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THIS IS OUR INDUSTRY

THE OWNERS|THE PEOPLE | THE COMPANIES | THE ORGANIZATIONS

Luxury Law Group

Danielle Butler

July 2018

July 2018
Las Olas, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

On July 13th 2018, we sat down with Danielle Butler at her parents home on Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale and found out who she is, where she comes from and her outlook on life now she is in her 40's.

"I'm half Italian, half German and Catholic. It's a nice mix. I've got the stubbornness and the explosive personality so it works well together in business."

- So I have some really funny shirts, I like these kind of funny shirts and they're... One definitely says, running late is my cardio. And I love that one because when I wear it, people are like, yeah totally, absolutely.

- So you're just known for being late.

- So it's genetics.

- We're back Between Two Yetis, and we are here with Danielle Butler.

- Good morning to you.

- Good morning, how are you?

- I'm great.

- It is Friday the 13th.

- It is. The day that America traditionally---

- Hides in their house.

- It's only America.

- Is it really?

- Only America, yeah.

- No, I remember going to Asia once and they didn't have 13 on their elevators.

- That's because a lot of Americans probably go to Asia.

- No, it's true.

- And they're just kowtowing to you.

- Exactly, I always wondered how did they get rid of that 13th floor.

- What is on that 13th floor?

- Bodies, I just assumed it's got bodies.

- You've seen Being John Malkovich, right?

- Yes I did.

- Right, so we finally get you on the coolers.

- I'm so excited to be on the coolers.

- Thank you for inviting us to... This is really like the heart of Fort Lauderdale, isn't it?

- It is, it is very much. I made sure I positioned my life that I have to travel maybe a half a mile. Don't want to go outside three mile radius.

- Because Fort Lauderdale traffic is terrible.

- It is.

- It is, and getting worse I would say.

- Unfortunately yes, we went from a town into a metropolis over here.

- Yeah, pretty much overnight.

- Mm-hmm, with no proper planning and infrastructure.

- No, really?

- That's off the record right? 'Cause I live in Miami, the one thing that drives me nuts about Fort Lauderdale is nobody has ever thought about the stop lights being synchronized.

- No, mm-mm.

- Stop.

- No. Stop, stop again.

- If you hit one red light--

- Done. Yeah, you might as well just stay there for maybe a couple of sequences, because you're gonna hit all the rest of them. I know, it is.

- So you're not from Fort Lauderdale then?

- I am not, born and raised on Long Island and was there until '18, came down here and went to University of Miami. Back up to New York for law school at New York Law School and then came back down here, because why would you not want to live in this weather for the rest of your life?

- It is very hot today though.

- It is.

- That's why we're sort of hiding.

- It's July 13th. I love this planning, it's great planning. So listen, I'm normally sweating all the times anyways because I'm running late all the time so I'm used to this heat.

- Yeah, shall we preface, is this the fifth time we have tried to do this? It's at least the fourth, it may be the fifth--

- You're busy, you're so busy. I just get everything, you know what I mean? With all these interviews, I'm like please, get me on these coolers.

- So your lawyer, we'll come to that in a minute, with one of our favorite people in the world, Andrew High, you were both at Hills, Betts & Nash, right?

- We were, we were actually were on the block but professionally around the block but we--

- What does that mean?

- That's an American term.

- Around the block?

- Yeah, yeah, it's for another context but you kind of talk about your social life as being around the block. But anyways, we have been to a couple of firms, we kind of figured we were like Goldilocks, just testing the beds and the porridge and gathering information and I think we created something quite special.

- Yeah, it really is.

- Thank you. We'll come to that in a minute. New York, whereabouts in New York 'cause New York's quite big, isn't it?

- Bellport, Long Island. It's about two towns west of Hampton Bays.

- It sounds very nice.

- It's really kind of quaint. It's one of those towns that you were just, we called it Boreport growing up. It was so boring. Now you're like oh my god, I'm from Bellport, did I tell you I'm from Bellport? Yeah, it's one of those sorts of situations.

- Okay, good, good. So you were just saying that your family's, well it's not tradition, it's--

- It's our family business.

- Family business, fireworks?

- Yes, mm-hmm. So my mother's father's uncle, that's our lineage and the company is about 170 years plus old. We're not quite sure--

- 170 years old? An American business is 170 years old?

- Well, it came from Body Italy and so in total--

- You're Italian, are you Jewish as well?

- I am not, I'm half Italian, half German and Catholic. It's a nice mix. I've got the stubbornness and the explosive personality so it works well together in business.

