The Olympic Champions of Giving

By: Dr. Mimi Nartey, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Nartey Sports Foundation |

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics just ended, and the United States was hugely successful.  After 17 days of competition, the United States finished with the most medals won overall and the most gold medals in the Olympic Games.  With 39 Olympic gold medals, the U.S. barely edged out China, which won 38. The United States won an additional 104 medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.  The team took home 37 gold medals, 36 silver medals, and 31 bronze medals, making them the fourth best ranked team at the Paralympics.

While there was so much inspiration to draw from the performances on the fields, tracks, and courts, there is another side to these athletes that makes them truer champions that we may realize.  So many of the Olympians and Paralympians are giving back in ways that will transform their talent into a legacy.  Here are a few notable profiles:

Perry Baker | Rugby

World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018, Baker reverted to rugby after a brief football career.  Not only is Barker a standout athlete, but he is also an upstanding community citizen who has participated in charity work with the Special Olympics. He is dedicated to giving back to his community and has spent his time reading to local children and even refereeing youth basketball games.

Simone Biles | Gymnastics

Biles is arguably the greatest gymnast of all time.  She had not been defeated in the all-around since 2013.  Most of the recent sports media coverage about Biles focused on her abrupt decision to leave the competition while grieving the death of her aunt.  Despite dealing with that loss, she took home a silver and bronze medal.  Off the mat, Biles has been a champion for others over the past several years. In 2017, she personally volunteered in the aftermath of the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey.  She recently drafted an op-ed on the importance of creating opportunities for foster youth, reflecting on her own experience as a foster child.  She announced a scholarship to support foster youth attending an online college, University of the People.  Biles also continues to leverage her platform to drive change around social justice issues related to gender inequality, racism and abuse.  Since announcing that she had been the victim of sexual abuse, she has worked to create safe spaces and support for other victims.  In a 2020 Vogue interview she said, “I think of it as an honor to speak for the less fortunate and for the voiceless.”

Katie Ledecky | Swimming

A powerhouse in the pool, Katie Ledecky won her first gold at the age of 15 in 2012 and won four more in 2016.  She won two gold medals and two silver medals in Tokyo. Ledecky tirelessly contributes to charitable work as well. She is involved with Catholic Charities, Shepherd’s Table, Bikes for the World, and the Wounded Warriors Project at Walter Reed Bethesda Naval Medical Center.

Megan Rapinoe | Soccer

Rapinoe, at 35, is one of the most veteran members of the U.S. national team.  She won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the 2019 World Cup.  Over the past several years, she has become a major social justice advocate and philanthropist.  She pledges part of her salary to Common Goal, which supports soccer-centered charities around the world. She works with the ACLU, has partnered with the Seattle-area Boys and Girls Clubs and is an ambassador for Athlete Ally, which opposes homophobia in sports. In 2013, she was awarded the board of directors Award by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.

Scout Bassett | Paralympic Track and Field

Bassett is a two-time world championship medalist in the 100 meters and the long jump.  Abandoned in China as a baby after losing her leg and suffering severe burns, she was adopted by a couple in Michigan and brought to the United States in 1995.  In a recent interview with InStyle Magazine, she said, “I’m a woman, I have a disability, I’m an immigrant, I’m Asian. I cross so many of these intersectionalities and to be sort of a face, or a voice, is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly.” She is an ambassador for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and she is now featured in Whistle Sports’ “No Days Off” docuseries.

Sources Cited

Posted by thesesociety_0md1v7 in Newsletter

A luxury stay in the Maldives: the most exclusive getaway on the planet!

As we all know, the current COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the trends and popular experiences in the luxury traveling niche around the globe. Exotic and remote destinations are incredibly sought-after, as they provide people with an opportunity to disconnect from their routine and escape crowds to find refuge in a world-class luxury setting. The Maldives is home to some of the world’s most amazing luxury hotels and resorts. This destination has always been one of the most popular and highly regarded in the world of luxury travel, but the current situation makes it a perfect haven for people looking for a luxury retreat.

