For the past month, joining the team at TheSocReports https://www.thesocreports.com/ has been an entrepreneur from Slovenia – Tomo Senekovic
Tomo is here via a program run by the State Dept. and administered locally by World Chicago. The goal is to help like-minded professionals around the world get to know one another.
We were matched because we’re both figuring out how to survive in business. (Tomo built a website serving Slovenia that’s a marketplace to connect people who want to sell their business with potential buyers.)
He’s great with digital marketing – and has brought a fresh eye to what we do.
Tomo has remarked a couple of times how nice it is that we have a ‘team.’ In contrast, he runs the business he created *all by himself* – from coding to sales. Oh, and he also has a wife and three young children. Bringing new meaning to the term “Lean Start-up”
Tomorrow is his last day with us – and we were invited to a farewell luncheon today honoring all the participants and their hosts. The keynote speaker was the former U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, Fay Hartog-Levin.
Before today, I really had no clue what an Ambassador does – beyond what I’ve seen in the movies.
Here are just a few interesting tidbits that she shared:
–Some ambassadors come up through the ranks of government and aspire to the job – Other “non career” ambassadors leap to the front of the line by political appointment. She got her assignment because of connections to Pres. Obama.
–Her resume is long, including family ties to the Netherlands, so it’s not like her appointment was a random thing. Yet she said knowing that she was following in the footsteps of ‘the’ John Adams (the first U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands) gave her pause.
–When she first met the Queen of the Netherlands, the Queen asked the Ambassador if she could arrange for her son to meet Pres. Obama. When the Ambassador contacted the White House, they said “no way, too busy for that, the Pres. only meets with heads of state – not their children.” Rather than face the humiliation of failing her first test of clout, she reached out to someone she knew who worked for Michelle and the *official* invite came from the First Lady who walked him in to say hello to the President. Mission accomplished – and the Queen never knew any different.
–There are no landfills in the Netherlands. Too crowded and land is too precious and needed for farming. The Dutch dedication to the environment may be the strongest on the planet.
–With the changing of the guard in Washington, she lost her position and was encouraged to leave her connections in the Netherlands behind. But for 8 years, she was in constant communication with just about every department — from Agriculture to Homeland Security (and obviously the State Dept.).
Another reminder that we in the U.S. have more to learn than we realize from our foreign allies.
But my chief takeaway was that the life of the average Ambassador is pretty darn exciting and one of the highest honors in our government. While her post in the Netherlands is filled – she reports there *is* still an opening at the U.S. Embassy in Hong Kong …
Now that’s an assignment for someone who loves shopping.
One last bit of advice from the Ambassador was that we can do our part to foster world peace by traveling. Meeting one another goes a long way to understanding.
I can vouch for that.
I wish my new friend, Tomo, all the best as he heads first to Washington, D.C., for a few days, then back to Slovenia.
He’s left his mark on TheSocReports, helping us create a product marketing campaign that we will be rolling out soon for real estate professionals.
Thanks for everything, Tomo, and I only hope I can return the favor one day.
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