Generosity is a game changer


Didier Marlier

December 21, 2012

From Disruption to Engagement

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What do Noella Coursaris Masters, Sergio Chaia and Jérôme de Meyer have in common? Not very much at first sight…

– Mrs Coursaris-Masters, was born in Congo and lost her father at the age of five. Her mother being unable to support her, she was sent to Europe in the hope she could prepare herself for a better life. Today, Noella is one of the world’s top models and has founded the Georges Malaika Foundation, named after her father. The organization is dedicated to the goal of “empowering African girls through education” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Its vision is to nurture sustainable communities that can provide fertile environments for young girls to become the next generation of women leaders. And many young orphans have found there a place of warmth, humanity and protection. For Noella, “Education is the key to many doors. It allows you to know what is really happening in the world. It helps you to be responsible. It gives you a future… Education is everything!”. Mrs. Coursaris-Masters donates 40% of her modeling contracts values to the Foundation…

– Sergio Chaia, is a highly successful business leader and a wannabe football star ;). We met on a program that I was running for Brazilians C.E.O.s (when working for the Fundação Dom Cabral) which was investigating what the emerging “Open Source Economy” was about. Sergio once told me with passion about the Instituto Nextel, which he had been created under his tenure as Nextel’s C.E.O. (which he has left now). The Instituto was spotting young people (15/25 years old) from very poor families who still had “that spark of determination” in their eyes. Many had known the worse one can imagine, but something in them indicated that all hope wasn’t lost. Those adolescent were going under a tough, demanding and intensive program of four months, aiming at getting them reinserted into society and succeed with their studies. For Sergio, with whom I once co-delivered a course there on the theme of the “Hero’s Journey”, “Those young people are the pride and future heroes of our Nation”…

– Jérôme de Meyer is a “tough guy”. A Major in the Swiss Army, ex-Marketing executive at Swissair, he and I had a cordial dislike for each other since our youth, as I found him way to harsh and he probably felt I was too soft… When his father passed away, Jérôme dropped a promising career and chose to fully embark into the journey of education. His school, Beau-Soleil, is know as one of the best in the world and my daughter studies there. Jérôme used to climb the Mount Kilimandjaro. On his was, he was passing by a poor but joyous home. He was told that it belonged to a retired school teacher who was investing all of his meager pension into maintaining an army of young orphans. Jérôme was moved and promised himself to stop by one day. The day he finally did, the home was closed. The old man didn’t have the means to continue. So Jérôme went after him, bought the house and a large plot of land around and got the orphans back. Today, his Foundation Le Solstice runs and supports schools and orphanages in India, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uruguay. When asked about how all the misery of this world impacts him, Jérôme replies: “Life is beautiful because it is Life… Simply “.

I have never met Noella personally but the few e.mail exchanges we have had seem to indicate a pretty strong and determined personality. Sergio is known as a fair and approachable but extremely demanding leader. Failing is not an option for him. Jérôme is loved and highly respected by the students of his school. They all know that he lives the two pillars of education: unconditional affection and rigorous structuring. So these three people can’t be seen as soft, idealist dreamers. They are fighters!

However they have understood that “generosity is a game changer” for our future. Congo from all places will not be changed by its actual political “elite”: in a recent post, Noella wrote “Our girls will be the future shakers of Africa and RDC”… Brazil will not become a safer place nor diminish one of the world’s highest chasm between riches and poors by law… Jérôme is aware that confronting the children of wealthy people to poverty and misery and educate them to become generous will probably change the world!

Generosity is the “G letter” of the GRAVITAS values which we see emerge from tomorrow’s Open Source Economy. Thank you Noella, Sergio, Jérôme for being such impactful role models of it.

I found no better illustration than this clip (thank you Ivo Knottnerus for bringing it to my knowledge) of how and why generosity will change this world…

Have a great break all. Thank you for your readership and trust in us during 2012. All our wishes for 2013!!!


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