Sixthman's Concierge Class


Along with LIVE LOUD, our company motto here at Sixthman is to make our guests, partners, and team the star. This blog is called Behind the Seas, after all – so here’s an inside look at how we make the Sixthman team the star! 

We LEARN LOUD during our time on land by going on "Shore Excursions" to companies we admire, host a variety of leaders via our Pool Deck Speaker Series, and we grow leaders through our professional development program, Concierge Class.  Each year two Concierge Class team members are given carte blanche to explore each department within Sixthman, learn about Norwegian operations on board, pursue continuing education opportunities, and question everything. So far, we’ve had 7 team members graduate from the program. Concierge Class has gone through several iterations, and we think we just might have this thing down to a science at this point.

Here’s a look back at the experiences of five Concierge Class graduates in their own words.


Geoffrey Stephenson

Title: Senior Web Developer & Launch Manager

How Long I’ve been at SXM: 7 Years

Why did you apply?
I had been at Sixthman for almost five years when they announced the inaugural Concierge Class program in 2014. At the time it was first mentioned, to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what the program would entail. I felt I had already learned quite a bit about the company and my role in it, but at the same time this program seemed like a great opportunity to continue gaining knowledge and expand my leadership training. I was excited to push myself in varying professional and personal ways outside of my current department and normal day-to-day exposure. I was very honored and grateful to be chosen as the guinea pig for this program.

What did you learn about Sixthman or Norwegian that really surprised you?
Being in the Concierge Class gave me the ability to get some greater exposure to things on board the Norwegian ships. I gained access to their Hotel Directors meeting, where a leader from each department on board gathers with a group from Sixthman to discuss the issues and schedule for that day. I also shadowed the security department for a night, including a visit to the ship’s brig. After being at Sixthman for a number of years, it was eye opening to see some of what were previously behind the scenes things that happen every day for Norwegian. We have since opened up more exposure to these types of experiences to other Sixthman employees.

Do you have a favorite moment from the program?
I would have to say my favorite moment from the program would be the one-on-one meeting I had with Andy Stuart, who is now the President and CEO of Norwegian. It was a quick chat, but I was lucky enough to ask his advice about leadership, discuss some directions we thought Sixthman might be heading, and even talk about running half marathons.  I also want to mention that it’s been great to watch Concierge Class continually grow and evolve over the years. I’ve had the pleasure of working with other graduates to help refine the program. It’s become somewhat of a passion project for me. It gives me so much enjoyment watching others go through and learn and succeed. 

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Jen Wedick

Title: Creative Manager, Senior Warrior and Partner Relations

How Long I’ve been at SXM: Started full time in June 2010. (I was “unofficially” around a while before that.) 

Why did you apply?
I had been a Warrior at Sixthman for several years (leading The Rock Boat and several other communities), but because I’m a creative person in general, I ended up also spending a lot of time on creative projects that were on a Sixthman brand level, not specific to my events. I applied to the program because I was interested in seeing where I could offer more creative help, and Concierge Class gave me free reign to observe any department. I ended up working with our CEO, Anthony Diaz (who led the program at the time) to develop a new role called Creative Leader, something that allowed me to dive into the Sixthman branded creative projects more officially, while still keeping the Warrior and Partner Relations responsibilities that I wanted for The Rock Boat. I didn’t exactly apply to the program to get a new role… but since it allowed me to see Sixthman through a broader lens, it helped us create a more fitting role for myself in a way that also added value to the company.

How did the program contribute to your professional development?
Being part of the program completely changed my professional path at Sixthman. I was at a point where I really wasn’t sure what my next step was, though I really did love what I was doing at the time. With us being a smaller, young(ish) company, there really weren’t a ton of corporate ladders to climb that were laid out for me when I was hired (which is a positive in this particular case, because it allowed me to create my own path). Sixthman has been great for learning what my passions and strengths are, and then tweaking my role to play that up. The concierge program kind of allowed me to take a step back to explore, learn and observe, see what made sense for my next step. 

