Celero’s Brightest Stars Convene in Nashville for Duffy Leadership Retreat

Celero team at dinner

Top performers and culture carriers from across the Celero Commerce family gathered in Nashville from July 14-16 for the company’s first-ever Duffy Leadership Retreat.

Named in honor of a longtime mentor to many of the company’s executives, the Michael Duffy Leadership Award is bestowed quarterly and annually to top performers who also most exemplify Celero’s values. The first Duffy Leadership Retreat brought together the company’s Duffy winners since the awards program’s inception in 2019. 

Joining the Duffy winners were other top-performing employees from virtually every corner of the company, including financial institution relationship management, direct sales, marketing, software, customer service, and operations. Attendees enjoyed a mix of professional and fun events throughout the three-day retreat in Music City.

Keynoting the event and sharing speaking duties with CEO Kevin Jones was former NBA great and current head men’s basketball coach at Vanderbilt University, Jerry Stackhouse. In addition to a focus on continually developing the group’s leadership skills, the retreat also featured a group session on understanding mergers and acquisitions in the fintech sector. 

“We designed the Duffy Leadership Retreat as a way to not only honor and inspire our first generation of true leaders and culture carriers, but to equip them for the future,” said Jones. “Many of those in the room will be in high positions of leadership and even the C-suite in years to come, and it’s important that we share as much as we can about how we are building this company to fulfill our mission.”

Fun events included tours of Nashville’s world-famous murals, the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as a surprise concert by Jake Owen and Friends at the venerable Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry and the city’s “Mother Church of Country Music.” The group also enjoyed nights out on Broadway, Music City’s unique strip of honky-tonks. 

Honorees at Celero’s first Duffy Leadership Retreat included the inaugural annual winner of the Duffy Award, Vice President of Marketing Lea Telonis, as well as quarterly winners Nicole Becher, Karo Torosyan, Kristia Poppe, Abigail Lucier, and Spencer Ellis. Joining the Duffy winners in earning elite recognition were an array of high achievers, including Jacqueline Porthouse, John Correa, Jeremy Price, Brett Hansen, Michelle Schmuhl, Albert Pinkowski, Karen Penley, Greg Ericson, Joe Campbell, Will Foley, John Bostow, John Fraggis, Michael Favia, and Joseph Astobiza.

According to Telonis, the most special part of the event was the fact that the company’s leaders could all be together in one room for the first time, due to the strains of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I think everyone’s hearts were beating just a little bit faster, and we were even more excited for this type of event,” Telonis shared. “Celero is like a family, with such a supportive culture, and the feeling was that we were bringing the family together. It was just an amazing week.”

Congratulations to this year’s honorees at the 2021 Celero Commerce Duffy Leadership Retreat.