First, we would be remiss not to lead off our message this month by recognizing IDEA’s 30th Anniversary! T-H-I-R-T-Y! We’ve been celebrating this milestone all year, but this issue of IDEA Fitness Journal, in tandem with the upcoming IDEA World Fitness Convention™, gives what we feel is respectable recognition to the people, events and philosophies that have shaped IDEA and the industry over the past three decades. Thank you all for your love and loyalty over the past many years.
This 144-page volume was a labor of love for the IDEA editors and our designers at Patera Graphic Design—all of whom put their creativity and technical skill into overdrive to produce this gorgeous, informative and highly entertaining issue. We hope you will enjoy it, share it and linger over it. We are still doing so.
It’s not often you can say you’ve had a life-changing experience. That in mind, we want to take a moment to share some details about a very special event we attended in early May that had a tremendous impact on us.
Kathie and I were invited with 20 other entrepreneurs to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands for a week of discussion about diffusing some of the world’s problems through business instead of relying on governments for solutions. To say we were thrilled by this opportunity is an understatement. Since so many of you also are business owners, we want to give you a taste of what we learned there and spread the optimism and excitement of this fresh, action-oriented approach.
Virgin Unite is the nonprofit foundation of the Virgin Group, founded by Branson and led by chief executive officer Jean Oelwang. The organization’s aim “is to help revolutionize the way governments, businesses and the social sector work together—driving business as a force for good. This is based on the belief that this is the only way we can address the scale and urgency of the challenges facing the world today.” We know you are already a driving force for good in your communities through the basic nature of how you serve others through fitness and wellness. Branson and his team challenged us to do more, punctuating the point with his signature phrase, “Screw business as usual.”
The 4-day event, “Entrepreneurship Changing the World,” began with Branson introducing Virgin Unite’s “The Elders” program, which is led by such dignitaries as Nelson Mandela, President Jimmy Carter and Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu. These leaders have been tasked with helping to resolve major conflicts around the globe and have achieved stunning success. With their wisdom and moral authority, they have been able to intervene and bring peace to war-torn nations.
Branson also introduced a new Elders Business Group, which will focus on protecting the planet and using sustainable business practices modeled after those created by Jochen Zeitz, executive chairman of Puma®. This unique model of environmental profit and loss is a groundbreaking tool designed to reflect the true cost of the damage many companies do to the environment and demonstrate the path to conscious investment in consumerism. Puma was recently voted the most ethical corporation in the world in the Sustainability Report published by EIRIS, the British-based corporate research company. It’s inspiring to see how Puma and the Elders Business Group are leading the way in this important area.
We were likewise inspired by talks from Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s® ice cream fame—both of whom are on Virgin Unite’s UK Board of Trustees. They launched the week by sharing a key learning from their success: “If you don’t like the system, why don’t you change it?”
As wonderful as the event was, the quality time spent with Richard was priceless. Highlights included Peter playing as his tennis partner in matches twice each day, and Kathie literally being thrown overboard by Richard from his Hobie® Cat during an afternoon sail. In addition to sharing his athletic and playful sides, Richard is an amazing role model. From launching an airline to pioneering commercial space travel, he reminds us that we can do anything and that we should not set limits on ourselves or our dreams.
Outside of the play time, the business lessons we learned were simple, honest and straightforward. These points, at the heart of the Branson philosophy, are great reminders that we don’t need to complicate life or business to make a big difference:
- We can all achieve anything we set our minds to.
- Doing good has tremendous power.
- Creating partnerships can help drive change.
- And . . . let’s always have fun!
The trip and experience will be with us for a long time, in many meaningful ways. Learn more about Virgin Unite’s mission and affiliations at www.virginunite.com.
Thank you for 30 great years,
Kathie & Peter Davis