Do you have a favorite moment from the program?
Full disclosure – I was one of the first people to go through the program, so it wasn’t as structured as it is now. The people that followed me in this program probably have better answers. :) However, I got to do some pretty cool things and really enjoyed stepping outside the walls of Sixthman to hear from creative and interesting people. I attended several conferences, speaker series, and other events (like Leadercast, Creative Mornings, Plywood's Black Box Sessions) that served as a great mental break from the day-to-day grind and I always left inspired.

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Rachel Voorhies

Title: Senior Operations Manager

How Long I’ve been at SXM: 6 Years

Why did you apply?
I applied when I was switching into a new career here at Sixthman. For those of you who know Andy Levine, I was fortunate to have worked side by side with him for 3 years as his Executive Assistant. I learned a lot about the business during that time and absorbed many of his best practices. I will always strive to Make It Right, go Above and Beyond, create the right ambience in a room, and have meals/conversations at round tables. I transitioned into Operations where I was now working with many new team members and departments. I used my time during the Concierge Class to do a deep dive into learning about how the teams operated and then integrated into the bigger picture. I was fascinated by the how we are all interdependent. One decision can affect so much. It truly takes an army to do what we do…

How have you applied what you learned to your role? 
Being exposed to wonderful speakers and sitting in on other Sixthman team meetings, I am constantly reminded that you can gain knowledge from everything around you. Listening to others and learning from them is one of the most powerful tools. 

Do you have a favorite moment from the program? 
I had the opportunity to hear Rebecca Messina speak to a small group here in Atlanta. Her resume is wildly impressive and she had the stories to match. She was asked how she was able to do it all between her career endeavors, being a wife, mother, and avid runner. Her response was “I’m messy, disorganized, and late!”. I loved that she was real and honest by acknowledging that to be all of those things she can’t be perfect at them all. So, while I may kill it every day at the office to help execute moments that make life rock, I am perfectly fine to let my laundry sit unfolded for a bit and drink a glass of wine instead. 

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Jon Owen

Title: Senior Manager of Finance & Accounting

How Long I’ve been at SXM: 3 Years

Why did you apply?  
I’ve worked in Finance since I joined Sixthman in 2014. In that role, there are certain teams and individuals within the company that I rarely (or never) get to work with. The thing that most drew me to this program was the prospect of getting to see all of Sixthman’s teams in action so that I could better understand how they worked and how the pieces of the organization fit together.

How did the program contribute to your professional development? 
Many of the external events I attended focused on leadership. This coincided with me entering a leadership position for the first time in my career. I hope that this timing will help me grow into a better leader. 

Do you have a favorite moment from the program?
Some necessary background info: I went through the program with Nadine Phelps who worked in Guest Services when we started the year. As we went through the program, it became clear to me that her natural skills made her a perfect fit for a need we had in Finance, and I eventually convinced her to come work on our team. My favorite Concierge moment was seeing Nadine grow in her new role and spearhead a new mentorship program at Sixthman. I’m proud to have her on my team and I don’t know if that would have happened if we hadn’t gone through Concierge together.

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Nadine Phelps

Title: Financial & Reservation Accountant

How Long I’ve been at SXM: 3 Years

Why did you apply?
I’d been at Sixthman for two years and although I really loved my role, I was itching to stretch my legs and explore my path. It was a pretty crowded field that year and I almost didn’t apply but our inaugural concierge class graduate Geoff Stephenson encouraged me to apply (thanks Geoff!).  Concierge gave me exposure to each department, its structures, leaders, workload, and at the tail end of my year in the program I moved to the Finance team.

How did the program contribute to your professional development?
In addition to my new role at Sixthman, I learned I have an interest in culture. It’s the people that make Sixthman such a special place to work and I wondered how I could best to serve my fellow team members. I worked with our Concierge leader Sarah to develop a mentorship program and I hope to have the opportunity to work on more of these kinds of projects in the future.

Do you have a favorite moment from the program?
Too many to count! Jon and I went to a podcast festival, we judged festival pitches at Kennesaw State University, and we attended countless speaker series in Atlanta. Recently, all of the concierge graduates attended Plywood Presents where we heard Inky Johnson speak. I’m not really a sports fan, but Inky’s talk on persistence, hope, and joy in the face of adversity absolutely blew me away. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. I’d recommend the talk to anyone, it may change your life!