Business Monday

South Florida CEOs’ favorite corporate gifts were...

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This week’s question: What’s the best corporate holiday gift you ever received or sent? And why?

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The best holiday gift I ever received is actually an ongoing yearly Christmas card from the daughters of an elderly man whose four fingers I reattached. They were eternally grateful that their father was able to return to his hobby of woodworking, which requires a circular saw. This reminder of the impact those in the medical profession can have on people’s lives is the best gift anyone can receive.

Alejandro Badia, orthopedic surgeon and founder, OrthoNOW

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Instead of giving holiday gifts last year, I asked friends, family and business contacts to please support the Susan G. Komen three-day, 60-mile way to raise funds and awareness for research, scientific programs and community-based health and education programs. Breast cancer is not only the most common cancer among women worldwide, but a disease that has impacted many people close to me. I served as captain of Greenberg Traurig’s “Cure Counselors” team that participated in the San Diego walk. By making this my holiday gift and encouraging others to join me, we were able to raise even more funds that can help make an impact on this worthwhile cause.

Hilarie Bass, co-president, Greenberg Traurig

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We are not allowed to accept gifts of value in our company. The gifts I most appreciate are ones I can share with our team. For example, a tin of cookies or an Edible Arrangement that can be shared in our break-room. Healthy treats are the best!

Peggy Benua, general manager, Dream South Beach

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This year, our holiday gifts will be native milkweed plants that attract monarch butterfly larvae. (So, I guess our gifts this year will not be a surprise and we hope our friends love them.)

Meg Daly, president and CEO, Friends of The Underline

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As a not-for-profit, we do not give corporate gifts. Thus, we do not receive any.

T. Willard Fair, president and CEO, Urban League of Greater Miami

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The best corporate gift I have received was a donation made directly to a children’s charity in place of a personal holiday gift. Most of us have more things than we need and a charitable contribution is in the spirit of the holidays.

Vicky Garrigo, market head, U.S. Southeastern Region Private Banking, HSBC Bank

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There are two books that I will be sending out: “Miami, Real and Imagined” by Hank Klein (Schiffer Publishers, $24.99). It’s a wonderful collection of photographs of Miami’s iconic places artfully reimagined. The other is Bob Eckstein’s “Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores” (Clarkson Potter, $24.99). Eckstein’s beautiful drawings of bookstores are accompanied by stories from the sales floor. We at Books & Books are proud to be included in both of these books.

Mitch Kaplan, founder, Books & Books

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Best gift sent: I recall one year we achieved strong performance and ordered for each of our clients a special bottle of sparkling wine from the Schramsberg Vineyards. This wine has been served at official State functions at the White House since President Nixon. It was first served in 1972 as the “Toast to Peace” with China’s Premier Zhou Enlai. We sent the bottle with a handwritten note to our clients, who were impressed and enjoyed not only tasting the wine, but learning about the history and tradition behind it. Best gift received: One of our clients, HBO Latin America, always uses the holiday season to give gifts that are cutting edge and somehow ahead of the curve. For example, one year we received a GoPro camera and another year, wireless speakers that had just come out in the market. The client always surprises with a trendy gift that you will use and remember.

Alan Kleber, managing director, JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle)

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I always enjoy the holidays, their meaning and the opportunity to let people know how much they mean to you and to thank them for their partnership and service throughout the year. In a break from tradition, I make it my custom to also acknowledge my associates, business partnerships and vendors with a treat for Thanksgiving to share with their family and show my gratitude and appreciation. The gift also comes at a time when few gifts are received. When selecting a corporate gift, I want it to have meaning and remain relevant. While branding is important it does not have the same impact or shelf life to a gift that was given with some thought. When giving gifts to my partners, especially to commemorate a milestone, I like to give them a watch or a pen when we sign a document of personal significance and meaning to our business. Another gift that is appreciated is a book signed by its author, especially if I know that the subject matter is of interest or relevance. It is a wonderful way to communicate, motivate and share a bit of yourself. What has become a tradition as the corporate holiday gift giving list grows is to give the gift of “cheer,” that being wine. A good bottle of wine is much appreciated during the holidays. We carefully select our wines and make sure that it is not something that is readily available at your local supermarket; it needs to be special along with the packaging. The wine is shipped in custom-made boxes with a note. From the feedback I have received through the years, it is well received. As for the best gift I have received that will be hard to say as I have been blessed with receiving many wonderful items.

Mario Murgado, president and CEO, Brickell Motors

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I enjoy practicality and simplicity when gift giving — as a collector of wine, I find great pleasure in sharing my passion with friends or clients. Whether I am giving or receiving a great bottle of wine, I find it especially rewarding. Every bottle of wine tells a story from both the producer who cultivates it, and the consumer who experiences the finished product. At Perricone’s, we send numerous wine baskets throughout the holiday season, which I consider to be a wonderful gift for family, friends, or colleagues.

Steve Perricone, president and owner, Perricone’s Restaurant

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One year, Design Miami commissioned a limited edition magnifying glass by Maarten Baas who that year received our Design Visionary award. We sent it to some of our key friends and supporters. It was very special and symbolic of the essence of Design Miami. It was the best gift we have ever sent.

Craig Robins, president and CEO, Dacra

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A few years ago, myself and other FPL employees had the opportunity to work with Forgotten Soldiers Outreach to put together and send hundreds of holiday care packages to our men and women serving in the armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although I was part of the team putting the care packages together, it was by far the most rewarding holiday experience I’ve ever had. I am always honored and humbled to give back to those who do so much to protect us, our freedom, and our way of life.

Eric Silagy, president and CEO, Florida Power & Light

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While we don’t usually send or receive corporate holiday gifts in our field, victories on issues that safeguard our environment and our citizens are the best gifts. For example, this year Miami-Dade County banned fracking — an extremely dangerous process that pumps hazardous chemicals into the porous underground water aquifers that store our drinking water. A really great gift this year would be the Environmental Protection Agency’s rejection of Florida’s proposed water quality toxic standards rule change — a rule change that would authorize big increases in the quantities of toxic carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) allowed in our water, thereby increasing the amount that polluters can discharge into our water. This rule change would increase the rate of cancer among Floridians and would seriously degrade the safety of our local seafood — upon which many local fishermen, restaurants, and tour operators depend for their livelihoods, and subsistence fishermen and tribes rely on for sustenance. We must ask the EPA to recognize that Floridians weren’t properly informed about the consequences of this rule and aren’t protected by it. To help this gift become a reality this season, email FloridaHHC@epa.gov and tell them that you’re a Florida citizen and that you don’t want cancer-causing agents in your water or your seafood. To learn more, please visit our website at miamiwaterkeeper.org/no_toxic_chemicals_in_our_water.

Rachel Silverstein, executive director, Miami Waterkeeper

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Considering charitable giving this season? Wish Book is trying to help hundreds of families in need this year. To donate, pay securely at MiamiHerald.com/wishbook. To give via your mobile phone, text WISH to 41444. For information, call 305-376-2906 or email wishbook @MiamiHerald.com. (Most requested items: laptops and tablets for school, furniture, accessible vans.) Read more at MiamiHerald.com/wishbook

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