- Yeah, okay. But also the fun with it as well, hence Jaws.

- It's that I benefit to my father, he says you always get more with sugar and honey than you ever will with vinegar. And I can tell you as a lawyer, I use it all the time and it catches people off guard. Because normally I'm just a horribly mean person, you can tell.

- Just emanates from your body. Every time you just

- I am definitely probably the antithesis to most lawyers but you only live once so.

- Yeah, okay, jumping subjects, we'll come back to the New York bit and the fireworks. I was talking with a group of ladies yesterday about women in yachting. There's very few of you, it's very white, it's very European, it's very male-dominated. But I saw that as a massive positive because the few females that there are, from what I know are very good at what they do.

- I have to take credit that we are very good at what we do. I have a wonderful group of women, not a committed organization or anything like that. But we put it together about three years ago. We don't have any formal name but I guess you could put it, you could say, women in yachting or something to that effect. But it actually turns out that we all happen to be really good friends, and we were going to lunch anyways or dinner or drinks, mostly drinks but...

- It is Fort Lauderdale.

- It is, yeah, right, exactly. We are in the yachting industry. So we started to think about, and of course, there's that old adage that women are terrible with doing business with women.

- Yes.

- We're very social creatures so we'll get together and I do business dealings all the time so I sit with a man for a business lunch and it's all business and it's to the point. There's no fluff. And I go to lunch with a woman, and I'd say 80% of the conversation is social first and then we leave the last 15 minutes of the lunch--

- You just reminded me, that's Italian. That's the Italian way of doing business. I remember going to Italy and you'd spend, you go for lunch, you spend the... If you're going for an hour's lunch, 50 minutes is all getting to know and the last 10 minutes, business, business, espresso, go.

- In my experience because with the fireworks and now with yachting, I've been very blessed to do a lot of business internationally and it's really just America that just wants to get in and out in and out. Let's get to the point, let's get done. I got a busy day, got to grab a hot dog on the truck for lunch and work, work, work, work, work.

- I think that's because America is a very young country and it had to prove itself very quickly. That's the part of America I like. It's not this... It's not hanging around and two hours for lunch and siestas and months off on the holiday, it is--

- Yes, yes, we're not paying the majority of what we earn back. So yeah, there's trade-offs everywhere around and I'm in my 40s, so I guess historically I'm in my decade of major earning potential so--

- Is that what it is? This is it?

- Yes, that's it man. You've got 10 years to just go for the gusto. And if you make it past those 10 years without any health elements, things falling out of you, divorces and all that sort of jazz, you're doing well.

- You just reminded me, you touched on your health.

- Yeah, health has been my cross to bear, that's for sure. But I do truly believe that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I could attest to that. You've got a couple of options when the gray clouds come over and you could crawl in the corner and cry, right? I don't want to say feel bad for yourself, you legitimately have a weight of, an impingement in your life. But what I found out that when you do that and then you get up whenever it is that you come out of your fog, you are so much more behind and also disadvantaged because you're unhealthy. So I just think, you just deal with it in a healthy manner, emotionally and physically. And then just keep moving forward.

- You're clear now, right?

- No, I've got issues. 2014 was my year, so there was a multitude. I was diagnosed with cancer, I was diagnosed--

- Of what?

- With my thyroid.

- Thyroid cancer?

- Mm-hmm, which you know what? Apparently, if you're gonna get any cancer you wanna get thyroid cancer, that's what I was told. You're like, really? Because you just said the word cancer. And like the best, I don't know how you put those in the same subject.

- So what? They can just take the thyroid out and it's--

- Yeah, so there's, I have a little scar there. So went to Sylvester Cancer Center, they diagnosed me. Went in, they took my thyroid out. Unfortunately, because it went undiagnosed for so long, I had it in my--

- Did you have the flappyproblem?

- No, no, I had for the week after no voice.

- But I mean there are symptoms.

- Oh, you know what was crazy is that my thyroid was functioning 100% perfect. And that's what--

- You weren't feeling lethargic or anything like that?

- Nothing, nothing, and when they took the thyroid out, it actually was... Entombed within the thyroid were 10 cancerous tumors so they were just really shocked that I had--

- A thyroid is tiny, right?

- It is, it looks like a very very small bowtie.

- Did you see it?

- No, no, I asked them to but doctor thought I was nuts. But I was like, no, it's cool--

- I want to see this little--

- Can you put it in a little cup for me to take home? I guess it's medical waste and FDA won't allow that.

