Monday, February 04, 2008

WOW, Part 2, Ch. 4

The Aeolusean Agreement

The people emerging from the long black limousines had been picked up by a Gulfstream V corporate at airports in Hawai’i and California, and now they were about to complete the last leg of their trip. Many had never seen the New York skyline etched against the twilight of a June night, and as they walked towards a private pier jutting out into the East River, they were captivated by the sight of the lights coming on in the City That Never Sleeps. A motor launch was waiting for them, as were two people in bright blue uniforms.
“Hello everyone! I’m John Frazer, captain of the Aeolusean. Hope you all had a good flight. Mr. Jeffries sends his regards and will be joining you early tomorrow afternoon. We’ll be going on a short cruise down the river and then out to Long Island for your meetings tomorrow. May I introduce Robin Maguire, our chief steward.”
“Yes, welcome! We’ve made special arrangements for the children and, of course, the teenagers. We’ll sort things out aboard the Aeolusean so that everyone is comfortable. For those of you who were with us in Florida, we have taken the liberty of reserving for you the same suites.”
“Why don’t we just shuffle ‘em up and everybody gets a different one this time?” said Heath Larson.
“Well, sir, with everybody’s permission, we can certainly do that.”
“Yes, please, I want the Polynesian one,” said Aleja Gracellen, “You take the Greek one, Heath. After all if there ever was an Odysseus in all this, it sure has to be you!”

* * *

The day of her epiphany at Wavelife, Cheryl Corlund had brainstormed a new business plan on her kitchen table with her family, the spiritual guidance of Dolly Artensa, and the business expertise of Bill Massara and June Wilson. The first thing they completed was a mission statement “Riding With Grace Means Family First”. It was clunky and still seemed to be about surfing, but it would do for now. Next, they answered two simple questions: Why are we doing this? What can we sell that people need?
First, they focused on the why: and it was all about true aloha, that is, generosity and sharing. Ideas flew back and forth about changing life for the kids of South Central, aiding the shattered and the homeless in Southern California, giving hope to at-risk kids growing up wrong in Florida and Hawai’i, and changing the buying patterns of consumers who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Then came the hard part: how to use capitalism to accomplish those tasks. After a lot of what-if scenarios, they came up with a plan to sell clothes at affordable prices to working families using designs and marketing campaigns that inspired self-discipline and self-esteem.
Determining the corporate structure was next, and here they did something almost unheard of. The company would be owned by the Mother Ocean Foundation, originally set up for Aleja’s shelter, but now to be expanded under a business plan and public stock offering coordinated by Ben Jeffries.
They began to pencil in numbers for a very tight, hardnosed, strictly business operation to compete in a market where the competition was already fierce. Bill and June tweaked the spreadsheets on their laptops and were eventually able to predict a decent return-on-investment for the backers and shareholders within a reasonable time frame.
With a business plan penciled in, they now had to turn their attention to exactly what they would be selling. The motto’s words, “Family First,” gave them the idea of involving their families and friends right from the start. They quickly thought of putting everyone together for three days of focus groups, research and business plan development. It didn’t take long for them to decide exactly where they wanted to go after Mercante reminded his wife of their night on the Aeolusean. That decided, it was back to the office for them and Dolly Artensa to make calls, get their files in order, and pack up everything they owned in preparation for their last day at Wavelife International.

