Letter from the President
During the May 22-24 weekend, we had our semi-annual meeting of the executive board of the Association of AGBCs in Hamburg, Germany, hosted by our newest chapter. Thanks to the extraordinary preparation and competent leadership of President Dr. Ralf Töllner and German Vice President Günter C. Becker and their staff we were able to have one of the best meetings ever. The activities included a golf tournament, cocktail party, banquet, a boat ride through the harbor of Hamburg, and a tour of the Ballin Island Immigration Center. We had a very productive business meeting Saturday at the Hotel Marriott, during which I received the honor and privilege of becoming the newly elected President of the Association.
Paul Cook, Dennis Phillips, and Robert Stoffers have recently preceded me as presidents of this national association, and they have established an ongoing tradition of excellence. Progress now, as in years past, would be difficult without the superbly competent assistance of our Executive Secretary, Ms. Inge Gerold. Thankfully, she will continue to keep us compliant. Charles Keene will continue his flawless performance as National Treasurer. Dennis Phillips will continue as Head of Communications. And Uwe Twelker shall continue his efficient development and support of our website. I believe that with these excellent examples of leadership in recent years, it is essential to share a vision of what I see we can maintain well and improve upon.
I would like to see us enhance the value of membership, to encourage increased participation in chapter activities and provide the spark to start a few new chapters. Increased value and transparency should also encourage our members to take part in the activities of chapters other than their own. It is essential that we share ideas to find ways to energize, motivate, and support our individual chapters and to work creatively for the addition of some new chapters, including establishing a constructive dialogue with our colleagues in Berlin.
Robert Stoffers, with the innovative ideas of his willing staff, has established a good genesis for our “Entrepreneur of Tomorrow” program. Will Phillips is working on a modus operandi for having this expand in content and participation. I fully support the suggestion of Bonn President Walter Bawell to establish a registry of interesting speakers who would be willing to travel and make presentations at different chapters. Ask your speakers if they’re willing to travel, and let us know.
Our website is developing very quickly and very effectively under the leadership of Uwe Twelker, who is completing the architecture for a business directory. This unique tool will enable individuals and businesses to be marketed not only through their own region, but also throughout the Association. This should exponentially increase the networking possibilities for every member of the Association.Better calendar postings would encourage more multi-chapter participation. We shall work to expand the capabilities of this great new website.
This recent recession has created an economic turmoil as well and a downturn in markets worldwide. Many of the members of our individual chapters have been terribly hurt by this development; and the business community at large has been facing awful challenges, many of which were unseen in many decades. However, the challenges provided by very hard times also produce unusual opportunities. Since March 9th, the 12 year low in the markets, we’ve seen 3 months of increase, with the Dow up 29.8%, the S&P 500 Index up 35.9% and the NASDAQ up 39.9%. Of course this doesn’t in any way predict the future; but markets historically turn up 6-8 months prior to the turnaround in the economy. So this could be a precursor of better business news in the months to come.
And these are times which most certainly should energize each and every one of us. Whether it’s a golf tournament, a boat ride, banquet or happy hour, it’s fun as well. I invite you to share ideas with us and to continue to work within the framework of the Association for a better tomorrow for us all.
Barry E. Swanson, CFP