The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep

Jules Mastbaum was a Philadelphia entrepreneur and philanthropist who lived in late 19th and early 20th century. He was one of the many un famous wealthy Americans. He made his fortune as a movie theater magnate and philanthropist. He donated the Rodin Museum and its collection to the city of Philadelphia.

Jules had two sisters. They both married Gimbels brothers. The Gimbels were a wealthy family in the Department store business. Jules Mastbaum married Etta Wedell Lit, the daughter of Rachel P. Lit who founded the original store that became Lit Brothers. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in Finance. He took a job at the Gimbels department stores and eventually became Gimbels' European representative earning $7,500 per year. At the time, that was Gimbel's highest salary. He and his brothers bought real estate and then movie theaters and he amassed a sizable fortune with which he bought Rodin sculptures that he would later gift to the City of Philadelphia.

None of Jules Mastbaum's story is unusual. Your circle is your circle. Your friends are your friends. Your friends kid's will be your kid's friends. Your kid's friends and associates are their friends and associates. They’ll go to the schools that they go to. That circle is where their future spouses and business associates will come from. That will be their life. That’s your life. If you can read that and think about that and smile comfortably, you’re doing well. If you’re uncomfortable with that, you probably should be.

That circle is where their [your kid's] future spouses and business associates will come from. That will be their life.

Smart is good. Education is a must. Hard work is absolutely necessary to achieve any kind of real success. Opportunity though, comes from phone calls to friends, or over lunch with sorority sisters, or other members of the clubs in which you are a member. Opportunities come from your network, from having friends and being a friend, from joining clubs and going to stuff and hosting things and fund raising and saying, “yes” (not too much “yes”). If you do it, it works. If you don't do it, it still works, just not in your favor. When you are presented with an opportunity, make the most of it. Be excellent! Remember, you represent the person and/or the network that presented you. To onlookers, you are “One of Them”. The question will be: Do we want more of “Them” here? Whether or not your network can continue to create opportunity for others, depends largely on how you show up.

When I was a kid, I decided that I wanted to go into the hotel business. I wanted to run grand, beautiful hotels, like Steve Winn. My father wanted to support me so he made some phone calls and I got a job as a banquet waiter and room service waiter at a Marriott hotel. That was his network. That’s what he could do for me and he did it. I was, and am very grateful for that job. I needed that job and with zero experience, probably wouldn’t have gotten it otherwise. The experience served me well. The point is this; Who can you call? Who can your kids call? Who will your grandchildren be able to call?

None of this is to suggest that one should judge people's worth by what they can do for you. That is always a pre determined fail. The give-to-get strategy - also doomed to fail. What you want is to associate with like minded people. You want to enjoy the company of bright, ambitious, generous, thoughtful people who's values align with your own. Live where nice people live. Send your kids to great schools where other good people send their kids.

First though, you have to be that kind of person. Otherwise, why would they want anything to do with you? Choose carefully the company you keep, but remember, the company you keep will choose you as well.

William S Jiggetts

#networking #gimbels #roden #entrepreneur #philanthropist #wealth #wealthypeople #richpeople

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