Located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are essentially a group of islands blessed with some of the most beautiful flora and fauna on the planet. Visiting the Maldives is a life-long dream for many people, and it is not surprising to see that this destination often ranks high as one of the most sought-after holiday trips ever, with or without the pandemic! The Maldives provides a one-of-a-kind luxury experience, also on account of the fact that very few destinations can provide such a high level of privacy and relaxation. In fact, the setting provides a laid-back lifestyle, with some of the most breathtaking beaches and seaside scenery on the planet. The many secluded beaches and holiday resorts provide so much luxury and privacy for attendees, making them perfect for people who re-ally want to enjoy their trip away from large crowds and chaos. Some re-sorts and beaches are actually only available via seaplane or speedboat! In addition to that, some of the wealthiest visitors also have the opportunity to rent a private atoll, all to themselves. Renting a secluded piece of heaven might be the ultimate luxury experience of a lifetime, especially if you consider that beautiful amenities such as overwater villas and private spas are quite commonplace at such a high level.

In addition to the high level of luxury that you can expect from a stay in the Maldives, you’ll also be able to enjoy some one-of-a-kind experiences. For instance, if you enjoy being in and around water, it goes without say-ing that this is the perfect place for you. You can practice all sorts of water sports, and many luxury resorts actually enable guests to rent some high-end equipment, including water skis and sea-doos, only to mention a few. This is particularly awesome because it means that you won’t have to bring your gear with you if you don’t want to. In addition to that, you’ll also be able to enjoy some incredible experiences that are only possible in a handful of destinations in the world. For example, you can actually swim with sharks and marvel at the beauty of so much marine flora and fauna, including the Coral Reef ecosystem, which is precious and one-of-a-kind.

Some of the most discerning tourists also tend to hire some staff for their holidays, including sailors or pilots on retainers, as well as personal chefs, so that they can enjoy world-class meals without the need to leave their private slice of heaven!

Speaking of food, Maldivian cuisine is quite one-of-a-kind, as it feels like a cultural crossroads of so many influences. From the colorful, fresh, and zesty touch of the Pacific ocean down to the complex and endearing fla-vor of Indian cuisine influences, there is so much going on here. Among other specialties, don’t miss out on Gulha, the country’s beloved national dish, which essentially is a deep-fried pastry featuring smoked fish (often tuna) as well as onion and sweet coconut flakes.

Posted by thesesociety_0md1v7 in Luxury Travel, Newsletter, Travel

Member Contribution: Persistence is key to breaking into any industry

By Eric J Proos | The Law Office of Eric J. Proos, P.C.

Coming from Metro Detroit, without any ties to the entertainment and sports industry, some think I broke into representing music clients by simply moving to Los Angeles. However, landing those Grammy winning clients was not that simple. It involved a lot of work behind the scenes. As many in the entertainment and sports industry will tell you, persistence is a characteristic that many of us professionals in SES possess. I guess this Member Contribution is not about me, my firm, my work, or my clients, but instead is a way of paying it forward to anyone that is interested in breaking into the entertainment and sports industry[1]. The key to success is to be persistent in the following three areas.


No matter the industry, never turn down the opportunity to network with professionals, experts, or people interested in entertainment and sports. When I moved to LA, I talked to everyone I was introduced to, no matter who it was, the day, time, or if it was raining (which we all know is a big deterrent in LA). Keep in mind, that it is sometimes the people you do not meet at industry events that may have the best connections. For me, it was the guy that cut my hair. He was so well connected he introduced me to some of the most well-known professional service providers in music, TV, and film. Did this result in clients? No, but it did result in the ever-valuable relationship capital, and keep in mind that the more people in an industry that hear your name, the more credibility you have, even if you haven’t worked for those individuals.

When I network it is not about getting clients, it is about getting to know the people, learning what they have to offer, and matching them with my current clientele and connections to help their business. When you network and provide value to the people you are networking with, you stay top of mind, and that is one of the best ways to eventually land clients from your networking efforts.