- Oh, really? Oh, in England, if you get your appendix taken out or something, you want to see it, you want to lay eyes on--

- But you can't take it with you.

- No, you can't take it with you.

- I was gonna say yeah, okay. That would be a little strange yeah, put on the mantel.

- You don't often see your... You never see your insides yourself.

- They took pictures. So I saw pictures because that same year, so I had four surgeries in radiation. And then my immune system decided to go on vacation permanently. So I had fibroids out, which looked like Stay Puft Marshmallows inside your body. I had non-malignant tumors out, I had the thyroid out. There was something else that decided not to want to stay in my body that came out, can't remember what it was 'cause it was a crazy year. And then I had radiation after all the surgeries were over for about a month. And then about two months things went well. And then I don't know if it was just genetics or just a really bad amount of stuff that happened but I was diagnosed as immunodeficient. So now my body doesn't make antibody B's which protects you from bacteria. So now for the rest of my life, every two weeks I do an infusion, an IV infusion. So it takes about six hours, they come to my house. I usually do it on a Friday 'cause makes you feel kind of crappy for two days.

- You do that every two months?

- Every two weeks.

- Two weeks? Every two weeks. Yep, so you adapt. You adapt, you wanna know why? Because I'm alive.

- Yeah. There's always something that could be much worse.

- So you've been through hell but, still got a smile on your face.

- I grew. I mean, let me tell you, our family especially with the firework industry we've had more trials and tribulations, so I guess maybe you could say that I was prepped for that.

- Yeah, so fireworks is a dangerous business to be in. Gunpowder, explosions--

- And we've had our tragedy.

- Really?

- We've had... My family is gonna yell at me because I don't remember the exact date in the early 19, beginning of the 1900s, we lost our factory. It went up--

- Common problem I assume.

- Not so much, however--

- 'Cause you have to spray water in the factory, don't you? To keep it a damp environment.

- Way back when that was the understanding, but now with technology, I mean we've come eons beyond that. Because that was the first time. The second time in 1983, the entire facility imploded. And unfortunately we lost my mom's brother, my uncle who was my godfather, and my second cousin and my grandfather happened to be at the facility. Luckily he was behind a huge trailer that acted like a a wall to prevent him from the blast. So one of the neighbors across the street obviously saw what was happening, ran in, jumped over the fence, grabbed my grandfather and dragged him out. So luckily, his life was preserved. I was, '83, so I was born in '74, I was nine years old. And I vividly could tell you everything that happened that day.

- Wow. But you'll never forget something like that.

- Yeah, it's amazing actually. As an industry, I would imagine it's fraught with--

- Peril, it really is. And there's fly-by-nighters--

- Transporting it and--

- Transporting it, making it, importing it--

- Designing the things.

- All of it. Storing it.

- Now, prior to '83--

- God. We did everything, we imported in raw materials. My father used to mix chemicals to make colors. My uncles used to build the fireworks. I mean it was from scratch to display. We do that--

- Scratch to display, that's another term, right? The block, scratch the display.

- Yeah, literally you would get in chemicals like if you remember chemistry class and the periodic table, we'd get-- And my grandfather was a founder in the industry. He developed a lot of the earlier science in displaythat you see now. His oldest son who passed on, also had a lot to do with just pushing the envelope to what you see today, and how displays, firework displays are designed and your finale, which everybody know is the end of the firework show because all of a sudden, it seems just like the skies are on fire, right? Lots of large sounding salutes. We coined that finale in, this is gonna be another year I'm not gonna remember. Because now, justified I was a small child but we went to Monaco and won the gold medal in a firework display and we captured it because of what we call our Grucci grand finale.

- See the one thing that pisses me off about fireworks, it's people who do it in their back garden.

- I'm well trust me, that's--

- It's like, well actually no, that's another thing. Idiots, but the other thing is when everyone goes oh, great fireworks, gotta get outside and then they send up a rocket and they send up that, and you're like, I'd much rather go to a million dollar display and be overwhelmed by it, rather than just everyone have... I guess that's, you probably make more money off the domestic?

- We don't do that.

- Oh, you only do commercial.

- We only display for whatever reasons; private, public, commercial, industry reasons. We do not sell to the public. No, it's not something that--

- Leave that to the Chinese.

- Yes, leave that to the other people. Now, of course that's the most lucrative part of the industry but whatever.

- The market must be huge.

