What do Rod Stewart, Glenn Fry (of the Eagles), Carole King, Jason Alexander, and the cast of Broadways’ Rock of Ages have in common?
On Friday, I dropped the little guy with his grandparents on Long Island to give this at-home-dad a well deserved (if I don’t say so myself) day off from parenting. As my son’s primary caregiver, sometimes I am in need of a break, and I am fortunate to have a supportive family who always jump at the chance for quality time with him. So, What to do on a Friday in October without your kid?
Well, I was amped up to attend the 18th Annual Baron Investment Shareholder Conference at Lincoln Center. Nope, this is not a promo to have you invest in another mutual fund company. I will leave that to the financial professionals. This is to let some dads in on a little known secret (shared by approximately 4,000 other people who attended the conference). You do have to be a shareholder to attend this free conference, but let me brag a bit about my day. Maybe some other dads will want to join me next year!
FREE BREAKFAST, FREE LUNCH, FREE ENTERTAINMENT. Let me explain…
The morning starts out with breakfast & segues into brief presentations from five CEOs of businesses in which the funds have invested. In the past, I have been wowed & schooled by presentations from these successful guys – Steve Wynn, Ralph Lauren, & Chuck Schwab.
After the completion of those presentations (around noon), the attendees (armed with color coded bracelets) scurry off in different directions at Lincoln Center to enjoy a boxed lunch with some live entertainment. Who do you want to entertain you as you munch your sandwich? In the mood for a Broadway performance, head over to Alice Tully Hall to catch an hour-long performance of Broadways’ Rock of Ages. In the mood for classic rock? Like me, these people bolted over to the mini-sized Vivian Beaumont Theater for a rare mid-day performance by Glen Fry of the Eagles. Is comedy your thing? Jason Alexander (of Costanza fame) performed a live comedy act. In years past, I have scarfed my lunch down while dancing on the ceiling with Lionel Richie, sang with The Jersey Boys, and listened to tunes from Cheryl Crow.
Lunch ended. Onto an hour of remarks from the Baron Capital Group chairman and CEO, Ron Baron, and his 6 portfolio managers. Basically, they recap their funds’ annual performance & discuss forward looking information. As most of us know, past performance is never indicative of future results. Then, shareholders posed questions to the Baron executives in an open question-and-answer session. All of this is happening on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House as “roadies” dodge the high powered execs, as they set up the stage for the event’s culminating surprise entertainment. Ask any of the employees during the event, “who is the surprise entertainment?”, and you get the childish response, “I can’t tell you that, you will have to wait.” In the past, the “closed mouth” performers range from comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, & Billy Crystal to musical acts like Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Elton John, & Neil Diamond…remember that your average audience member is of retirement age.
Friday’s big surprise – a jam session with Rod Stuart. Not my favorite musician, but he gave a solid performance. What’s cooler than being at a rock concert at 2:30pm on a workday?
At 4pm, I get a little depressed as the conference concludes and reality sets-in that the party is over. There is always next year. Consequently, the goody bag of a free t-shirt, gourmet cookies, and chocolate covered pretzels you receive as a parting gift is enough to make any person smile. Now, back to parenting…