Opinion – Global Man

Graham Rowan: The Beaufort Society — My Exclusive Approach to High-Net-Worth Investing

Graham Rowan

In the realm of investments and wealth management, we explore the captivating tale of Graham Rowan. Once the head of a division at Texas Instruments, he unexpectedly found himself immersed in the world of investing during the 1990s. What began with trust soon turned into a costly lesson. This journey led Graham to shift from relinquishing financial control to assuming personal responsibility, igniting his passion to empower others in navigating the intricate landscape of investments.

Graham emphasizes the utmost importance of financial education, shedding light on the complex regulations within the industry while recognizing the significance of consumer education. He advocates three key areas for investors: private equity, private debt, and private money. These potent instruments serve as drivers for both wealth creation and protection.

Looking ahead, he identifies opportunities in commodities, renewable energy investments, and the pursuit of financial independence amidst global geopolitical risks and economic uncertainties. His practical guidance focuses on starting early, making wise diversifications, and taking control of one’s financial destiny.


What initially sparked your interest in the world of investing, and how did you embark on your journey in this field?

I’m almost embarrassed to tell you. I was running a software division of a big American company called Texas Instruments, selling multi-million dollar billing systems to telecoms companies around the world. I was making good money and I didn’t have the time or inclination to worry about investing my spare cash. On the advice of a colleague, I appointed a professional wealth manager who put my savings into the Nasdaq. This was the mid-1990s and the raging bull market meant that, every morning, I woke up thousands of dollars richer than when I went to bed. Until March 2000 when I noticed that the market had gone down by a few points. I asked if we should take some money off the table but they sneered at me and said ‘don’t be such a wimp. Don’t you recognise a temporary blip in a raging bull market?’

I left them to it and returned a year later to find that the market had crashed and they had lost me £160,000. They then took me into a room and said ‘I’m sorry, Mr Rowan, these losses take you below the net worth at which we look after clients so we’ll have to let you go.’ I was fired by my own wealth manager and realised that I hadn’t just delegated my investments to them, I had abdicated all responsibility. It was an expensive lesson, but an important one. From that moment, I took personal ownership of my financial future and vowed that I would help others to do the same.

Many individuals face challenges when it comes to constructing a robust investment portfolio. What advice do you have for those struggling to build their investment portfolios effectively?

Firstly, it’s not your fault. We simply aren’t given a financial education at school, at university or in the workplace. Money remains a taboo subject that only a minority of people engage with.

One of the things that annoys me the most is that we live in an age of ever increasing regulation of every aspect of our lives, including the financial services industry. Every year there are some new and more arduous rules to be followed, often in the name of ‘consumer protection’. But there’s never a move to increase financial education so that people can make their own informed choices. That leaves people at the mercy of an industry that does not always have the best interests of its customers at the top of its agenda.  

From your extensive experience, what are some of the most common mistakes that people tend to make when investing, and how can these mistakes be avoided?

The first is the one I made – leaving the investment decisions to someone else. For example, if you are in a pension fund with your employer, do you have any idea what sectors, countries or companies you are invested in? Another mistake is that people think too parochially. Many Brits have way too much exposure to the UK stock market but far too little to the Middle East or Asia where much of the growth is happening today.

A third mistake is to assume that the next ten years will be the same as the last ten years. We’ve had a prolonged bull market which is now showing signs that it has run its course. It’s been possible to get great returns from passive funds that track the market without you having to do any thinking. The result is that firms like Blackrock and Vanguard have bigger portfolios than the GDP of many countries. I struggle to believe that this strategy will be so successful in the 2020s now that we have inflation, huge geopolitical risks and a simmering debt crisis to deal with.

How to address these problems? We focus on three areas, private equity, private debt and private money. Private equity is buying shares in companies that are not yet floated on public stock markets. We focus on providing growth equity to companies with a proven business model who are looking to grow their team, develop their products and enter new markets. This is where the most wealth is being created right now, and that’s why, if you look at the portfolio of the family offices of the ultra wealthy, there is more allocated to private equity than to any other asset including real estate. In our own portfolio we are seeing our original investment grow by anything from 4 to 30 times as the companies deliver on their plans.

Private debt includes bonds and loan notes issued by companies which can provide real, above inflation returns. The problem with private equity shares is that they are illiquid and you need to be ready to invest for anything from three to seven years before seeing a return. Private debt enables you to put food on the table and cover your everyday living costs while waiting for your private equity shares to mature.

Private money exists outside the current fiat system with the aim of avoiding the deliberate inflation and currency debasement being implemented by politicians and central banks around the world. I speak to people every week who have a million pounds or more sitting in High Street bank accounts. Not only are they earning miniscule rates of interest, not only do they have the counterparty risk of the bank going bust, but they are losing at least 10% a year in the purchasing power of that cash! One of the counter-intuitive learning points that I reinforce to our members is that cash in the bank is one of the most dangerous ‘investments’ of all!

There are three types of private money – gold, silver and Bitcoin. We believe there is a place in your portfolio for all three. In our Model Portfolio that we share with our members we suggest a 10% allocation to gold and a 5% allocation to Bitcoin. 

Looking ahead, where do you believe the most promising investment opportunities will emerge in the coming years, and what should investors be keeping an eye on?

I’ve already mentioned private equity and private debt, but they are only available to people who qualify as accredited investors. In the UK that means an income of £100,000 a year or an investment portfolio of £250,000 outside of your home and pension. If that’s out of reach there are many ways you can get started including some great tax breaks. In the UK you can invest up to £20,000 a year in an individual savings account (ISA) and the growth inside the ISA is tax free. You can then research the sectors and companies that you think will do best in the years ahead.

Try to resist the temptation to jump on bandwagons like the big U.S. tech stocks which were the darlings of the last decade. Some of the biggest bargains we’re seeing at the moment are in the commodities and natural resources sector. For all our sophisticated, digital, twenty-first century lives, much of what we take for granted relies on stuff being dug up out of the ground.  Competition for energy, rare earth minerals and food is going to drive these companies much higher in the years to come.

It’s always worth trying to follow the money – for example, politicians with green agendas are throwing vast sums at companies in the renewable energy space so investors can ride the wave of spending by backing the companies most likely to benefit from this torrent of cash. Some of my best sources of information on new opportunities are Money Week magazine and research by firms like Bytetree and George Gammon’s Rebel Capitalist team.

In the context of investments, what do you perceive as the most significant risks on the horizon, and how can investors mitigate these risks?

How long have you got? I recently spoke at a Beaufort live event in London on the risks to our freedom on many levels. Most people are way too complacent after eighty years of peace, prosperity and social mobility. It’s incredibly naive to assume the next eighty years will be a simple action replay. We have three situations that could trigger World War 3 – Ukraine, the Middle East and Taiwan. We have increasing threats to our freedom of movement and freedom of speech. We have the serious probability of governments introducing Central bank Digital Currencies, (CBDCs), programmable money that would bring Orwell’s 1984 to full fruition. And we have the arrival of AI and robotics threatening not just factory jobs but white collar professions in the legal, accounting and even the medical sectors.

There’s an inexorable shift of economic and political power from West to East, a realistic threat to the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency and a rising level of taxation as fewer productive workers support an ageing population.

How do we respond to all this? As citizens, I think we have to take every legal action that we can to push back against the forces that are reducing our freedoms. As investors we have to take a leadership role in our families and accumulate as much wealth as possible to maximise the choices available to ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. And, most of all, we have to have a Plan B. And this is where most people slip up. I encourage our members to acquire at least one second residency or citizenship so that, if the country where you live becomes unbearable, you have somewhere else to go. You only have to look at Mirela’s life story to understand the importance of this.

Back in 2018, when I thought the UK was going to end up with a Marxist government led by Jeremy Corbyn, I bought property in Montenegro and obtained residency there. Boris Johnson surprised us by winning the next election, but he must have accidentally picked up Corbyn’s manifesto because the Conservatives have moved so far to the left that they might as well call themselves Socialists. So I moved again, this time to Portugal where I can enjoy more sunshine and less tax! 

As individuals’ portfolios grow over time, wealth protection becomes increasingly important. Could you share some strategies or tips on how people can safeguard their wealth as their investments appreciate?

This brings us to the fundamental question, what is the purpose of wealth? Is it really just about Rolls Royces and private jets or does it go deeper than that? For me, wealth is all about choices. Living where you want to live, with the people you want and having the choice of if, how and when you work.

