Interview with Shari Mahan

Bring Your Team to Winvian to Reconnect and Recharge

As Winvian’s Corporate Events Specialist, Shari Mahan excels at mixing business with pleasure. With extensive experience collaborating with planners and executives themselves, Shari loves being an integral part of the planning process from initial contact and brainstorming, to execution.

While Winvian has a well-earned reputation for romance, Shari enjoys bringing Winvian elegance and those signature touches that elevate each Winvian stay into the meeting and executive retreat space. Read on for Shari’s take on why all work and no play is not the Winvian way.

Q: What is your favorite thing about planning meetings and retreats at Winvian?

A: I love that I build such strong relationships with my planners. When someone approaches me about holding their executive retreat at Winvian, I work with them from the inquiry phase to contracting, planning, and execution. I’m there from start to finish to answer questions and offer guidance as needed. Because I am the only contact person, communication is clear and planners and clients come away really satisfied with their experience.

Q: What type of clients choose Winvian for their corporate events?  

A: Most are executive or leadership teams looking to connect or reconnect after so much time spent in virtual meetings. I notice a big shift in the demeanor of attendees. They might arrive seeming a little tense, and business-focused. But they leave relaxed and connected. Many groups really try to unplug and decompress together while they are here. I take deep satisfaction in providing an experience for each team that leaves them amazed at how much closer they are to each other by the time they leave.

Q: What sets Winvian apart from other venues that offer similar hosting services?

A: Winvian is a hidden gem. We provide a gated sanctuary within an easy two hour drive from Boston and New York City. Clients have the option to buy out the entire property and make it their own for utmost privacy. Even our meeting spaces feel luxurious. Our incredible Boardroom has a garden view and tons of natural light. Our Event Barn is a favorite because it feels so relaxed. Finally, Chef Eddy and his team provide five-diamond cuisine that is tailored to the group. There is no banquets chef here, so corporate guests get the same degree of customized attention as private diners.

Q: How does Winvian make a corporate retreat or incentive trip special and fun?

A:  We offer a fully customized experience for each group. Groups love taking advantage of our wide range of activities, and even coming up with creative customizations of their own. Some recent favorites include a Cottage Crawl cocktail party, chef-led pasta making, fencing, bourbon tasting, and ice carving. We recently had a group do an ice carving contest that ended in a spontaneous vodka luge. And everyone loves to wind down the evening around the fire-pit with s’mores.

Q: How often do you host repeat visitors?

A: Winvian builds a sense of tradition and really makes guests, even those who come here on business, feel like family. We have many repeat visitors who choose Winvian for everything from an annual meeting to holiday parties, to an incentive trip, since we can host couples in our 19 accommodations. One of our favorite compliments came from a group who told us “It’s not the holidays without Winvian.” They change it up every year, this year doing an entire Italian themed visit with everything from pasta making and Tuscan wine tasting to an art class with local artist Jen Sabella, who studied in Tuscany.

Q: What is something that might surprise people about meetings and retreats at Winvian?

A: Each guest stays in their own architecturally designed cottage. They tell us that at most corporate events they try to spend as little time in their room as possible, but during their stay at Winvian, we often work with planners to carve out enough downtime so that attendees get the chance to savor their individual cottage, each of which includes a private outdoor space. Each cottage is equipped with its own wifi as well, so even if guests go back to their cottage to work in private, they are doing so in the utmost luxury, and really mixing work and play.


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