Team TravelShark Dives Beneath the Surface During Dinner with Chairman David Leppan
A Very Sharky Dinner
By Becca Schwartz | Wednesday April 18, 2012
We’d been sitting only a few minutes when we got a message from David Leppan saying he was stuck in traffic and that we should order a bottle of wine.
“Order a bottle of wine?” asked one of my coworkers, “I don’t know anything about wine!”
While David Leppan, TravelShark’s Chairman and Co-Founder, meets frequently with the board and senior executive team, this kind of meeting—dinner with a handful of the company’s 20-something-year-old US office staff members—was the first of its kind. It was by luck, and a little last-minute planning, that the seven of us, most only a few years out of college, had been able to attend. The timing had been serendipitous: a few were in New York City just for the occasion, but most had already planned on being in the city for one reason or another. A couple of us were spending the week building content for TravelShark's New York Hotels site.
I looked around the table, elaborate menues already laid out on our plates. Dinners like this don’t come around too often, not at TravelShark, or anywhere else, for that matter. We were all so nervous and excited to meet David for the first time that we could barely talk about anything else in his absence; how could we even think about picking a bottle of wine?
David was charming right off the bat, apologizing for his late appearance with a casual joke. He quickly ordered something for us to drink off the menu—a task that had seemed impossible only moments before—before diving right into conversation.
He began to tell us about himself, sharing both anecdotes from his adventures around the world and descriptions of his other companies, WealthX and Billionaire.com (coming soon). He explained that while WealthX and Billionaire.com were quite compatible and interconnected, TravelShark—well, TravelShark was something else altogether.
To our surprise, we barely talked about work. We’d expected our conversation to focus on our roles at the company, but then again, none of us really knew what to expect. Aside from a few stories about the shark suit’s effect on New York (more to come on this later), we spent most of the night talking about our own lives, interests, and experiences.
David’s authenticity put us at ease. He went around asking each of us about our passions, and we all gave genuine, personal answers. What would our last meal on earth be—a few immediately knew that they’d opt for a hamburger, while others, David included, insisted that this meal would have to have multiple courses. Everyone laughed a lot, and by the time dessert was served, it seemed crazy that I’d been nervous at all.
As we were finishing our food, it struck me that we all have something in common aside from our involvement with TravelShark: we all like to travel. Sure, it might seem obvious—we do, after all, work for a travel company—but somehow, it hadn’t fully occurred to me before. Yet, as we spent the night chatting, it seemed that nearly everyone in the room had expressed a sense of adventure and zest for life that you only find when travelling.
In the end, the dinner with David was quite the treat, but not only in the ways I’d expected. We'd enjoyed a gourmet New York meal (any meal that ends with chocolate is a success in my book), and spent a memorable evening with the company’s Chairman. I’d also decided, based on my interactions with David, and with my coworkers, that even though we all seemed so different, we have a few very, very crucial things in common.
Becca Schwartz is a chocoholic from New York City who started at TravelShark as a Content Associate last fall. She loves telling stories about how much she loves the Rocky Mountains just as much as she loves telling stories about how much she loves Central Park, but nothing compares to her love for travel.
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