The two biggest threats we face today are a move towards totalitarian government and ever increasing taxation. Sadly, many of our fellow citizens seem willing to surrender their freedoms to governments who promise to ‘keep them safe’. These freedoms were bought with the blood of our parents and grandparents so it pains me to see how easily they are surrendered.  People need to ask themselves what kind of country they want the future generations of their family to live in and research options on where best to go. The good news is that more and more countries are looking to attract higher net worth citizens so, as you build your wealth, more options should open up for you.

The tax burden in many countries is now at its highest level since World War 2, so tax mitigation strategies become central to wealth protection.  On a simple level you can use ISAs and pensions to shelter your investments from tax. But, if you have a more sophisticated portfolio that includes property, businesses, shares and bonds, you will need the services of a tax expert to set up the correct structures in your country. It becomes even more complex when you have assets and income in multiple countries. Don’t be afraid to pay the fees but make sure you have a recommendation of the expert from a trusted source because you will be in no position to judge them yourself.

Beaufort Society plays a key role in the world of high net worth investing. Could you describe how the organization serves its members and what sets it apart in this space?

Right from the start we wanted to do things differently, mainly driven by my own appalling experience of the financial services industry! So, while our company is called Beaufort Private Equity, we operate as a private members club and refer to our investor community as the Beaufort Society. We provide lots of financial education content including videos, podcasts, newsletters and webinars. All brought together in one place, the Beaufort Academy, which is both a desktop and mobile phone app.

Most private equity firms operate as a fund, so their clients have no say in the individual investments. We provide direct investment opportunities, so that our members can choose which companies they buy into and at what level. A third difference is that we provide a unique financial planning service, the Wealth360, where I get together with a regulated financial adviser and we each take a look at your portfolio to see if it is going to meet your objectives. I am not allowed to provide advice, but I can and do express opinions!

We’ve also grown a hand-picked panel of subject matter experts to help our members in areas where we are not qualified to do so. This includes regulated financial and tax advisers, sources of property finance, specialist insurance and the world’s leading experts on second residency and citizenship by investment programmes. We now have 800 members in 37 countries and the feedback we receive is that we are very much helping our members to achieve their goals.   

When thinking about a typical Beaufort Society member, what characteristics or profile traits do they tend to share, and what value does the society provide to individuals with these attributes?

Great question. By definition they are successful because, in meeting the requirements of a High Net Worth investor, they are already in the top 5% of the population. Many are business owners who have built and sold an enterprise and are looking at how to invest the proceeds. Some are professionals like doctors and dentists, others are property investors looking to diversify out of bricks and mortar. What they share is a willingness to look at alternative investments that are not available from High Street advisers, such as private equity and private debt. Like me, they are slightly ‘renegade’ and suspicious of Big Government and its increasing attempts to restrict our freedom. 

They tend to be the most financially astute members of their families and take their leadership role in wealth creation, wealth protection and wealth transfer seriously. Most of all, they enjoy being able to mix with like-minded people because we are very much in the minority!

For those interested in becoming a member of Beaufort Society, what are the criteria or steps they should consider, and how can someone go about joining this exclusive network?

We deliberately try to remove as much friction as we can from the process. We don’t charge membership fees and we don’t make any charges when people invest. Our fees are paid by the companies for whom we raise capital and, where possible, we take part of our fees as equity so we can go on the journey with our members.

If someone meets the High Net Worth criteria I mentioned earlier, they can fil in the application form and self-certify their status at Beaufortprivateequity.com 

In the context of your work, both as an author and a speaker, what key messages or insights do you hope to convey to your audience, and how can individuals benefit from your expertise in the realm of investments and wealth management?

Our core philosophy is that we each need to take ownership of our financial future because, as I discovered to my cost, no one else has your financial wellbeing at the top of their agenda! The financial world loves to use complicated jargon to justify their fees, but there’s no secret to building a successful portfolio. Live within your means, save some money then start investing. If you study the legendary investors like Warren Buffet or Sr John Templeton, their key messages were ‘buy cheap and diversify’. So, if you combine buying stocks when they are cheap and spreading the risk across multiple sectors, you should see significant growth in a five to ten year time horizon.   

The most important point of all is to get started and make it a habit. As someone smarter than me once said, the best time to do this was twenty years ago. The second-best time to get started is today.

Graham Rowan | LinkedIn


Matt Bird: Global Speaking, Local Impact – A Journey of Inspiration and Transformation

Matt Bird

In the pages of Global Man Magazine, we are delighted to showcase an extraordinary individual whose impactful global speaking engagements have touched the lives of over a million people in 50 countries. This insightful figure is not just a revered speaker but also an accomplished author with 20 published books and the founding CEO of PublishU. Through his foundation, NAYBA, he exemplifies his dedication to fostering love and building community connections. In this interview, we delve into the inspiration behind his prolific writing, explore the concept of the “dyslexic superpower,” discuss finding balance between urban and rural lifestyles, and examine the transformative potential of genuine relationships in entrepreneurship and community development. Join us as we uncover a world where business, relationships, and social impact intersect.


Your extensive speaking engagements have taken you to 50 countries and allowed you to address over a million people. Can you share a memorable experience or lesson from your global speaking tours that had a profound impact on you?

I was giving the keynote speech at a conference in Rome, Italy, for the general counsel from over 170 countries of one of the big four professional services firms. Over the years, I have picked up a tip: ask a client to introduce you to several people who will be in the audience on the day of your speech. Chat with them to understand them and their work and ask if you can reference them in your speech. I did exactly that, and so when I left the platform after my keynote, the Global General Counsel leant over to me and commented, ’Thank you so much; it’s like you know us inside out’.

You’ve written 20 books and contributed to publications like The Times newspaper. What inspires your writing, and how do you choose the topics you want to explore in your books and articles?

What inspires my writing is knowing that my words will be read by people that I may never meet in places that I may never travel. The way that creates the ability to inspire, influence, and impact excites me. I only write, speak, or broadcast about subjects that I’m passionate about, which for me is quite broad, ranging from entrepreneurship, the dyslexic superpower, authentic relationships, community transformation, local food, organic wine, and global travel!

As the Founder CEO of PublishU, you’ve helped over 100 people annually write, publish, and launch their books. Could you describe a particularly rewarding success story from your work with PublishU that stands out to you?

Yes, I remember when one of my students said, “I never thought I would write a book, let alone in 100 days, but I have. Now I am asking myself, “What else have I told myself I cannot do that I actually can?” I love helping people achieve things they never thought they could achieve. Enabling people to write a book in 100 days breaks the glass ceiling of what people often think they can do and empowers them to think bigger and better than they ever have before.

NAYBA, the global foundation you founded, is dedicated to helping churches worldwide better love their neighbours. What motivated you to establish this foundation, and how have you seen it make a positive impact on communities?

In 2010, the then-Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech about what he called “Big Society.” He explained that his vision was for a big society in which we did not pay taxes to a big state machine that we expected to do everything for us. Rather, as citizens, we should take responsibility for our neighbours and neighbourhoods. This inspired me to start NAYBA because Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbour” (or “NAYBA” in the Belize Kreol language). I was delighted when David Cameron gave us a ‘Big Society Award’.

You mentioned the concept of the “dyslexic superpower” in your speaking engagements. Could you elaborate on what this means and how dyslexia can be a unique strength in entrepreneurship and personal growth?

For me, dyslexia is not a disadvantage; it is an advantage in life. For example, research undertaken by the company behind ‘post-it notes’ explains that your brain processes pictures 60,000 times faster than text. It is said that dyslexics think in pictures and people without dyslexia think in words. Therefore, dyslexia is a superpower that enables you to think super-fast, see the big picture, make connections between ideas, people, and places, solve problems, and lots more. So, it is hardly surprising that a disproportionate number of entrepreneurs are dyslexic.

Living between Covent Garden in London and Noto in Sicily sounds like a unique lifestyle. How do these two locations influence your work and your personal life, and what do you find most inspiring about each place?

As an extrovert, I feed off my environment, so I love both places. I love the urban energy and vibe of Covent Garden, as well as the tranquilly and pace of life in Noto. These two places reflect my love for living life fast and for living life slow. They both feed my work and my rest in different ways.

You’re known for enjoying live music, urban fashion, local food, and organic wine. How do these interests tie into your work as a business and social entrepreneur, and do they contribute to your overall well-being and creativity?

I’m aesthetic. As mentioned, my environment really matters to me. The looks, the sounds, the tastes, and the smells really matter to me. They stimulate my ideas and creativity, my energy and vibe, and my drive and determination. I shrivel in an environment that isn’t in some way beautiful and stimulating.

Your work involves helping people on both personal and community levels. What advice do you have for individuals who aspire to make a positive impact in their communities, but aren’t sure where to start?

Meaning in life is found by what you give not by what you get. I meet extremely wealthy people sometimes however they are hungry for meaning in their lives. I’m delighted to help them find greater meaning by working out the best way for them to give back to the world around them and the world beyond them.