* * *

“So tell me what happened the day you all resigned,” said Heath Larson, “It must have been pretty heavy.”
“No, it wasn’t that bad, not compared to what you went through, I suppose,” said Dolly Artensa. They were sitting across from each other in the library an hour after everyone had come aboard and settled into their suites and guest cabins. But Artensa and Larson needed to talk about Cheryl Corlund, and there hadn’t been a chance on the flight across the country.
“First off, I had to go to her house and get her because I didn’t want her driving. I get there, honk the horn, no response. I go to the door, ring the bell. She opens it, and we’ve got problems. She hadn’t slept and it showed. I threw her into a cold shower while I found an outfit that worked. Then I fixed her hair and got some makeup on her.”
“But she sounded so together on the phone.”
“Honey, its one thing to talk about changing your life. Its quite another to actually do it AND eat one big dose of crow AND like it. And Roberto! Good Lord, he was in worse shape than she was! I had the kids get him outta there – told ‘em to get him down to the beach and force him to go out surfing and stay in the water until I called ‘em!”
“Good idea, Dolly. He’s not a bedrock kinda guy when he loses touch with surfing.”
Artensa smiled with a knowing look.
“A surfer in the rag trade when things go belly up! What do you expect? Anyway, now we’re gonna be late ‘cause traffic’s jammed on the freeway. We take a shortcut, and it is even worse. I’m driving but she’s getting edgy about being late for the board meeting.”
“Yeah, June told me about her walking through a blizzard in New York.”
“Well, this time she can’t walk, so she starts yelling at other cars and then at me. So I solved the problem right away. I slapped her.”
“You didn’t!”
“Oh yes I did, but not that hard and not without first warning her. But she was losing it and a meltdown was not an option.”
“Then what happened?”
“She calmed down and - - -”
“No, when you walked into the lobby.”
“A lot of people were standing around waiting for her to show up, and they weren’t there to offer her any sympathy, let me tell ya.”
“Thank God you went with her.”
“Oh, He was there too, believe me, holding me up!”
“Why didn’t she go in a back door and straight up to the board room?”
“When you write the tune, you face the music. And she’d been under so much pressure for so long that without some kind of clean release, she never would have found her spirit again.”
The memory of his near death hit Larson right between the eyes, followed by another smack to the head at the thought of Cheryl Corlund giving him a chance to find his spirit again. That did it.
“I’m gonna need a drink for this. Care to join me?”
“Well, I’m not much for drinking, Heath.”
Larson got out of his chair and walked towards the liquor cabinet.
“It’s Ben’s private stock - the best Scotch I’ve ever tasted,” he said as he began to put some ice in a glass.
“Well, in that case, I’ll take a short one, and hold the rocks!”
Larson laughed and walked back with glasses in one hand and the bottle in the other.
“May I propose the toast, Dolly? To courage and friends!” He poured from the bottle, they clinked glasses, and she took a sip.
“Whoa, this IS good stuff!”
“Dolly, say, “Geevum, brah, dis da kine stuffs!”
Artensa just laughed and they sat down.
“Heath, someday I’m gonna take you down to the ‘hood for some real English as a second language!” she said, taking another sip, “Ok, Heath, now where was I?”
“Well, you walk into the lobby and - - -”
“There’s maybe fifty people standing around. They see us come in and the place goes dead quiet. We keep walking towards the elevator, and for a second it felt like walking down an alley in the ‘hood. You know something’s gonna happen. And it did. Some guy, I think he was in accounting, steps in front of us and gets right in her face. Now, you’ll pardon my French, but he said something along the lines of, ‘You fucking witch – you fucked up everything! My stock is worthless!’ Then somebody else steps in and starts in on her about jail and lawsuits. They’re blocking our way to the elevator, and more people are starting to surround us.”
“So what did you do?”
“I didn’t move, but Cheryl stops and says in a very clear, loud voice, ‘I am still the CEO of this company. You’re both fired. Now, get out of here! Security!’ she says, without taking her eyes off them.
“I look over at the front desk and wave to my friend Otis. Got him the job. Great guy. Used to play linebacker for USC. Teaches Sunday school at my church. So I yell out, ‘Otis! There’s two fired employees who are refusing to leave the premises.’ You shoulda seen their faces!”
Larson looked at Artensa, downed the rest of his drink, and poured himself another.
“That’s just like surfing big waves. Go for it and you’ve got a chance. Flinch and you’re in big trouble.”
“Oh she wasn’t going to give an inch. She’s tough as nails when she has to be. Anyway, here comes Otis and the crowd gets out of his way, fast. ‘Ok, you two, let’s go,’ he says. They turn around looking like someone’s just pulled a gat on ‘em. He starts to herd them to the door. She follows them until she’s in the middle of the lobby. She stops, turns around slowly and stares down the crowd. Then she says, ’I’ll be meeting with the board in a few minutes and I assume they’ll be running the company for the foreseeable future. If anyone has anything more to say right now, I’ll be happy to forward your names. Otherwise, if you want to keep your jobs, I suggest you get back to work.’”
“Yeah, the board meeting! This is like hearing a good surf story! Here comes a big set!”
“So the crowd melts away and we get in the elevator. I hit the button, and the door closes. She looks me in the eye and she’s gonna cry, I can just tell.”
“Yeah, that would have been really bad! It would have smeared her makeup or something.”
“You know Heath, you really need a woman in your life. Sometimes we just have to cry, and nothing is going to stop us. So I pushed another button to stop us on the floor below the board room. We get out and go straight to the ladies room. And we both cried for about five minutes.”
“I wish I could do that sometimes,” he said, finishing off his drink.
“Real men can, Heath, and do. Give it a try sometime, you big macho stud surfer you,” she said with a smile that he couldn’t help but share, “So we cry, and then we look at each other, and you’re right, our makeup is completely ruined. So we start laughing, and then we cried some more and started smearing our faces and laughing and looking like two warrior women.”
“Like Mel in Braveheart!”
“Heath, that was just a movie. This was real. And we didn’t want the scene in the board room to be anything less than strictly business. So we cleaned up quick, but now she’s looking like I haven’t seen her for years. Serene, composed, and clear-eyed. She gets out the nail, kisses it for good luck, and off we go. We go up the stairs, open the door, and surprise the heck out of some more employees waiting by the elevator.”
“What were they doing there?”
“Probably going to get in her face like the schmucks downstairs. But she ignores them and walks into the board room at exactly ten o’clock.”
“Then what happened?”
“Five minutes later, she walks out, and that’s that.”
“Yeah, but what happened in the meeting?”
“Not a thing. It was strictly business, and she wasn’t going to have it any other way. I’m sure they would have liked to work her over a bit, but she wasn’t about to take any guff from them.”
“And then?”
“We went down the elevator and straight to her car. She drove off the lot, turned a corner, and then pulled over a few blocks down the street. Then she called her kids at the beach, and we were back at her house by noon. When I left they were around the pool looking like a family for the first time in ages.”
“So what’s going to happen at Wavelife?”
“Heath, that’s not our problem right now. They’ve got a board of directors with some heavy hitters on it and a building full of employees to work for them. We did our bit, we blew it, we fell on our swords, and now we move on. Which reminds me, I wonder what everybody’s doing? I’d better go check on the kids, Heath.”
“One for the road, Dolly?”
“No, thanks, I never finished this one! But when I see Bruddah,” she said, “I’ll send him down here. You can’t be trusted with that bottle all to yourself!”

Roberto Mercante rubbed his eyes, sat up in the bed, and looked at his wife sleeping peacefully next to him. He thought of when they’d started out together selling surf trunks and bikinis to small surf shops up and down the California coast. They’d built up a huge company, lost it all, and now they were going to start all over again, only this time for the right reasons. He bent over and kissed her forehead. She opened her eyes and pulled him down to her for a long, luscious kiss. And for the rest of the afternoon, the husband and wife were nowhere to be seen on board the Aeolusean.
Nobody noticed their absence. They were all having the time of their lives on the megayacht. Dolly Artensa had brought along her two nieces, a nephew and his friend who had just been released from LA County Jail after doing six months for burglary. Aleja had brought two mothers and their children from the shelter, women who had come to the door with nothing and now had paid positions. June Wilson was with them talking about running the shelter while the children were in the pool with the kids from Hawai’i and the Massara children. Bill and his wife were talking with Bruddah’s niece and two of his cousins on an upper deck enjoying the breeze coming in off the summer Atlantic with the New York skyline barely visible in the distance.
All the teenagers were in the games room where Sonny-boy Noaloa was showing a surprising talent playing ping-pong with Donny Mercante, who was no slouch himself. The boys from South Central couldn’t get enough of the pinball machines, while the girls sat with Anna Mercante and Aleja Gracellen. There was a lot of talk about life in Malibu, Orange County, and South Central, and how surprisingly similar things were when spirit and motivation were eroded by too much money – or not enough.

Back in the library, Heath Larson was introducing Bruddah to the wonders of Jeffries’ scotch while they perused rare volumes containing original accounts of Captain Cook’s ill-fated voyages to the Sandwich Islands.
“Cross-cultural bullshit - and its still going on! I wonder if things would have changed if the haoles had left and never come back?”
“Yeah, well maybe not too late, brah. I call up some da big boys we go take ovah da airport. Native movement protest – one call we stop it all!”
“Not a bad idea. Mebbe even call in da Tui, get fo’ reals!”
But Bruddah didn’t laugh back.
“Fuck da Tui. Dey not Hawaiian. Dey say dey Hawaiian but where da aloha wid a bunch gangstahs? And look what dey do fo’ da kids – show ‘em be tough guys, guns, fightin’ alla time, drugs. Fuck dat shit. Den dey gets money for dey clothing company and get bought off so build hotels onna sacred Ohana beaches? My family real Hawaiian. We hates dose guys. Mo’ dan we hate Captain Cook!”
Larson wished he hadn’t said anything as he watched Bruddah get out of his chair and walk across the library floor and look out the window. Then his old friend turned around.
“Say, brah, let’s get offa dis boat go into New York, eh? We get Ben geev us one ride in da choppah.”
“Sure, why not? I’ll ask him when he gets here.”
“Well, let’s get on it, ‘cause here he come!”

The chopper set down on its retractable landing pad in the aft section of the Aeolusean. The engine was turned off, the blades slowly stopped, and a door slid open. A group of children burst down the steps, followed by Ben Jeffries and his wife. She and Robin Maguire took charge of grandson Pierce and his friends. Jeffries went straight to the main lounge to touch base with the people who were integral to the success of the next three days.
Around dinner time a buffet was set out for everyone, including the staff and crew of the megayacht. When everyone had finished their food, Ben Jeffries stood up at one end of the deck and tapped a knife against a glass.
“I don’t know when there has been a more lively group aboard the Aeolusean, and for that we have to thank Cheryl Corlund for quitting her job – and to Dolly Artensa for giving her a new one!”
Everyone laughed and clapped.
“Now tomorrow we have a lot of work to do, and there is no guaranteeing any of this will pan out. We are going to be taking off on a big wave, and as Heath and Cheryl can tell you, sometimes you don’t make it.”
The entire group went quiet, and that was exactly Jeffries’ intent.
“I wish to propose a toast.” Jeffries raised his glass. So did everyone else as they rose to their feet. Even the little kids picked up on what was happening and lifted their Shirley Temples. “To Heath Larson, my personal friend who almost rode his last wave! And to Cheryl Corlund, for giving him, and all of us, a new wave to ride!”
“To Heath and Cheryl!” said everyone in unison as they all took a draught from their glasses. Then Jeffries and the gathering sat down. Heath Larson and Cheryl Corlund stood up.
“Speech! Speech!”
Corlund was about to say something when her husband pulled her down into her seat and stood up in her place. “All she was going to say was, its all Dolly’s fault!” he said, and everyone started clapping and looking to Dolly. Larson tried to sit down, too, but Bruddah pulled the chair back. “No, you go talk story, but make it short, brah, I wanna be Times Square by midnight!”
The big wave surfer gathered himself and walked to the front of the room.
“Thanks, everyone, and thanks Ben. I also want to thank Ben’s wife, and Captain Frazer and the crew, and especially Robin Maguire for keeping all the young ones happy and for the suites that the rest of us – ” he glanced at Cheryl and Roberto – “have enjoyed so thoroughly.”
Roberto and Cheryl gave each other a kiss. Their two teenagers were cringing – and happier than they had been in a long, long time.
“You know, the last time I was floating on the ocean, I don’t remember much. In fact I don’t remember anything at all since I was just this far away from being dead,” he said with a wave and nod to Bob Rowe and Randy Laine who had missed the Gulfstream but had flown in first-class during the day, “In the instant before I went under, I was so full of myself that I lost all contact with a simple fact – that I was human, just like everyone else on the planet, and just like every one of you. I thought I was master of my universe, until Mother Ocean took over, and suddenly I was nothing. And even that didn’t matter to me then.
“But when you are trapped underwater and waves are slamming you towards death, you are completely alone. And sometimes it is only then you realize life is precious and should never be taken for granted,” he said slowly, “Of course, by then it is too late as your mind goes black and no light comes on. But thanks to my friends, I’m here tonight, as we all are, to try and make the world a better place as best we can.”
Everyone clapped . . . and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
“We are here to create a new way of doing business as a corporation with values. I know that right now our competitors don’t have a clue as to what we are doing, but when they get wind of us, you can be sure they won’t make our jobs any easier. After all, that’s what competition is all about. But we’ve got an edge on them that they’d never dream of – and that’s why I am here – and that’s why I convinced Ben to do everything in his power to support Cheryl’s idea. Or was it Dolly’s idea? So may I propose a toast? To Dolly Artensa – a true queen of soul!”
Glasses were raised and most were drained to the last drop.
“Now if you want to hear Dolly do “Respect”, she will be down in the disco lounge later tonight. But for now, well, let me close with a couple of thoughts. There was a man on TV a long time ago called Mr. Rogers, and most of you kids probably never heard of him, but for some of us he, well, he was a pretty good guy. And he was once asked what he thought about looking back on his thirty years of trying to reach out to people, especially young ones. And he said, ‘I don’t know that, as human beings, we are made for the world we are making for ourselves’.”
He paused to let the thought sink in all around the room.
“And then there was a guy named Ross Perot. He was very successful in his life, and one day someone asked him how he thought history should judge him since he was a self-made billionaire,” he said, glancing at Ben Jeffries who had told him the story, “So he answered the question, but he didn’t say anything about his accomplishments or his fortune. He simply said, ‘Let’s see how my kids turn out.’
“Well,” he paused, “I think we’re all here tonight to help make a world that IS made for human beings, using a corporation to get the job done. And if we do it right, then our kids, and our children’s children, will be just fine.”
The place was quiet for a second. Ben Jeffries stood up, as did everyone else. He shook hands with Larson, and the two titans gave each other a hug that would have crushed lesser men.
“Geevum brah, we goin’ for it big time!” shouted Bruddah.
Everyone broke out in laughter and applause as the two men stood apart and looked out over the deck.
“Ok, Bruddah, now we go Big Apple!” said Larson.
The lights from New York were glowing on the horizon, but it was nothing compared to the glow of human beings ready for a challenge that they knew could possibly change the world – even if only a little.

