Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Businesses need some "outside the box" thinking. You betcha.

A confession - I liked Sarah Palin better than I liked John McCain in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign. While I didn't necessarily agree with her resignation, her general outside the Beltway theme resonated with me. Perhaps it's because I spent 10 years living in the Washington DC area and have ever since been able to detect a difference between the Beltway and the rest of the country. If Silicon Valley has its echochamber, then the Beltway does also.

That having been said, I would have assumed that her speech-giving career would have to do with politics, or perhaps with the oil industry, or perhaps with moose hunting. What I didn't expect was that Palin would be speaking at an investor forum which has previously attracted people such as Alan Greenspan.

Specifically, Palin will be speaking at this month's annual investor conference for CLSA, a Hong Kong based brokerage in which the major shareholder is a French firm. I see True Believers keeling over all over the place.

Here's the press release:

Hong Kong, 31 August 2009 - CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, Asia's leading independent brokerage and investment group, will host the former Governor of Alaska and Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, in her first international speaking engagement outside North America.

Palin will address CLSA clients and delegates in a keynote speech at the 16th CLSA Investors’ Forum to be held in Hong Kong from 21-25 September. Palin joins a list of noted global leaders including Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Alan Greenspan who have chosen the CLSA Investors’ Forum as their platform of choice to reach global institutional fund managers and CEO’s of Asia’s leading listed corporations.

CLSA Chairman and CEO Jonathan Slone said: “As the first female governor of Alaska and the youngest person ever elected governor of that state, Palin has broken new ground in US politics and we are delighted that she will make her first visit to Asia to present at the CLSA Investors’ Forum.”

“CLSA consistently sets the benchmark for original and thought-provoking content, and aims to present global political and industry leaders whose policies and platforms have influenced global markets.”

Joining Palin, are more than 40 keynote and specialist speakers including Niall Ferguson, Harvard professor and author of the bestseller The Ascent of Money; Robert Fisk, Middle east correspondent for The Independent and one of the few Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden; Sir Ken Robinson author of The Element: How finding your passion changes everything; Satyajit Das author of Traders, Guns and Money; David Roche, economic and political analyst; and Marc Faber, investment contrarian and author of Tomorrow’s Gold.

Now in its 16th year, the CLSA Investors’ Forum is Asia’s premier investment conference providing unrivalled corporate access to 1300 global fund managers from 32 countries, representing more than US$10trillion in funds under management. Over five days, they meet with more than 400 CEOs and CIOs of Asia’s leading listed corporations in 2500 group and private meetings. Simultaneously, a seven-track schedule offers over 200 keynote, specialist, CLSA analyst and corporate presentations.

The CLSA Investors’ Forum is CLSA’s annual flagship event and one of six held throughout the year. Participation is by invitation only.

- end -

After reading the press release, the invitation to Palin sounds reasonable. As a governor of an energy-rich state, she did influence global markets. And, most importantly, she'll attract attention. Those who thought that Palin would be forgotten by December 2008 are wrong.
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