RCI® Company Updates

Special Virtual Edition Coffee & Selfie with Olivier Chavy, President, RCI Exchanges

Michael Brown, President and CEO,
Wyndham Destinations
March 2020


Olivier:
The majority of us are working from home. What’s one thing that has pleasantly surprised you about this new reality?
Mike:
Oddly enough, I feel like I connect more with people now than I usually do in the office. I’m connecting on the phone, on the computer … overall, I'm having a lot more one-on-one conversations. It just feels like I have less distraction and I’m able to put my full focus into maintaining those connections.
O:
Can you tell us about something you see in your house every day that reminds you of being on vacation? (Besides your family, of course!)
M:
Oh, absolutely! We have a really small backyard, and it has a small pool completely surrounded by palm trees. So about five times a day, I get out of my indoor workspace and just sit by the pool to get a little fresh air; it feels like our own getaway right in our backyard.
O:
How are you staying in touch with your team and with the business during this time?
M:
Right now, I’m connecting with my Senior Leadership Team on a daily call, when I’m typically taking a walk as we talk. It’s important that we make sure RCI, Wyndham Vacation Clubs, and Wyndham Destinations stay fully connected. Throughout most days, I spend my time on other calls – as I mentioned the one-on-one connections help keep me up-to-date. A big change for me is that I’m doing a lot more reading – there are so many reports to read! Whether that’s economic data, medical data, or company data … I’m making an effort to read much more to stay well-connected.
O:
Have you made any new discoveries thanks to the recent changes in working style?
M:
It’s remarkable that many things that were not possible in February suddenly became possible in March. There’s nothing like urgency, deadlines, and crisis to make people look at the way they are working and realize things can be done in a new way. I’ve witnessed massive amounts of innovation, speed, and urgency across the organization … and perhaps most importantly, people have found a way of looking at things differently.
O:
I see you are taking the “coffee” part of “coffee and selfie” to heart! I understand you are a big fan of espresso – how did that become a favorite (and is it something you enjoy every morning, all day, or just now and then)?
M:
Well, it's all due to you, Olivier! I was not a coffee drinker until I moved to France in 2002. I was in a stressful job, and — other than losing my hair — coffee was my vice of choice. When I moved to the Bahamas a few years later, my new best friend, the espresso machine, came with me. Now, I drink the purple pods of Nespresso in my little glass cup every morning — that’s what keeps me going. (I don't even want to tell you how many cups I drink every morning!) The Brown-Bravo household does not truly begin to wake up until you hear that espresso machine fire up at about 6 a.m.
O:
What are you most looking forward to about your return to the office?
M:
Truly, I think it’s human connection I’m looking forward to the most. For those of you who sit at headquarters in Orlando, you’ll understand this … I'm also really looking forward to Pho Fridays in the cafeteria. I also think our company is going to come out of this even stronger and I’m very much looking forward to that.
O:
While leisure travel around the world is paused right now, many people are dreaming about the time when they can vacation again. What vacations are you dreaming about?
M:
My dream vacation is different today than it was six months ago. I’m turning 50 in July, and a dream for me, right now, is just to be able to celebrate with friends. I’d love to have a party — that could be anywhere in the world … Clearwater, Cocoa Beach, the Caribbean, or even the Mediterranean. I really just want to be able to celebrate my 50th birthday together with close friends and family without having to worry about ensuring two meters, or six feet, of distance between everyone.
O:
What are a few words that your SLT would use to describe you?
M:
Recently in an interview, I used the word “authentic.” I truly feel that what you get from me is how I genuinely feel. I think "empathy" also describes me. Though I try to be a good listener, I have a lot of work to do in that category.
O:
If you could select one song as your life’s theme or your personal motto, what would it be? And why?
M:
There's a song that I think is very relevant to life right now — Queen’s “Under Pressure.” It’s so appropriate for our current world. I think about the way others may describe me and I think Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow” may be good. I don’t consider my highs overly high, or my lows overly low. I try to stay even keeled with people.
And I think I know the perfect two songs to describe you, Olivier! Willie Nelson's “On the Road Again” and Peter, Paul, & Mary have a song called “Leaving on a Jet Plane” — I think those perfectly describe Olivier Chavy.
O:
What app, website or brand can you NOT live without?
M:
I'm constantly on IMDb (Internet Movie Database) which is a site and app of basically just movie reviews because I love all kinds of film. I also love Eurosport.com because I love cycling and European football, so it allows me to closely follow the sports I love.
O:
What or who is your biggest source of inspiration?
M:
I think many people have a specific person who serves as their biggest source of inspiration, but I’m mostly inspired by people who achieve something that feels really momentous in their lives. It could be a Wyndham Destinations award ceremony … even something that may happen monthly … but when recognition really means a great deal to someone, I find that very inspiring. My family and I have been watching a lot of 80s movies lately, and recently watched “We Are Marshall.” If you haven’t seen it, it’s a great story about the Marshall University football team [in Huntington, West Virginia] recovering from a devastating tragedy in the school’s history. I was so inspired by that.
I also gain inspiration from my two children. Joshua is achieving incredible things in swimming. Just four years ago, he had a heart condition and now he's in the Junior Nationals in Open Water Swimming. He’ll likely try out for the Spanish Olympic Team next year. My younger son, Ethan, is a cyclist and races — he does amazing things. Watching the two of them compete is not only inspiring, but brings me so much joy.
O:
Tell me something about you that nobody knows.
M:
When I lived in England, I played rugby. When playing, I actually had an injury that required 13 stiches in my lip. Someone threw me a bad pass and I put my head in to catch it … but so did the other guy and I took his head to my face. I had such a great time playing rugby, even though it left me with a bit of a scar. They call the type of pass I caught a “hospital pass” because it lands you in the hospital. I do believe, like the scars any of us have, that this time in history will be a mark of a tough time we overcame — I know we’ll come out of it stronger.