According to its managing director, Marina von Lison, “Elite Club World is an international consortium of outstanding personalities (celebrities, VIPs, philanthropists, famous artists, business magnates and anyone who has a good heart and willingness to help others). This is a pact that pursues a distinct charitable mission — bringing together kind-hearted and motivated people from different life and cultural backgrounds, mutually benefitting from common ideas, expertise and experience.”
HelloMonaco: How did you come up with the idea of creating Elite Club World? What was its purpose?
Marina von Lison: The history of Elite Club World as a prestigious business community, patron of the Holy St. Stanislaus Order, dates back to 2010. Back then, my father-in-law, Chevalier Thaddeus Baron von Lison, Prior of the St. Stanislaus Order in Germany, came up with the concept of this club for outstanding personalities.
Historically, The Order of St. Stanislaus was founded on May 8, 1765 by the Polish King Stanislav II, August Poniatowski. Its chevaliers could thus pledge special loyalty to the Monarch and the state, engaging in charity missions. The Order only counted some 100 members in total. Each one of them had to prove his noble origin.
The idea of our club is supporting the same values. I am very proud for my father-in-law and husband to belong to an Italian medieval noble family with a rich past. This imposes chivalry, success and a life full of dignity.
The concept of our business community is therefore a global association of members with a chivalrous attitude, ready to address social problems of our time, selflessly contributing to their solution. Elite Club World includes celebrities, VIPs, philanthropists, artists, business tycoons and just anyone who has a good heart, willing to help others in a most devoted way.
HM: What is the Club’s mission and philosophy?
MvL: Elite Club World is a community bringing together members from all over the world. After all, big business is all about holding meetings in different cities and countries, with partners of various nationalities and religions.
We undertake to provide real opportunities for international collaboration and partnership with some of the most successful business people, VIPs, artists, writers, diplomats and industry leaders. Our mission is therefore creating an exclusive business club for highly professional, successful and independent people. We give them a chance of bringing their business to the next level through networking and becoming world-class entrepreneurs, respecting the highest standards of integrity.
HM: What kind of role do you play in the Club today? What are your responsibilities?
MvL: Elite Club World is owned by the von Lison family, so my husband and I don’t really have a strict split in responsibility. We love what we do and are happy to be bringing together kind-hearted and motivated business people from different backgrounds and cultures.
One of the key aspects is a transparent and stable relationship between the elite club members, based on absolute trust. This can only be achieved through constantly keeping in touch with our existing and future partners.
To be honest, we do not have time off at weekends and holidays. Most of the time, we work 24/7 to address all the current and potential members’ requests. I, therefore, do not really have a standard daily routine either.
This morning, for example, I started with introductory phone calls for our potential members. Two hours later, I was working with the team on our Elite Club annual Magazine which I am editing. After that, I performed a number of administrative tasks. As for the afternoon, I always try to devote it to my son, spending as much time with him as I possibly can. Kids are growing up so fast. We naturally have a team providing office support, but the final decisions are taken by my husband and myself.
HM: What is the way to join the Club?
MvL: The Elite Club World membership may be requested, following the club management’s invitation or a member’s recommendation. We provide equal rights to members and their guests and friends. The Elite Club World, however, reserves the right to decide on the final admission. You may become a member anywhere in the world, paying an annual fee. It is valid for 12 months based on the time of the year and extended individually upon your own decision.
HM: The annual ceremony of the Stanislaus Order pledge was held in December. How was it established and what kind of achievements does it recognize? What is the history of this award?
