For today’s Monday Morning Mojo, I want to share several things I witnessed the last two weeks, events I participated in, and a few people who have inspired me.
The Dage (Big Brother) of China Hands
To begin, I want to give a shout out to Jim McGregor, a friend from China who celebrated his 70th birthday recently. I attended a party for Jim in New York, and very few people I know can corral so many interesting people in one place who have a profound influence on the US-China relationship. During his career, Jim was a fantastic Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal and then became CEO of Dow Jones China. He left to write a book and joined me at Ogilvy as a Senior Counsellor. He has had a few other roles since then, along with several books, articles, and interviews, and he currently serves as Chairman, Greater China for APCO, a role he has held for the past 13 years. APCO is a very respected global public affairs firm and Jim is critical to their China business.
I attended Jim’s 60th birthday in Beijing and there is a tradition of friends, colleagues and family roasting him at his birthday events. He is such a larger-than-life person, and I am just grateful to know him. Among the many funny anecdotes people shared, Jim’s boss at the Journal said that Jim, along with Andy Browne, another very talented journalist, co-authored one of the all-time most hilarious front-page articles at the Journal. I have shared the story “The Steak Tender, the Soup Positively Rodentine”, below for your reading pleasure (scroll to story 25). This reflects Jim’s great sense of humor. Here’s also a picture of Jim from the event. Happy Birthday Jim.
Also, while in New York I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with my brother and his family, my good friend, Mitch Presnick, and Alan Paul and his son Eli. The trip was quick and very enjoyable.
Nik’s Wish Foundation
I saw a story this last week which mirrors one of one of my favorite Foundations, Make-A-Wish, an organization whose mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Well, since Make A Wish focuses only on kids 3-17 years-old, one woman, Kelli Ritschel Boehle, started an offshoot of this to honor her son Nik’s wish prior to his death. That wish was, “to make sure older kids could get their wishes granted too.” So Ritschel Boehle did just that, creating a foundation to grant wishes to young adults ages 18-24, and in doing so she became a CNN hero in the process. Here is the inspiring story about her efforts to make good on her son’s wish.
Life Rolls On
On the subject of inspiring charities, my daughter Jacquelin filled me in on one organization she has been helping called Life Rolls On. Life Rolls On is an epic surf, skate, and fish events organization for adaptive athletes. Founded by 3X world champion quadriplegic surfer Jesse Billauer, Life Rolls On is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people living with various disabilities. Believing that adaptive sports could inspire infinite possibilities beyond any disability, Life Rolls On began as a splash into the unknown on September 11, 2001; achieved 501c3 nonprofit status in 2002; and now touches the lives of hundreds of thousands. Here is a story on Life Rolls On if you have a moment. Way to go Jesse, and Jacquelin, I am very proud of how you selected and support this organization.
Last week I drove my son, Samuel, to the airport to fly to China for the next stage of his life. Samuel will be working for Tencent Games in its investing department, based in Shenzhen, China. Beyond my wife, Samuel is the person I have spent the most time with over the past three years. I have been blessed to have such a smart, funny, fun, engaging and caring son, and wouldn’t replace this time we spent with anything. That was the silver lining of Covid! Samuel has been my Monday Morning Mojo content advisor, contributor and critic, and he is a huge inspiration to me. We will certainly create more memories as he charts this next path in his life. Go Samuel go! Here is a picture of Samuel prior to departure, with his best friend, Levi.
Music As Inspiration
I was going to feature music as inspiration following a concert I attended with Jacquelin this past weekend, given her description of what music does for her. I then listened to this New Yorker Podcast and thought it was worthy of a broader share as part of today’s missive.
G’Mar Chatima Tovah
Today is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement for all of the people of the Jewish faith out there. Wishing you all a very happy new year and an easy fast, g’mar chatima tovah, which means “a good final sealing.”
Have a great week ahead.