For today’s Monday Morning Mojo, I am going to depart from sharing videos, articles and stories created by others who inspire me, to share a bit of my own community building over the past two weeks. Forgive me for focusing on me, but I write so much about the importance of community, I want to show it in action.
Since my last post on April 10th, I traveled to New York for a two-day public relations conference, and I did much more while I was there. The highlights were spending time with my brother, Brian, and his wife Kathy, having lunch with present and former Ogilvy friends, Sandeep Vasudevan and Ab Gaur, and having Lisa join me for a few Broadway shows. I got to catch up with our long-time Beijing friend and famous rocker, Alan Paul, and a former colleague, David Tager. Before departing I had lunch with my brilliant college roommate, Homere Breton, and his wife and daughter, Lillian and Rachel.
I had little time for anything else, however, spending 1.5 days in a conference listening to the cutting edge of what is happening in the world of communications, and topping it off with seeing several friends made for a perfect week away. At the conference one speaker focused on the future of marketing being all about community, and that warmed my soul.
I can’t stress enough how important I believe communities are to happiness, as I am feeling the benefits of this now. Here are some pictures of the week. A Broadway photo of Lisa and me, a short homemade video from “A Beautiful Noise” on Broadway, and pictures from my lunch with Homere and his family are below.
Back to LA
I returned to LA for a lunch with a long-time friend from China, Wyatt Cameron, and a family dinner with two of the three people who make up the core of my immediate community, and Levi our dog, pictured below. I also came back to teach my graduate class at University of Southern California (USC) on Monday evening.
At USC I have been blessed with a great group of students this semester, another community, and what I have loved most is reconnecting with my former colleagues who have joined me to teach a course on crisis management to future communicators. My guest lecturer last week was a very good friend and expert advisor, Michael Law, the Founder and CEO of Summit Strategy Group. Loved spending several hours with Michael, who was kind enough to fly in to lecture to the class.
I flew out Tuesday to London after meeting up with another Beijing friend and business colleague, David Frey. I landed in London on Wednesday, and spent time with our very close friends, Chris and Anna Holdsworth, who are the masters of hospitality. Chris updated me on everything related to football in the UK, and that was when I didn’t have food in my mouth, courtesy of Master Chef and the incredibly charismatic, Anna Holdsworth. The Holdsworth’s with yours truly are pictured below.
While in London I got to see my long-time Asia colleague and good friend, Stephen Turner, and his wife Gina, and witness the wonderful life they have created for themselves. I dined with Gregg and Kim Ainsworth, who are great friends from my time in Taiwan in the early 90’s, and I caught up with a colleague from Ogilvy in London. Pictures of Stephen and Gina, and Gregg and Kim are below.
That was all before a fantastic weekend of football (soccer). First up was a Friday night game at Arsenal with Chris Holdsworth, followed by a Saturday game at Fullham, with my brother and guys I have played with from my youth in Flint, Michigan, and members of the US Maccabiah elder’s team. Immediately after we attended the Saturday afternoon FA Cup semi-final (Manchester City vs. Sheffield United). On Sunday afternoon we were witness to Manchester United winning in penalty kicks at the second FA Cup semi-final vs. Brighton. On Sunday am, we also did do the Beatles walk across Abbey Road for memory sakes, pictured below.
At this moment, I am writing this somewhere above the Atlantic and feeling very blessed. Spending time with Brian, Tom Saxton and Benji Gellis, three guys who had so much influence over me as a kid was a treat, as well as Steve Goldenring, Jared Lans and Dan Rudd, who I have come to know later in my life, particularly on these trips. I also had a chance to meet up with Misha Sher, the guy who introduced me to Pele, who shares a love and passion for football (soccer). Pictures of this past week and the cast of characters are all below, with a short video from Wembley Stadium.
As I age, I feel so grateful for the people I have met from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, who make up my extended community. With friends and opportunities to connect like this, who needs drugs?
Three years ago, we made this same trip with my former teacher, coach, family friend and life mentor, Paul Dresser (PD). PD sadly passed away a little more than a year after our trip. Enjoying London with Brian, Tom and Benji, who also spent their youth with PD, was nostalgic and heartwarming. There is some kind of security or confidence exploring a foreign city surrounded by three slightly older, fitter guys who spent their childhoods beating the shit out of you, who now treat you like an equal (almost).
I love the nostalgic stuff. It makes me feel even more blessed, and Benji reminded me of how fortunate we all are with his stories about his teaching experience. Thanks Benji.
My kids have an expression for the experiences we create, ”living our best life”. These last two weeks I think I came pretty close to doing just that, and I am really grateful for the encouragement and opportunity to do this provided my wife, Lisa, and kids Jacquelin and Samuel.
Thanks for the indulgence. Have a great week.