The intersection of entrepreneurship and relationships is a topic you’ve explored. Can you share some insights on how building strong relationships can be a key driver of entrepreneurial success?

Yes. I was invited to speak at an event about networking. I spoke with the organiser to explain that while I love speaking, I hate networking because it is disingenuous, manipulative, and contrived. They immediately said, “You are someone who is into relationships.” I explained, “But I believe we should stop networking and start relationships.” The organiser invited me to speak on that subject, so I agreed. I didn’t want to become known as the anti-networking guy; it’s always bad to be defined by what you are not. So, I thought relationships were a science because we can all learn to do them better and an art because they take a lifetime to master. As I thought about the art, science, and study of relationships, the word “relationology” came to mind. So, I formed the company, bought the web domain, trademarked the name, and wrote a book on the subject based on the belief that relationships are the true currency of business.

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Matt Bird | LinkedIn

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Bill Gladstone: From Literary Success to Healing Miracles with Master Shah

Bill Gladstone has had an extraordinary career as a bestselling author and literary agent, working with notable authors like Marie Kondo, Deepak Chopra, and Neale Walsh. In 1982, he founded Waterside Productions to help authors bring their stories to the world. Recently, his health journey took a remarkable turn with the teachings of Master Shah, resulting in the remission of severe cancer and a transformative belief in the power of the Dao transformative field. Bill emphasizes the importance of love and compassion in Western medicine and is currently writing a book about his healing experiences. As he continues on his path to recovery, his future aspirations include spreading the message of Dao and love to a wider audience. His journey embodies resilience and showcases the power of transformation.


Bill, your career has been incredibly diverse, from being a best-selling author to a literary agent, and working with renowned authors. Can you tell us how your journey began and what led you to your current path?

Certainly, Mirela. My journey in the world of literature and publishing began with a passion for storytelling. I’ve always been fascinated by the power of words and their ability to inspire, inform, and transform lives. This fascination led me to become an author myself, and over time, I realized that I wanted to help others share their stories with the world. This desire to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and inspiration led me to become a literary agent. I founded Waterside Productions in 1982 to help talented authors get their books published and reach a broader audience.

Your work has touched the lives of many authors and readers. Can you share some of the most memorable moments or projects in your career that have left a lasting impact on you?

There have been countless memorable moments throughout my career, but a few stand out prominently. One such moment was when I had the privilege of working with Marie Kondo, the renowned expert on organizing and decluttering. Her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” became a massive success and resonated with people worldwide. Knowing that her work was making a positive impact on people’s lives was truly fulfilling.

Another memorable project was collaborating with Deepak Chopra on several books that explore the intersection of science, spirituality, and well-being. Deepak’s ability to bridge these diverse fields and inspire personal growth has been transformative for many readers.

Additionally, working with Neale Walsh on his “Conversations with God” series was a profound experience. These books challenged traditional beliefs and encouraged readers to explore their spirituality and understanding of life’s purpose.

Overall, these projects remind me of the incredible potential literature has to inspire and change lives.

Your recent health journey has been nothing short of remarkable. Can you elaborate on how Master Shah’s teachings and blessings played a crucial role in your recovery?

Certainly, Mirela. My health journey was marked by severe challenges, including a diagnosis of aggressive bladder cancer and complications that led to kidney failure and sepsis. It was during this critical time that I turned to Master Sha and his teachings.

Master Shah’s blessings and his calligraphy practices became an essential part of my healing journey. I diligently traced his calligraphy for 90 days, even when the odds seemed stacked against me. To everyone’s astonishment, including the medical professionals, my aggressive cancer went into remission during this period.

However, the challenges didn’t end there. Complications persisted, and I found myself on the brink of death. In those dire moments, Master Shah’s blessings and the collective energy of his retreat participants became my lifeline. Within six hours, my health indicators improved significantly, and I avoided a risky surgery.

This experience solidified my belief in Master Shah’s ability to connect us to the Dao transformative field, a belief that I had initially approached with scepticism. It reinforced the notion that we can heal ourselves and others when we align with this powerful field of energy.

Your journey from scepticism to a committed believer in Master Shah’s teachings is truly inspiring. Can you share how your understanding of the Dao transformative field has evolved over time?

My understanding of the Dao transformative field has indeed evolved significantly over the years. Initially, I approached Master Shah’s teachings with an open but sceptical mind, particularly when it came to concepts like karma. However, as I continued to witness the remarkable healing effects of his practices on others, I started to reconsider my perspective.

A decade later, after revising my views and accumulating evidence from thousands of cases where Master Shah had healed severe illnesses, I became a believer. I understood that the Dao transformative field was not limited to just one aspect of healing; it encompassed physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

My own personal experience was the turning point that transformed me into a committed believer. It’s one thing to believe based on the experiences of others, but to experience the profound effects of the Dao field personally was a game-changer. It deepened my commitment to embracing the Dao in all aspects of life and sharing its transformative potential with others.

You emphasize the importance of love and compassion in Western medicine. How do you envision the integration of these qualities with the current healthcare system?

The integration of love and compassion into Western medicine is essential for creating a more holistic and patient-centred healthcare system. Currently, Western medicine often focuses primarily on numbers, statistics, and protocols. While these aspects are crucial for diagnosis and treatment, they sometimes overshadow the human aspect of healing.

Love and compassion should be woven into the fabric of healthcare. Healthcare providers should not only treat physical ailments but also consider the emotional and spiritual well-being of patients. This approach fosters a sense of connection, empathy, and trust between patients and healthcare professionals.

Additionally, Western medicine can benefit from complementary modalities that emphasize the healing power of love and compassion, such as Master Shah’s teachings. These practices can enhance the overall well-being of patients and contribute to their healing journey.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a healthcare system where patients feel genuinely cared for, heard, and supported, where love and compassion are integral components of the healing process.

You’re writing a book about your experiences and insights gained from your health journey. Can you give us a glimpse into what readers can expect from this book?

Certainly, Mirela. The book I’m currently writing, titled “Multiple Miracle Healings through the Dao Transformative Field,” will provide readers with a deeply personal and transformative journey through my experiences. In the book, I will share the challenges I faced, from a severe cancer diagnosis to life-threatening complications.

Readers can expect to gain insights into the power of the Dao transformative field and its ability to facilitate healing on multiple levels—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I’ll explore the concept that healing is a partnership between individuals and this powerful field of energy.

Moreover, the book will delve into the importance of love, compassion, and embracing the Dao in one’s life. It will offer hope and inspiration to those facing health challenges, encouraging them not to give up but to tap into their inner strength and the transformative potential of the Dao.

Overall, it’s a story of resilience, belief, and the profound impact of the Dao transformative field on my life and health.

Bill, as you continue your path to recovery, what are your future plans and aspirations, both in your personal life and your professional endeavours?

In my personal life, my primary aspiration is to regain full health and vitality. Despite the challenges I’ve faced, I’m committed to reaching a state of well-being that allows me to be my energetic self once again. I have a long road to recovery, but I’m determined to get there.

Professionally, I’m dedicated to furthering Master Shah’s mission and sharing his teachings with a broader audience. I want to contribute to making the world aware of the transformative potential of the Dao transformative field and the importance of integrating love and compassion into healthcare.

I also continue to support authors in sharing their messages and stories with the world through Waterside Productions. Literature has the power to inspire, educate, and transform, and I want to continue facilitating that process.

Ultimately, my future revolves around health, service, and spreading the message of the Dao and love to as many people as possible.

Dr Chopra: The Divine Feminine Empowered — Women for a Harmonious World

Interview by Mirela Sula

In a world that is constantly changing and facing numerous challenges, the resurgence of Divine Feminine energy holds great significance. Renowned authority Dr. Chopra explores the transformative power of this energy, which helps shift us away from predatory male energy towards qualities like empathy and cooperation – qualities essential for addressing global issues. This interview delves into harnessing the Divine Feminine’s attributes in leadership, examining the seven Goddess archetypes and empowering women with diverse talents to collectively drive positive change. Drawing inspiration from luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Chopra highlights the importance of self-reflection in achieving success while navigating multifaceted roles. Ultimately, it presents a compelling vision of a harmonious and inclusive world where financial well-being aligns with personal values and passions.


Can you please share your insight on the current rise of the divine feminine energy and why it is considered to be of great importance in our world today?

The rise of the Divine Feminine is significant because it represents a shift away from the dominant, predatory male energy that has shaped our history. This shift is essential as we face numerous global challenges, including climate change, violence, and more. The Divine Feminine embodies qualities like nurturing, empathy, and cooperation, which are necessary for our survival and a more harmonious world.

In the context of leadership, how can the qualities and principles associated with the Divine Feminine be harnessed and utilized in a positive and effective manner to inspire and guide individuals and organizations towards a more harmonious and inclusive future?

Effective leadership can be achieved by embracing the acronym “LEADERS”: Look and listen deeply, develop emotional intelligence and empathy, cultivate awareness, set smart goals, empower oneself and others, take responsibility, and create synchronicity. These principles, when applied, lead to a more harmonious and inclusive future by promoting empathy, compassion, and collective empowerment.

Would you please share and explain the concept of the seven Goddess archetypes and offer guidance on how those here can access and embody these archetypes in their lives for personal growth and empowerment?

The seven Goddess archetypes represent different facets of the Divine Feminine. They are:

  • Hera (leader),
  • Mother (nurturer),
  • Athena (wisdom and culture),
  • Aphrodite (love and creativity),
  • Artemis (nature and conservation),
  • Persephone (healer and alchemist),
  • and Hestia (homemaker).

It’s possible to relate to multiple archetypes, but identifying your major strengths is key. By recognizing your dominant archetypes, you can align with your true self and find people who complement your strengths to create a harmonious balance.

For women who feel a strong connection to multiple archetypes and possess diverse talents, how can they navigate their journey effectively while embracing their multifaceted nature?

Women with diverse talents and connections to multiple archetypes should focus on their major strengths while appreciating their multifaceted nature. By identifying and prioritizing their dominant archetypes, they can lead more effectively and seek collaboration with others who complement their skills. This way, they can navigate their journey with balance and purpose, using their various talents to create a harmonious and fulfilling life.

How can women harness their multifaceted talents and archetypes to contribute positively to their communities and the world as a whole?

Women can harness their multifaceted talents and archetypes to make positive contributions by recognizing their unique strengths and finding alignment with their passions. They should collaborate with others who have complementary skills to address community and global challenges. By embracing their diverse talents and archetypes, women can create a more inclusive, compassionate, and harmonious world.

In a world where women often juggle various roles and responsibilities, what advice do you have for them to maintain a sense of balance, well-being, and inner harmony?

Finding balance, well-being, and inner harmony is essential for women juggling multiple roles. They should prioritize self-care, practice mindfulness, and set boundaries to prevent burnout. Embracing their archetypal strengths can also help them align their actions with their true selves, fostering a sense of balance and fulfilment in all their endeavours.

How can women collectively harness their strengths and diverse talents to create a more peaceful, just, sustainable, healthier, and joyful world?

Women can collectively create a better world by recognizing their collective strengths and diverse talents. They should come together, share their visions, and collaborate across different areas of expertise. By focusing on shared goals, practicing empathy and compassion, and leveraging each other’s strengths, women can drive positive change and contribute to a more peaceful, just, sustainable, healthier, and joyful world.

In your experience, Dr. Chopra, what qualities, and archetypes have led to the success of powerful female leaders like Oprah Winfrey?

Oprah Winfrey embodies several powerful archetypes. She’s a storyteller, a nurturer, and a builder. She listens to and validates people’s stories, which has been key to her success. She’s also a feminist and focuses on empowering marginalized women, making her a role model for many.

How can women who identify with the mother archetype and aspire to be leaders navigate the apparent contradiction between these roles effectively?

Embrace the contradiction and ambiguity. Paradoxes are sources of creativity. Being a mother and a leader can coexist. Oprah Winfrey herself is a motherly figure to many and a successful leader. It’s about finding a balance and understanding that people want to tell their stories. Listen and validate them, and you can succeed in both roles.

You mentioned the importance of validation and listening to people’s stories. Can you elaborate on how this approach can contribute to success, as Oprah exemplifies?

Validation and active listening are keys to success. Oprah’s ability to genuinely listen and validate people’s stories has made her a remarkable storyteller and a successful journalist. When you focus on what you can do for others, it can lead to great success.

Oprah Winfrey also engages in philanthropic work, such as educating thousands of children in South Africa. How does her nurturing and giving nature contribute to her impact and influence?

Oprah’s nurturing and giving nature is a significant part of her impact and influence. She has nurtured thousands of children in South Africa, showing that being a nurturer and a leader can go hand in hand. Her philanthropic efforts align with her values and empower others, making her a role model for many.

In the discussion, you touched upon the idea of embracing contradiction and ambiguity. How can this approach benefit individuals and organizations striving for success?

Embracing contradiction and ambiguity is essential for creativity. Without paradoxes and conflicts, there’s no room for growth and innovation. It’s crucial for individuals and organizations to embrace these challenges, as they often lead to breakthroughs and unique solutions.

During the meditation session, you explored the concept of “Who am I?” and encouraged self-reflection. How can this practice help individuals in their personal and professional growth?

Self-reflection, as practiced in the meditation, can lead to self-awareness and personal growth. It helps individuals understand their true selves and their desires. Knowing oneself is crucial for making aligned choices in both personal and professional life.

You mentioned the importance of financial well-being as part of overall well-being. How can individuals achieve financial security while also pursuing their passions and values, as discussed in the conversation?

Achieving financial security while pursuing passions and values requires aligning your work with your purpose. It’s about finding ways to contribute to the world while also ensuring financial stability. This balance can be achieved by understanding what success means to you and recognizing that true success includes financial well-being alongside other aspects of life.

Mirela Sula & Deepak Chopra

Dr. Bilal Kola: A Lawyer In The Mission To Change The World

Dr Bilal Kola

In a world filled with stories of resilience and triumph, Dr. Bilal’s life journey is a testament to the power of determination, dreams, and the pursuit of justice. Born in an Albanian communist concentration camp, his early years were marked by hardship, but they also sparked a deep desire for success drawn from the pages of Western novels.

Motivated by his family’s legacy of resistance against oppression, he made a vow to study law and fight for justice whenever given the opportunity. His journey took him from Albania to London, where he pursued law studies and specialized in international business law.

Completing a Ph.D. in Strategic Leadership further enhanced his understanding of leadership and shaped his career in both public and private sectors. As Dr. Bilal embarks on a new journey as a motivational speaker and life coach, his story remains an inspiration for those who truly belie­ve in lifelong learning and pursuing their passions.


Can you share more about your early years growing up in a communist concentration camp and the impact it had on your perspective and drive for success?

Ever since I started to understand and experience the reality it became more and more obvious to me that being treated unfairly and most importantly being treated differently to other kids was something that I had to get used to, as there was nothing I could do to change the reality of it.

Throughout my childhood and adolescence, the phenomenon that caused me the most bitterness, low self-esteem and insecurity was comparing myself to others. I could not even be compared with my peers at the concentration camp. Since the vast majority of the kids at the concentration camp had their father at home, while my father was locked away in political prison.

Other kids at the concentration camp had some of the basics (like food and clothes) while most of the time I went hungry and was wearing ravaged clothes. Then in adolescence, as if putting the seal to everything in relation to comparing myself with others, at the age of 14 as I was prohibited to go to secondary school – I was ordered by the authorities to do heavy labor work in agriculture (during communism internees were categorically prohibited to go to university or college, but they were allowed to go to secondary school – so my case was a special exemption from the exclusionary rule itself).

To this extremely burdened emotional state (due to comparing myself with others) it just thankfully happened that I found the ‘cure’ through what I now call the phenomenon of ‘escaping into books’. So, by reading various novels of western authors (which were indeed very hard to find back in communist Albania), I was inspired and aspired to become like their characters.

My desire to achieve success (to become knowledgeable, articulate, polite, famous, rich, etc) has been a deeply ingrained mindset that I have cultivated since my childhood in trying to emulate my role models exemplified in the characters of western authors.

Your family’s history is marked by opposition to the communist regime. How did your family’s experiences influence your academic and career choices, especially in the field of law?

While in the concentration camp, during my early teen years my biggest and wildest dream was to flee Albania and go to the US to study law and become a lawyer. My grandfather had been shot without trial by the communist dictatorship just for being a good patriot and collaborating with British SOEs against Nazis (even though he was someone who had been graduated as a student in Austria), my dad was locked away in a political prison (just for being courageous enough to speak his mind) since I was two years old, my family was exiled in various concentration camps since May 1945.

All these injustices had me fired up inside, instilling a deep passion about law and justice. So, I had sworn to myself – if I ever got free there was no other choice for me but law.

Tell us about the pivotal moments or individuals who inspired you to pursue a career in law and international business law, considering your challenging beginnings.

As I said before, the severe injustices that my family had been subjected to and all the deprivations that I had experienced throughout my childhood and adolescence, had me deeply fired up inside for justice. So, I’ve always felt that given the chance, studying law and becoming a lawyer was the right tool how I could give my contribution to my family and my people.

Thankfully, when communism fell, I was so adamant to fulfill this dream of mine. In 1993, Lord Julian Emery (a friend of my grandfather) came to Albania receiving a medal from the Albanian president of that time. My father met him and thereafter my dream started to become a reality.

So, I started my law studies in London. After finishing my bachelor studies, living in the financial capital of Europe led me thinking that focusing on international business law would give me a competitive edge when I returned to Albania (the scholarship I got with the help from Lord Emery had a condition that after finishing school I had to return to Albania, so I had to honor that commitment I took in front of him).

Your academic journey is quite diverse, from law to international business and aviation law. How did these different areas of study complement each other in shaping your career?

Ever since I returned to Albania I’ve engaged in various interesting projects and works, but all of them revolving on commercial and corporate law. I had the opportunity to study international aviation law while I was working as director legal for the German company operating Tirana airport.

I think that I’ve always held an interest in expanding my professional knowledge and whenever an opportunity has arisen, I’ve never had any hesitation to go for it.

You completed your PhD in Strategic Leadership. How has this advanced degree contributed to your leadership roles, both in the public and private sectors?

Again the PhD in Strategic Leadership was something of an opportunity to me. When I was director legal at the airport company, it just happened that I was went to Vienna very frequently as I was representing my company in an international arbitration case.

In Vienna I’ve met a lot of interesting and influential people and one of them introduced me this opportunity to study for my PhD. But instead of paying the tuition to the university, I could contribute in kind (like a barter transaction) in giving lectures at the same university for its undergraduates in business law.

My PhD degree in Strategic Leadership has been a massive help in structuring and refining my practical knowledge about leadership and making significant strides in my career (I believe leadership skills have a tremendous impact in all walks of life, both professional and personal).

Could you elaborate on your motivation for enrolling in the Executive Coaching program? How do you plan to integrate coaching into your career trajectory?

In the last couple of years I felt that I have taken and given as much as I could in my legal career. So, without saying I’ve felt bored with law it may be worth saying that recently I’ve felt that I have so much more to contribute – beyond being a lawyer – to give and share with enthusiasm and passion with the world about my professional and personal life experiences.

So, as a blueprint for I plan in my career I’ve written a book in the genre of personal development, titled: ’12 MINDSETS to improve life radically’. My career goal now (for which I have a tremendous passion to share with as many people as possible) is to become an international motivational speaker and life coach. However, given the fact that throughout my career I have worked with executives (being one myself for many years) and knowing what motivates them, knowing theirs challenges and goals, I think makes me much more suitable to initially coach them.

Hence, enrolling onto an accredited ICF Executive Coaching program I feel is the right approach for my credentials as a life coach and motivational speaker.

Starting your own law firm is a significant achievement. What were the biggest challenges you faced during this entrepreneurial journey, and what advice would you offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Judged by my experience, I believe that the biggest challenge an entrepreneur faces is making the decision to start out (when I’ve took the decision to start my own law firm I had a very well-paid job, but I also had much higher ambitions that I somehow wanted to fulfill).

My advice is simple (but maybe not easy): (i) focus on your passions, talents or skills; (ii) come up with a well-structured SMART goal; (iii) be courageous to take that crucial first step; (iv) persist no matter what, because perseverance is always associated with the ‘lucky breaks’; (iv) work very hard until your expertise and reputation will make you work smart.

Then you will most likely experience the true self-actualization. Just like Confucius said: ‘when we do for work something we like, we never work a single day in our life’.

As a motivational speaker and coach, you inspire others to improve their lives. Can you share a few of your key “mindsets” for personal development that have resonated most with your audiences?

On a personal development level I love to share with my audiences how they can cultivate and practice the concepts and wisdom associated with: acceptance and Amor Fati, forgiving everyone and anything, equanimity, gratitude, etc.

On a professional development level, I love to share with them how they can learn and apply the soft skills of leadership, emotional intelligence, public communication, persuasion and negotiation – combining them with the mindsets of ‘every failure is stepping stone to success’, not comparing our first chapter with somebody’s tenth chapter, Ikigai (purpose), etc.

Your involvement in organizations like the Albanian-British Chamber of Commerce and the International Lawyers Association is impressive. How has networking and being part of these associations influenced your career?

Life has taught me to truly believe in this wonderful and wise saying (not only in a financial sense but in its entire dimension): ‘your network is your net worth’.

So, I’m truly blessed to know so many wonderful, kind and talented individuals as a result of my professional networking. It gives me great satisfaction to acknowledge to them (or sharing with others) any contribution (no matter small or big) that I’ve had from anyone of them in my career advancement.

You’ve been an external university professor in Business Law for many years. What aspects of teaching and mentoring students do you find most rewarding, and how does it complement your other professional endeavours?

I love teaching and mentoring for two main reasons: (i) because of the direct positive contribution I have on the life of the students (I actually experience the so-called ‘giver’s high’ when I teach and mentor); and (ii) because I firmly believe in the saying ‘who teaches others, also teaches himself’.

So, my teaching and mentoring always keeps me updated, ‘on my feet’, and what I truly love to be for myself – a life-long student.

Dr Bilal Kola

Paul G Andrews: From Finance to Filmmaking, a Journey of Passion and Purpose

Global Man magazine had the privilege of interviewing Paul G Andrews, a renowned Film Producer and Screenwriter, who shared insights into his career journey and passion for socially impactful films. Paul, who started his professional life in finance as a Financial Adviser and later ventured into the money markets, found his true calling in the film industry. Headhunted to produce business programs for prominent media networks, he seized the opportunity to follow his passion for movies and transitioned into becoming a Film Producer and Screenwriter.

With a keen eye for projects with captivating stories, Paul seeks out films based on major historical events or best-selling novels that have the potential to inspire positive social change. He has worked with esteemed industry talents like double Oscar-nominated Director Roland Joffé and Thomas Keneally, author of the Man Booker Prize-winning novel “Schindler’s List.”

Paul emphasizes the importance of striking a balance between artistic vision and commercial viability, creating films that entertain audiences while shedding light on significant social issues. His dedication to supporting causes such as mental health awareness, humanitarian issues, and promoting gender and race equality has positioned him as a filmmaker committed to making a difference through the power of storytelling.


Can you tell us about your background and how you got into the film industry?

I started my career as a Financial Adviser and later moved into the Money markets and selling investments globally. I was headhunted to run a team which sold/produced short business programmes for CNN, BBC World, and CNBC and featured Fortune 500 companies.

Through this, I met many of the world’s leading CEOs. One of my Production team members was also a screenwriter, and in 2013, he asked me to produce one of his screenplays. As a massive film fan, I decided to follow my passion and became a Film Producer and Screenwriter.

How do you choose which projects to pursue, and what do you look for in a potential film?

The first film was brought to my attention by a work colleague. Now I look for projects that have amazing stories, usually based on major historical events and best-selling novels.

I also look for projects that showcase human endeavour and can help make positive social change or raise awareness of issues such as gender and race inequality, mental health issues, or expose corruption, for example, in government or hidden agendas within the global media.

Can you discuss your experience working with some of the top film talent in the world?

I am currently working with double Oscar-nominated Director Roland Joffé, who is a wonderful person and respected for his Oscar-winning films The Killing Fields and The Mission, featuring Robert De Niro, Liam Neeson, and Jeremy Irons. Also, Thomas Keneally, an author of mine, won the Man Booker Prize for his fabulous novel Schindler’s List (Ark) and is a hero of Steven Spielberg.

Both of them are talented but grounded gentlemen with huge caring personalities and a wish to make the world a better place. Julian Sands was in my last movie, a huge acting talent, and his tragic loss following his disappearance while hiking was widely reported. Al Pacino is being lined up for an upcoming role, so I’m really looking forward to working with him, as well as Armand Assante from American Gangster.

How do you evaluate the success of a film, and what metrics do you use?

For me, the first measure of success is the overall feedback from viewers of a film or, in the case of a screenplay, from judges and International Film Festivals. Of course, we structure all our films to eliminate financial risk and provide investors with the highest ROI. There are many ways of achieving this goal for those in the know.

It’s always best to start with a fabulous screenplay that has won awards and has a defined audience and financial sales. Many projects that go into production are financed through contacts and not because they are the best projects. So, it’s a “who you know” business, for sure.

Can you talk about the process of putting together a film, from concept to finished production?

To do this best, I will use an example of a film screenplay called “ON PAR,” which I wrote. It was based on a teenager I know who suffers from mental health issues (severe depression and anxiety). Some days, he simply cannot function. I discovered that this was a widespread problem and an “invisible illness.” He is also a budding rapper.

