Every once in a while, you hear a story about video conferencing that is so unique that it makes you take a step back and realize how incredible this technology really is. I would like to share one of those stories with you today.
It’s easy to think that our world leaders, whether they are presidents, prime ministers, or heads of state, are able to guide with intuition, common sense and experience alone. But even the world’s most powerful individuals need advice and counsel from those who have been in their shoes. I recently learned that a global network of former political leaders, called the Global Leadership Foundation, is using video communications to do just that.
What is the Global Leadership Foundation?
The GLF is a group of 34 distinguished former leaders, which exists to support current national leaders across the globe. When a president, prime minister or any other head of government is looking for discreet, confidential advice, they turn to the GLF network.
For example, GLF members include figures such as Nobel Peace laureate FW de Klerk and Lakhdar Brahimi, who is currently serving in the U.N. to bring peace to Syria.
Even though not all of the countries in the world see eye-to-eye on certain issues, the GLF is not meant to drive policy changes, but rather support good governance and effective leadership around the world. What do these world leaders use to connect, even if they are thousands of miles away from one another? I am pleased to say that the GLF relies on HD video technology from LifeSize to conduct these critical meetings.
Why video communications?
“For many decisions, nothing will ever beat personal advice from someone you respect,” explained Peter Osborn, operations manager at Global Leadership Foundation. “In many cases a half an hour, face-to-face ‘virtual’ meeting with members is far more valuable than the exchange of emails and offers far more than a telephone conversation.”
The true-to-life, engaging connection that you receive from an HD video call is second only to an in-person interaction, which is far too costly and timely for these world leaders to have on a frequent basis. By using LifeSize solutions, the GLF can save thousands of dollars in airfare and maximize time for its members (who now only have to spend an hour with their mentor/mentee, instead of days of travel).
According to the foundation’s secretariat, initial set-up costs were around $25,000, but return on investment was achieved almost immediately with one meeting when three transatlantic business class flights did not have to be paid for.
The idea that the world’s most powerful people trust video conferencing in their hour of need really is an amazing thought. How far technology has come! It makes you wonder how many critical national decisions were made after a GLF member received guidance from one of their mentors over video. I am so proud that LifeSize is the preferred technology for these remarkable leaders.