By Alexandra Fairweather
I recently had a chance to sit down with Peter Cuneo, the Chairman of Valiant, who is highly celebrated as the former CEO of Marvel who sold the company for $4.7 billion, and Jeremiah Schnee, the founder of the Wealth and Values Initiative (WVI) and CEO of Next Opportunity Group, known for advising CEOs of some of the most successful private mid-sized companies in industries ranging from aerospace & defense to retail – as well as the legacy families who own them. Cuneo and Schnee shared with me the need to teach the next generation how to become the world’s next great business leaders and how a program the WVI/Next Opportunity Group developed with Cornell University's Johnson School of Business, CKGSB, and US China Partners called iLEAD (Intergenerational Leadership Entrepreneurial Accelerated Development) is doing just that.
“Leadership and culture start at the top. In a legacy family, it is just the same,” explains Schnee. Hence, “in addition to incorporating leading business oriented Professors – iLEAD brings you together with wealth creators, such as Peter Cuneo – who are talking about how to create wealth – a big difference,” asserts Schnee.
iLEAD is a pioneering international exchange and leadership program for high-achieving young business leaders from American, Chinese and other international family enterprises. The idea behind iLEAD is to build a pre-eminent international business network with those who share common values, learn how to conduct business in China and in the U.S, globalize family enterprises, adopt strategies to sustain wealth over generations, grow as leaders, expand entrepreneurship, collaboration and leadership skills, and ultimately understand the relationship between wealth, values and family legacies.
“The economic reality is that the United States needs China and China needs the United States,” explains Cuneo, who decided to get involved with iLEAD to help cultivate the values of the next generation of great business leaders.
“Five years from now, the China economy will probably be the largest economy in the world and we need to sell products and services to each other,” asserts Cuneo.
Cuneo continues, “I’m a huge believer in the wisdom to be gained in understanding foreign cultures. In the worlds of the future, to be truly successful you need to be successful in multiple cultures… In learning a foreign culture, you begin to see that there are people on this earth that view situations differently…this is very important when you meet other people. Learn to be flexible, don’t assume, and learn what they mean when they say, ‘yes.’ This is an example of what you need to learn in different cultures.”
Considering the growing importance of the dynamic between China and the United States, Cuneo and Schnee are seeking to not only create a forum to develop cultural understandings between the two global powers, but to expand networks and develop incredible relationships for iLEAD participants.
“Starting a new business is not about just understanding a culture, but having close relationships with others in other cultures. Despite what many young people in America think, you can’t do a deal only on the computer. We have become far too digitized in the United States, taking the place of personal relationships. Personal relationships at the end are still what matter in business,” explains Cuneo.
“The program prepares you for the future success of legacy businesses by immersing next generation leadership and wealth creators in real-world applications to foster international, intergenerational business opportunities and the transfer of values and knowledge,” explains Schnee.
iLEAD will offer incredible corporate visits with CEOs of premier companies ranging from Google to Alibaba, experiential learning such as lessons from a Broadway producer on how to present yourself as a CEO, as well as fantastic educational programs and internship experiences.
“The real winners in life in the future are going to be the people who have a real sense and are driven in the real world,” explains Cuneo.
iLEAD consists of two modules – one in the US and one in China:
US Module 1: Sunday June 7 – Wednesday June 17, 2015
China Module 2: Sunday July 12 – Wednesday July 22, 2015
Professional Masters Certificate:
All participants completing both modules in good standing will receive a Professional Masters Certificate from Cornell University and CKGSB.
To learn more and apply for the iLEAD, please reach out to Margaret Poswistilo at Next Opportunity Group.
Tel: +1 212-878-6644