Isn't this just the most endearing pic? Taken by a top TIME magazine (4th November '08 commemorative issue) as part of a photo-essay while Barack Obama was on the campaign trail. This was after his walk-about in Rhode Island. And hey, that's his 2nd book, The Audacity of Hope, on the table.
Two delightful blupses. One in an otherwise cogently written article on market segmentation by the Financial Mail's Matebello Motloung. It contains a Freudian slip of note. It's highlighted and I've excerpted it below the main article for closer scrutiny. Below that (blups also excerpted) is the 2nd article with a little twist, from the same edition of the FM. With that one, I'd have assumed that in prison your address was pretty much fixed? ;-) Thank you, FM, for the smile. An orchid is yours.
The PR divisions of corporates often mouth off about how well they're doing on the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) front. It's interesting that in South Africa we've used yet another euphemism. It used to be Corporate Social Responsibility, now it's 'investment' - in order to make it look and sound as though the PR people will get a return for the companies they're punting.
This week Novartis in South Africa hosted a superb function, organised by Dr. Tobeka Boltina (Director: Public Affairs and Communications) and her team, featuring a presentation by University of Basel Sociology Professor Klaus. M. Leisinger - pictured.
In a fascinating, energetic and thought-provoking presentation, he re-emphasised the fact that CSR (responsibility, note) is not a negotiable or a nice to have. Rather, it's crucial in terms of the entity's future sustainability, its ability to attract the right talent and its ability to continue functioning effectively with all stakeholders.
Novartis (a client of mine for many years - but that's not the reason for the post) have walked their talk for all the time I've known them. They have executive staff members caring for babies in AIDS hospices, they distribute wheelchairs and re-furbished bicycles - apart from billions of dollars of free medication. Not as a fashion trend - it's the way they do things. It's exceptional and something from which we can all learn. Other corporates I know of, do a heck of a lot of spin around the issue, but the top teams continue their own privileged lives, well away from any such concerns or personal involvement.
So a big bravo!, when a corporate makes staff awareness of, and paricipation in such initiatives, a core value in the enterprise. If more companies did this, the world would immediately be a better place.
It's rare, and always a pleasure to be able to publish something about an exceptional experience. Croc City, en route to Lanseria airport, is both exceptional and delightful. But it's also a great example of how just one person can make or break a very special day. In this case, Anton Lötter made it - big time!
I wanted an unusual 6th birthday for the little dude in my life. I considered hordes of screaming (and fighting) classmates as an option. The conceptual process was more daunting and stressful than major business decisions! Eventually rationality prevailed and I negotiated a special deal with him. Two very special friends and we spend the entire day with the little man's parents, sibling and me. Kicking off at Croc City and then on to Maropeng in the Cradle of Human Kind. Concept bought - thank goodness!
The very first e-mail contact with Croc City was refreshing. Warm, cordial, quick and welcoming. Nothing was too much trouble. They were very happy to accomodate our tiny party and treat us no differently than if we'd been bringing in a dollop of revenue.
On arrival we were given all the help we needed to schlep our eats from the cars. Two tables were waiting for us. The croc jumping castle was fired up, the staff decanted the eats on to Croc City plates and helped arrange them on the tables.
The kids were treated to a thrilling session in which they got to hold a 3 month croc in their hands (he
was an appropriately docile croc!) and also to a tour of the rest of the crocs on site.
They'll never forget thatAnton Lötter, (pictured, with cap'n shades in the group on the right), a delightful young Afrikaner with deliciously rolling r's) taught them that crocs have 66 teeth - and in a never-ending supply.
That he held two and a half-year old Nkosinathi's hand in a totally unselfconscious way (she took a real shine to him) and led the kids around as if they were his own. This young man just radiated a warmth and hospitality that was a delight to behold. He's a wonderful example of the new South African spirit in action. It wasn't an act, or him playing 'mein host'. This was authentic, congruent, colour-blind African humanism at its best.
Anton allowed the birthday boy to choose a croc tooth as a special memento. Seeing the look on the face of the two buddies, he then upped the birthday boy to two croc teeth and the buddies to one each. Man, does he understand kids!
We spent a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours at Croc City and then moved on to the must-see Maropeng. But the day was made - and we continue to talk about it - by Anton.
Thank you, Anton, you special man, for making a special day very special indeed. You're an enviable role-model!
This whole experience made me feel good about being a South African and living in South Africa.