In 2023, First Financial Security, Inc., once again hosted the highly anticipated Dream Destination Conference 2023 (DDC23), this time amidst the luxury of the Ritz-Carlton Resort in Naples, Florida. After being briefly postponed due to necessary renovations after damage from Hurricane Ian in 2022, the stage was set for a remarkable DDC23 with fresh new accommodations at the Ritz-Carlton, which qualifiers met with immense excitement from October 20th – 26th, 2023.
The Ritz-Carlton, renowned worldwide for its unparalleled hospitality, is nestled along the stunning Gulf of Mexico and has twice earned the title of "Best Hotel in the U.S." by U.S. News & World Report. With white sandy beaches, soft summer sunlight and a week full of relaxation and rejuvenation, DDC23 was a true treat for both Elite Trip and Main Trip Qualifiers this year.
Every day at DDC23 was steeped in luxury, from the moment the participants woke up in their featherbeds to the breathtaking sunsets they witnessed over the Gulf Waters each evening. The resort allowed them exclusive access to pristine white beaches, complete with beach chairs, umbrellas and personal cabanas. Attendees could also indulge in the resort's saltwater pools while enjoying concierge service for food and drinks. Those who sought true relaxation spent as much time as they could in the spa, which offered healing steam rooms, saunas, outdoor mineral pools and more.
Beyond the resort's lavish amenities, Naples itself beckoned with its exclusive shopping centers, world-class dining, wildlife sanctuaries and many other activities. Whether agents ventured out to explore the city or chose to unwind at the resort, there was no wrong way for qualifiers to savor their time on the Paradise Coast.
DDC23 kicked off on October 20th with the arrival of our Elite Trip qualifiers, who attended an elegant welcome dinner in the resort’s beautiful beach house, providing an opportunity for top leaders to connect under the starry Naples sky. The next day, the Elite Trip attendees spent a full day lounging at the world-class pool, taking advantage of the spa's offerings and enjoying refreshments in two air-conditioned cabanas, reserved exclusively for FFS. That evening, a chartered bus brought the group to Campiello Italian Restaurant, where they dined on delicious Tuscan cuisine and sipped cocktails amidst the European ambience.
Main Trip qualifiers joined the festivities on October 22nd, marked by a poolside welcome reception and dinner. The following day, October 23rd, marked the first business meeting of the conference, and included a group breakfast, an introduction by President Vince Rokose and plenty of opportunities to “Whoosh” with excitement. Notable presenters included Director of Marketing Jennifer Pierce, who presented the recent rebranding of our Business Builder Websites, announced the grand opening of the FFS Swag Store and screened a touching video with Victoria Le, who recounted her journey from the Fall of Saigon to becoming one of FFS's top agents who is Changing the Face of Insurance.
More presentations followed, including Director of Field Operations Jay Hosier’s demonstration of the Fast Start Guide and BBS Blueprint, a sales update by Director of Sales Andy Cowan and insights from life insurance carrier representatives David Gilmore, Matt Canterbury and Michael Hardin. The business meeting closed with a speech from Chief Executive Officer Ron Wheeler.
After a carrier breakout session with Columbus Life, the afternoon of the 23rd was full of free time for attendees to explore, unwind and experience the resort. More carrier breakout sessions followed on October 24th, featuring American National and National Life Group. That day concluded with a beach lunch and another opportunity to soak in the sun and surf.
October 25th began with one final sales training, then the agents were free for the rest of the day to choose between spa treatments, poolside lounging, shopping or exploring Naples. The evening came alive with the Roaring 20s–themed Farewell Dinner, a memorable event filled with dazzling outfits and boundless enthusiasm. Qualifiers honored the theme with more than a touch of glamour, with just about everyone stylishly dressed and embracing the spirit of the 1920s. Boas, beads, hats and more were everywhere the eye could see — a night of luxury without limits and a grand conclusion to an extraordinary trip.
As DDC23 drew to a close, participants departed with unforgettable memories and a renewed sense of purpose. The journey had been one of learning, luxury and the promise of even greater achievements in the year ahead. Dream Destination Conference 2023 had once again proven to be the trip of a lifetime, leaving everyone eagerly anticipating the next adventure. Do you have what it takes to join them?