Just about everyone was up early the next morning except one husband and wife who stayed in their suite and missed breakfast without a second thought. But when he heard an alarm clock built during World War Two coming in low to buzz the Aeolusean, Roberto Mercante made his sincere and profuse apologies to a not-quite sated Cheryl Corlund. He had a plane to meet, and she was beginning to understand his attraction to her first rival.

“Clem Charleton! Great to see ya! You haven’t sold ‘er yet, have you? You said you’d call first, remember?”
“I ‘member Roberto, but after our little visit here, I gotta an airshow to do up on the finger lakes, an’ I hear there’s a lotta buyers up there,” he winked, “so you’d better make a decision pretty damn quick, good buddy.”
Another figure emerged tentatively from the seaplane. She looked around before stepping on to the tender that would take them to the Aeolusean.
“Hi, I’m Roberto Mercante. I wish we could have talked a long time ago.”
“Well, let’s get it right this time, Roberto. Wilson’s surfing career almost did me in once, and I will not allow that to happen ever again!”
“That makes two of us, mom!”
Mercante stepped out of the way as the former world professional surfing champion gave his mother a long delayed hug and a kiss.
Then Clem’s nephew emerged from the PBY along with his wife and three children. Mercante and Corlund had pulled out all the stops. They wanted every person that could possibly help them in planning their new business, including the owners of a mom-and-pop surf shop. And at Roberto Mercante’s request, Tommy Pratte had brought along some samples of his innovative surf trunks.

Friday was a busy day mixing all the young people with their parents and guardians into focus groups on what was right, and wrong, with not only Wavelife but the entire retail end of the apparel industry.
Saturday morning was spent perusing dozens of clothing samples that Corlund had “acquired” through her Seventh Avenue contacts. After lunch everyone went off to New York for a matinee show on Broadway and a fun tour of the city well into Saturday night. Sunday was relaxed and slow aboard the Aeolusean until the time came in the late afternoon for all the children and guests to go back to California and Hawai’i.
But for the principals of the new company, Monday and Tuesday were spent hard at the grindstone. Augmented by a small group of industry experts, Corlund and her team put together the steel frame of a new company. And if “Riding With Grace Means Family First” did not quite resonate yet, they had another card to play when it came to courage and resilience.

