Vahe is Founder and CEO of the Global Family Office Community (GFOC), and is a globally recognised leader in the family office space.
Vahe created GFOC to provide a safe and comfortable setting where family offices can meet each other; share ideas, stories and best practice; and learn from experts, in an otherwise private and lonely environment. This has now grown to be a globally cohesive group with nearly 1,000 family office members.
NDA spoke to Vahe to discuss his inspirations, aspirations, and the future of his business.
What kind of family environment did you grow up in – and how did it shape the person you are today?
I was born in London, UK to Armenian parents, who like many of the Armenians in diaspora came to this country with not much to their name. My mother’s family had been displaced twice, latterly from what is now known as “Northern Cyprus” where ultimately they had to leave behind a happy life and successful business. My parents worked extremely hard, my father who had a very successful corporate career, worked long hours, and they had a drive and determination to provide the best possible life for myself and my younger sister. Despite having a typical upbringing and being fortunate to have very good schooling, we were raised with Armenian values, culture and language instilled in us from the day we were born. Education was always highly valued and I was continuously reminded that I had to work hard and achieve good grades. I had to fully commit to Armenian Sunday school and much of our weekends were devoted to homework! My father would always speak to me about being in business, the virtues of having my own business, and how to be financially responsible. Family values were instilled strongly, and being the oldest, not only to my sister, but also out of all our closest cousins, I always felt a responsibility to set a good example. Family is something that I value strongly and continue to do so today with my own young family and I am driven to do the best for them but also instil the same values. Similarly, I have applied these traits to my business, Global Family Office Community, with our club very much having a family ethos to it.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you, and did you follow it?
Honesty is the best policy! Yes I did follow it and I still do! A former boss of mine used to advocate this whenever the team or I had made a mistake. Rather than trying to cover up with elaborate excuses, it does indeed ring true that honesty is the best policy. It earns the respect of those you work with, and if you want to work with people, earn their trust, and build a business for the long-term then this is the only path. It also helps you sleep better at night!
Tell us about an accomplishment that shaped your career?
I don’t think there is one particular accomplishment. Instead, I believe that the journey you take through life, from early years, upbringing, school, university, to all the steps you take in your career, in each of your roles at different organisations are all stepping stones and cumulatively build to where you are today. Without those experiences and accomplishments, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today. I always recommend to those who want to start a business not to do it too early, as you need the experience and toughening up of working at various firms and environments.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I come across many inspirational, successful and leading figures in my current role, all of whom I learn much from and get inspired by. However, without doubt it is hard to look beyond my father. Being a father now myself, I appreciate everything he has done for me, and at the same time, my wife and kids provide me with all the inspiration I need! I also have to give special credit to my father and my wife who have fully supported me without question in starting Global Family Office Community 8 years ago. Despite the challenges of starting a business, especially in the early years, they have always believed in the project and my vision.
How have you overcome adversity in your life?
Always with a smile! I definitely inherited that from my mother. Also, having the right advisors and mentors around me, including my Advisory Board.
What do you see next, for the future of your business?
Global Family Office Community has seen a tremendous growth over the last few years, as we approach almost 1,000 family office members globally, and enjoys a strong reputation in the sector, which is testament to the hard work that we put in, our integrity and the care we give to make sure everything we do is with our members’ best interests at heart.
Our members are global, however, most of our activities currently take place in Europe, and we therefore see an opportunity and demand to take our model further afield, and to that end we are holding our first family office Conference in the USA in November 2019. We are in the process of planning for activities in more global locations, but at a measured pace fulfilling demands from our family office members. We are also delighted to be launching our inaugural Journal at our June annual Conference for our members, which features our beloved Shk. Nadia Aldoseri!