New York, NY - January 15-16, 2009

Leadership Council Luncheon

(Private luncheon for Founding Members & Leadership Council)
Remarks: Stan Smith, Former Wimbledon & US Open champion, internationally ranked No.1

Doug Holladay started by welcoming everyone to the event, making special notice of three attending CEOs from Palestine, one of whom named Yuval Moed was at lunch.  Doug then highlighted another guest, John Whitehead, and asked him to share a few words on some of the joys and challenges in his life.  John shared briefly on a particular story of landing on the beaches of Normandy.  He had been in the navy about a year when he was asked to help 5 different ships unload troops on the beach.  He remembers standing there on the beach and looking up and down the coast just trying to absorb as much as he could in those few moments.  It was the greatest event that he would participate in (including serving the same role in the battle of Iwo Jima), and he wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.  He felt he had a very particular and crucial role to play in this epic moment and it stills brings him pride recalling his service to our country today.

Following John Whitehead’s story, John Cay introduced the keynote luncheon speaker, his friend and former Hilton Head neighbor, Stan Smith.  John pointed out that although Stan is a legend in Tennis with victories in both Wimbledon and the US Open, he is quite the gentleman and has always epitomized class.  He shared one of his favorite quotes from Stan, “Experience tells you what to do, and confidence allows you to do it.”

Stan then went on to share his insights on the following topics, while interweaving his experiences from being a world champion tennis player.
 

Confidence/Ego: Stan shared that early on in his life he set a goal to become the world’s best tennis player.  He stated that being confident in oneself and setting goals are what lead him to such great success.  However, on the flip side, Stan shared about how his confidence sometimes got out of hand.  A particular example of ego/confidence was in the 1971 Wimbledon finals.  He recalled that after winning the first set, his ego got out of hand.  He was even imaging the words to his victory speech and before long he ended up losing the match.  Stan stressed the importance of maintaining confidence versus keeping your ego in check.

Character: Character determines how you handle the tough times, such as when you are losing.  He mentioned the first time he played behind the iron curtain, in Romania just after the Munich Olympics when security was incredibly tight and the country was in turmoil.  During this tournament, Stan watched as his team-mate gave up early and forfeited the match due to his fear of being in such a hostile place.  While he could have followed suit, Stan decided to stand tall in this time of adversity and stuck it out to the end of the tournament without giving up or running from his fears.

Fame: Stan shared how his tennis career has afforded him the opportunity to associate with Presidents, Royalty and many celebrities.  But through all those experiences Stan shared that he has found more similarities amongst all kinds of people than differences.  It is through fame that Stan has learned how to respect everyone.  He shared how it was amazing to see the way he was treated change drastically after he was injured for a period and out of the spotlight.  It is startling to see how many friends are only loyal in times of celebration.  It is imperative to love and support others through all the ups and downs in life.  It was through this that Stan gained a greater perspective into the things that matter, such as his family and faith.

Faith: Stan was in college when friends began to share Jesus Christ with him.  He took it in, with a lot of questions, and realized that being a great tennis player wouldn’t be the greatest meaning of his life. He began to wonder… what if he died early and never got to achieve what he wanted to in tennis.  He accepted Christ because he found the ultimate meaning and joy in his life, and so from that point forward he tried to do everything as if it was being done for Jesus instead of trying to live only for himself.

Family: Stan mentioned how helpful it was growing up with a father who was a coach and how he kept him active in athletic competitions.  He also grew as an athlete because of the influence of his two older brothers.  His brothers were kind enough to often play catch with him… literally throwing him back and forth, and through this Stan “learned to land on his feet”.  Despite the challenges they put him through; Stan noted that he had a great family and lots of support growing up.  He has tried to model that in his own family today.  His wife and kids have travelled with him throughout his career with his wife homeschooling their kids for about 11  of those years.  They formed a strong family bond by ensuring they would always be together, even if it meant traveling around the world and getting taught school lessons in hotel rooms.

Afternoon Session

 “One Man’s Journey”
Remarks: Eric A. Adolphe, Esq, Former CEO, Optimus Corporation

After all the attendees had finally arrived, Eric Adolphe, former CEO of Optimus Corporation, began to share his story.  He warned that he could be rather emotional at times, before moving on to the heavily studied topic of leadership.  He claimed that his studies from this year show that most work on leadership focuses on what we strive to be like rather than focusing on how attributes of our emotional past can greatly affect how we truly do lead.  He also mentioned that many leaders, including him, are driven by narcissistic wounds that came from people telling them they are not good enough to succeed.

