I wrote down a list of goals more than 30 years ago.
My dad often spoke of a framework for happiness that I considered rather elegant. He said you need three things in life to be happy: someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. I had gotten married while I was in business school, so someone to love was well under way. For something to do, I wrote down that I wanted to work in the buyout business, which was then in its infancy. For something to look forward to, I scribbled down that I wanted to be philanthropic and give something back to my community. I still have that small piece of paper today!
My parents passed on some valuable lessons.
My dad was an entrepreneur who built one of the first big box stores in the 1960s. I spent my holidays working there as a kid, and that’s how I developed my love of consumer businesses. Though he warned me against going into retail, those were the first deals I did when I got into the investment business – they were what I knew. Dad also taught me that consumer business is constantly reinventing itself. Though highly successful at the time, Dad’s catalog showroom business model no longer exists today.
I am still highly motivated by the business after all these years.
Advent is a true global partnership with incredibly dynamic individuals – people I love working with. I spend at least half my time in the investment side of our business, exploring fascinating companies around the world. Our new tech franchise, too, has incredible momentum inside the shop, and has already opened up new opportunities for the entire firm.
You can learn from things that don’t go your way.
I have been involved in more than 50 investments over the last 30 years, and I have lost money in every conceivable way. That scar tissue is of great value to the firm. We have created a culture that celebrates success, but we also realize that we’re going to make a few mistakes. It is so important to surround yourself with people you trust who can find solutions, whatever the situation.