Global Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monaco | Escape Haven

Global Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monaco

Grateful Monday: Today I’m grateful for revisiting where my dream of Surf Haven began in the unexpected setting of glitzy Monaco.

Last week was one of those periods in my life where I kept pinching myself as a reminder to take everything that was happening in – to soak it all up. I was very fortunate to be invited along with a friend of mine (Cat) to Global Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monaco.

I made a last minute decision (a sliding doors moment) to ditch plan a to attend plan b instead and go along to this and support one of our countries leading Entrepreneurs for a week with an impressive line up of some of the biggest change makers in the world.

The week was full of not only impressive meetings with some of the worlds most successful entrepreneurs but hearing from some of the most coveted speakers – Kofi Anan, John Cleese, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (Easy Jet founder) and best selling Economist Author Damibisa Moyo, talk about global issues.

Monaco was the perfect backdrop for a conference such as this. Easy to see why they call it the playground of the rich and famous, the cars, the labels, the excess everywhere you look the beautiful harbor filled with super yachts bigger than most houses in Bali. Everyone was shiny and beautiful down to the pampered pooches that seem to have pride of place in Monaco with their diamond-studded leads, LV booties and china plates they ate of in Monaco’s ritziest hotels. Ruby and Rice would have a field day here! (My beloved pug and Bali dog).

On the eve of the close, the excitement crescendo to dizzying heights as this well connected group of 1000 seated by country, gathered in a beautiful venue with a retractable roof. Fireworks, Circe De Soleil entertainment – no expense was spared to create an impressive platform for the announcement of who out of this highly regarded group of men and women global change makers, would win this coveted title.

Would it be the guy was helping to eradicate Malaria, or the IT guru that changed the way the world used mobiles, many who were responsible for social economic transformation of developing nations through to our NZ finalist who was a serial entrepreneur building and selling businesses worth billions of $ since he was 21.

As they went through the countries finalists, hearing their stories of what they had accomplished was nothing short of inspiring. The moment came and despite my mantra of NZ, NZ, NZ playing in my head, the US was called as the winner. Huge applause and hysteria followed with the winner Hamdi Ulukaya walking to the stage swamped by a siege of camera crews. He told his rags to riches story of a Turkish immigrant who came to the US penniless with no English when he was 22. He had dreams; big dreams and seeing him on the podium accepting the award of being Global Entrepreneur of the year – with such pride and passion as he told his story of rags to riches, was the stuff movies are made of.

I love hearing Entrepreneurs stories often involving overcoming adversity at some point to achieve against the odds. The trajectory of him going from dreaming of the American dream to creating a billion$ business and taking on board the giants in a highly competitive yoghurt category, was incredible. It imparted on me how important it is to share stories that can help inspire and motivate in a time when the world needs innovation more than ever. I believe we all have a role to play. The message and proof, that anything is possible.

It made me reflect on how grateful I was and how life can change so much. There was a moment this week where I felt how full circle life had come for me. We were invited down onto one of the incredible super yachts for some drinks and canapés. In truth, I felt like a bit of an imposter sitting in the harbor with all this glitz around me. I remembered how my dream started there on the super yachts in the Caribbean whilst in between scrubbing bathrooms and cleaning with a q tip I dreamt of a life in the sun, an island life that was barefoot, happy and carefree where I could play with my passion for water sports. I recognized then, how life had answered my wishes. A true goose bumps moment.

Whilst I don’t wish to scale to the heights of some of these global giants, I am fulfilled to be living the life I’ve designed and to be sharing it with so many who visit us. As a friend of mine Annabel says, we are all our own lifestyle architects. Its up to us to decide what it is we want, how we want to live it and then work hard to achieve it through focus and determination.

I’m super grateful for the important reminder and inspiration that this week has taught me and recognition of how my journey has grown so much from those q-tipped, gazing out of the portall, day dreaming of island living days!

Love Jen x


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