Cold emails

Even though this may be a different version of networking, I think this is a completely different game in itself. Cold emails allow you to pinpoint the people you want to meet instead of leaving it up to chance. Compile a list of people you want to meet, talk with, learn from, or whatever it may be and start sending emails. This is a numbers game, so don’t be deterred if you receive no response. To this day, I still send out daily cold emails to other professionals in order to network and provide value to in any way I can. I send out six emails a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year. By doing this, I have made numerous connections with professionals that now provide my firm with great referrals and clients/connections in the entertainment industry.


I am a huge fan of learning from some of the best business people. Usually, this education is provided via interviews or biographies. Nowadays there is a ton of videos on YouTube that can provide some great information. With all the videos out there, the best one I have found is of Steve Jobs. Never be afraid to ask. This can be done via emails, phone calls, or while networking.

I always ask for the most valuable thing a person can offer, their time, whether that’s to grab coffee or jump on a call. Yes, I get a lot of “no’s”, but I also get some “yes.” Don’t be afraid to ask the same person over and over again to meet for coffee/a phone call/response email. Just keep one thing in mind, you better plan to bring some value to the conversation as well. Bring something to the table, don’t ask this person for their time and then ask for something without providing value back to them.

As these three factors outlined, persistence is the key to breaking into entertainment and sports, or any industry for that matter. The Members of SES are established in these industries, but sometimes our closest connections that want to break into entertainment and sports don’t want to listen to us. So, this article is for them, that may be your kids, family, friends, or someone seeking your time. Persistence has been the key to my success, not only in entertainment and sports, but life in general, and it can be an important asset for others too.

[1] Persistence can be used to break into any industry.

Posted by thesesociety_0md1v7 in Member Contribution

Member Contribution: It’s not Competition its Collaboration

by Ed Castner | McGriff Insurance, Assistant Vice Principal

It cracks me up every time I hear someone talk about wanting to be the only person within their field of business in a networking group. I can’t believe that some people still come from such a place of lack trying to make sure that they are the only option. They miss out on so much more and the chance to really grow their business and if taking care of the client is truly their number one focus then they better network with people from other companies in the same field.

One of the things I love about SES is that there is no exclusivity because it enables people in the same industry to share ideas, best practices, and really try to help each other grow. I can tell you that I regularly talk to other agents with the same areas of focus as mine so that we can share information and best practices to grow our businesses. Then what’s even better, is that I have referred business to a “competitor” because they had access to a product or market that I did not, and I have received some very good referrals from them as well.

Think about people you have met in the same industry as you that you have met and actually liked talking to, then reach out to them and start building a relationship. Who knows, they may give you some industry insight you didn’t have, connect you with someone to help your business, give you business down the road, or maybe it’s a relationship that solves a big problem for one of your clients when you may not have had the best solution. Your client will never be more impressed and loyal than if you tell them, “in this case I want to send you to Jane Doe because she has a better option than I do for you and I want to make sure you are protected”.

So think collaboration and not competition.

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Amalfi Coast: Luxury Experiences in one of the world’s most sought-after destinations.

Located in the beating heart of southern Italy, Amalfi Coast is a one-of-a-kind destination. This place feels like time has stopped there. You’ll still be able to see cars and scooters from the 50s, cheekily flying around the small alleys and intricate coastal roads. The scenery is very traditional and picturesque, but Amalfi is home to some of the most incredible luxury experiences you could dream of. The world-famous Santa Caterina hotel is one of them. I had the opportunity to spend several nights in this beautiful establishment with my wife last summer, and our stay was unforgettable.