I wanted to cover all teenage issues: love problems, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, broken homes, gender identity, fitting in, etc., so I created a character who was insular, and a story line that allowed these issues to be portrayed while still entertaining the audience.

The screenplay was written and WON 20 International Film Festivals, where there are usually 1,000-plus entrants, so I know I had a WINNER. It’s “8 MILE” meets “ROMEO & JULIET” and set in a ROUGH south London school. Next, we raise funding (the budget), and we begin to approach cast members, such as Dua Lipa, to play opposite the young male lead, as the female lead is a budding singer.

Once the cast is confirmed, we would go into pre-production, followed by the shoot itself (perhaps 6 weeks), and during post-production, we would be marketing the film’s cinematic release or selling it to platforms like Netflix or Amazon for substantially more than the budget (this may have been done way before filming in some cases).

What challenges have you faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?

I think the greatest challenges early on were to get interviews for the top jobs in investment banking due to the somewhat “protected” interviewing system back in the 1980s, which was very different from now. Also, working for other people was always going to limit my ambition.

So, I set up my own businesses while learning skill sets I knew I would need, such as communications, learning about the psychology of selling and marketing, self-motivation, and mixing with people who are already successful and where I wanted to be.

We are always learning, and it’s important to be persistent but also to be fluent and knowledgeable about your own product or service, as well as what is happening in the world and history because too many people make factually incorrect statements nowadays, and it’s a lazy and fast way to fail. Nothing replaces hard work and sacrifice. LUCK stands for “Labour Under Correct Knowledge!”

How do you balance artistic vision with commercial viability in your film productions?

By taking on projects that I believe will appeal to a wide audience or cover significant events for the first time. Also, by keeping up with changes in the way people think and make decisions, and presenting the artistic material in such a way that both sides can agree with you on the factual content.

Can you discuss your involvement in supporting social change and mental health issues through your films?

I touched on this earlier with my screenplay “ON PAR.” We are supporting Prince William’s Heads Together campaign, which links the top UK Mental Health Charities under one umbrella to support awareness, particularly with younger adults where it has become more prevalent, especially since COVID.

We are also filming humanitarian projects covering issues like starvation/famine due to government policies, atrocities in war, and FGM (especially in Africa against women), as well as corruption in the Media and Government. Additionally, we support race and gender equality by supporting Women In Film and creating great lead roles for heroic women characters by employing them as Directors, Producers, and Heads of Department.

How do you see the film industry evolving in the next decade, and how are you preparing for those changes?

The industry has seen huge changes due to COVID and the way people stream content. I always think there will be a market for big movies. Like Orwell predicted in his novel 1984, small businesses will struggle as the global giants swallow up all competition. In a very competitive market, the very best will survive and make money. They changed the rules for qualification for the Best Film Oscar this week. Hollywood has shown itself to buckle to this pressure, and while I’m a huge supporter of human rights in all areas, some of the extreme decisions being made (caused by a minute delusional minority) could well have an adverse effect.

I see a huge backlash coming as “sensible” people start to speak out. I’m preparing the best films so that they speak for themselves, and issues such as mass starvation, war, equality, homelessness, child abuse become front-page news and are not buried in these constant and boring discussions about “what do I identify as today, and what’s my pronoun.”

What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers and producers?

Start small and focus on building a great reputation with high-quality work. Don’t make instant decisions when meeting other producers, and thoroughly check out who you are dealing with.

Venture Capital Funds Predict a “Mass Extinction Event” for Startups in 2023

Leading venture capital players are warning of a “mass extinction event” for early- and mid-stage startups in 2023. This is likely to surpass the global financial collapse of 2008 in scale, according to a new survey by research firm January Ventures. The survey, conducted between August and October 2022, polled 450 startup founders from the US and Europe, with 61% of respondents from the US and 32% from Europe. The findings indicate that 81% of early-stage startups are facing failure in 2023, as they had less than 12 months of capital left to continue their operations, due to VC funds turning off the spigot on seed funding last year.

An “Extinction Event” of Startups

The survey found that four out of five startups are at risk of failure in 2023, with less than 12 months of runway left. This means they have enough capital to sustain their operations, without generating revenue. The survey categorized respondents by the level of funding for their startup, with 48% of respondents stating they raised pre-seed funding, 32% raised seed funding, and 16% had not started raising funds yet. If 80% of early-stage startups go extinct, it will be the largest extinction event since the global financial system collapsed in 2008.

VC Industry Trends

In a tweet following January Ventures’ findings, Mark Suster, partner of Los Angeles-based venture capital firm Upfront Ventures, agreed with the survey’s predictions. He estimated that half of the 5,000 early-stage startups his company has funded over the past four years are at risk of going out of business. Suster said that excess capital has kept the number of startup failures artificially low for the past seven years. In the same Twitter thread, Tom Loverro, a venture capitalist at Silicon Valley-based investment firm IVP, predicted a “mass extinction event” for early- and mid-stage startups in late 2023 and 2024 that will surpass the epic collapse in 2008.

The total global venture capital funding dropped 32% in 2022, decreasing to below $300B from the $513B total in 2021, according to GlobalData. The data also shows a decrease in the number of seed funding rounds for early-stage ventures, with bigger deal sizes for growth stage deals. In Q4, there was a 24% drop in deal volume for growth stage deals.

Final Thoughts

The predictions of a “mass extinction event” for early- and mid-stage startups in 2023 is alarming. Startups need to focus on their runway and explore alternative funding options to sustain their operations. Venture capitalists also need to consider the impact of their actions on startups and take a long-term view on funding. The VC industry needs to rethink its priorities, particularly during tough times, to ensure the survival of the startup ecosystem.

Ben Chai- The Success Magnet

Ben Chai

Sometimes enthusiastic extrovert but mostly thoughtful introvert

By Trevor Clarke

Ben Chai is a man of many parts, who has lived a full and varied life through an eclectic mix of activities, from IT to property, to acting, writing books, as a speaker sharing the stage with the biggest names, and more. Ben has achieved great success in many fields and has made his wealth through smart property investing and deserved good fortune in the beginning. He was featured recently in a BBC TV documentary about landlords living in one of their tenant’s properties, on a low budget. Yet, as you will read here, Ben’s early life was a less happy one because of bullying, something he has overcome to grow from a person of low self-esteem to be the outgoing and confident person he is today.

What was your childhood and upbringing like and how has that has influenced who and what you are today?

I grew up in London and was bullied a lot. Later, we moved to Singapore, but the bullying continued due to my being very tiny and very different from the rest of the children. At the time, I decided that the concept of race was very divisive and elected to be a citizen of this planet. Being bullied you learn a lot about people, about survival and develop a sense of when something is not quite right.

You also develop very low self-esteem, which results in a vicious cycle – the lower your self-esteem, the more you distance yourselves from others, the less you develop social skills and become a target for more bullying. Being bullied also taught me much about “isms” sexism, fatism, classism, ageism, and all varieties of exclusivism. My parents had their own challenges to deal with, which made it difficult to get much support in this area. Life was pretty dark in those days.

When I graduated, my parents did not feel I would amount to much due to my shyness and lack of confidence. At the time I had just scraped a degree, and my dad tried to get me a job in government through one of his contacts, where he thought I would be safe. I found the whole thing very disheartening and demeaning and said I would find my own way in the world. Today I realise that nobody was really taught about being good parents and he was only doing the best he could.

For the first few years I did not earn much. During that time, I cycled ten miles to work and slept on a friend’s floor with several other people. My diet consisted of porridge for lunch and corn flakes for dinner. For treats, I had a pot noodle and would suffer from pot noodle rage if someone had eaten one from my supplies.

Due to the bullying, I became mostly a recluse, or would only spend time with retired folk. The retired folk used to teach me to play games, shared their life stories with me, and educated me on how to avoid problems they faced when they were younger. Their life stories would later help me become successful in any venture.

As a young boy, playing games was a way to escape. I learned that if I helped the retired folk complete their chores faster, they would have more time to teach and play games with me.

At an unconscious level, winning at these games taught me how to be successful in life and business. For example, the Game of Diplomacy taught me that the only way to consistently win was to tell the truth without offending others. The game of chess taught me to think five, ten, twenty moves ahead of everyone else. Scrabble taught me how to maximise any situation no matter how bad.

You are a man of many parts and roles, and mystery. Your LinkedIn profile states: Actor; Author; Speaker; Business and IT strategist; Content creation specialist; Property specialist. Tell us more about these.

