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A Day in Paradise — The JM Family Way

By on January 6, 2014 in Caribbean Travel with 5 Comments

Gina Pacelli, Abacos, BahamasOne plane. 14 associates. Three flight crew. 30-minute flight to Treasure Cay in the Abacos, Bahamas. Five minutes to clear Customs. Four boats (one was a yacht known as the Gallant Lady). 16 marine crew. Two excursions (fishing or island hopping). 10 associates fished (I fished along with Josh, David, Noelle, and Jonah); four island hopped (four dozen conch fritters for the island hoppers). Nine fish (two skip jack tuna, six black fin tuna, one wahoo). What Nippers? Lots of giggles. One double rainbow. Two single rainbows. One hot mess.

I am very lucky to be working for JM Family Enterprises, which has remained on FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 15 consecutive years. Yes, I knew JM Family was amazing back when I started temping at the company in 2006. Last summer, I was reminded how truly incredible the organization is when JM Family spoiled me rotten with one of their Associate Appreciation Trips.

JM Family has a fleet of planes and yachts. Most companies reserve these luxuries for their top executives. Not JM Family. The company generously shares these assets with its associates. That is why I was treated like a billionaire on my Bahamas excursion…

8:00 a.m.: I, along with 13 fellow associates, arrived at JM Family’s Hangar.

8:20 a.m.: Off we went, 10 minutes before our scheduled departure. The beauty of traveling on a private plane is that you can adjust the flight times as needed. When we finished our paperwork on the early side, off we went.

Note: When landing in the same airport as President Obama, your flight schedule will need to be adjusted accordingly. Otherwise, you are free to fly as you please.

9:00 a.m.: Hello, Treasure Cay! Traveling forces you to grow and discover new things about yourself. On my flight, I David Pulgar, Abacos, Bahamasgot two interesting lessons. Those I will keep to myself.

9:05 a.m.: We cleared Customs. Another perk of traveling on a private plane is that Customs is over in a blink of an eye. Unless you’ve been naughty. Then your plane gets torn apart, as we witnessed happen to another private plane upon our return to Ft. Lauderdale.

Island time: We were picked up by two vans and transported to the dock. Here, we were greeted by Gallant Lady associates, who spoiled us rotten. They loaded us into boat #1. We were asked how we would like to spend our day… Swimming? Snorkeling? Island hopping? Fishing? On the Gallant Lady? I wanted to go snorkeling, but it wasn’t a snorkeling kind of day. Torn between exploring and deep sea fishing, fishing won. That was the biggest decision I had to make, and I was super happy with my choice…

We were dropped off at the Gallant Lady (boat #2) and split into our two groups. The island hoppers were whisked Abacos, Bahamasaway. The fishermen had to hang out for a few. I changed out of my nautical wear into fishing clothes. A few of the guys jumped off the boat for a swim. I missed my opportunity on that one. By the time I had my bathing suit on, a small rain storm had formed above the boat, killing any plans I had to swim. And then boat #3, a fishing boat, picked us up and into the open waters we went. Lucky for us, we had blue skies ahead.

Fishing in Abacos, BahamasFishing JM Family-style is truly an experience. First of all, the crew does all the work for you. You basically sit back, enjoy the view, chat with your friends, and wait for a fish to bite. When one does, the crew lets you know you’re up. And you start reeling until you’ve caught the fish. And if your arm starts to hurt, as mine did, one of the crew members will hold the rod to give you a little support. Once you’ve reeled in the fish, one of the crew takes over and puts it in the ice bucket, which is under the floor. It was the most fun I have ever had fishing. God, did we feel spoiled…

And once we all caught some fish, we were asked if we would like to continue fishing or go to a beach. We all agreed we would like to check out some of the island’s beaches. Next we were asked if would prefer just a beach or a beach with a bar… Of course we chose a beach with a bar….

Fish in Abacos, BahamasWe were transported back to the Gallant Lady, where boat #4 picked us up and took us to Nippers. Here we met up Nippers, Bahamaswith our other co-workers, who had visited a few islands and had a few cocktails. Of course we had to order a few Nippers for ourselves, which we took down to the beach. Cocktails in hand, we played in aquamarine waters until it was time to go.

Oh how sad we were that our day was coming to a close. Off in the rain we trekked it back to the dock. The crew was not there, so we took cover at a little house. When it stopped raining, a few crew members had umbrellas in hand to meet us. They were surprised we were there. They expected us to wait at the bar until the rain had stopped. Of course, we didn’t want to be late. Of course, we weren’t surprised by their hospitality.

Gina Pacelli and Josh Forman in Abacos, BahamasBack to the Gallant Lady we went for showers and chocolate milkshakes. As the day was winding to a close, we tried not to beg to stay on the island for just a few more hours. We never wanted the day to end…

But the clock was ticking, so boat # 1 picked us up. On our way back we saw a rainbow and then a double rainbow, which summed up our day perfectly — one of perfection. Although most of us had never met and others were friends, we all experienced an amazing day in paradise together – one we will never forget.

For dinner, I ate sashimi — the freshest I’ve ever had. While we were playing, the crew cleaned and packaged our fish. We were also advised to eat it raw. It was such a treat… Yum!

The Gallant Lady

Fellow travelers included Unell Beasley, Victor De La Torre, Joshua Forman, Wanda Freeman, Jonah Goldberg, Noelle Lees, Paul Nunez, David Pulgar, Charlene Rousseau, Daniel Silveira, Stanley Simon, Helen Vrenjak, and Christine Wicker.

Thank you, JM Family, for a day in Paradise we will always remember…


Check out some fun, beachy bracelets to wear on your next Caribbean vacation.

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  1. Thank You, Ken Yerves! : Gina Pacelli | May 24, 2017
  1. Michael Scott says:


    Who else spells and speaks your name as well as me? Gina, this is the best narrated first person account of why we are so lucky to work here. Its -5 with (-25WC) here today so your timing is impeccable. Nicely done, well deserved

  2. Glendora Strater says:

    Hi there, I check your new stuff regularly. Your writing style is awesome, keep it up!

  3. h says:

    Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your article. I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

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