London

Last month, I was in London, England for the YPO-WPO Family Business Network board meeting. Right after the Soapstone Mountain Trail Race, I headed to the airport. My overnight flight put me in London on a Monday morning. I took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station and then walked across Hyde Park to my hotel.

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It was a beautiful day and the city was buzzing with energy. Walking one of the world’s great metropolis is always a treat. The meetings were excellent. We did a joint event with the YPO-WPO Thriving Communities Network/Family Philanthropy Network.

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We heard from several great member resources including Gareth Ackerman, the chairman of Pick N’ Pay, one of Africa’s largest retailers/grocers. The company was founded by Gareth’s father, Raymond Ackerman. The family is involved with several foundations. The company and the foundations operate with family, community, and social responsibility in mind. Raymond Ackerman was fond of saying, “Doing good is good business.”

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Debbie and I first met Gareth and the Ackerman family in 2006 when we visited South Africa. On that trip, we were hosted by the Ackerman’s in Cape Town for the Cape Argus Cycle Tour. It was an awesome trip and an awesome adventure.

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So, it was with great pleasure that I once again heard Gareth speak about family, philanthropy, and business, three of my favorite topics.

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Our meetings continued on Tuesday and Wednesday. I had a couple of great dinners with friends. It had been more than 10 years since I was last in London. On Wednesday afternoon, I had a few hours to kill before catching my flight to Frankfurt.

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I did some work at the hotel, caught up with the team back at Horst Engineering, and then walked around a bit. I visited the West End, SoHo, Green Park, and then headed back to Paddington via Hyde Park. During my walk, I visited the Mayfair Leica Shop. That was cool. The streets were jammed with people. There was a big event at Buckingham Palace and the men and women headed in that direction were dressed for the occasion with big hats.

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I had lunch at Norman’s Coach and Horses, a vegan pub that Debbie read about in Vegetarian Times. It was good. It was a jam-packed three days and I was happy to be headed to Germany for the second half of my European adventure.

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