- It is, it's amazing, it's amazing. The other interesting point about our industry is it's an international industry. But wherever you go, let's say you go to England, you go to Australia, you come to the United States, the people that make up the firework industry are predominantly Italian in ethnicity. Because there is a misconception that the Chinese invented fireworks, but they invented was the gunpowder, the charge, the explosives. It was the Italians that took all of those ingredients and made an actual firework for celebratory reasons, and most of those reasons of course way back when were religious celebrations.

- See, in England we have Guy Fawkes.

- Yes, you do.

- And that's our fireworks night. In fact, that and New Year, that's it.

- So I did study abroad at University of East Anglia in Norfolk.

- Okay, yeah. Did a year there and while I was there, there's again another very famous firework company in Great Britain, and because, kind of like our yachting industry, everybody knows everyone. It's small but international.

- And bitchy? I have to say, the firework industry is much more fun than our industry.

- Really? Although they're kind of neck-and-neck at times but I think because it's so family based, not only are the companies probably--

- Go back generations.

- Right, it's a family business they're all families and family businesses are ran structurally and treated differently. They might all be corporations, but they're not treated like a blue chip corporation. So I contacted the family in England and they hosted me for weekends, and they are actually your fireworks company and family that does your Guy Fawkes Day.

- Good Lord.

- Yeah, pretty cool.

- So from that, this Jaws got you into marine?

- It did.

- How did that happen then?

- So pretty much everybody in my family went into fireworks but my mom's generation said, for their children, you're not going straight into the company. You have to go get an education--

- Go get and a job.

- You have to do something first not at Fireworks by Grucci. So I did and at-

- That's very good, I wish my dad had forced me to start

- Let me tell you, there are a lot of rules and regulations especially when you're living in a family that deals with explosives. So people were like, you've played with firecrackers and you did all this stuff, like no, we weren't even allowed to play with matches. So I went with my father and my brother at eight years old to go see this movie. And I was fascinated by it and I was fascinated by the--

- So Jaws was '76, '73, '76?

- Yeah, '76.

- '76?

- Mm-hmm. So I went much later on, but I just was... My most favorite scene in the movie is when he's chumming the water. And all of a sudden, for the first time and you're probably easily a good hour into the movie before you finally see Jaws who's by the way, name is Bruce, that's what they named him on the set. Because it was Steven Spielberg's lawyer's name, Bruce. So that's why they named the shark Bruce, cute little piece of trivia.

- Hang on, so that's how you--

- No, no, that's not why I became--

- Okay, okay.

- While watching the movie, the marine biologist fascinated me and I said, I remember saying, that's what I want to do. And so I went to University of Miami, I traveled throughout primary school, graduated, applied to University of Miami for their marine biology department or program. Was accepted, went through that. Afterwards was hired by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a marine biologist. Did that for two years, and then had a wonderful mentor which I just need to put out there, everybody should have multitudes of mentors in their life really just to keep you on track professionally, personally and spiritually. But so, I had this great mentor and he said, you know what you should do? Don't go on and get your PhD, because I want to do shark biology. Don't go and do your PhD. Go to law school and do maritime law, because one, he goes, I could probably count on one hand how many females there are in maritime law in the nation. And two, it's a great time right now for females to apply to law school. So unlike the rest of the world, I was like hey, I like those odds, I'm gonna take advantage of being a woman for once. And I said okay, I'm not gonna go crazy with this, I'll take the LSAT test once, I'll apply to a couple of schools and if it's meant to be it will happen and I got accepted. And right after law school, I was not a stellar student because I hated just that classroom environment.

- Well yeah, going from being out on a boat, tagging sharks to--

- Yeah, and well and even in our family's business, it's just you're so open and free so that whole structure, of course probably being OCD doesn't help because sitting in that--

- oh, are you? That classroom. I'm like conference call, about 30 minutes, right? That's all we need. So I was a good student but I wasn't that top-tier student, but I had really good contacts and a lot of diversification so I just started throwing resumes out there. And I got hired by Holland and Knight by actually a well-known maritime attorney in our industry, Michael Moore. And I worked for him for five years, so that was my base.

- Hmm.

- And so now 18 years later I sit here because I went to go see Jaws.

- That's interesting, so your first one was working for the EPA?

- Yes, yes.

- God, I have some questions there but-- Unfortunately, we could touch on politics which is not a subject we're allowed to--

- No, and religion right? What do they say? No politics, no religion, no sex.

- Now I'm alright with the religion and the sex, when it comes to politics in the last couple of years here--

- Oh, it's terrible.

