Celebrating the life and spirit of our unique leader, ebbf’s founder and soul George Starcher
George Starcher, the founder, creator and soul of ebbf passed away on the 3rd of October. He was much more than a founder, a leader and a friend. George was a the living example of what a servant leader really is.
As a senior partner at McKinsey he identified his need and that of fellow leaders to come together and understand their role and the application of their values in their respective organization.
As Julian MacQueen from the US shared “What a wonderful visionary!”
“He had a life-changing impact on me and saw him repeat this on hundreds and hundreds of people in his special very personal and selfless way.” said Mika Korhonen from Finland.
“He gave so much to ebbf. George was such a role model, such a spiritual inspiration.” shared Serge Thill from Luxembourg.
Faramarz Ettehadieh from Austria “Such a great , generous and wise man.”
And Wim Ottermans from Belgium “I’ve met few people like George Starcher: the sparkles in his eyes were often meant for you to access your inner beauty and unleash your potential. What an angel!”
“It is so hard to say goodbye to George whose life was dedicated to the Faith. His vision of bringing together people in the business community to implement the Baha’i teachings in their companies was ahead of its time” is one reaction from Wendi Momen, UK, fellow member of the origianl founding group of ebbf.
Dorothy Marcic from New York (next to George in the photo below, original board members of ebbf) said “George was such a force for good, a strategizer who used his competencies to bring ethics to the business world. With much sympathy to his family and all of those who have loved and admired him.
For ebbf 25th anniversary, I was asked to interview George Starcher and others, and to put the interviews together in a film. Below and extract with is very good friend Ezzat Zahrai: https://youtu.be/yiaN4TlnWEg?si=A1LHxNpDBBlft2v0&t=477 “
Beppe Robiati from Milan is another of the original board members in the photo above who remembers “George Starcher could be defined as the modern guru of the sustainable economy.
Already in the early 1980s George he had a vision of what business should look like in the 3rd millenia. Putting an ethical values-driven leadrship at the centre of the strategic activities of companies. From the founding moments of ebbf back in 1990 George gave an absolutely innovative vision on the way of doing business, on the way business should be led and in all the activities that make up an entrepreneurial development.
To some pessimist George could appear as a deluded or a theorist but history proves exactly the opposite.
Today ebbf represents in its vision and values what can be thought of the most advanced concepts in business. Spiritual values, moral values, ethical applications in all aspects of business management. The active understanding and application of diversity. Employees considered gems of inestimable value, ethics and transparency in administrative and financial operations, environmental protection, training to a vision of world unity, are just a small example of what ebbf and its members have successfully implemented in enterprise globally.
George’s vision will remain forever. His service, his skills, his love will always be present in us and in all that he touched and inspired.”
Daniel Truran from Madrid, George’s successor “the legacy that this great human being has left behind him and just how much each of us (and there are many) have been touched so deeply. He made the impossible possible, at a time when there was no internet or way to connect people he created and expanded a global networks of justice seeking leaders.
People coming together around the values that George lived so beautifully.
If there is one thing, of many many many, of his qualities that we always tried to keep alive as an integral part of the spirit of ebbf , it was his humbleness. Such an amazingly talented human being and yet so humble and never putting himself at the centre but instead serving everyone around him.
He has been sorely missed and will be beautifully remembered.”
Mahmud Samandari from Geneva “he was a visionary, the embodiment of the most noble human values, and an incredible community builder. He was dedicated to excellence, to bringing people together to act, reflect, and create impact. He was a mentor to many people and a dear and loyal friend. George and his beloved Diane will always be remembered with love and gratitude.”
Here the farewell ceremony where George officially handed over his leadership a very emotional moment, standing next to his beloved wife Diane.
This is the photo and quote with which François Couillard from Canada remembers him:
“George was a friend and a mentor. He was a man of remarkable integrity, an individual whose moral compass always pointed true north.
As one of the founders of ebbf, he played a pivotal role in shaping the organization’s identity and mission. He believed in the power of ethical business and applying Baha’i principles in the workplace to shape a better future and worked tirelessly to advance this cause. His ability to recruit like-minded individuals and fostering collaborations that would lead to positive change was instrumental in ebbf’s early growth and success. His contributions to the publications of ebbf were nothing short of prolific. He was a thought leader in the field of ethical business. His words were a source of inspiration for many, offering a blueprint for conducting business in a way that prioritized ethics and values. For example, his publication of socially responsible enterprise restructuring was a guide to me as I was scaling down the operations of a Belgian company.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, George had a profound love for ski mountaineering. One of my fondest memories is skiing alongside him in the breathtaking Val D’Isère area. The joy and passion he exhibited on the slopes were infectious, and it was evident that he cherished every moment spent in the mountains.
I will forever be grateful for the privilege of having George in my life.”
George also leaves a series of timeless publications including two of his passions: gender equality and values based leadership.
The breadth and scope of part of his legacy in this “history of ebbf” publication that collects some of the key highlights of his long career of successes and achievements creating and expanding the reach and impact of ebbf: https://amzn.to/3ZQiYN5
Shahriar Razavi said of him : “What a sad loss. I have the most marvellous memories of serving with him, writing with him, musing with him. He was a far-sighted visionary with a devoted heart and a great mind tempered by a humble spirit of fellowship.”
This is the quote that the ebbf board thought best defined the George way:
“And the honor and distinction of the individual consist in this, that he among all the world’s multitudes should become a source of social good. Is any larger bounty conceivable than this, that an individual, looking within himself, should find that by the confirming grace of God he has become the cause of peace and well-being, of happiness and advantage to his fellow men? No, by the one true God, there is no greater bliss, no more complete delight.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization)