Singapore Picture

Problem Solved and Experience Logged!
by Jim Riela

What does it mean to have experience? For me, it’s about investing deeply in a body of work that often includes significant exposure to both expected and unexpected variables and challenges. It is about dedication and patience, certainly a sleepless night here and there, and a whole lot of fun. Perhaps it is mostly about engaging with people.

I have endless stories and memories of events from around the globe, often connected to a challenge that we overcame, and most often solved by a connection made with business partners and new friends.

For example – several years ago, I was returning with a group of over 150 sales executives and their spouses from an incentive event held at the magnificent Banyan Tree Hotel in Thailand ( The check-in agent in Phuket indicated that one of my attendees and his wife would not be allowed to re-enter the USA due to an issue with their passports. They would be held upon our arrival in Singapore and would have to proceed to the U.S. Embassy the following day to sort through the problem. Bottom line: they would not make it back to their home and children in the Midwest for several days.

Thankfully, over the course of many months while finalizing and preparing for this program, I had made a connection with a Singapore Airlines airport agent who graciously assisted in our transfers to and from Phuket. I rang his cell from the Phuket airport and asked for his help. Upon our arrival in Singapore, my airport “friend” met me and the couple at the gate and handed over the boarding passes for their flight to the U.S. He had called the Embassy and was able to resolve the issue during the time of our short flight from Phuket. Problem solved and experience logged!

It is vital to appreciate every relationship and each experience. I have learned that rich experiences and solutions are most often found through the connections we make with people.