The end of the year is near and I am beginning to draft my Newsletter on the day we celebrate the 11th of November. Few of us know someone who has lived then but we must certainly not forget. The vagueness in the political attitude of European citizens is highly worrying. It’s not only that Europe and its institutions are ever more criticised; it is our entire democratic political system based on elections which seems to no longer allow us to develop a clear, common perspective. We are seeing this in all European countries, I don’t even need to mention the US. Let us not forget that the wars which devastated Europe during the past centuries were triggered by this kind of internal crises and the lack of a common vision. If you can’t solve a problem you divert attention to something else. But there is one vital threat to all of us which we must face with utmost urgency: global warming, pollution and the brutal extintion of thousands of animal species. Here’s the lastest : https://www.nature.com/nature/volumes/574/issues/7780 . That’s not just the business of the “Greens” who have been warning us for a long time, this is a challenge to all of us. We can all help, each small step counts, starting with thinking about how we consume and behave. That alone should enable us to overcome the political divide which is caused by our economic system of financial capitalism, very clearly a scheme of the past without any vision for the future. In our part of the world, growth is over and so there is obviously no more fruit from that growth to be redistributed. But as we don’t have a common vision and no shared alternative project, politicians don’t know what to tell us other than « growth will be back… ». But there is an urgent need for action! We need intelligent projects and a common vision to turn around the disastrous trend which we won’t be able to stop unless we take action; no more ideological debates « left-right » and certainly no populist discourse with simplistic answers where the fault is always somebody else’s like these foreigners abusing our health system! Being an incurable optimist I think the movement is underway and it is up to each and everyone of us to fuel and extend it by our everyday action. You can already see how consumption patterns are changing. There is not a single day without coverage, in one form or the other, of the issue in the press or other media. That’s a good start!!
Well, this being said, it is not for me to tell you what you must or can do, my friends, please forgive me for my lyrical musings which I simply couldn’t keep to myself :-):-). The only purpose of my newsletter is to share thoughts with you, my friends, who have followed and helped me on my way in large numbers since 2012, a key year for me. Seven years already since I decided to change course. Guided by your support, ideas and solicitations I travelled all sorts of waters on different types of missions from hands-on to consulting, and now, seven years on, two conclusions are obvious to me. The first one is that I will have to relinquish my mandates on the boards which I accepted six or seven years ago, in keeping with a rule on good governance whereby it is good practice to give way to new energies after three terms of office, as mentioned in my last newsletter already. Except of course if there is a special reason to stay on and if my input in that position is essential at that particular moment. Second conclusion: I tend to think that I can be most useful in more low-key positions like advisory boards where I can bring my network, that is you, more into play and stimulate contacts and dialogue to help organisations to face their challenges. That is my experience with SIREAS at this very moment.
But what are you going to do now, Olivier? Well, I am not excluding the idea of joining a board if I can bring genuine value to it, but I also want to continue indulging in the luxury of choosing my battlegrounds as a free man. Now, by definition, the fate of an independant board member is to represent no one but him- or herself, and the only image the outside world has of you is as the person incarnating the organisation’s esteem of truly independant advisers. But I must admit that I am most at ease when working on ad hoc assignments or strategic thinking about the future because that is where I can make the best use of your skills, energy and ideas, mostly in quiet and subtle ways. You are my added value! And I thank you profoundly for that.
Alright now; but what is the situation in the organisations you work for, Olivier? As I had told you already, I stepped down from my mandate with NewB. What happens now will also depend on you ; more than 22.500 people have made a contribution so far, we need 30 million and now have almost 17, with only 2 days left! Let’s go!!!! (www.newb.coop.be). MicroStart has found a second wind thanks to a fantastic new team (www.microstart.be) and will steer a new course based on an ambitious but realistic business plan. If you want to accompany an entrepreneur, don’t hesitate! 1€ invested in microStart generates 4€ for the public coffers in two years! Alumni Europae are proud to announce that Ursula van der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, is an alumna of the European School in Uccle and that she wrote to us saying she would be happy to become honorary member of our association (www.alumnieuropae.org ). The association attracts more and more alumni willing to commit to our cause ! Emergency continues its difficult combat indefatigably (www.emergency.org ). We wish courage to all those who are working hard in the field to provide quality health care and keep explaining that war is no solution to their problems. I am still a board member of APO.G and pleased that our club attracts speakers of very high quality ( http://apog.be/qui-sommes-nous/) . EMMI is carrying on its work to ensure that reliable and efficient market references continue to be available. Congrats to the team on their remarkable success! (www.EMMI.org). I am still very much involved as adviser to SIREAS. This is a cause worthy of every imaginable support!! (http://www.sireas.be/sireas/). Finally I am still convinced that Toolbox is playing a major role in favour of very small non profit organisations (asbl) who cannot afford to use the services of professionnal consultants(www.toolbox.be).
Last but not least a word about our paradise in the Dordogne ! We still have a place for a new member. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, go to www.brissaud.info and read my previous newsletters!
Thank you once more! Wishing you an enjoyable and pleasant rest of the year 🙂
Olivier, November 2019