YPO Global Leadership Conference Opens In Cape Town

YPO members representing 86 countries gathered in Cape Town, South Africa to RE_Imagine leadership as they embark on a new journey as chapter officers. This week at the 2019 YPO Global Leadership Conference (GLC),  YPO members find themselves surrounded by the rich heritage of the oldest city in South Africa as they embrace peer-to-peer learning during leadership workshops and share stories of perseverance.  

“The GLC is the lodestar of leadership development, where peer-to-peer officer education and networking combine to produce outstanding member champions who have stretched the limits of who they are,” says 2019 GLC and YPO EDGE Host City Chair Paul Berman.

“Our time together in Cape Town is a unique opportunity for leaders to shed their personal limitations and extend the possibilities of who they might become.”

The 2019 GLC was ushered in with the sound of African drum beats setting the tempo for two days of intensive learning and camaraderie and was followed by music from South Africa’s Heavenly Voices choir.

2018-2019 YPO Chairman Pascal Gerken welcomed members and reminded participants of their connection to the strongest network in the world and how, with each other, anything can be accomplished. “This is a room of unconditional yes. Everything is possible here,” says Gerken, speaking of the power of YPO.

GLC Officer Education Chair Michael Bloch shared that the reason he has attended 14 GLCs is due, in part, to his commitment to lifelong learning, and that commitment has dramatically changed his life, both personally and professionally.

Member-led conversations

In addition to workshops, the GLC program includes member-led conversations. A few highlights from the day:

In a session about understanding when it’s time to sell your business, YPO member Peter Kubasek shared that within a family business, emotions are involved, and that the best time to sell might be when it’s doing great and not at the time of your retirement.

YPO member Mike Novakoski led a conversation on leveraging the power of forum for your business. He stated that bringing your true self is the only way to create the trust you need to get full commitment from your team. “Trust is the key to high-performing teams,” Novakaski states.

We all want to raise financially capable children but the problem is “87 percent of teenagers in the U.S. fail the financial literacy class according to YPO member Clint Greenleaf. Out of those who took the test, roughly  1/3 thought it was important to learn about money.

YPO member Harry Clark examined the risk factors that affect an entrepreneur’s ability to grow their business and retain their personal wealth. We hear the stories of achievement. But not a lot of people share the stories of failure. Ultimately, understand what matters the most to you. 

In a discussion about the correlation between employee enthusiasm and a company’s profitability, YPO member David Garrison said that most companies miss the huge disconnect between front-line employee experience and the executive suite’s perception of it. He says it’s important to recognize, own, and re-frame the stories for who we are and what we really want today vs. what we grew up thinking we needed to be and do.”

In a session on how to create impact led by Angela Homsi and her husband, YPO member Yariv Cohen, she stresses, “To make an impact you need to get your hands dirty.”

Through a joint initiative between YPO Networks, Relate Bracelets and Ikamva Labantu, GLC attendees received bracelets made by senior adults who are well into their 80s, live in Cape Town’s most vulnerable communities and look after orphaned children. Lauren Gillis, spouse of YPO member Arthur Gillis, founded Relate in 2004 following the first YPO GLC in Cape Town. These handmade bracelets have enabled training to give dignity and hope to those living in townships. “We are proud to be the organization that uses every opportunity to make a difference,” said Kim Faclier, YPO member who championed the effort.

Ikamva Labantu


An experienced writer with a background in public relations, Vicky enjoys writing about brands, the people that give them life, and about business topics that matter to senior executives. Vicky is the senior manager of content at YPO.