Keynote speaker rocks at IMBC

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Manley Feinberg

Manley Feinberg

Motivational speakers seem to believe the recreational boating industry is into heavy metal music. To wrap up Dealer Week last month, Clint Pulver played the drums to Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar on Me before addressing the crowd. At the start of the International Marina and Boatyard Conference this morning, Manley Feinberg strapped on a guitar and played Eddie Van Halen’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

The performance was part of a story he told about playing the national anthem at a home basketball game when he was in high school. The team had beaten a longtime rival for the first time in years. “I was flying high all weekend,” Feinberg recalled.

Feinberg — a successful entrepreneur who spent 11 years turning Build-A-Bear Workshop into a retail giant — was called into the principal’s office and told that he could not play the song again.

“Ignore the comments of a few to win the hearts of many,” Feinberg told IMBC attendees at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The conference, organized by the Association of Marina Industries, runs through tomorrow afternoon.

In addition to being an amateur musician and an entrepreneur, Feinberg is an accomplished rock climber. He has summited many well-known peaks, including El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

For the IMBC audience, Feinberg focused on the lessons he has learned from climbing, offering seven steps attendees should use to challenge themselves.

He told attendees to be innovative and unafraid to get out of their comfort zones. “Explore an idea that scares you,” he said.

In committing to a challenge, Feinberg said declare your intention the way a climber declares his next move. “You should have one initiative that you declare is the most important for you to complete each day,” he said. “Make it for your team, make it for your customers you serve.”

Feinberg also talked conceptually about belaying, a climbing technique in which a belayer holds a rope to catch a climber if he falls. He used belaying as a metaphor for finding balance in managing a business. Department heads shouldn’t micromanage, but they also shouldn’t give too much freedom.

Feinberg told attendees they should challenge beliefs and understand the beliefs that drive behavior. Check expectations and ask questions to improve and move forward. Much like a climbing partner, business owners and managers need to be accountable for their actions.

Feinberg also encouraged the crowd to “celebrate the summits,” even the small ones, because being positive and enthusiastic builds momentum.

The opening of the conference also included a tribute to Michael Sachs of Westrec Marinas, who died last April. Westrec is a longtime AMI supporter.

The event wrapped up with the presentation of AMI members who received Certified Marina Manager and Certified Marina Operator notifications in 2019.

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