Students in China have been told that their time, talent, energy and resources could help to make the world a better place, in an inspirational talk by a global business leader and philanthropist.
Speaking at a special presentation at The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, Christel DeHaan, gave the students a 14-point guide to her philosophies, values and beliefs, while urging them to use their newfound knowledge for personal growth and the good of their communities and country.
She told them: “No doubt, all of you in this room will achieve certain measures of success. Your attendance at this university will help assure that result. You probably have already discovered that success is not an overnight phenomenon; it is a journey of hard, hard work.
“To succeed one must take risks. That is the price for doing extraordinary things. So take more risks than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible. And somehow…somewhere…and for someone, the world will be a better place because of you. Believe me, I know it. “
A world business leader and pioneer in tourism and travel, Ms DeHaan contributes to a wide range of charitable causes. She is a Friend of The University of Nottingham in America and it was her $3 million gift which gave rise to the establishment of the Christel DeHaan Tourism and Travel Research Institute, based on the University's award-winning Jubilee Campus in Nottingham.
In her presentation Entrepreneurship — a Catalyst for Change, she outlined what makes an entrepreneur and charted the meteoric rise of her company, Resort Condominiums International (RCI) from a $7,000, home-based business offering holiday exchange properties, to the multi-national success story which currently has 3.2 million members and 4,000 affiliated resorts dealing with 2.5 million holiday exchanges a year. Ms DeHaan sold the company in 1996 for $625 million and typically, shared 25 per cent of the after-tax purchase price with her RCI employees.
She then channelled her energies into a new entrepreneurial venture Christel House which gives homeless children opportunities to grow into self-sufficient, independent and productive members of society.
“I had no specific concept in mind,” she told the students. “But I knew that I wanted to do more than to give money to feed the hungry or house the homeless. I knew that whatever it may turn out to be it must be transformational and cause lasting effect. It is my philosophy that each of us has a responsibility to give back to our communities and to make the world a better place.
“Christel House kids are proving that our model works. If impoverished children are given a caring environment, receive an excellent education from qualified teachers, have enough to eat and receive regular health care, they will optimise their human potential.
“You may ask . . .'what does RCI and Christel House have in common?' There is a common link. Each organisation has improved the quality of life for the people it touched. RCI became a catalytic force in helping create a new sector in the tourism industry. Similarly, Christel House transforms the lives of impoverished children, and by so doing will make self sufficiency possible for generations that follow. Both enterprises are pioneering efforts — RCI, the inventor of vacation exchange became the catalyst to propel the timeshare industry; and Christel House — the pioneer of a comprehensive human transformation model.”
Ms DeHaan's 14-point guide to her philosophies, values and beliefs:
Work hard and enjoy life. Look for its beauty — whether it be the arts, literature, music or nature.
Start each day with a positive state of mind.
Embrace the world and its people — we are all members of the human family.
Don't give up when it gets tough. Be tenacious.
Be a lifelong learner.
Be passionate about life.
Be thankful for what you have and do that often.
Always look for opportunities. Be an entrepreneur; anticipate needs; be a leader.
Embrace excellence — make it a part of all that you do.
Accept occasional failure as part of your education in life and part of the price of success. Keep looking forward and pursue your dreams.
Surround yourself with people of good character as they will always contribute positively to society.
Make integrity and ethics your constant companion.
Take prudent risks and be courageous.
Care, share and make a difference. Give of your time, talent, energy, and resources to help make the world a better place. When you do, you will find a satisfaction with life that is particularly enriching and rewarding.
— Ends —
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for three years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.