- Holy moly.

- Because it's not like, what are you? I'm a Republican.

- Well, this is what's amazing. So you're identified by party?

- Yes, we do. At least my family does. We were all Republicans, my uncle was a US congressman. So we're very, and typically where I'm born and raised was always a very Republican environment.

- New York?

- Long Island in Suffolk County. It was a quagmire.

- Okay, the reason we don't touch on politics, I wouldn't say I'm a Republican, I wouldn't say I'm a Democrat, I wouldn't say I'm a liberal. I will listen to all sides and have an opinion of what feels right. It just seems at this moment in time, it doesn't matter what that man does, this side of the argument will never even listen or pay any kind of just like, no, that was actually, you'll never hear a Democrat go, actually that was good.

- Or vice versa. I'm glad you did that.

- Vice versa either. I mean I'm not gonna say one is right or wrong. Right now where we're at is just such black and white, and not only in politics but in many facets of life, whether it's religion, whether it's politics, whether it's wealth, whether it's immigration. I mean you're either here or you're here.

- But this is where his genius comes in and he is a genius.

- Who?

- Leader in chief.

- Hmm, I have to agree with you on that.

- The left will never vote for him, the right will vote for him. It's the middle ground, that's where you're gonna win this game.

- And you wanna know what? He speaks to the middle and that's why he's relevant.

- And that's why they're pissed off.

- Well, it blows my mind 'cause people are like, oh his tweeting, and his grammar and the way he talks to people, he's talking to the average voter which is not a college-educated MBA individual, so he gets it.

- And that's why, this is where we can go for hours but that's more proportional representation of the college electoral system is genius. It pisses everybody off but it actually works. Anyway, no politics, no politics 'cause that really could go for--

- At least we're on the same page. For him at least, right?

- Yes. Mentoring.

- Yes, very important.

- Very important and I heard it yesterday. I was doing a show with Kristen Klein from Northrop and Johnson.

- Yes.

- And she was saying her mentor is--

- She's lighting the world on fire right now.

- She kind of alluded to that and then now I was just like, I really pushed it too far. But yes, a female yacht broker, killing it.

- A young, female yacht broker.

- Yeah.

- So at least if you have, I notice in this industry, if you have age behind you, if you have some gray hairs behind you no matter what you are, there's more credence there. Listen we're dealing with multi-millionaires, billionaires, they like, it's their generation although more of Generation X and Millennials we're getting involved in becoming at that age where they're intermingling but traditionally the baby boomers, they want a gray-haired lawyer in a suit. Or they want a maybe former Coast Guard, former Navy person selling them a boat.

- Yeah, and it's a bit more--

- Right?

- Yeah. Wouldn't you think that I could actually captain this boat and most people would say absolutely not. But when I'm out there doing it, it's funny. Other boats are getting out of the way. And I'm like I'll take advantage of that.

- You know Jenny Wicker?

- I love Jenny Wicker.

- She can drive a boat better than most people I know. Not most men, most people I know.

- And she knows more about the intricacies, the vessel and the engines.

- She could probably fix most of it.

- Yes, exactly. She actually sold me my boat, she's my yacht broker.

- See, tiny little industry.

- It is. Okay, so I would definitely say within my family, I had some great unofficial mentors and people are like, oh that's your family. No, but I really did. I had my grandmother who was an Italian woman that--

- If you think about it, your parents are your mentors to start with.

- If you're smart, I think they should be.

- Right or wrong.

- Exactly, you could learn from them either way.

- It's probably better to see, in fact, it's good to have bad and good mentors.

- Yeah, yeah, and I definitely say I could identify both sides because, and hopefully you're smart enough to recognize which ones to follow and identify which ones are right and wrong. Some people can, some people can't. But mine would be my grandmother was just brilliant. She was the glue that held our family together, extended family and--

- She was born in America or she--

- No, she was born in America. And my father was just a wealth of information for me to just develop into a good professional. He had all these puns, and of course when you're younger you hate hearing those puns. And one of his best puns which to today, anyone that I mentor I say to all the time is, contacts are king. It's not what you know, it's who you know. Now it's not to be like, oh I know George Clooney. Okay, great, it's I know this person, oh do you need this? I actually know them, let me give them a call, let me help you out here. You want that sort of job? You know what, I know this guy and he's actually hiring for that. That's the value in the contacts that he told me.

- Well, you are one of the most connected people in the industry, aren't you?

- I don't think so but I--

- You get around, let's put it that way.

