Last weekend OPEN Global hosted a first of its kind convening of Charter Members in Monterey, Calif. More than 70 colleagues flew in for the retreat, many along with their families from as far as Dubai and Chicago, Boston and Houston, Lahore and London, and Washington DC and Atlanta.

We built and renewed friendships over s’mores on the beach, a biking tour along the famous 17-mile drive, and a round of golf by the Pacific.

Thought provoking content from Vivek Wadhwa, Claire Lee and Elmira Bayrasli moved and inspired us, especially young members of the OPEN family.

We reflected on the state of the diaspora around the world — and the role of our network; and had an honest conversation about the promise of OPEN; and the challenges and opportunities in front of us.

I presented my vision, and the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead for a meaningful impact by supporting entrepreneurs in our community who are in greatest need. This was followed by a high energy dialogue on OPEN Global priorities: Revival of the Charter Member Network, Growth, Global Partnerships, and Building Infrastructure.

This is what happens when a group of most enterprising and resourceful entrepreneurs in our community mobilize around a common purpose. I am thrilled to share with you some results:

  • A multi-million dollar commitment to anchor a $50M early-stage fund at the Lahore University of Management Sciences was made at the retreat. This would be the largest individual investment of its kind in a local venture fund in Pakistan
  • $60K+ in pledges secured to build core infrastructure in OPEN Global’s first-ever fundraising drive
  • Launch of OPEN Toronto– newest member of the OPEN family

I would also like to recognize Arfa Syed (Washington D.C.), Muhammad Hassan (Houston), Junaid Qurashi (SV), Sarah Hussain (Houston), Moazzam Chaudhry (SV) and Noman Ali (SV) for their terrific efforts in helping stage the event.

A community moves forward when networks come together, and their unrealized potential can be tapped for the collective good. In Monterey, we laid foundations of a global platform that will build on the efforts and gains of the last 17 years, and seek to lift entrepreneur communities across our network.

My colleagues and I are energized by the passion and commitment of so many of you. You will soon hear from initiative leaders on next steps. As we move forward, we ask you join our volunteer efforts — at the chapter level or with the Global team.

Our journey has only begun.

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