My heart is full. I am so grateful for Viridian and for each of you, our dedicated Associates. You inspire me daily. In the midst of so much activity, growth, growing pains, migration, transition and more, I am reminded of why we all do what we do. I want to share this incredible letter of gratitude we received from World Joy, our partner in Ghana, but also I want to take an opportunity to share some of my recent thoughts about our opportunity and our purpose as Generation V.

I’ve learned in the past couple of months that you cannot give selflessly. It’s true. I’ve always believed that giving was somehow a selfless act – finding something within yourself (time, talent, money, gifts, or simply love) that you could give away to someone else, benefitting their life far more than your own. I’ve come to learn this is simply not true. In return for anything I have ever given, I seem to have gained far more than I ever gave. Sometimes this has come in the form of newfound friendship, sometimes in a smile of gratitude, sometimes in a life lesson I could never have learned any other way, sometimes in a fond memory that I will always cherish.

Viridian has given me, given all of us, an extraordinary opportunity to learn this phenomenon firsthand. As a dedicated group of change agents, we are constantly giving – locally we give service to our communities and neighborhoods, globally we give the gift of trees or power or education to burgeoning communities, and on a direct level, many of you give of your time and talents to others as mentors, coaches and guides. We are a community that shares, inspires, uplifts and creates positive change in the world.

It was with this realization that I had the honor to take the stage recently for World Joy’s annual fundraising gala. I was addressing a packed room of business leaders and icons – those at the helm of major corporations who had come to support World Joy and to hear about how one company (Viridian) has had an incredible impact on the people in Ghana. I chose to speak candidly and from the heart about why we give. About why companies should step back and consider not only the impact their choices have to their bottom line, but the impact their choices have to the world. I shared with them our incredible journey in Africa and what we were able to give to the people there.

But mostly I shared with them what we learned and what we received. Here is a bit of what I shared:

We learned about hard work. Watching the people in Ghana in their daily lives we saw what it means to work hard every day simply to ensure your family has the basics.


We learned about passion. In these rural communities, children are still inspired by the very simple things in life, music and dance can fill an afternoon, and there is a true spirit of passion for all that the future may hold.


We learned about love. Without worries of crime or distrust, the community raises itself, with children helping children and a spirit of complete acceptance of the unknown.


We learned about (and received) hope. The children of Ghana are in many ways so very different from children anywhere else in the world. They don’t have Nintendo, movies, the Internet or high-tech classrooms. But in most ways, they are exactly like children everywhere in the world. They love to learn. They are curious. They cherish play. They want to be something special, important and exciting when they grow up. They are inspired and inspirational.



I ended with my closing thoughts: it’s not about what you do; it’s about why you do it.

We push for change in the world because we can and because we must. We work everyday to make a difference because it is our unique opportunity in the world. And the beauty of it is that our efforts, however small, have returned a world of wonder, gratitude, growth and prosperity back to us. Even more importantly, they have created a ripple effect of change among the people in Ghana.

Read this letter from Regina Klitgaard, Executive Director of World Joy, to learn a little more of the profound influence our community has had on theirs. I’m sure that you, like me, will be grateful, proud and inspired. And I’m sure that like me, you’ll realize that although we continue to give, we also continue to receive much more than we ever thought we could.

With a full heart and gratitude for Generation V,