- I use my contacts for, I don't wanna say the greater good but for what it's worth, is to help us all out. That's what a mentoring is about, share the wealth.

- Are you still part of MISF or was that--

- Yes, so I am on my last year as past chairperson of Marine Industries Association.

- Past chairperson?

- Mm-hmm, so I was a board member for a year, vice-president for three years, president for two years and now we've changed the title from president to chairperson. And now I'm on my second year of past chairperson and then at the end, let's see, June or July 1st of '19 I will be officially off unless I decide to run for the board but I think that boards really need change, yeah.

- Yeah, you've been there a long time?

- I have to tell you it was an amazing experience in education, and I got to meet a whole half of our industry that I never really have contact with because my side is transactional, buying and selling. Not the industry and it's funny, because in our industry you always hear, well what's more important? The people that build the boats or the people that sell the boats, but it's like what comes first, chicken or the age? But they both are important and they both need each other. And historically especially when I first came in, there was such a divide between those two segments of our industry and now I could honestly say, I see them moving together for the greater good which is the preservation of our industry.

- So yeah, that's all the lobbying, were you involved with that? 'Cause we interviewed Phil, and it just seems ridiculous that this is still not recognized as a thing.

- I know.

- This, it's just a bit of... This is pool furniture.

- Well, as a lawyer, it's also the transactions of these is treated like that which blows my mind.

- [Lee] How do you mean it's treated like that?

- [Danielle] Okay, so you're gonna go buy, let's say you're gonna go buy a $200,000 home, right? You're gonna hire an attorney. Imagine how many of these are sold at $200,000 where just the--

- [Lee] Just the broker and somebody signs it and gets some, wow.

- [Danielle] And look at the liability. Let's say you have a captain, you have people on it, you're cruising all over maybe Bahamas--

- [Lee] You can crash into things.

- [Danielle] You could kill people. You could really do damage. The other thing, I mean obviously historically now after 18 years I'm dealing with larger boats but I try and talk to my clients that are buying and explain to them, why do you need a lawyer, not because I need billables but because there's a whole hierarchy that's going to change with your purchase. So how is this, this is a multi-million, not this one but the typical yachts are a multi-million dollar asset.

- [Lee] This is the heartbeat of America, well it was.

- [Danielle] It is, it's really the most common boating. And I love it, I started with a 19--

- [Lee]got problems at the moment, doesn't he?

- [Danielle] Yeah, yeah, I mean but listen, it's a publicly traded company and every publicly traded company goes throughgrowth.

- [Lee] True, and I think 38 Sundancer is their...

- [Danielle] Sweetheart.

- [Lee] Yeah, it's the model which--

- [Danielle] I love this boat. Historically purchased it for kind of more of that couples cruising, let's go to the Bahamas, you know. It's a floating apartment is what it is. I'm going to get ready and change it to more of that social animal boating, like I call it where you go from front to bow, cabin underneath but there's more connectivity whereas this is more divided, just like the people partying in the front, people partying in the back and then, those that are stuck having to make sure that the boat doesn't run aground, that would be my job.

- [Lee] Well, we'll come back to the boat in a minute becausehas a very dear place in my heart. We were talking mentoring, MSIF, MIAASF--

- [Danielle] What was Phil, I mean, so firstly I was very blessed to be the president. So I started to be the president of our board when he was brought on to be our director, now his title has changed to president CEO so that's why we changed everything around.

- [Lee] These organizations so, as far as I can see from an organizational point of view and I've never been in one, never volunteered for, it is volunteer?

- [Danielle] Yes, for what I do is volunteer. The board, I mean Phil is employed obviously because that's his job day to day. For me, you're board, really I mean it's philanthropy, it's a non-for-profit. So the board positions historically for those sorts of associations, are voluntary.

- [Lee] It's amazing, you gave that much of your life to that.

- [Danielle] But I gained, okay so you weren't paid, but I find that payment doesn't only come in dollars. I mean I met people who I would have never met, I have the ability to call icons of our industry where I never would have been able to do that otherwise. And I gave back because I'm helping people buy toys. I'm not out there carrying cancers, so I feel like I gave back.

- [Lee] Phil said it was the same thing. He said he can pick up his phone and he can call anybody in the industry but he can also call people, the brightest minds in the world 'cause he's got their numbers in his phone and it's like--

- [Danielle] Now, he obviously as you recall before being our presidency of marine industries was the vice president of Westport. And so great boats, large boats, loved boats. So yes, I mean he's got a rolodex filled with the 1% of the 1%, and that's valueless. Especially if you could actually get them on the phone in which he can and so he is the perfect person in this role to bring our industry to the present day light.

