Friday, June 13, 2014

Father's Day / IMN Conference NYC

Father’s Day

On Sunday I will remember my late father, Manney Felix, and think about all he did to help my brothers and me get a good start in life. Before he moved to Florida, we would make sure to see each other on that special Sunday in June, as Father’s Day became more important to both of us as time went on. I’ll also remember those times growing up that I probably wasn’t the best son in the world and the patience and constant support my Dad showed me during those challenging times.  Thanks Dad.

Much of the world will celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, June 15th.  As a father myself, it’s nice to have this day.  But it also brings me back to the time when I separated from the mother of my two sons, Brian and Kevin (both now fathers themselves), and the ‘spontaneous parenting’ opportunities that disappeared - those times when nurturing moments just happened….and were very special.  When I was home and my kids were upstairs in their rooms doing homework (they were always so much more diligent than I ever was!) and I heard one of them call down, “Hey Dad, can you come up here for a minute??”  And I would go, excited that they reached out to me for help. I would sit on the bed and help them work through a math or grammar problem and then hear “Thanks Dad.”  And it felt really good.  When you don’t live with your children, that spur-of-the-moment opportunity generally doesn’t exist.  And it’s just not the same experience over the phone.  

Fathers and children sometimes end up living in different places, making it physically difficult to be together to celebrate.  While it would be nice to see my sons and their families on Father’s day, this year we’ll wish the others ‘Happy Father’s Day’ by phone, or maybe SKYPE. 

It’s an amazing phenomenon to see your children grow up to be parents.  When did that happen?  How is it possible?  It’s a marvelous sight to behold. 

On Sunday I’ll also be thinking about those children in Liberia - whom I’ve met on my two trips with the MacDella Cooper Foundation - who don’t have fathers, don’t know who their fathers are or don’t know where they are.  Many of these children are orphans, or have been abandoned by their families.  As I write this, I’m thinking about these visits to Liberia and how some of the boys would walk next to me and discreetly slip their hand into mine.  It was a sweet gesture but also very sad.  These boys had never had a father present in their lives and, while I was a white man in a black man’s world, color didn’t matter…. I represented something that gave these kids the opportunity to connect, instinctively, for a rare time in their young lives with an adult male with whom they felt safe.  It is a truly beautiful yet heartbreaking memory.

If - for whatever the reason - you can’t be with your father on Sunday, give a call, send a card, or just pause, or stand outside for a minute and look up to heaven and say, “Thanks Dad.”  I truly believe all of these messages will get through to the intended recipient and will be appreciated.  

Happy Father’s Day!

Brian & Kevin Felix (circa 1981)

IMN (Information Management Network) 

“Specialization sells”
“Longer than you think”
“Show what you know”
“If I get an invitation, do I really want to go??”
“Bigger is not always better”

Where did I hear these statements this week?  At IMN’s Real Estate Opportunity and Private Fund Investing Forum in New York City.  As real estate continues to be the asset class of choice for many domestic and offshore investors, the mood at this well-attended event was entirely upbeat.  

Thought-provoking capital raising challenges for new funds were openly vetted at a ‘Vegas-rules’ closed-door 7:30am workshop - facilitated by yours truly.  The subject?  How do new funds raise both institutional and non-institutional capital; how long does it take to raise a fund today; is a commingled fund the best vehicle; and what are some of the lessons that the early-rising industry professionals have learned along the way.  While billed as a session for new funds, the presence of some very experienced industry friends added considerable value to the conversation.  The rewarding experience for me was the openness with which participants shared behind closed doors.  Kudos to IMN for arranging this type of session.

The popular conference - attracting almost 700 attendees - gave me the opportunity to say hello and introduce my partner, Liz Weiner, to a number of folks I hadn’t seen in a while.  

It was a very productive two days for us and, from all the feedback we received, for other attendees as well.  

On The Road...

June 18- 20:  Annual Conference of The National Association of Real Estate Companies (NAREC), Charleston, SC

July 8 -10:  Client meetings, Chicago, IL

Sept. 14 - 15:  National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers (NAREIM), Executive Officers Fall Meeting, Chicago, IL


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