LIA award for Corinne M. Flick

Convoco founder and chair Dr Corinne Flick has been awarded the LIA prize for business excellence in leadership, innovation or analysis by the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT).

The prize was presented to her by ESMT president Prof. Jörg Rocholl and laudatory speaker Gisbert Rühl, CEO of Klöckner & Co SE, at the ESMT’s annual forum 2019 which ran under the headline Global Change. Dr Flick was recognised for her efforts to foster interdisciplinary exchange and to inspire new ways forward. Read the full laudation by Gisbert Rühl below:

Dear Dr Corinne Flick, dear Professor Rocholl, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very honored, to have today the opportunity to deliver the laudation for Dr Corinne Flick in front of this distinguished audience. While we have heard today at the EMST Annual Forum insights from outstanding leaders in business, politics, media and academia we are now honoring one of the most remarkable personalities in promoting and fostering interdisciplinary thought leadership.

Today’s laureate Dr Corinne Flick is a one of its kind character. She is a lawyer with a doctorate in literature, but above all – Dr Corinne Flick is a visionary thinker and someone who overcomes boundaries when bringing leaders from economy, politics, academia, culture and media together to discuss subjects that concern society and its future.

She is doing this with endless energy which became obvious already early in her remarkable career. While she could not decide at the beginning of her career between her two passions – law and German studies – she simply studied both, taking American studies as her subsidiary subject. Following her career in academia in Munich she joined Bertelsmann Online in London – again combining her two matters of heart.

Then, in the late 1990s, when online bookseller Amazon was in the process of setting up its business in Europa, she moved from London to Munich to grow Amazon in Germany. I am convinced that this is one of the reasons why Amazon succeeded also in Europe.

Dr Corinne Flick lived the vision of connecting and bringing people together her entire adult life. As a consequence, she was repeatedly appointed to the boards of important institutions.

Serving as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Aspen Institute for four years, she has been a vital part in strengthening our transatlantic community of values. Or as member of the Executive Committee of the International Council of the Tate Gallery, where she was promoting and reinforcing the universal language of arts for almost a decade, just to name only two of her various mandates.

The support of important institutions was of course not enough for her. In fear of losing touch with the jurisprudence and academia, Dr Corinne Flick established 15 years ago the Convoco Foundation. In the beginning Convoco was focused on constitutional issues. It therefore did not take place somewhere but in the Constitutional Convention room at the historic site of Castle Herrenchiemsee. Ever since, one of her main drivers has been to translate academic theories and ideas into practice-oriented concepts, applicable in every day life.

And this is what makes Convoco so special in particular since it expanded its focus beyond constitutional questions. Convoco is today not just another specialized think-tank. Since Dr Corinne Flick believes in serendipity to find new ways of dealing with today’s challenges through diverse perspectives, all contributors at Convoco are forced out of their comfort zone, urged to discuss also matters they are not experts in.

I experienced this last year by myself at the Convoco conference in Salzburg when I was all of a sudden invited to discuss in a distinguished panel the future of capitalism. A few weeks ago here in the same place where we are today I took part in a Convoco panel where I honestly felt somewhat out of place.

But this is Corinne and this is Convoco, never expect the expected. Corinne clearly inspires and forces people to think outside of the box. Consequently, the purpose of the annual forum is not to find one conclusion. The purpose is the exchange itself because Corinne believes that through this people start to change their point of view to a more broadened, open, flexible and inspired mind. True to the motto of Convoco, collaborate, exchange, change!

When you take a look at Convoco’s and Corinne’s work over the past years this clearly becomes evident in topics like “Who Owns the World’s Knowledge?” or “The Common Good in the 21st Century” or “The Multiple Futures of Capitalism”. With themes like this Corinne is inspiring the participants to challenge the status quo and to overcome challenges ahead. This is what drives change. This is what nurtures and improves our society.

Although Convoco is usually focusing on topics that become publicly relevant only one or two years later, the Forum is focusing this year on a topic that is more important than ever and still taken for granted: Europe. The grand idea of peace, common values and wealth, for which the generation of our parents have worked incredibly hard, is at risk. What was unthinkable only a couple of years ago is quite tangible today: The loss of the European idea, the loss of a common vision, the loss of political leadership.

As a consequence European politicians failed to find answers on questions like:

  • How can we connect our understanding of democracy and our conception of law, which have grown over many generations, with the new world?, or
  • what Europe does want to achieve between the US and China and how can Europe stay competitive?

In Convoco’s “European year” all these and many other questions have and will be debated.

Last week’s strongly rising participation in the European elections clearly demonstrated how forward-looking it was to make Europe the subject of Convoco 2019. Europeans increasingly care about the European Union.

But, instead of taking this high turnout as an encouragement, European and especially German politicians getting lost in struggling over posts and maintaining power.

Corinne, you once said in an interview “Our times require very good, responsible politicians as leaders, because if we ask as a population for more participation we need politicians who can explain to us the issues in a proper way.” Since we have far too few politicians who meet these requirements, we need more than ever people like you, who look with a brilliant mind positively into the future and who are willing to go with a relentless passion unconventional ways to shape the future.

It is therefore no surprise and more than deserved that theLeadership in Action Award 2019 will be awarded to you for your outstanding work, progress and the success you have been achieving with Convoco for meanwhile 15 years!

Thank you for demonstrating what leadership in the complex world of today must look like. What you and Convoco do is more than just Leadership in Action, it is leadership at its best!

My sincere congratulations!

– Gisbert Rühl

Previous C! Interview with Parag Khanna


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