“It was a good idea then, and it’s still a good idea, and we’re going to do it,” said Cheryl Corlund, “Let’s go over everything that happened, starting with bringing Heath back to life, and going backwards all the way to the moment when Ian Clark first showed us the video.”
The surfers, the executives, the backer, and Clem Charleton were all in the library of the Aeolusean. Sonny-boy’s mom was there, too, sitting next to her son and re-claiming the role she once had as his best friend and surf coach. It took all morning to fully flesh out the after-action report of the events, from Larson’s brush with death to Ian Clark’s pitch meeting. When they were done, it was Aleja Gracellen who stopped them all in their tracks.
“You know, the footage we saw in the board room had a perfect left breaking. Being a goofyfoot, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Now Heath, you say the Navy wave action models were almost identical?”
“I checked back and figured out when Merrill must have shot the footage. There was only one Southern Hemi swell that came through just before Clark called Cheryl that could have produced the waves we saw. I got the computer graphics for it, and then when the May swell came up, I compared them. That’s why I was so amped up. What are you getting at, Aleja?”
Sonny-boy Noaloa knew the answer.
“Aleja, you one smart haole chick! Da left shoulda been da kine - - -”
His mom pinched him hard under the table.
“Excuse me Miss Gracellen, but your suppositions are quite correct. If the prevailing swell size and direction were practically the same, and the sub-surface shoaling zone identical, then the quality of the lefts should have remained undiminished.”
Everyone in the room did a double take.
“What?” said Noaloa, “What did you expect? Hey, it’s the King’s English with my mother sitting here. Isn’t that right, Bruddah?”
“Dat’s right, Wilson, and I tink you right, brah. Barbie, da left no good when we surf da place, but you tell you saw it perfect on da video, yeah?”
“Yes, Bruddah. Not only that, but on the photo trip, when the Skyhook banked away from the squall, I saw a reef in the distance and maybe another one even farther away – but the one closest to us had a left rolling along with an eye that didn’t close.”
“I wasn’t watching that trip - - -” interrupted Noaloa.
“No, you were too busy watching yourself on Roberto’s camcorder!”
“True, but when we were circling out there last time I thought I saw a circle of white water about ten miles away and one more way out on the horizon.”
“I saw ‘em as we were coming in,” said Randy Laine, “but we were so stoked on what we had right in front of us that none of us gave those other reefs a second thought. Aleja, I think you may be right.”
“Yeah, Heath, so we had to save your life because you were riding the wrong wave!” said Bob Rowe with an almost scolding tone to his voice. A few started to laugh but quickly swallowed their smiles when they saw the look of contrition on Larson’s face.
“Well, Heath, maybe you should try again,” said Cheryl Corlund, stepping in for him at just the right moment. He looked at her but didn’t say a word. Her husband, though, did have something to say.
“I agree, Cheryl, except for three problems. Ian Clark and the exact location of the reef are still under contract to Wavelife. Same for Tina Sanchez and the Skyhook. And they have the permit.”
“So what do you suggest?”
“Well, I remember the course from my time in the cockpit on the flights we made out there. The airspeeds, too. As for getting out there, well, Clem, how much would you charge for a charter to southeast of Tahiti and back?”
“Hell, that’s a long flight. Cost ya ‘bout,” he paused, “Well, you know what they say, Roberto, if ya hafta ask how much - - -”
Mercante’s excitement faded from his face as he realized just how expensive it would be to fly a PBY from Florida to Tahiti. Cheryl Corlund came to the rescue.
“However, Clem, if you donate your PBY to the Foundation and we hire you as her pilot, you get a tax write off AND a good salary. Is that right, Ben?”
“We’d have to account for all her uses and be ready for the scrutiny of the IRS. They would take a dim view of directors going on surf trips,” said Jeffries sternly, “But since the Skyhook is already doing non-profit work, we can cite them as a precedent, especially if we assist them in their work down there.”
“Well, that’s a lot of flyin’, so I’ll need to train someone in the organization to fly ‘er!” said Charleton.
“Good, Clem, and I know just the man for the job. Ok, Roberto, that problem’s solved. Now, about the permit.”
“Well, Clark got the permit for a hundred square miles all around the reef, so we’ll just have to wait until it expires – in August.”
A groan went up from around the room until Aleja Gracellen brought smiles back all around.
“That’s ok! My dad told me once that the biggest day he ever saw at Malibu was towards the end of August. It came out of the Southern Hemisphere, so I think we still have a chance! Besides, I still want to surf those lefts, Cheryl, and you said that was part of the deal!”

Tuesday night was the wrap up – and a special ceremony took place in the library of the Aeolusean. First off, the board of directors of the Mother Ocean Foundation: Cheryl Corlund, Roberto Mercante, Ben Jeffries, Aleja Gracellen, Bill Massara and June Wilson, voted to expand the board to include Sonny-boy’s mother, Clem’s son-in-law, and Bruddah, who vowed to make sure real aloha was always at the table. Next, the official document to launch the new corporation was presented to the board for consideration. Not only did it include a section based on the Valdez Principles concerning the earth’s ecology with respect to manufacturing, labor and materials, but it also established a commitment to the eco-psychology of the communities where their products would be sold.
Cheryl Corlund and Ben Jeffries were convinced that corporate stewardship of basic human rights was good for business. For them, that meant establishing a presence in the marketplace by promoting values and behaviors that are less about buying power and ownership and more about a sustainable quality of life. They knew this was going to be no easy task. Using capitalism as a tool for altruism was akin to using a hammer to sculpt a flower, and they both made sure everyone understood the severity of the challenge.
Everyone did, and no one flinched. The document that came to be known as the Aeolusean Agreement became the opening section of the articles of incorporation for a new kind of company. And the vote was unanimous.

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