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Monday, October 5, 2020

Famous and 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

October 7 - YoYo Ma, Chinese-American cellist

Child prodigy Yo-Yo Ma is an international great, born in Paris to Chinese parents and growing up in New York. At the tender age of four, he chose the cello as his instrument after playing both violin and piano. He was performing by age five, including for two U.S. presidents at age seven. A later stint on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson preceded study at the Professional Children’s School, and then Juilliard.

Ma’s fame is hard to exaggerate, as he has performed as a soloist with the greatest orchestras all over the world. His 18 Grammy Awards come from more than 90 albums, and the breadth of his ability extends far beyond classical music. Ma easily shifts to Argentinian tango, bluegrass, traditional Chinese tunes, and more. He has performed with the likes of James Taylor, Bobby McFerrin and Carlos Santana.

Ma played for the inauguration of President Barack Obama, when the weather was so cold an earlier recording was used for fear strings would snap and ruin the performance. He also performed at the funerals of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Senator Edward Kennedy, and played a duet with Condoleezza Rice. He was the first performer to pull a bow at the first anniversary on the site of the World Trade Center attack, and he collaborated in a live performance with Sting and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for the opening of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

His work doesn’t stop at the concert stage. He has served as a U.N. Peace Ambassador and was appointed to President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Ma was also tapped for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and he co-launched the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Citizen Musician Initiative. For his humanitarian work, Ma was dubbed one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.

Ma has been married for 42 years to arts consultant Jill Hornor. His extraordinary character and humility are legendary. A child once asked Ma if his cello had a name. No, Ma replied, but will you give it one if you let me play for you? The little girl acquiesced, and his $2.5 million instrument has been called “Petunia” ever since.

Image Source: Wikipedia

October 28 - Bill Gates, American businessman and philanthropist 

Seattle-born William Henry Gates III is the richest person in the world. He made his fortune as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation in the 70s and 80s when personal computing was beginning its domination of the information space. Wearing many hats, Gates served as CEO, chairman, president and chief software architect of the company, as well as being the largest single shareholder through April 2014. 

Gates made waves for his anti-competitive bent, cornering the market with Microsoft products. Perhaps this predilection stemmed from an early experience where hobbyists used a leaked copy of the Microsoft Altair BASIC interpreter that he and a buddy had developed, depriving them of earnings. Gates was a firm believer that software developers should be able to get paid, rather than offering their work open-source. 

IBM adopted Microsoft’s operating system in 1980. The deal didn’t net Microsoft a lot of money, but it didn’t need to. As Gates had anticipated, others cloned IBM’s PC hardware and had to pay for the software to run on it; MS DOS became the standard and Microsoft raked in the profits. And maybe you’ve heard of something called Windows? Launched in 1985, it is still dominant today.

Gates was not an easy boss, sometimes remarking “that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard” to a subordinate mid-presentation. When employees took longer than he wanted to complete a project, he would comment that he would “do it over the weekend.” And quite likely, he could. An Atari exec demo’ed a game, playing with Gates, whom he defeated 35 out of 37 times. Returning a month later, Gates wanted a rematch, where he won or tied every game. 

In 2006, Gates largely stepped down to work on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with assets of over $34.6 billion, that he founded with his wife. It primarily supports public health projects and is responsible for nearly eradicating polio around the world. Gates pledged $50 million to the Dementia Discovery Fund and another $50 million to venture companies working to treat Alzheimer’s. The Gates have pledged to leave each of their three children $10 million, giving away the rest, expected to amount to 99.96% of their fortune.

Image Source: Wikipedia

October 28 - Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo CEO

Indian-born Indra Nooyi grew sales of the food company 80% over her tenure, landing her on the top 100 most powerful women many times, including number 13 on the Forbes list in 2014 and number 2 at Fortune in 2015. She currently serves on the board of tech giant Amazon and helps steer the state of Connecticut as it negotiates the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you might imagine, Nooyi is no intellectual slouch. She holds bachelor’s degrees in physics, chemistry and mathematics, adding a master’s in Public and Private Management from Yale after a move to the U.S. in 1978. 

She made her mark at PepsiCo early, heading the acquisition of Tropicana and then Gatorade (the latter through a merger with Quaker Oats). These products dominated competitors and propelled her to the top of the company. Her push for Performance with a Purpose tasked the company to increase growth over time while helping society and working toward a greener environment. Her classification of products as “fun for you” (chips, soda), “better for you” (diet or low-fat options) and “good for you” (oatmeal, etc.) was novel, and propelled the company toward a host of healthier offerings that sped sales past those of competitors. She also attacked waste in packaging, conserved water, switched to renewable energy and began recycling. As of 2020, U.S. facilities run on 100% renewable electricity.

Click below for the other articles in the October 2020 Senior Spirit


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors