Christmas Letter 2020

Dear AGBC Frankfurt members,

2020 brought some major changes for our Club.

The year 2020 was marked by the globally rampant corona pandemic, which has restricted public and private life to a large extent and continues to impair it. The past event year of our AGBC Frankfurt was also significantly affected by this. The lockdown imposed by the government and/or concerns of speakers forced us to cancel most of our in-person Business Lunches.

We had planned to place a strong emphasis on in-person events this year. For example, we had wanted to start in our series “Champions and Hidden Champions” with in-person presentations of Ulrike Koehler (VP/General Manager) Nike Berlin & Central, EMEA and Gordon Riske (CEO) KION GROUP AG on „Succeeding as a global business in a world of populism and discontinuity and of Mark von Pentz (President, Agriculture & Turf Division, Europe, CIS, Africa, Asia) Deere & Company European Office on „A2A, from Automation to Autonomy: the journey to a sustainable agriculture feeding the world“ and had wanted to hear a presentation of Detlef Braun (Geschäftsführer Messe Frankfurt GmbH), combined with a visit of participants to the Automechanika 2020.

Please rest assured that we aim at catching up in 2021 on all in-person events which fell victim to the lockdown in 2020.

In order to keep our club life going on, we thus had to change the format of our events. Tom Leiser successfully organized a number of multiple On-line programs and, together with the SteubenSchurz-Gesellschaft, a hybrid event, a combination of On-line with an in-person event. In-person events of course had to comply with restrictions and to be in compliance with strict distance and hygiene rules, and thus a piece of normality.

Despite of the pandemic, Tom organized in particular the following events:

22-Apr-20 “Let´s Not Waste a Viral Crisis”, with Howard Urnovitz.

25-May-20 “How Small and Medium Sized Businesses Can Effectively Access Governmental Support”, with James Black and Hermann Knott.

1-Jul-20 “US-European Relationships During Difficult Times”, with Woodward Clark Price

10-Sep-20 “Content is King”, with Chris DiGiovanni and Heiko Nemmert, Baby GiantHollyberg Studios.

21-Sep-20 “A General´s Perspective”, with Lt. Gen. Ret. Ben Hodges, a Hybrid Video/In-person Event jointly with Steuben-Schurz Gesellschaft.

26-Oct-20 “American Economy and Energy Industry in Covid Times: What Lies Ahead?”, with Anthony Livanios.

24-Nov-20 “America has Voted”, with Andreas Povel.

You will find all of these events our newly designed AGBC website which is well on its way towards completion. The new site will have a refreshed look.

Despite of the pandemic, Maja Vukjsic continued to keep Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow (EoT) successful, the Business Plan Competition for secondary school (Gymnasium) students.

In the academic year 2019/20, EoT has faced numerous challenges which we were able to overcome.

We have had a record 28 business plans submitted and were able to select 5 of the best ones for the Final Awards ceremony that took place in October, 2020, in front of a hybrid audience for the first time in 14 years.

We have taken advantage of the new situation and decided to expand our program to Munich and Cologne for the academic year 2020/21 and we now have 40 students in these cities that will be joining us via zoom for each of our sessions.

These students will have the benefit of direct interaction with their mentors on a bi-monthly basis, rather than the once-per-month low direct interaction concept we had thus far.

The press was also kind to us, and we were able to peak their interest 3 times since the summer. For example, Topmagazin reported twice and Frankfurter Neue Presse once so far.

The new EoT website is on its way towards completion as well. It will also display a refreshed look and new features geared towards the membership themselves. It will incorporate software that should facilitate the use of educational materials for EoT students.

We have 18 new members to EoT, several of which are young members of AGBC

In order to return to normality to the extent possible, the Board decided to postpone this year´s Annual Meeting to early next year. As we have a strong preference to see you all there in-person we will inform you of the exact date as soon as the situation will allow us to plan.

I look forward to seeing you, your spouses, friends and potential new members at future AGBC Frankfurt events in the upcoming year, whether at an in-person, a hybrid or an online event.

Now I wish you, also on behalf of the entire Executive Board,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Sincerely yours,
Dr. Mark C. Hilgard

American-German Business Club Frankfurt e.V.