The Business of Family Businesses
Brea and I were lucky to be transplants in Vancouver last week, as we attended the Business Families Foundation (BFF) Family Matters Forum. It was a wet week. As one newspaper headline aptly put it “Vancouver is being pelted from a river in the sky”. We rented a cool Airbnb in Gastown and spent the week exploring the area, eating at amazing places (Nelson the Seagull, The Bird & The Beets, Chambar, the list goes on), and spending time on the UBC campus for the BFF Forum. We were asked to attend and speak on a panel; our topic – Women as Agents of Change.
Often referred to as the ‘invisible giants’ in entrepreneurial families, women have always played a crucial role in building relationships, guiding business decisions, and strengthening the family legacy. We are now in an era where their influence is becoming even more visible than ever before. With this growing exposure comes even greater influence and an opportunity for women to act as generators of socioeconomic wealth, bridging gaps in our homes, our communities, and even throughout global economies. In this session, three inspirational generations of women will discuss not only the evolution of this influence, but how they have identified where they can have the most impact.
It resonated with us how lucky we are to have a close family (both at home and work), the platform to stand on and speak about women; in general, in business, as leaders, community members, as wives, sisters, and daughters, and most importantly how lucky we are to have parents who believe in us. They encourage us to push through the tough times and celebrate the good ones. They bucked the norm when they asked two young women, myself and Dayna (and Brea a couple years later), to take over their legacy and run BRITT. We understood what a huge risk and emboldened statement they were making. They are agents of change, and they taught us well.
This journey has not been easy. There were times of fear, heartache, challenges, amazing opportunities and joyful celebrations. At the BFF Forum, we once again collided with the realization of how lucky Brea and I are to have our parents put their trust in us. We promise to be strong stewards of their legacy, to share our story with others to help discover their path and find their voice. As one of the other speakers at the BFF Forum shared in his talk ‘The rebel makes life more beautiful’.
In 2015 Business in Calgary heard our story and reached out to us to feature us on their cover and interview us for an article (which was pretty friggin’ cool.) The coolest part of the whole experience was reading the article after publication. The very last paragraph ended with a quote from our Dad: “The girls are sharp, focused, motivated high achievers and they have always stood on their own. Sure, I used to get comments about ‘how young they looked’ and ‘how can they possibly grasp the business?’ I used to reply: ‘just listen to them speak…and watch them succeed.’” The amount of emotion and gratitude we feel even reading that now is tough to capture with words.
We promise to continue to build up the women around us and share the legacy our parents created. Through our actions and words, we hope to encourage other women to rise and create conversations around living your truth, finding your voice, and believing in yourself. We deeply thank and acknowledge our parents, the many bold female leaders and the men who believed in them – they have paved the way for us, it’s on their shoulders that we stand.
They tried to bury us, they did not realize we were seeds.
~ Mexican Proverb
Water Street, Gas Town