He went on to share his personal story.  He grew up in both the Bronx and Brooklyn with a father who was largely absent because he had to work until 11 pm each day.  It wasn’t until he was in the fifth grade that he ever had someone instill motivation and confidence in him; and it came from his fifth grade teacher, Neil Sterrer.  Neil came up on stage as a special guest with Eric and shared some of his insights about Eric personally and about others he tried to help motivate in school.

Eric continued by sharing that when he started school he was put in special needs classes because he had only learned to speak Spanish and French from his family, and wasn’t as well versed in English.  It wasn’t for two or three months that he was finally pulled out and recognized as only having the need of improving his English.  He continued to be doubted all the way through high school, and yet his Dad still told him that he better go to college.  Thus, he went off to college with only $75 to his name to cover all of his expenses.  Plus, his parents soon moved to Florida and he was left to live in the subway, often forced to choose between going to school or eating a meal.  He still remembers one exam he took where he had to use a broken calculator that required him to do most calculations manually, all the while having not been able to eat a meal for the past 2 days.  He recalled that kids were asking to be reseated so as not to be distracted by the strange noises coming from his stomach.  He states that it was this moment that he was closest to giving up his drive for success.

Yet, he soon found out about the school’s scholarship program, which gave him hope.  He went to talk to a woman in admissions, but it turned out he was two weeks too late to apply.  Thankfully, do to the compassion of the woman in admissions he was able to get the scholarship because she was willing to take the blame for somehow misplacing his paperwork before the deadline.  He then graduated, and with the voice from his narcissistic wounds still pushing him, decided to go off to Syracuse.  It was there that he was inspired to create technologies to save lives.  Thus, he started Optimus Corporation using credit cards to loan him the initial $10,000.  Somehow, now fifteen years later, Optimus Corporation is worth millions of dollars.

After awhile, he decided to explore teaching so he could tell his story and motivate kids that may be in his situation today.  However, he claimed instead of finding kids who had been told they couldn’t succeed like he had been, he found lots of kids who were taught they could do anything.  This motivated him to do a generational study.  He was worried by some observations he found, claiming that the next generation of leaders had never been allowed to fall and get back up, instead being babied to succeed.  As a result, issues like birthrights and dependence on luxury causes kids to expect too much, thinking they always deserve A’s on anything, funding from school should come from elsewhere, and that they can set their own hours for work.

Eric then moved on to talk about his current situation, sharing that about two months ago his Dad got diagnosed with cancer.  Even though he always thought his Dad was out of the picture, he recently had the chance to have a long talk to his Dad about regrets and they’ve finally had the chance to grow closer.

Someone asked Eric to follow up on his relationship with his father, asking for clarification of how present he was throughout Eric’s childhood.

Eric stated that his Dad had actually always been there for him, but for some reason never wanted Eric to know all that he was doing for him.  Eric claims that he is just now learning so many more amazing things about his father.  For instance, Eric stated that he just recently learned that his father actually used to work in the boiler room of multiple naval ships throughout his young adulthood and can speak five different languages he picked up from interacting with his fellow compatriots in the boiler rooms.  Eric also shared that he only recently learned that his dad had regularly met with elementary school teachers about Eric to ensure he was getting a proper education.  Eric then stated that he only wishes his father hadn’t been so secretive so that he could have known all this a lot sooner.

Someone then asked Eric, “How can America help leadership in other parts of the world?”

Eric stated that he thinks the Americans, particularly young Americans, need to immerse themselves in other cultures.  He claimed that one of the most important things for our young leaders to learn that he perceives them currently lacking is a more knowledgeable worldview.

Someone then asked Neil what else he could share about Eric.

According to Neil, he at first expected Eric to be very different than he was based on his knowledge about his sister. But, once he learned more about Eric’s individual traits he was able to become a better teacher to him and create a bond that allows them to stay in contact today.  Neil also mentioned how quiet Eric was, either because he was paying attention or because he was daydreaming about all sorts of different inventions.

At this point the Q & A ended to allow for Eric to share a clip of a PBS documentary that was done on his life story.

Dinner Session

“Wisdom in Leadership”
Remarks: Stan Smith, Former Wimbledon & US Open champion, Internationally ranked No.1
Introduction: James M. Seneff, CEO, CNL Financial Group Inc.
Perspective: John Tyson, CEO, Tyson Foods, Inc.

As dinner was beginning, attendees mingled as the Jerrod Cattey Trio played some calming background jazz.  More PathNorth information was provided as dinner began, and Jean Case recognized the three Palestinian CEOs. One of whom, Ziad Anabtawi, commented on the potential for peace in the Palestine and how influential the private sector can be in making peace a reality.  Each guest also was given a bottle of Ziad’s company’s olive oil as a gift.

Jim Seneff then introduced John Tyson to allow him to share his personal story.  Jim noted that personal narratives are more important in challenging times, because that’s when we learn that it’s all about relationships first.

John Tyson began by mentioning how growing up he saw life through the eyes of people around him in his small hometown town in Arkansas.  He grew up as the SOB (son of the boss) in town, but the cocky attitude he might have had from that role was quickly removed from a memorable day when his father sent him to tour the factory where food processing took place.  He was expecting a simple tour, but the next thing he knew he was on the back loading dock carrying crates off the truck and getting wet and caked all day.  He came to appreciate the work so many people were putting into the family company.

In his youth he also met an old man named Gus who lived out the back door from him.  Gus showed that you’re never too busy to stop and have a moment for someone in your life by always making time for John.  These experiences helped him recognize that people are what matter in life, and that it is important to pay attention to the people around you.

Despite the lessons of his youth, after graduating high school and going to college John went “wandering”.  He wandered into drugs and alcohol, and ventured from his faith and roots.   It seemed like his faith was always there in the background… but he would feel these strong personal interests pulling him away until he brought it back to the foreground.  Out of his struggles with substances, he realized he had to rebuild his credibility at the company.  He went through a variety of jobs around the company, always making sure he showed everybody he was reliable and could show up every day and stay dry.

John noted that his faith started to be truly energized again with the experience of parenthood around 1990.  He was forced to take notice of his responsibility as a father to his children.  This helped him further realize the importance of being reliable and following his Episcopal faith.

In 1997/1998, John came to understand the duality of life by experiencing both success and failure.  During this period he was offered to be CEO of the company while his wife simultaneously divorced him.

This collection of experiences helped shape John into the man he is today, and the lessons he learned have guided him through many important decisions.  After becoming chairman, John noted that the family company was growing both in numbers and in diversity.  After all, it produces 40 million chickens a week.  This realization motivated John to try think of a way to ensure that no individual working for Tyson foods would get lost in the shuffle.  He came up with a company wide chaplaincy program to allow people to talk about their faith (whichever faith that may be) and create dialogue with someone there to listen.  This helps to provide a place for safety for each individual worker to go if they need it, because as John learned it’s the people in life that matter most.

One other more recent situation that John had to go through was having his role at the company changed in part because of a decision his father made, with his father then falling ill.  This brought about a new set of emotional issues for his family to tackle.  But, this illness taught him to always stand by your father, even when he’s made judgment calls you may not agree with.  After all, John noted that if God will stand by him, he should stand by his father.  Now, his role in the company has changed on the accelerated succession plan, allowing more personal time and helping to keep him from getting sucked into the vortex of being lost in all that you have to do.

This path has led him to a favorite word:  “Striving”.  He defines it in five ways

  1. you’re in process
  2. you’re never perfect
  3. you can improve each day
  4. you will make mistakes
  5. you are taking each day one at a time

John then asked the audience to wonder how many people are rich, but emotionally homeless?  Rich because of finances, but poor because they are missing something in their lives?  What’s missing?  He asked that the group take this concept and gnaw on it a bit, asking each person to reflect on where they may be homeless.

Over dessert, John was interviewed by facilitator Eddy Moratin based upon questions he gathered from the audience.

The first question was, “How do you deal with leadership in business and how did your relationship with your father affect that?”

Tyson replied by stating you should create an open dialogue in business.  He noted that he and his father would always ‘discuss’ it, but never ‘talk about it’ (what the rules are etc).  So, he wishes that he had more conversations about roles, responsibilities and interactions.

Fred Harburg spoke up at this point to ask about 3rd generations: “Do you agree that problems arise in family finances when you reach the 3rd generation?”

Tyson acknowledged that he’s heard the slogans.  He noted how the first two generations usually work a bit hand-in-hand.  But when it’s the grandfather to the third generation’s company it is harder.  He shared how unlike his father, he didn’t let his kids work at the company too soon … they’ll get 40 years to work either way.  He’s been careful with the 4th generation coming in.

Eddy then read another audience question, “How did you deal with other siblings in the family?”

John noted that his siblings took paths outside of the family business.  Plus, his father was an only child (with the exception of a step-brother), so he didn’t really have any cousins.  He did note however that things can get tricky with family members who don’t work at the family company?  He has to ask himself questions like: Can they take the plane to fly somewhere?  He thinks that these things can get touchy.

The next question was, “How can you be a CEO and a father?  What are you expectations for your kids?”

John made sure the whole office knew when he had kids, because he made himself out of reach before 8:30 am and after 4:30 pm when his kids were around.  This meant he had to work his butt off during times when his kids were with their mother, but he encouraged others to follow similar rules to make time for family.  He notes that it can be tough to get comfortable with walking away from unfinished work though.

John was then asked, “Do you talk to your kids about your experiences with drugs or alcohol?”

John confirmed that, yes he does, quit a bit in fact.  They’re very aware of his past.  He further mentioned that his strategy in ensuring his kids don’t go through similar struggles is to let them taste alcohol at younger ages instead of forbidding it and allowing it to become a mystery.

The next question posed was, “What part of the company’s success do you contribute to Wal-Mart?”

John noted that it helped a lot having Wal-Mart located just down the street.  He remembers the friendship between Sam and his father growing up and how his father would bring him along for car rides between the two but he used to sleep in the backseat while they talked.  He wishes now that he’d paid more attention to those insights.

Eddy then asked John, “What is the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?”

John mentioned that it was when he had to fire his best friend.  It was also his first fire.  He had brought his friend out to manage the feed mills in a project in North Carolina and he just wasn’t getting it done.  His friend, Jerry, had been friends from first grade onwards, but he had to make the decision that made the most business sense.  Although it was an uncomfortable position, they are still friends today.

Senator Bill Brock then asked if he could discuss the chaplain program further, wondering if any other companies had it.

John mentioned that he came up with the chaplaincy program in trying to think of a way to give back to the community.  He got the idea from one or two plants that had chaplains before, and just let the program settle into the company.  The chaplains are people from the local community, allowing them to minister to people at the lowest common denominator.  It also allows the chaplains to get back to their original mission of helping individuals.  John mentioned that he heard back from the directors and plant managers that they could tell that the chaplaincy was helping a lot, so it stays.  Also, the chaplains serve as the first interventionists.  They help people get to the problems before they get big, even doing church and funeral services for free.  So, it decreases the problems that the managers have to handle in the plant.

Morning Session

“Wisdom in Philanthropic Giving”
Remarks: Peter Karoff, Founder and Chairman, The Philanthropic Initiative

Saturday morning began with Peter Karoff of the Philanthropic Initiative sharing his insights on the issue of philanthropy.  He started by warning the audience that he’d heard from a reliable source, his late wife Marty, that his speeches tended to be dense.

Peter began by mentioning key issues like moral consciousness, social investment, and legacy and how they relate to philanthropy.  He noted that philanthropy is not only about giving, but also about ethical issues: health care, clean water, environmental issues.  The economic crisis upon us has at its root a moral issue.  As world citizens, our obligation is to response to these dilemmas.  But, what should be philanthropy’s response?  And how do we avoid moral hazards (moral hazards being an attempt to solve a problem that actually makes it worse)?  He pointed out that there are always unexpected consequences of grants that we make. Integrity becomes worthwhile when people listen.  Great foundations have learned how to listen to the community and build networks that are based on listening.  After all, if it isn’t good for the community, it isn’t good for the donor.

Peter also stressed the importance of community in meeting our needs for three things most at risk in a world of globalization: identity, accountability, and security.  He encouraged acts that bring together communities and organizations to brainstorm about possibilities.  These acts allow the best and brightest of our communities to come together in times like this.

He then gave the audience three questions to potentially brainstorm themselves:

What is your vision for a better world?
What obstacles would come about in creating that better world?
What of that vision is realistic?

He went on to state that virtually all lasting significant change comes from leaders intersecting networks of influence.  Claiming that great foundations focus on more than pure problem solving, they focus on the long-term plans that will take at least decades to accomplish.  They do more than ask tough questions, they ask for honest answers. Even if those answers are hard.  They work hard to develop a persona that is transparent to its communities.

Peter went on to note that it is not only about coming up with ideas to change the world, but then going out there and working to create change.  He has the idea that the fate of the world depends on how many of us just put our shoulder to the stone and work and that the heart and soul of great philanthropy flows from those who do the work.  He claimed that it’s important to stand up and set up a pattern of behavior because otherwise it sends a message that we do not care.

But, he asked, what does it mean for a family or organization that has lost most of their assets?  How do they deal with these situations?  How do they find the resources to continue to enact the change they envision?  To answer these questions he challenged the audience with the claim that “true generosity is when the gift is something of significant value to the giver.”  He claimed that this kind of work helps our souls grow when we seek to transform our society.  He further challenged the audience to find the alignment of self interest and the common good, do whatever it takes, and put your whole self in.  He noted that often what you get out of an act is proportionate to what you put in.  Otherwise, the philanthropy being done might be called “surplus tithing”.

Peter then went back to basics by claiming that what we want out of life is for people to have what they need.  But at the other end of the spectrum, we have a vision of a connected world where resources are integrated.  How do these two come together?

He mentioned how many people believe we’re entering an era of social movements.  Some are calling for a new paradigm that bridges the social and business sectors.  Gates recently called for a new path where businesses would address social issues.  Philanthropy itself is also changing drastically.  There are all new kinds of ways to get involved … way more than ever before.  There’s even strategic giving.  Philanthropy in the future, he hopes, will encapsulate a larger number of organizations enacting more diverse styles.  Some will share info, some will facilitate collaboration, some will be on the internet, and some community-based.  He thinks this is a great way for this PathNorth community to come together as individuals with great opportunities, noting that these are huge ideas that really do represent a revolutionary approach.

He finished by touching upon legacy and the importance of the conscience.  He posited that the legacy you leave is actually the life you’ve led.  You can’t live a terrible life and leave a great legacy.  Real legacy is in the moral dimension, and the only real transformation is transformation of the heart.  He then closed with some of his personal poetry before moving on to Q & A with the audience.

The Q & A began with Mark Percy asking, “Is there a lack of philanthropy in the USA?  There is a distrust that is really hurting us as a country.  How do we cross those lines and change that in the US,  especially in the realm of faith-based philanthropy?”

Peter Karoff responded by mentioning that it is his opinion that the Bush administration’s approach to including faith-based funding is a good example of this.  He found the end result to be interesting; claiming that when it comes to working on the ground the faith-based approach seems very helpful.  But, from the community perspective, the only approach that he’s seen work is a “public conversation.”  He believes that the economic crisis is one that will last so long that it becomes all people care about.  He thinks that instead of focusing purely on that, we need to address how we’ll work together.  He posited that PathNorth might be a good example of how to bridge that gap … since there are lots of faiths represented within it.

Another attendee asked, “What is the impact that globalization has on identity and how might active philanthropy threaten those it is trying to serve?  Active philanthropy sort of implies, ‘I’m ok, you’re not.’  Do people want to be dignified by being held to the same standards that we hold others to in business and not just as cases for charity, which is sometimes assaulting to dignity?”

Peter Karoff responded by saying that, yes, this is part of what’s played out from a philanthropic perspective.  He noted that, of course, there is always potential for a lack of respect.  He then pointed to micro-credit to show that lots of people’s lives have benefited from small loans.  He notes that the key shift is one from dispersement to development, listing the organization CARE as a great example.

Someone followed that up by asking, “So, for people with foundations that have seen big reductions, how do they go about dealing with such reductions?  Do they have an obligation to inform those who may have grown dependent on their assistance of reductions?”

Peter Karoff stated that, yep, there’s a real obligation to inform people of that.  Even though it’s hard, he urges foundations to tell people that they’re going to have to go through some re-assessment of their own.  Now, also, you also have to decide which of the organizations you can no longer fund and which you are most distressed about.  For those you can no longer fund, Peter stated that if possible it is preferable to ease organizations out of funding rather than remove it all at once.  And for those which you are distressed about, he urged that it is best to find someone or some way to pick up the slack.  He pointed out that this country still has a ton of wealthy resources and that we all know resources are out there.

Before going on break the audience was then left with a benediction from Baba Dijon: “In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand, only what we are taught.”

Panel Session

“Wisdom from the Journey”
Introduction: Ben du Pont, Founder, yet2.com
Moderator: The Honorable J. Douglas Holladay, Founder, PathNorth
Panelists: The Honorable William Brock, former U.S Senator
                   Eugene Fife, former CEO, Goldman Sachs International
                   Deen Day Sanders, Chairman of the Board, Cecil B. Day Investment Company

The break was followed by a panel session moderated by Doug Holladay with Senator Bill Brock, Gene Fife, and Deen Day Sanders speaking about their “Wisdom from the Journey.”

Ben DuPont introduced the panelist and Doug Holladay started off the session by asking Sen. Bill Brock if he could “remember the day that your first wife died.  How did you process that in the middle of caring for all these things going on in our nation?  What was in your mind at the time?”

Bill responded that he didn’t think much at all.  He was mostly worried about his kids.  Their mom was always there, while Dad was out doing business, here and there and everywhere.  He remembers feeling great regret that he hadn’t seen his family as much as he had hoped to.

Doug then asked Deen Day about her experience when her husband passed on and how it was stepping into his role while having a lot of kids.

Deen Day mentioned that in any crisis she faces, she always turns towards her faith.  It helps sustains her in everything.  Then she followed up by saying that she was totally prepared for the process of taking over because her husband had walked her through everything and made sure that everything was already in order (will, etc.).  He had taught her to consolidate everything and get some good people to sell what she had.  On top of that, her experience running things like floral clubs enabled her to accumulate people skills.  This allowed her to get people to help her without being paid at first.  Part of the reason being that she made sure everyone was cared for and if the company got rewarded everyone got rewarded.  She stated that you should make sure to use your people skills because they can come in handy.

Doug then moved on to ask Gene Fife, “What do you think when you see lots of young people whom you hired and mentored and then look back at America?  Is there a disconnect?  Is there something else we could be doing in that?”

Gene responded that as someone who grew up in West Virginia he wasn’t exactly in the labor stock for future investment banking.  However, he quickly learned that leadership and diligence to execution was what differentiated you from your competitors.  How you bring bright people with differing cultural backgrounds into the firm.  If you give yourself to them more and more, you end up getting more and more back.  You separate the wheat from the chaff as time goes on.  He further stated that leadership today, particularly in the US, is absolutely essential. He claimed that there’s a dearth of it in service, in corporate levels, and we need to invest much more in the element of being the best leaders that we can be.  He’s very proud of many of the leaders he sees today, but sees the need for more development.

Doug followed up by saying that he thinks there used to be more emphasis on investing in the youth, giving them our counsel and our support.  He sees two changes that took place before our current time: One, there’s no loyalty in companies anymore since why invest in youth if they’ll leave?  Some young people go through like 20 jobs.  Secondly, everyone is so out of control in their lives, personal and professional, that there isn’t time for it.

Gene agreed with Doug, claiming that leveraging people is a great way to make time.  He then shared a personal example.  He too lost a spouse once, and his wife was only 39 when she died.  Before her death, she came down with breast cancer, and had just given birth to a baby.  In desperation, he called John Whitehead, head of Goldman Sachs where he was working, and asked for help.  He was just a junior guy, but 15 minutes later the phone rings, and it would keep ringing every fifteen minutes, it was John Whitehead calling.  John helped move his wife into the hospital the next day.  They reversed the diagnosis of what kind of cancer she had based upon the extra medical attention John helped provide.  The boss of Goldman Sachs was helping him.  And it didn’t stop there.  Bills from the insurance company would come in for $25,000, and when they did Goldman Sachs would have given a loan of $25,000.  She wound up living 7 more years because of that effort.  He asked, “Do you think I would ever leave Goldman Sachs?” before responding, “No Sir!”  He advises that leaders create an organization that builds family, and has someone caring about you.  Try to reach out and let them know you care, and when you mean it, claiming you’ll be amazed at how your organization improves.

After Gene received a strong supportive response from the audience, Doug eventually moved the discussion to a new topic by asking Deen Day, “You come into this role, in a time when woman weren’t usually welcome, and probably people assumed you didn’t know anything.  What were your first steps to establish that there was a new sheriff in town?”

Deen Day responded by saying that she was a woman who could meet a man at his level, and that if you do just as good a job at whatever capacity someone has you will soon earn their respect.  She didn’t try to be a macho lady; she just tried to be who she was.  She started building relationships and in every situation she turned the M in “Me” upside down to form “We”.  It was “We” are going to do this or “We” are going to do that.  She says that it didn’t take long from there before the networking occurred and she was able to take leadership in what had been a man’s world.

Doug followed up by saying, “So as a result people want to leave the world and the company better. What else would you advise then, looking back?”

Deen Day stated that she did think in terms of people, and what their deeds were.  She believes that coming from the top you need to think about what your employees have to go up against even before they show up at work.  Busy people usually find it very hard to deal with all the human issues, but you should have someone in the company whose job is to deal with that.  So, she summarized, you’ll only perform to your top level if you help your company by addressing the issues that are affecting the emotions of your people.

Bill followed up on that thought by saying that they most dangerous thing he was ever taught was that ‘if you want to do something right, do it yourself’.  This may be ok in some places; but he says that it’s not good for anyone in a business.  He then mentioned that he remembered a comment from earlier about keeping in touch with people you work with.  Keeping in touch like this makes people feel like they have some kind of connection and that they matter in the job.  He states that this is worth more than just a paycheck coming in the mail.  Thus, involvement and relationships are really important.

Doug then asked Deen Day, “What do you say to people who are stressed out?  What would you pay attention to?”

Deen Day responded by saying that she would tell them to rest and spend time alone.  Get up early, if that’s what it takes, and let your mind have a little creative time.  She states that not taking vacations are actually a bad thing.

Doug then prompted Gene to look back on his career and life and share what wisdom can be learned.

Gene shared that a plan without vision often fails and a vision without a plan does too.  You have to balance the two.  Business leaders need to think about what you’re trying to do, and then organize your people around that focus.  He urged that people pay attention to the execution, the details.  Using John Whitehead as an example he mentions how helpful it can be to set up some principles, and make sure everyone agrees with them.  Having this when he moved to Europe was a great benefit for his relationships.

Bill then added that honesty is so important.  Stating that you never establish deep relationships with people you don’t trust.

At this point the audience broke into a Q & A session.  Things quickly shifted into a discussion about volunteerism in the country today when someone mentioned that for the last forty years there has been no draft in the army.  As a result, he claimed that it seems like we see a smaller percentage of the younger generation serving the country.  He asked, “How will this impact leaders of tomorrow?”

Bill Brock brought up the history of the removal of the draft.  He stated that it was a result of the riots in the streets during the 60s over kids going to war, but not being able to vote.  So, they changed the voting age and then also moved to volunteer draft very quickly.  He warned that if we make national service too formal, we might take away the volunteer part of it.

Jean Case then decided to make special notice of audience member, David Eisner, who works funds over $1 billion that he directs in national service.  She mentioned a program he helped establish that provides young kids, generally in high school, opportunities to serve in their community.

Senator Dalton then added that the volunteer setup has been very good for the military.   What we need to encourage is other ways to allow support of the military than being in the military.

David Bork then disagreed with previous comments, claiming that back in the day, before the 60’s, we were obligated to serve the country and thus felt a great commitment to the country. What’s happened now, he stated, is that we have less of a notion of what service to America is.

Jean Case then stated that she is actually very encouraged to see the level of volunteerism right now.  She pointed to data she recently read which noted that volunteerism is at its highest point since World War II.  She claimed that the reasons we should invest in services like Davis Eisner’s is that it has been clearly measured through data that if young people serve, they’re less likely to drop out, become a teen parent, or use alcohol and drugs.

Q & A then ended to allow time for table conversations, at the end of which Doug shared a poem from a 91 year old Nadine Stair:

If I had my life to live over again, I'd try to make more mistakes next time.
I would relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I know of very few things I would take seriously. I would make more trips.
I would be crazier. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets.
I would do more walking and looking. I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans.
I would have more actual troubles, and fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I'm one of those people who live life sensibly hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead each day.
I've been one of those people who never go anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, aspirin and a parachute.
If I had to do it over again, I would go places, do things, and travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
I would play hooky more. I wouldn't make such good grades, except by accident.
I would ride on more merry-go-rounds. I’d pick more daisies.

Lunch Session

“Wisdom with Family Wealth Preservation”
Introduction: Jim Bly, Founder, Chairman and President, Source Companies, LLC
Perspective: Tom Rogerson, Managing Director, BNY Mellon

As the remaining PathNorth attendees ate the concluding lunch of the New York gathering, Tom Rogerson from BNY Mellon shared his insights on family wealth preservation.  He opened by asking three key questions:

How much is too much?
When do we tell the family what the plan is?
How do we break the paradigm (first generation makes the money, second generation sustains, third generation loses it)?

He first shared his favorite metaphor for families passing down wealth: that of a train.  He asked everyone to envision the parents as train conductors with the family wealth being the train they are in charge of.  He claims that where many families go wrong is they don’t prepare their kids to take over the train, recommending that the best way to do this is to help the kids build their own smaller train and get experience in charge of that before being put in charge of the larger family train.

He went on to mention a book he found incredibly helpful in discerning some of the problems addressing family wealth, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  Although the book was written regarding businesses, Tom claimed that families should be thought of as teams as well, and all the principals that can be used to address dysfunctional teams in workplaces or sporting arenas can be applied in families.

He mentioned that, as in any team, it is important to take notice of personality differences of the individuals on your team.  He shared a personal story of how before he started thinking about his family from this perspective he was dealing with his son in all the wrong ways and it was hurting their relationship.  He stated that he himself had the personality of a persuader whereas his son was an analyzer.  As a result, per his nature, he would come to decisions first and then try to persuade his son to go along with his decisions.  His son, as an analyzer, would get frustrated by this approach and ask him questions regarding his decisions, the act of which Tom considered disrespectful.  He was then punishing his son for something completely natural, and it was only until he realized these personality differences and started adapting to his son’s individual personality that their relationship blossomed.

Using an example of when families buy cars, he noted that the more expensive the car being bought was; the less the kids of the parents purchasing the car knew about what goes into the decision to buy a car.  He stated that when a lower income family buys a car, it’s a big enough deal for them to get their kids involved in the process.  But, in high income families, the parents just go out and buy a car, so for the kids its like cars can just appear whenever they’d like.  The problem being that the kids aren’t getting experience making financial decisions because all the financial decisions are being made for them.  Referring back to his example of a train, he asked how children who aren’t even gaining experience dealing with simple activities like purchasing a car will manage to take over the large train of family wealth.

He went on to mention another way parents often go wrong: in allowing their kids to think that all that matters to them is money.  He mentions how when he asks kids of families whose wealth he manages what their parent’s greatest concern is they often answer money.  Yet, when he asks parents they never answered money, instead thinking of money as what allows them to sustain their families’ happiness.  He thus recommended that families create charts of their family values along the lines of: 1) human capitol, 2) intellectual capitol, 3) social capital, 4) spiritual capital, 5) financial capital.

He went on to state that families who learn how to protect their wealth tend to make decisions differently.  You have to think about how to get your family involved and make decisions together.  He then told the story of how his family used an investment vacation plan where he gave his kids a certain amount of money to invest together, where if they invested well they got to go on a nice vacation like Disneyworld but if they invested poorly they were stuck with a less enjoyable vacation like camping.  He noted that while at first his kids took too many risks and they wound up camping, they slowly learned from their mistakes in part because they felt the direct results of their decisions.  As a result they were eventually taking trips to Disneyworld.

Another recommendation he gave to create a team like environment in families was by using philanthropy.  He shared another example of something he does in his family, where he and his wife set aside $5,000 a year for their kids to give away.  They like to give each of their four kids $1,000 to give away to the charity of their choice, allowing them the chance to research causes they are passionate about and get involved in the process of seeing what money can help to accomplish.  Then, for the last $1,000 they force their kids to make a unanimous decision as a team where that money should be given.

He then talked about the idea of using a four-part application for “investments” instead of “distributions” from the family trust, starting before grand-parents or parents pass away.  This way, children will be forced to come up with the reasoning for why the money should be used as they wish it to be in each situation.  He claimed this could also help them learn to think through their financial decisions as well as give them the opportunity to receive supportive feedback from grandparents or parents on the decisions that they make.

Tom then finished up his presentation, mentioning that slides of his presentation could be made available to those interested (if desired, email mccaldwell@pathnorth.com), and attendees said their final farewells before the incredible PathNorth gathering was adjourned.

 

Spouses always welcome to our annual meetings in New York and Washington, DC.

Questions? Please contact 202.467.2079

When Crisis Hits  Finding Balance as a Leader  Life After Selling the Company  Handling Stress When Bad Things Happen  Handling Setbacks and Failure  How to React to Bad News  Leaving a Legacy   Value of Mentors  Life After Leaving Active Management  Dealing with Substance Abuse   Resolving Conflict in Senior Management  Going from Success to Significance  Managing Fear and Worry Dilemma of Selling the Company  Why Your Health Matters   Values v. Competence   Raising Unselfish Children  Unlocking Hidden Creativity  Getting Things Done  Handling Betrayal  Why Friends Matter  Giving Back  Why a Corporate Culture Matters  Why the Best Leaders are the Best  Becoming a Thinking Person  The Role of Forgiveness in Life and Business  The 5 Things You Must Know About Leadership  Staying in the Game and Not Losing Heart   Why Your Marriage Matters  Overcoming a Famous Name  Surviving Public Humiliation  How to Use Outside Advisors  Building the Board You Need  Why You Need to Understand Islam and Muslims  Insights from America's Great Leaders  How One Billionaire Stays Grounded  Why Politics Really Matter  Why China and India Matter to You and Your Business  Identifying and Living the Right Priorities  Finding Balance as a Leader  Finishing Well

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