One of the most luxurious things about the stay at the hotel was the fact that the establishment has its own private bathing deck. This means that you can get out of bed, head down to the elevators (or walk down some steep stairs, if you feel like moving), and enjoy a day by the water without ever needing to leave your hotel. This was truly amazing for us. Not only was it incredibly comfortable to have the best umbrellas and beach sofas, but it was great to have quiet and privacy, not to mention being able to bathe in crystal-clear water without having to go to a crowded beach (something we definitely wanted to avoid, as by then the COVID-19 threat was looming around the corner). One of the most amazing things about the hotel’s beach club is that they built a pool parallel to the ocean filled with seawater. This is perfect for people who feel safer in a pool environment, rather than being out in the sea – the water is quite deep at around 12 meters, and some people might feel uncomfortable with that. Thankfully, the pool offers the same beautiful scenery and seawater so that you won’t be giving up on the experience of bathing in the Mediterranean.

The hotel itself is just gorgeous. The historical building is perfectly maintained, located on the side of a very steep cliff, diving down into the beautiful “mare,” as the locals call the sea. The rooms weren’t particularly large compared to some of the suites you can find in major cities like London or New York. However, they were still plenty of space, and the brightness of the Italian decor made everything feel more open. There were so many incredible details in the rooms, such as hand-painted floors, as well as a marble bathroom, not to mention the view overlooking the whole coast.

The service was impeccable. You can order food and drink by the water, and room service is also a possibility if you feel like staying in for a private dinner – but why would you? The hotel is home to Glicine, a Micheline-starred restaurant located right in the main building. This was one of the best food experiences we had the chance to try during our stay, and it had a high-end atmosphere that matched the world-class cuisine provided. We always try to taste local food when we travel, so we were happy to see that the menu reflected some of the best-known local specialties. You can’t beat the seafood here, and the produce was as fresh as it got. Breakfast was terrific as well, with plenty of international options for guests who want more choice. While we loved Glicine, the hotel also has another restaurant located at sea level, aptly named “Al Mare,” which means “By The Sea.” The food here was also incredible, and perhaps even a bit more to my taste since it had a bit more of a traditional feel while still maintaining its luxurious vibe and excellent service. The atmosphere was a bit more casual, and there is nothing that can beat the experience of eating a world-class lunch right on the water in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I’ll have to admit we didn’t do a lot of drinking and late-night partying in the hotel, but I noticed that they had a fantastic wine cellar, with some extremely rare bottles as well. The cafè was also stunning, and the service there was kind and attentive, always happy to accommodate requests.

Find out more and check out the hotel’s website for more information about the luxury experiences it offers at

Posted by thesesociety_0md1v7 in Luxury Travel

A New Look on Life

by Stephen Sabo, Simple Society

Most clients and advisors that we work with think of life insurance as a necessary evil– something you must have (and pay for) to protect the ones you care about if the unthinkable happens. Life insurance absolutely is that– and I have seen first-hand the positive economic impact it can have on the loved ones of someone lost too soon.  But what if it could offer significantly more– not just to the beneficiaries, but clients themselves while they live?

Permanent life insurance has a cash value component that builds up during the life of the policy and is fully accessible to the policy owner for use while the insured is still living. There are a variety of different policy constructs that allow for customization to the needs and risk tolerance of each individual client, ranging from very stable and predictable (whole life) to more aggressive (variable life). Regardless of which end of the spectrum the design falls on, however, if properly structured the plan enjoys favorable lifetime tax treatment.

Generally, life insurance is funded with post-tax capital, but then policy values grow tax-deferred, income can be taken tax-free during life, and any remaining death benefit is ultimately paid tax-free to beneficiaries. Therefore when designed correctly, permanent life insurance provides lifetime tax abatement– and in doing so provides high-income clients access to a tax favored asset location when other more traditional routes (think Roth IRA/401k) may be more difficult or even impossible to accumulate a meaningful amount of capital in.  Also, unlike those other vehicles dedicated to traditional retirement planning, there are no age-based rules on distribution dates, no income thresholds restricting access, and no contribution limitations on amounts that can be dedicated to this part of the overall allocation.

