Growing up in in the small southern US town of Paris, Tennessee, I came to value church, family, honesty and hard work. My folks were kind and well respected, but we were certainly not at the top of the income scale. They struggled to provide me with extracurricular activities such as scouting and those that supported my elective classes in public speaking, debate and especially band. I will be eternally grateful, for many of those experiences shaped my life in ways far beyond what I learned in the classroom.
I was a “B” student, both in high school and college, because my interests were so varied. Probably I would have been better off academically had I stuck to even a couple of interests, but I had a thirst to learn about a lot of things so I could find my path in life. And that took a while, but the roots of my southern background stuck with me. In fact, I believe the values instilled during that time contributed immensely to my business successes later in life. If you would like to know more, feel free to follow me on Facebook.
This is especially true when it comes to my international experiences. Southerners develop deep relationships, but they do so slowly. Such relationships, once developed, are long lasting and trusting. It is somewhat strange that these tendencies would develop in the South, where we are multiple generations away from our European ancestors, but they are in fact, as we learned once we began living in Europe, very European. This approach to business, and indeed to life, was an integral part of all my dealings there and not only served me well in business but left me with lifetime friendships in many countries that I continue to cherish even now. If you would like to know more about my business experience, feel free to review my LinkedIn profile.
I always knew I was adopted but never wanted to look up my birth family while my folks were living. They were my mom and dad, and I never wanted them to feel any other way. I could not have had a happier childhood or better parents. But once they were gone, a cousin with some time on his hands approached me to see if he could start a project to help me fill in the blanks. Sure enough, both my birth families were located, due to some unusual legal issues with the agency who had handled my adoption that caused the records to be opened for a short but fruitful time.
I will never forget the day, about 8 months later, when I was sitting in my office in Windsor, England when Elaine, my PA, came into my office and announced that my sister was on the line. You might imagine that I was taken aback! Sure enough, she was my sister, and soon we had scheduled a family meeting for our next trip back over to the states. My birth mom has sadly passed now, but I had the great fortune to know her for 18 years and am now lovingly connected with brothers and sisters on both sides of the family.
I am sharing this to highlight my somewhat sudden interest in genealogy, a frequent theme on this site. If you would like to learn more, here is a link to my public tree on Ancestry.com.