Up Front

Business Jet Traveler » August 2013
Jennifer English (Photo: Mona L. Brown)
Jennifer English (Photo: Mona L. Brown)
Monday, August 5, 2013 - 1:00pm

Issy Sharp, the founder of the Four Seasons hotel conglomerate and this issue’s cover subject, considers private aviation an essential business tool. He says it represents “true luxury” because of the time it saves him and the quiet, uninterrupted work space it provides. I fully agree, though I confess I might settle for an airliner if it were headed for the Four Seasons Resort in Bora Bora in the dead of a New York winter.

Sharp, who lost his 17-year-old son to cancer in 1978, is involved with multiple charities, but his most personal connection is with the Terry Fox Foundation for cancer research. He says his parents taught him that “you have to support others no matter what you’ve got.”

With that in mind, I’d like to call your attention to charities related to last December’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. We were especially impacted by that tragedy here at BJT because our publishing offices are in a neighboring town. Several members of our team live in Newtown—some have been there for several generations—and have young children in that school district. As is always the case with horrific events, the world moves on and the ­headlines fade. But the community of Newtown will continue to struggle for a long time. 

On page 13 we spotlight a charity called Benjamin’s Lighthouse for Newtown’s Children, which provides the town’s young people with tools to create a nonviolent and caring culture. Two additional resources we recommend for those who want to help are the United Way of Western Connecticut, which has created the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, and the Newtown Rotary Sandy Hook School Fund.

The elegant words of Issy Sharp—which have stayed with me since I first read­­ our cover story— make me think of the nation’s response to Sandy Hook: “Mankind shares a deeply rooted, instinctive moral sense, and the ethic of mutual responsibility, caring and sharing—the goodwill sometimes known as brotherly love—is as universal as selfishness and hate.”

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“"How many leaders actively seek out and encourage views alien and at odds with their own? All too few...Who in your organization serves as your Challenger In Chief? Interrogating the choices you are considering making? Making you consider the uncontemplated, the unimaginable and that which contradicts or refutes your position? And also challenging you?"”

-Noreena Hertz, author of Eyes Wide Open: How To Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World