We are seeing surging interest in this type of asset, as astute advisors and clients are working to position client portfolios for the likely inevitable tax rate increases down the line. A legislative change in late 2020 has increased the overall efficiency of many of these types of plans– reducing the cost “friction” and making these types of plans even more attractive. There are also many funding options, including a strategy called premium financing (which uses bank credit to fund the policy premiums instead of client capital) that have significantly increased the efficiency of this planning due to the low interest rate environment.

Whether or not you have reviewed cash value life insurance in the past, give life a new look– you may find it more attractive than you anticipated!


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3 Reasons Why We Should Be Talking About Athletes in Philanthropy

By: Dr. Mimi Nartey, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Nartey Sports Foundation |

Philanthropy is an important part of a democratic society because it directs resources and attention to marginalized groups or unpopular causes.  From a historical perspective, philanthropy was founded on the large-scale donations of a number of individuals and families who made their wealth during the industrialization era, such as the Sage, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford families.  In recent times, more individuals are seeking to promote the welfare of others by donating time, money experience, skills or talent.  Athletes are a unique group of emerging philanthropists that we should be paying attention to, and here are three reasons why:

Athletes will constitute a growing proportion of the high net worth and the ultra-high net worth.

Although athletes only represent about 1% of millionaires in the United States, over the past couple of decades, we have seen an undeniable change in the ways that athletes are handling their resources.  Many are re-investing their money in business and real estate to build out empires and create intergenerational legacies of wealth and influence.  This is translating to staggering net worth projections for a variety of athletes across all sports.  We are seeing a greater number of athletes displaying serious business acumen and surrounding themselves with top industry experts to use their salaries as capital for wealth-building investments.

Projected Net Worth

Serena Williams $250 M Tennis
Wayne Gretzky $250 M Hockey
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson $280 M Wrestling (WWE)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. $300 M Stock Car Racing (NASCAR)
George Foreman $300 M Boxing
Alex Rodriguez $350 M Baseball
Lionel Messi $400 M Futbol/Soccer
Lebron James $440 M Basketball
David Beckham $450 M Futbol/Soccer
Roger Federer $450 M Tennis
Cristiano Ronaldo $450 M Futbol/Soccer
Floyd Mayweather $565 M Boxing
Magic Johnson $600 M Basketball
Tiger Woods $800 M Golf
Michael Jordan $1.9 B Basketball

2. Athletes leverage more influence on popular culture than traditional philanthropists.

In the same way that athletes are leveraging themselves in business to achieve unprecedented success, many are also using their celebrity status to increase visibility for the causes and campaigns they want to champion. Historically, the great philanthropic families that emerged out of the industrial era have always leveraged influence in high society, but athletes arguably leverage influence at all levels of society. Unlike traditional philanthropists, athletes have a significant amount of influence over popular culture and unique brand partnerships to leverage.  This translates to a potentially greater return in visibility and support per dollar invested in business or charity.  Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, David Beckham, Derek Jeter, and Jeff Gordon are ranked among the most charitable athletes, and they have used a combination of wealth, social media influence, and brand ambassadorships to integrate themselves and their causes into mainstream consciousness.

3. Athletes are often coming from personal experiences with marginalization that affords them a deeper intrinsic understanding.

Unlike families that are continuing long-standing legacies of philanthropy, many self-made athletes are just a generation or two away from experiences with marginalization or poverty.  These personal experiences or recent family history inspire an empathic brand of philanthropy that is uniquely authentic to them.  These individuals are acutely aware of the circumstances that are creating vulnerabilities for underserved populations, and they are able to design interventions and organize resources in a particularly efficient way.  For example, Lebron James struggled with poverty and homelessness in his early life.  Now he is the most charitable NBA, with his foundation (The Lebron James Family Foundation) donating over $1 million dollars annually to support the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio.  The School targets at-risk children and provides them with programs, support, mentorship, and a stable learning environment at school and at home.  His own experiences have given him the compassion and motivation to make a difference in the community he is from.

While athletes are not the dominant majority of high net worth individuals in the United States or globally, they are an emerging group that is poised to leverage wealth, fame, influence, and empathy to make a significant difference in the world.

Sources Cited





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