Moving between four different countries in a six-year time frame — and leaving a secure position at a large company to start not one, but two businesses — might seem overwhelming to many. Not to Joe and Lesley Heron.
These South African natives say change is in their DNA. “South Africans are accustomed to change more than any other culture,” Joe says, referencing the country’s history of apartheid and political dissension. “We look at risk and opportunity in a different way. Some dogs bark at sticks in the water; others jump in to get the sticks. We jump in.”
The latest life change for the now Minneapolis, MN-based couple: selling their four-year-old hard apple cider business, Crispin, to MillerCoors in February 2012 and partnering with The Private Client Reserve one month later to help them manage their wealth.
“One lesson that’s really important for anyone making any kind of change is everything has to start at the beginning. People tend to think in terms of the end goal, but you have to think of the individual steps to achieve that goal as well,” Joe says. “You don’t go from A to Z; you go from A to B.”
A Passport to Change
By that measure, “point A” for Joe and Lesley was a nearly 9,000-mile relocation in 1995 from Johannesburg, South Africa, to West Sussex, England, with biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb. Two years after the move, Joe joined Novartis Pharmaceuticals, which transferred him to Stockholm, Sweden, three years later.
After an 18-month stop in Stockholm, the company tapped Joe in March 2001 to run its North American business from Minneapolis. So for the third time in six years, the couple — along with their children, who were 6 and 8 at the time — packed their bags and headed to a new, unfamiliar land.