My particular niche in this segment is that I bring international corporate groups to North America, e.g. to Miami. Knowing what will wow these people and what not, is a particular advantage. Understanding their expectations and having the expertise from living abroad helps me create itineraries that are unique to my clientele.

I am particular proud in creating unique itineraries with each group’s idiosyncrasy in mind. Although it would be easier to offer a similar event, I enjoy doing the research and finding the perfect fit for each group.

Apart from that, I am a big believer in sustainability by giving back to the area which is the tapestry of our itineraries. When I started my company, I pledged that I will always give back to either the place or the people where the event took place. After each successful event, I donate either time or money (or both) and give back to a good local cause. For events that happen for example here in Miami, we donate to the Sea Turtle Conservatory or the Dolphin Research Center in the Keys. Or in Las Vegas we support an organization that helps homeless teenager to find a way back into society. I work with very privileged people and enjoy sharing the wealth with others who are less fortunate.

What were you like growing up?
I think I was always very curious and liked to explore. More than places, I am intrigued by people. I like to think that I kept a childlike naiveness, when it comes to people. I treat everyone with the same respect from celebrities or CEOs of international companies in a private jet to a homeless person on the street, which has allowed me to meet some outstanding personalities of all walks of life! There is so much good in people – rich or poor, old or young, no matter your color!

I also grew up with two brothers and being the middle child made me resilient. I always enjoyed sports, from running track to playing tennis.

When I was little, we travelled to neighboring countries that were reachable by car. But I always dreamed of far-away places, so I collected postcards and listened to national anthems. I think this was sparked by the soccer world championship in Argentina back in 1978. By the way, Argentina is still on top of my bucket list for places to visit! The seed that was planted early in your life never stops growing!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Steffi Kordy

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