- [Lee] So what is the challenge with, is it getting that recognition or is it getting the tax relief, is it getting--

- [Danielle] Well, so here's the problem, is that we never ever can forget that we all exist here because there's people buying toys, that's their mentality, right? This is for fun. The minute that you make it not fun for them, by making it work or more business-oriented, you lose them. So we've got this delicate--

- [Lee] Whose them?

- [Danielle] The actual buyers, the owners of whether it's center console or it's a 200-foot Larssen. They're all the same people, they are all of our clients, they're all of our customers. But again they're buying these assets for fun.

- [Lee] So the moment you start bringing legislation and rules and regulations--

- [Danielle] Right, it's not fun anymore. I mean same conversation with what they're doing over in Europe with all of the charter regulations and not only each of the different EU countries, but within each of the territories within a country, within the EU. It's a minefield and so you're pushing people, boat owners out because it's not fun anymore. It's expensive and it's time-consuming and it causes change.

- [Lee] You've actually explained to me in simple terms what it does, gee, that makes so much sense.

- [Danielle] I like to take the Donald Trump of way of explaining things to people.

- [Lee] Yeah, just we do this in order to--

- [Danielle] It is, it is what it is.

- [Lee] Yeah, good Lord, so you had six years, seven years?

- [Danielle] With them, with marine industries? When I'm done, it will be a total of eight in various positions.

- [Lee] Eight years.

- [Danielle] I loved it.

- [Lee] Yeah, do you feel that's also helped your business as well?

- [Danielle] Yes, and no. So no when I was taking time away from my business to do that, but then yes because of my own professional growth and the people that I know now. And also the respect that I think it gave me as an individual in our industry. So it was a double-edged sword. But one I would never, people are like, would I do that again? I thought it was great. And now I'm looking for, as this ends, I only like to be on one board so I could give 100% of my attention.

- [Lee] Well no, now you've got your money-making years.

- [Danielle] Yeah, I know, as Andrew reminds me quite often.

- [Lee] Screw the Freesia.

- [Danielle] He's like, I've got a board for you to be on, it's called Luxury Law Group and Luxury Financing Group.

- [Lee] So let's talk about the business then. For me, I haven't done that much legal work but most law firms very stuffy, they're in high-rises. Your law firm is so...

- [Danielle] Approachable?

- [Lee] Approachable, yeah.

- [Danielle] Okay, so everything has pluses and minuses so people will say, oh Danielle and Andrew, they were in various firms. They went from here to here to here to here. Yeah, we did and that's not--

- [Lee] Every lawyer does that, doesn't it?

- [Danielle] Not really. Well, I think it depends on the generation you talk about but the generation that taught us frowns upon that because everyone for the gold watch.

- [Lee] Yeah, they're going for the partnership. You have to be what there, eight years or something before you can become a partner.

- [Danielle] Eight to 10, yeah.

- [Lee] And that's how they keep you in. They pay you nothing for the first couple of years.

- [Danielle] And so, again taking that old adage from my dad is that contacts was king, I didn't worry about the money and the partnership. I worried about building a book of business, because that's where the value lies as an attorney. Just like as a broker, your contacts are king. We're all selling something. My widget is my brain. but I'm still a salesperson in the very elementary aspect of what it is that I do. So I just do it in a John's T-shirt.

- [Lee] Yeah.

- [Danielle] It's funny too, because one time one of my partners said to me because I tend not to do the black or navy suit. And they said to me, "Danielle I gotta tell you, "that even the Rolling Stones wanted their lawyers "in a black suit." I said to them, okay. I mean I had to just take it in and accept it but as Andrew and I came together and we built what we built, we're a yachting chic environment, you know what I mean? We're not a black or navy law firm.

- [Lee] He's always impeccably dressed.

- [Danielle] Oh my god, it's ridiculous. That's why I said, I'm not gonna compete with Andrew High.

- [Lee] In fact, if you didn't know he was married, you'd think he was gay.

- [Danielle] Well, have you seen his wife Stephanie? Gorgeous, the two of them--

- [Lee] She dresses him?

- [Danielle] No, no, no, she is just gorgeous. And their children are beautiful little blond-haired blue-eyed boys, so I joke with them all the time.

- [Lee] I'm responsible for that second child by the way.

- [Danielle] Oh, really? Hmm, okay.