MvL: This ancient knightly Order goes back more than 250 years. It was established by the Polish King Stanisław-August Poniatowski in 1765. In 1831 it was classed among the Russian Empire orders, passing under the ownership of the Imperial Romanov House. Its motto is “Praemiando incitat” (“encourages by rewarding”). After the 1917 Revolution and the execution of the last Russian Emperor and the Order’s last Grand Meister, Nicholas II, it fell into oblivion. The Order has, however, risen from the ashes, like Phoenix, after the Soviet Union’s collapse. Historically, after the February Revolution of 1917, the Provisional Government kept the old Order insignia almost intact, only removing the imperial crowns. In the early 20th century, the order counted three special insignia (“degrees”) which were awarded for both military and civil achievements. It’s different “degrees” are distinguished by sash combinations, bearing various cross widths, sizes and a star worn in a certain way depending on the occasion.
Nowadays, it is an international charity organization, patronized by the Elite Club World and counting some 2500 members!
The annual Dedication Ceremony was held on December 4, 2021 at the Sacré-Cœur Church on the French Riviera. Traditionnally, the members were belted by the sword and awarded a golden order of the 3rd degree.
For a bit of history, the outstanding Russian poet and Lieutenant of the Tenga Infantry Regiment, Mikhail Lermontov, was actually once awarded the St. Stanislav Order of the 3rd degree. It recognized his courage at the battle of Valerik on July 11, 1840, during the Chechen campaign of General Apollon Galafeev, one of the major episodes of the 1817–64 Caucasian War.
HM: Could you tell us some words about the Club’s charity projects. How and when did the idea of the annual charity gala first come about?
MvL: Being part of a closed business community traditionally brings a number of privileges. First of all, this is an opportunity to socialize with your peers, establish the right contacts, hold both business and informal meetings. It also entitles you to a number of exclusive sports and cultural events, invitations and discounts through our carefully selected partner network.
Our Charity Gala Dinner in Monte-Carlo is the key event, held annually for the past 8 years. People love Monaco, the beautiful love story of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly, its luxury and many business opportunities. The Principality’s atmosphere is favourable for bringing together businessmen from different industries and nationalities, proudly bearing the Elite Club World membership.
On December 5, 2021, our Charity Gala Dinner was held at the legendary Hermitage Monte-Carlo Hotel, bringing together some 130 guests from all over the world. Even covid restrictions introduced just a couple of days before did not get in the way of our plans. We were delighted and pleasantly surprised to welcome so many of our club members and guests who purchased the tickets. Undiscouraged by traveling restrictions, they shared that celebration with us, generously donating to the “Cradle of love” project to help orphans in Tanzania.
Our club members and guests truly bonded over that special evening, establishing a business cooperation and setting common goals. In this day and age, it is indeed quite challenging to meet trustworthy, like-minded people and partners. We are happy to be giving our members an opportunity of creating and expanding their businesses.
HM: How do you make a decision which charity cause to support? How much did you raise during the last gala and how will these funds be distributed?
MvL: The Elite Club World has long supported and raised funds for the “Nature Heart Foundation”, purchasing state-of-the-art medical equipment, funding mild and safe treatments for children and training the clinical staff to provide optimal care to the hospital’s young patients.
This year, my husband Daniel and I have met Maya and Nico Curman in Austria, supporting and collecting donations for the “Cradle of love” charity project. This is an orphanage in Tanzania looking after abandoned babies, children in need (suffering from malnutrition or poorly cared for) and orphans having lost their mother during or after childbirth. When a mother dies, the families are often unable to provide the newborn with the food he or she needs. They just do not have the money to ensure the child’s welfare. The “Cradle of love” gives these children a temporary new home, looking after the newborns up to the age of three.
I must admit that the pandemic has greatly affected our club’s activities in terms of being able to hold various events. We were forced to cancel quite a few which, sadly, has also upset our charity projects. During the entire period in 2021, we have only raised 45,000 euros for certain charities. This is quite a good result, however, given the context of a raging pandemic. Sadly, due to Covid restrictions, we were not allowed to hold the auction during our gala dinner in Monaco. All the Tombola proceeds, however, the total of 10,000 euros, were allocated to help the orphans in Tanzania. In the new year 2022, we are hoping to catch up on the missed opportunities and raise substantial donations through the efforts of all the Elite community members.