It’s a Wonderful Life.

We all feel that we are failures, at sometime in our lives. Things don’t work out, ideas or projects seem to fail in our eyes, or they take a lifetime to come to fruition. During that dark, seemingly hopeless period, it is imperative to keep the faith, eyes on the ball and keep tilling the soil. Shoots ultimately will come out.

Recently, my wife, Rieki,  experienced the ultimate Frank Capra “It’s a wonderful life” moment. My wife started a Hotel School in Bhutan, called the Bongde Institute for Hospitality and Tourism about 2 years ago.  She struggled continuously trying to get the school off the ground in a frontier market, with no funding, no infrastructure, no income, with continuous challenges and obstacles that she needed to overcome. Recently, she finally saw what she had created and what Jimmy Stewart felt like in It’s a Wonderful Life (Experiencing what would have happen if we didn’t exist).

To reward one of her best students, Kinley, Rieki decided to bring her to Amsterdam for an internship at a four star hotel in Amsterdam. This was the first time that Kinley was ever outstide of Bhutan. Kinley started working at the hotel and her work was exceptional. So exceptional, that one day a gentleman who was having a meal there, called her over and inquired about her background. He said “why is it that you are so good at your work in comparison with the rest of the food and beverage staff”. She said “I studied at the Bongde Institute of Hospitality and Tourism in Bhutan”. He said “WHAT. I want to meet the person who started that school”. A hotel school that trained its staff well and was based in Bhutan was quite a shock. It turns out that this man was a very successful hotelier, entrepreneur and had a large enterprise owning and operating 5 star hotels in Asia.

Rieki and the Hotelier met and he was overwhelmed by what Rieki had done and was planning to do next. He offered to take interns from her school, send equipment if needed, and wants to discuss collaboration on her hotel school in Bhutan, and potential hotel development in Bhutan. In addition, he was particularly interested in her next project. Building a working hotel school for the Governor of the Karen State in Myanmar to help the 100.000 refugees, and developing a culturally authentic and carbon neutral hospitality sector.

We are all an overnight success when we least expect it. Congrats Rieki and your Learning Exchange Foundation.

Sweden sets goal to phase out greenhouse gas emissions by 2045

Stockholm is the setting for our next TBLI CONFERENCE NORDIC 2017, Sept. 28-29. Come join us.

Support TBLI Foundation in building a Global Value(s) based Investment Community.

Day off to Reflect

Every year on Feb. 9th, my birthday, I take a day off to reflect on the past year and the coming year and just chill.  I will be doing that tomorrow. Thanks to those who have already sent me birthday wishes. 2016 will be a year of great transition. Looking forward to each moment.

If you want to do something special for my birthday, give a donation to TBLI Foundation

I hope you enjoy this speech I recently gave in Stockholm. My dear friend Karl-Henrik (Kalle) Robert of The Natural Step organised the StepWise Conference-The Future of Leadership is Now. It was particularly special because King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden was in attendance. What was even more surprising is that he stayed to hear my talk, and enjoyed it. Thank you Kalle for the kind invitation and wonderful experience.

 

Friend leaving and Starting a New Chapter

Today is officially the last day that Iris Bune will be working for TBLI. After 4 years of total commitment, she has decided to move on and pursue her love of Web Development.

When Iris first interviewed, I felt she was perfect for the job of general manager and project manager for TBLI. It didn’t matter what curve ball you through at her, she was always able to bring a sober, simple solution, with a great sense of humour. Iris always looked to streamline, professionalize,  and improve the organisational  elements that go into TBLI   and the TBLI Conference.

She is a gentle giant. Her height and constant interrupting when you talk to her can be intimidating and frustrating, but she is an incredibly sensitive human being. Her passion about social and economic injustice goes further than just clicking like on Facebook. She really cares and most important is totally authentic. There isn’t another person inside. What you see is what you get.

I will miss the persistent interrupting me while talking.  I will miss our weekly update on the latest tv episodes like The Americans,  Breaking Bad, Shameless, American Crime and others. I will miss the laughing faces or lol text messages. I will miss her ability to be professionally critical of a new opportunity, remain totally dispassionate and sober, and  at the same time being able to laugh. Wherever she goes, she will leave a lasting impression. She has clearly left her mark at TBLI. I wish her the best, as she deserves the best. Most of all I will miss her.

Iris,

Stay in touch. If you ever need anything, just ask.

Big hug.

Your eternal friend.

Robert

To Share or not To Share that is the Question

Due to TBLI Group’s unique network, we are often asked to “meet for coffee, catch up, share ideas, compare notes, etc”. This is code for I need to pick your brain to develop a strategy, find clients, find investors, find staff, find a job, or repackage my deck to get business. We were always happy to help educate others as this would ultimately create the inclusive values economy. That is our mission. Lately, I have been rethinking this. As more and more consultants, asset owners, fund managers and govt. agencies were contacting us, I started to look at what drives all of them. ROI (Return on Investment).

When I look at the ROI of what TBLI has done to build the community of ESG and Impact Investors, the industry has benefitted and the ROI is a big plus. My next question was has TBLI benefitted? What has been the ROI for TBLI? Have all these individuals who we have connected with strategic partners, investors, clients put something back. The jury is still out on that. Many have not.

Going forward should we not share? Should we not meet for the data dump, unless we are compensated? Should there be a clear donation to foundation, consulting jobs, sponsorship, conference attendance before assisting others.  Many have been extremely generous to TBLI and others working on an economy based upon well being.  How can one create a filter for those that feel by not sharing and closing their arms to have more will give them a leg up on others? I have often long conversations with other colleagues who’s work benefits the commons more than themselves. They all struggle on monetising their relationships.  I would be curious how you deal with this?

Not sharing would not be beneficial to us all. In the end, I am always amazed by the generosity of people, so I think this issue will resolve itself. People do surprise you. Even your teen age boys ultimately clean their room.

Let’s connect again at TBLI

For many of you, it has been a while since we last communicated. or some we still haven’t met or spoken. We traveled the world with our event this year and I’m happy to tell you we’ll be back in Zurich on Nov. 19-20 for TBLI CONFERENCE EUROPE 2015.

Let’s connect again or for the first time! Don’t forget to register

TBLI News

I am quite honoured to have been asked to join the advisory board of Lifestyles Magazine. Lifestyles Magazine is a 44 year old subscription only publication for high philanthropy. Looking forward to help them expand their content around Impact Investing.

IE Business School’s Net Impact Chapter will hold its 10th Annual Social Responsibility Forum in Madrid, Spain.  I have been asked to give the keynote speech at IE Forum November 27-28. Looking forward to meeting the MBA’s who want to embrace a values based financial system.

TBLI Social Entrepreneur

A very dear friend of mine, Khun Thippaporn Chearavanont has been very active as social entrepreneur in community development and real estate. She has been doing amazing projects taking the Green Building concept to new heights, by integrating health in her projects. Her company MQDC (Magnolia Quality Development Corporation) part of the DT Group  is very innovative in that they have been developing low carbon properties, where health is integral part of the experience. Congratulations.

Whizdom 101 is her latest project