I will be doing a China Road show to speak about Value(s) Investing in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. Hope you can join us if you are in the area. Thank you to the organisers, particularly Peiyuan Guo of Syntao, for their kind invitation.
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.
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.
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.
Stay in touch. If you ever need anything, just ask.