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Free Falling: Skydiving executives

Paola Roman, Vice President of Housing Development at Carrfour Supportive Housing, during a skydive.

Paola Roman, 33
Vice President of Housing Development / Carrfour Supportive Housing

“My reason for wanting to skydive was twofold,” Paola Roman says. “One, I envy the freedom that birds have and I wanted to try it out — silly, I know, but I’m a free spirit like that — and two, I am seriously afraid of heights and wanted to conquer that fear. Acknowledging and conquering any fear helps me press through moments on the job when I feel I can’t.”

First Jump:“Once we arrived and I started to read and complete the release form and put on the gear, I began to feel the nervous energy. The scariest moment was once on the plane and right before the jump. After the actual jump, once we pulled the parachute to open and fell in the vertical position, it was simply glorious. We also flew through a cloud, which felt like nothing, but I have the picture to confirm it.”

Wish List of Jumps: Interlaken, Switzerland. “I would love to see the mountains from the sky.”

To-Do List: “Anything that involves height, speed and nature — like ziplining from a mountain.”

Gonzalo A. Acevedo, 46
Managing Senior Vice President, Director / Private Client Group at City National Bank

In 1991, Gonzalo Acevedo was working at a bond trading firm when a group of traders and brokers dared each other to participate in an extreme activity. “We researched where we could skydive in south Florida,” Acevedo recalls. They decided to go with Skydive USA in Homestead.

Going Down: “Upon the dive, I felt like Superman as the instructor, Tom, tapped me on the shoulder to direct my body one way and thus fly in that direction, and then tapped the other shoulder to stabilize or redirect the fall. Finally, we did some spinning. ”

In the Water: This summer, Acevedo received certification for the first level of professional diving. “I truly enjoy diving wrecks and reefs.”

Broc Nell, 30
Director of Golf / Omni Amelia Island Plantation
Amelia Island

While working in Oahu eight years ago, Broc Nell and four other guys “on a complete whim” went to an airfield to skydive. “But only three of us were willing to give it a try,” he says. The reality of what he was doing didn’t hit until the group was 10,000 feet in the air. “It felt like going 200 mph down the highway with your head out the window!”

Other Experiences: This summer, the Red Baron stunt plane was at Nell’s resort for an airshow. “I happened to give the stunt plane driver a golf lesson, and he invited me for a ride. The G-forces of the stunt plane made it more extreme than skydiving.”