As the active executive committee of the St. Louis Ambassadors restructure our organization, we continue to reference a story of the Wednesday 10 started over 53 years ago. Saddened that we will no longer have access to the historic Cabanne House (pictured to the right) we embrace the new and embody the spirit of St. Louis.
The Ambassadors have a history that dates back to 1965 when St. Louis Mayor Alfonso J. Cervantes pooled the talent and energy of civic-minded citizens to help promote our community to St. Louisans and the world. Our members are executives, professionals and successful entrepreneurs tightly knit by their like minded fraternal interest to constantly improve each others lives.
Often known as the charitable arm of the Mayor's office, the Young Executive Committee of the Ambassadors are looking to grow without their political ties and continue to build upon their own brotherhood as outlined nicely in Katherine Rosman's article featured in The Wall Street Journal.
Below are some excerpts from that article:
What Facebook Can't Give You
Over 52 Years, These Men Have Evolved Into Movers and Shakers—Together.
Before there was Facebook, there was the Wednesday 10.
In 1957, as men in their late 20s, they began meeting—initially over breakfast, then over dinners held at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel or at the Harvard Club in midtown Manhattan. Few were born to means. Many were sons of immigrants. Most went on to become luminaries in their fields—presidents of television networks, partners at banks, editors of magazines.
On occasion, they shared their influence with one another. When member Mort Janklow made a career switch from corporate attorney to literary agent, a fellow member, columnist William Safire, offered himself as a famous first client. When Robert Menschel, a senior director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., was considering deals involving large consumer companies such as Procter & Gamble, he would pick the brain of fellow club member Ed Meyer, the former chief executive of Grey Advertising.
In a day when "social network" is a buzz term from colleges to board rooms, the members of Wednesday 10 show the benefits of old-fashioned networking. "We were all young kids starting out, and it is easy when you are so involved in building your career to lose touch with other people who are outside your field," says Mr. Menschel, who has been at Goldman Sachs for 55 years. "It helped me to understand why other people do what they do—which is important in life and in business. You don't learn anything from talking to sameness."
The Wednesday 10 comprised, at various points, more than 20 men; the goal was a number small enough to maintain intimacy yet large enough to ensure that at least 10 members would show up for each of the monthly Wednesday-night meetings. No more than two representatives of any one industry were permitted. The idea was to combat insularity, to keep the men connected to people and events outside their own professions.
The members bantered like brothers as they greeted one another over cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, handshakes and a few hugs. "How old are you Larry?" Lawrence Grossman, the former president of NBC News and PBS, was asked as he walked into the reception.
The advantages to membership were many. Mr. Janklow secured Mr. Safire lucrative contracts and also scored book deals for other members: Edward Bleier, a former top executive at ABC and Warner Bros., wrote "Thanksgiving," a guide to and history of the holiday; George Lang, who owned restaurants including Café des Artistes, chronicled his journey from a Nazi work camp to the height of New York's culinary world in "Nobody Knows the Truffles I've Seen"; and Mr. Menschel wrote "Markets, Mobs & Mayhem: a Modern Look at the Madness of Crowds." Mr. Safire wrote the forewords to the books of Messrs. Bleier and Menschel.
They each invited friends and acquaintances. Over time, Mr. Lang says, the group helped him to understand the motivations and concerns of powerful men who worked in New York City's core industries—the type of men who were his customers. "Through the Wednesday 10, you begin to understand the world," says Mr. Lang, 85. "I knew about restaurants but not about Wall Street or show business."
To begin the meetings, each man gave an update on his life. Impending marriages and expected babies were nodded to, but the thrust of the discussion centered on career development. "It was a professional support system," says Mr. Meyer, 82. By the end of each meeting, he had a snapshot of what was going on in the realms of law, media, art, finance, real estate, public service and cancer research. "It was like reading a newspaper cover to cover," he says.
The men had hoped their sons would create an adjunct group that would one day assume the Wednesday 10 mantle but none took the initiative. "Daddy's ideas are not the ones children tend to take on," says Mr. Menschel.
"Each of us started from zero with a common denominator—we were ambitious and hard-working," James Rosenfield, former president of CBS Television Network. "And I look around and there isn't a single guy in the group who wasn't a winner in his own world."
"This group is amazing in its longevity," added Dr. Lacher.
The brandy had been served, so Mr. Menschel said, "Let's drink to that."
For the complete article written by Katherine Rosman please follow this link or write to Katherine at email@example.com.