- [Lee] We took them out and got them drunk.

- [Danielle] I always say to them, I always wondered who that family was when you go and buy a frame, right? Now I know it's your family. Clears it all up.

- [Lee] They're the family behind the...

- [Danielle] I mean Jesus, when I first met him and he was in law school as a law clerk I was about five years out, and we were out of Hill Betts at the time, that's where we first met. Still then it was just unbelievable, right off of the pages of GQ. That's his thing.

- [Lee] So now let's talk about personal life. Now, this is your parent's home that we're at. This is party central, isn't it? I've been to a few parties here.

- [Danielle] You wanna know what's really funny, is I'll be out and about, and somebody will come up to me and they're like, Oh Danielle it's great to see you again and I have that kind of who are you look on my face and they're like I was at your New Year's Eve party or I was at your birthday party, and I was like yeah.

- [Lee] Great.

- [Danielle] Fun, right?

- [Lee] I mean it is a very, what are you doing at your parents and not yours?

- [Danielle] Well, the boat is here so we had this whole, oh, the parties?

- [Lee] Yeah.

- [Danielle] Because it's just so... My home, so I live two blocks over in, my home is more of a long rectangle whereas this is spread out.

- [Lee] Mom, your house is so much better for this.

- [Danielle] Let's not talk about the fact that everything starts here and ends here and then I just get to go home in my nice clean house. Do not put that on video, 'cause then there'll be no parties here. But I'm at the point in, I guess my circle of life that my parents are aging and so we're looking to... I'm definitely going to help them in their later years so we're going to sell mine and theirs and look for--

- [Lee] Something together?

- [Danielle] Yeah.

- [Lee] Holy, really?

- [Danielle] Yeah.

- [Lee] You're that close?

- [Danielle] No, I mean they're self-sufficient but unfortunately, my father was diagnosed with, not early onset, but fast, I'm going to say fast-acting glaucoma and lost pretty much 80% of his total vision in about six months, and he's 77.

- [Lee] God almighty.

- [Danielle] My parents are 10 years apart and so it's put a huge strain on them. And he's a proud German, so do you think he's accepting this well? No, he's like, I'm gonna drive. I'm like, yeah no, you're not driving. I credit a lot of what I've become and who I am for them and their foundation what they gave me, and it's very much the Italian culture. And every culture I think except for America--

- [Lee] The English as well, we don't do it.

- [Danielle] You don't do it, okay. So more of that Mediterranean.

- [Lee] We want as much, we want at least two hours distance between our parents and us.

- [Danielle] My parents, mind you, you talk to anyone that knows me, they know my parents intimately well because they come everywhere with me. And I used to live on Miami Beach, now my mom's mom, one of them that I said was a mentor, I'll never forget it. She went on a yacht closing with me to the Bahamas and then one time I had to meet a client at, you'll know this place being from Miami Beach, Bed, right? The old nightclub, Bed.

- [Lee] I never went but yes.

- [Danielle] So when I was living on Miami Beach, its heyday and so I don't know, just because family is such a huge part of my life, I said to the client, hey, do you mind if I bring my grandmother and he's like, sure.

- [Lee] To Bed?

- [Danielle] Yeah, to Bed. It was he and his wife and a couple of their friends and myself and I brought my grandmother and let me tell you, I might be fun but she broke the mold.

- [Lee] Wow.

- [Danielle] And remember that generation, that pre-war generation, I mean they were making booze in their basement.

- [Lee] I tell you what.

- [Danielle] I never want it any other way.

- [Lee] I was at the gym on Tuesday doing a class and spoke to the instructor afterwards, and he was talking about how the human body needs struggle. It needs you to go to your breaking points because the body needs to know where you need its levels to be. And it sounds like you and your family have had a number of challenges. But you are who you are.

- [Danielle] Because of it. I mean I might not even be sitting here if everything was perfect.

- [Lee] I guarantee you wouldn't be, yeah.

- [Danielle] No, I probably--

- [Lee] You'd be like, what? On a Yeti, in the Sun? No, no.

- [Danielle] We're the Cabanas Boys, right? I'm very faithful person and that definitely has grown in the last five years, but I feel very blessed. Trials, tribulations, positives, negatives. I think that you've got to take them all and work them into your life in a growth manner.

- [Lee] Well, thank you very much.

- [Danielle] Oh, it's my pleasure. I really enjoyed this.

- [Lee] And we are now almost to the midday sun.

- [Danielle] My sun!

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