My very first acting role was as a baby in a James bond film. Since then I’ve been in media in most places I’ve lived either for technology, cyber security, gaming, dance, theatre or other television and films. My great aunt and uncle were members of an acting union and used to get me parts with famous people such as Madonna and John Cleese. We didn’t have selfies and the internet in those days, otherwise my celebrity album would be bursting!

After university, I managed to get a lowly paid position as an administrator in an IT company. My manager told me it would take two years to learn his position. Due to my early gaming days, I created a strategy to learn everything he knew within a month. The game of Diplomacy taught me not to demonstrate this accomplishment for another two months just in case he felt threatened. I soon took over purchasing and was able to get great deals due to collaborations with other IT companies. This joint purchasing put me in front of many CEOs of small to medium IT companies.

In the eighties, the phrase “knowledge is power” was rampant. The technical department would not tell me how to repair simple computer problems, such as the type of cable, because they felt their jobs were protected if people didn’t have their knowledge. The engineers blocking behaviour incensed me so much that I said to myself, one day I will share your entire knowledge with the world. I spent my evenings learning every single software the company was selling. After a while customers would call me for technical help.

One day the company trainer fell sick and I volunteered to train the course. They were surprised about my software knowledge but declined my offer and said they would get a freelancer. Unfortunately for them no freelancer was available and the customer had flown their executives in to learn the software and were threatening to sue the company. Opportunity met preparation and I got to give my first course. Afterwards, the customer requested that I be the only person to teach their entire organisation. This began my speaking career and since then I have spoken to audiences of up to 14,000 for Microsoft and large churches.

My degree is in mathematics and computer science. As a young boy, I was the only one in my class to beat the computer at chess. At the time, I had a much better understanding of computers than anyone else. A new manager was impressed with my ability to learn and train the software, and trained me in sales. Because my knowledge of computers was superior to the competitors and I was spending until 5:00am learning software and hardware, we were able to quickly grow the business. Another IT company headhunted me to run their entire sales and technical team. Being the CEO’s right-hand person taught me much about running a business. Later the CEO would ask me to run further businesses with him.

From there, I moved to a senior executive position at Kodak, in charge of the marketing and training of new IT products in EMEA. This position involved the creation of marketing strategies, educating and speaking to all Kodak sites, distributors and outlets on how to use and market the products. The role also involved authoring all their product and training manuals. Which is where I began a new skill in authoring. Later this content creation combined with my film, TV and radio experience would later blossom into a skill which would make me a seven-figure income as a content creation specialist.

As a systems and business speaker and educator for Microsoft and Learning Tree International, I’ve had the good fortune to rub shoulders with, teach, coach and mentor many diverse companies, from small single entrepreneur companies to global multi-nationals in banking, pharmaceutics and many more.

What drew you to such an eclectic mix of activities? Were they all part of your intention? In my twenties, I decided to be retired by my mid-thirties. To be retired you need ongoing income. At the time, I thought about what businesses would provide residual income or what is known today as passive income. These businesses included Rental properties, royalties from film and music, licenced intellectual property, network marketing, a great pension, royalties from books, royalties from games and merchandising. To make my plan fool-proof, I created several related businesses which would provide passive income.
Property was fantastic as there weren’t many property investors in those days. My parts in films with people like Madonna and John Cleese used to pay repeat cheques on every broadcast. My time at Kodak, taught me how to write books and create training manuals for technical educational companies. These training manuals were written about the most popular software of the day and provided me with a large amount of passive income whenever the training manuals were used.

How and why did you get into becoming a property landlord?

In the late eighties, there were hardly any property investors to learn from. My initial thought process, was if property prices always go up then all I needed was to buy four or five properties and create a strategy to hold all the properties as they appreciated in value.

Once they had appreciated, I would sell one to pay off all the others and so be financially free, by having incoming producing properties which fitted in my residual income model. At the time, I never thought to make income from rental. The rental would just pay for the mortgages. It is probably why I still have the lowest rentals in many of my investment areas.
When I graduated, I asked for a loan from my parents to buy an investment property. I was categorically told that property investment was a stupid idea as my parents had always lost money whenever they moved. I never got that loan. I was still too young and naïve to realise that my parents (and the rest of the world), didn’t really understand property.
In the late eighties, a couple in their mid-thirties knocked on my door and asked for a cup of tea. I thought they were the Mormons coming to convert me, but it turned out that they were the grandchildren of a dear old lady from next door. Apparently, their grandmother had passed away. She used to tell them many stories about how I used to mow her lawn, have cups of tea and do the odd handyman job when she needed someone. The grandchildren said that they would like to bless me for looking after their grandmother and asked if I would like the house at a price substantially below the estate’s valuation.
My reply was “no” because my parents told me investment property was not a good thing. They said it was my decision, but they would give me a week to think it over. At the time there was no concept of buy-to-let mortgages, so I could not get a mortgage on the property, however my brother agreed to take the mortgage and we had a signed agreement that the property belonged to me.
When my parents found out I’d bought the house next door, they were very angry with me as I had no knowledge what to do next. For a while, I just used the house as an extended house. I was so naïve at the time that I thought, if I bought several houses in a row I could convert them into a hotel.

You were featured recently on a BBC documentary, The Week the Landlords Moved In. What can you tell us about the experience overall and including the off-camera moments?

There are some things that I’m not allowed to talk about, but it was a fantastic experience.
My coaches advised me and many others not to do the show. There were many discussions in the property forums that said the show is designed to make landlords look bad. My attitude was that there is no such thing as bad publicity. If I was doing something wrong as a landlord I’d rather find out, plus I hoped it would put me in touch with some producers, as I’d like to resurrect my film and acting career from my early days.
According to the camera crew, I was one of the more authentic landlords they’d met but a conflict was required to make the episode watchable. There are many unpublished parts. One unpublished part was my reaction to the £47.00 they gave me to live on for the week. My response was to thank them for their generosity, I could live on less if they wanted. It turns out I was able to live on £14.47, so I was asked what I would do with the rest of the money.
My response was to invest the money. Either create a nest egg and invest the larger sum, or invest in a sponge and bucket and create more wealth by washing cars.

Who is the real person inside of Ben Chai?

Firstly, there is no real me. All of me is real and false at the same time. We grow, and we evolve. Who we are today is not necessarily who we are tomorrow. I am literally the person you see. Sometimes an enthusiastic extrovert but mostly a thoughtful introvert. As one person commented “Ben when I first met you, you were so quiet. I didn’t think much of you…but when you got on that stage you had so much energy and education, you blew every other speaker out of the water. How is this possible?!”

You have written a book called Social Magnetism. What are your top secrets for social success that you would care to share with Global Man readers?

No….but okay you twisted my arm. My top tips are:
-Don’t be boring – look at their eyes. The eyes glaze over when you are boring someone, or they begin to look away from you. You don’t need to explain everything because they aren’t listening anyway. Their heads are nodding but inside they are far away from the conversation.
-Add value and don’t be a douche bag. Being a douche bag worked when you were a kid but the older you get the more others want authenticity.
-Learn to walk from people who don’t care about you.
-Give so much value but don’t give to a level where people abuse your time or feel guilty because you won’t let them give back to you.
-Learn to receive.
-Understand that you are a wonderful person and learn to properly love that wonderful person. If you love yourself in a healthy manner you would treat everyone else in the same way.

Richard Lukaj : Women need to invest in themselves to succeed

Richard Lukaj :

Women need to invest in themselves to succeed

By Fati Gorezi 

Richard  Lukaj has more than 20 years of investment banking experience having originated, structured and executed more than 200 deals totaling over $100 billion of transaction value. He is a founder of “Bank Street” and aspires with his partners to create a premier middle market investment banking franchise focused on growth sectors of the global economy. Mr. Lukaj has executed hundreds of transactions over the course of his successful investment banking career, ranging in variety from mergers and acquisitions, underwriting of debt, equity and derivative securities, restructurings, exclusive sales, and other financial advisory mandates. During his career at ‘Bear Stearns’, he contributed meaningfully to the development of one of the strongest investment banking franchises on Wall Street. Although heavily weighted towards the Media, Communications and Technology industries, he also has a very broad industry experience in Industrial, Consumer, Retailing, Energy, Aerospace, Specialty Finance, Real Estate and Natural Resources arenas.

 ‘’What’s wrong with men?‘’ seems an  important question for our times. Is it even controversial to say that there is a major problem with the men of the world? What is your opinion about that?

I feel the question is deliberately provocative and a bit amusing at some levels.  Despite some despicable headline making individuals, I believe there are many serious topics that warrant discussion about the evolution of relations between the genders, recognising that there isn’t one correct paradigm that solves problems for all cultures, geographies, etc.  Men and women are a by-product of their life experiences, gender role models and personal development.  As such, their gender expectations will vary but generally within socially acceptable norms in their environments.  While these norms may be very different in Japan, Nigeria or Brazil vs the UK, that’s not to suggest that adjudication is appropriate of one society upon another.  Each must approach the other with respect to find better understanding of the variances among these social norms.

Today the traditional and historical kind of masculinity is no longer necessary for a healthy and functioning society. What are the challenges for men in these modern times?

I am not sure how traditional masculinity is defined but I do believe there are, and will remain, beautiful differences between the sexes in every society.  However, there are some societies that still subjugate women, which the global community must do more to pressure progress towards affording greater protections and respect for the rights of women under generally accepted legal principles on the world stage.  The UN and other organisations can, and perhaps should, make an effort to create a more even handed legal standard for the well-being of women in less developed parts of the world.

What are three ‘hidden costs’ of being a man?

Not sure what that means exactly but I certainly believe that ‘life’, as a male or female in this modern society, is filled with blessings and we have much to celebrate in terms of progress in the evolution of relations between the genders. But that path remains still evolving and personal for all.

How can men and women have better communication between each other?

I think the communications between men and women have never been better for most societies on the world stage but much work is still needed in some areas.  I believe affording access to education for women and opportunities to contribute to theirs – and their family’s economic development – will continue to be a priority for the world to progress.  I am optimistic though, that many countries will no longer allow half their populations to be excluded from the collective desire for prosperity.

What advice would you give to women looking to pursue a career similar to yours?

The financial services sector has never been more available and receptive to women around the world.  I would highly encourage women to do so.

How do you think that we can get the best out of women in business?

People in competitive global industries generally apply best practices, which dictate that focus is increasingly on ability and performance, not gender, race, religion or anything else.

What is happening on a global scale with women in business and what does the future hold for women?

I tell my two daughters that theirs is the generation of women!  I look forward to the world with women as even more meaningful contributors to their societies.  We will all benefit from that.






We have asked five men to give their opinion about men and they kindly agreed to answer our “strange” question “What’s Wrong with Men”. Read below their meaningful answers.



Alexander Keehnen- Co-founder of ‘Earn More Work Less’


Besides the fact that they’re terrible at washing dishes, you mean? And that they consistently skip the difficult corners when vacuum cleaning, hoping to get away with it? Men and women are like high tide and low tide. Yin and yang – two sides of the same coin, each have their pluses and minuses. Women are emotional creatures and, in contrast, some men hardly know that they have emotions. Men are overconfident and women aren’t confident enough. Such is the biggest irony in life: the men are out there arranging the world, overconfident, causing aggression, environmental damage, wars and violence. And the women? They see things go terribly wrong (and intuitively know exactly what to do), but unfortunately, they often choose to stay safely at home.

Is this bad or is this good? In my opinion it’s neither – this is just the way things ‘are’. We are nature. A better question is: “What can we DO about it?” Nobody’s perfect, and the only thing we have control over is our decisions. So let’s focus on ourselves whether we are a man or a woman. Let’s embrace nature, thank the universe for all the good we have and focus on being the kindest, bravest, most loving person we can be.


Victor Dauda Tarfa – Award Wining International Transformational Speaker 


The world is full of opportunities and it is full of great people – both men and women. The only way we can fully tap into every opportunity is by working together. A lot of the problems we face in the world today are because we have not fully spent time understanding each other. A man is built to be a hunter – he is like a lion and wants to own his territory. The woman is caring and loving and very welcoming. So, in a sense, the man is seen as the more‘dominant’ one and can sometimes be viewed as being oppressive to the woman. But If you ask me what is really wrong with men, I would say ‘absolutely nothing’.

I believe everything on Earth was created for a reason. We have been created differently for a reason – whether this is a good or a bad thing – but it’s more about looking closely at everyone’s individual qualities and seeing how they can be harnessed and used positively. Women have spent far too long trying to compete instead of working together – and men are hunters so they have been fighting back as it is in our nature. The way forward will be to work together. As a husband for ten years, living with a woman who is an International Speaker I too have spoken at several women’s conferences. I can clearly see that the women are fast gaining confidence and it is important that we men don’t see that as a threat or a ‘take over’ but to encourage them and to look for ways to understand them better in order to productively work together.

A typical woman has a great ‘gut feeling’ about many things and she can often see and spot what men miss. A man is very focused and is good at sticking to one thing at a time but generally a woman can do many things at a time and remember a lot of things too! A woman is usually prone to being more emotional and a man tends to be decisive and firm which is sometimes very important in business. So I see our differences as a blessing that enables us to work together in order to create a better world.


Ben Chai-CEO/Founder/Owner at Incoming Thought


There is a lot wrong with men and society in general. A little google research would show just how problematic societal male discrimination against others, especially women, actually is. As an educator and mentor, I have a preference to focus on solutions. So here are a few tips.

1.Learn to negotiate effectively. According to some studies substantially less women negotiate for what they are worth. Before you negotiate make sure you understand your worth, what is unique about you and how you can fulfil your company’s overall mission.

2.Many male problems are due to generations of patriarchal education. Begin a generation revolution. Educate and shape your children’s ideas on the roles of men and women.

  1. Where possible remove or reduce the number of toxic men in your life.

4.Don’t stereotype men. Just like women, men come in different shapes and sizes. Know what you want from a business or personal relationship with a man. If there is anything you don’t appreciate in the interaction, let them know how you feel either directly or indirectly.

Create the awkward conversation.  Here are a few examples:-

a). “Whenever I’m around you I feel guilty from the things you say – is it me or is it something you are doing unconsciously?”

b). “This role normally attracts a higher remuneration. Is the reason for this discrepancy, because I haven’t negotiated the pay increase or is there something else that the company is expecting from me?”


Joe St Clair-Managing Director of the The Laszlo Institute Of New Paradigm 


Is there anything fundamentally wrong with men? As a man, maybe it’s difficult to take a fully unbiased and independent view. But what I can do is to share my very personal experience of what it is like to be a male in today’s rapidly changing world. Men’s views of women are undoubtedly shaped by three major influences in their life. In order of importance they are the way their fathers treated their mothers, their ‘peer group’ influences from school friends, work colleagues and social circle and thirdly the media (Television, film, books, radio, magazines, online media and social conventions etc.) All of these powerful and lifelong influences subconsciously shape our beliefs about what is acceptable behaviour between men and women.

By far the greatest influence flows from father to son. My father was always respectful of all women and always believed in equality so I am fortunate to have adopted the same attitudes in my formative years. School friends are a powerful influence on us in our early years but the media is probably the most profound influence on our perceptions as we grow to maturity.  TV and film are still the prime mediums for learning about male-female issues and unfortunately they often create distorted or unrealistic scenarios which we interpret as being a ‘norm’.

Before the days of ‘political correctness’ TV and films, particularly in the Sixties and Seventies, tended to portray men as dominant, forceful creatures that tended to rule over, take advantage of, and dominate timid women. In general terms women played lesser significant roles in films and TV and it was deemed ‘okay’ by film censors to treat women disrespectfully. Unfortunately, these sort of ‘influences’ have become deep rooted in society and only now is the tide starting to thankfully turn.

Today equality and the empowering of women is rapidly changing the gender landscape and I welcome the re-emergence of the matriarchal influences that will undoubtedly move our society towards greater equality and fairness. There are still far too many men stuck in their old-paradigm behaviours however, and it is up to all of us, male and female alike, to lead by example and stand up for what is morally and ethically right. Balancing the male and female elements in everything we do, and working together for the common good, ultimately creates harmony. This isbecause, like the yin and yang forces described by the Tao, together the energy of male and female duality combine to form a powerful force that is greater than the sum of its parts.


Steve Eggleston – CEO & Founder at Eggman Global


Addressing this question from the gender perspective, what’s wrong with men is that many of us were allowed to exploit, abuse, and monopolise our positions, privileges and powers, without being held in check by those of us who could have challenged it, stood up to it, and stopped it. This, like other forms of prejudice and abuse, – racism, ageism, fascism, bias to ancestry, nationality, poverty, and lack of education – makes women mad, and quite rightly so. Victims have every justification to be mad, and now, at last, they are fighting back peacefully but powerfully – like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela for Afro-Americans, like ‘Standing Rock’ for Indigenous People, like the ‘Sierra Club’ and ‘Green Peace’ for Mother Nature, and like John Stuart Mill for liberty. I have worked extensively in law, entertainment (film and music), and books. Comparing and contrasting the glass ceiling in each will be the topic of my talk at this profound, evolutionary event. As the late great Susan B. Anthony once said, “The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world. I am like a snowball – the further I am rolled the more I gain.” May we all come together to tap into this momentous time in history.