Listen to Margaret-Jean Mannix and Wanda Ferragamo outline their role as women in a family business as well as the challenges that come with it. It is important to realize that often times, the challenges a person perceives are greater than the challenges that are actually present. When joining the family business as women, it is beneficial to take ownership of the opportunities given.
So the challenges that I’ve faced as a woman shareholder in our group of companies is overcoming three generations of no women shareholders. In reflection I can’t think of a better opportunity to be able to really take ownership for all of the rules, regulations and thoughtfulness around how do shares get transferred for the future and even beyond us. We were given an opportunity to really write the rules for the endowment of our foundation and so it really required a different kind of governance, it required a different kind of management, so to a certain degree, we’re almost re-writing the rules for what’s the new norm in our family.
The shares, they have the same shares, the company belongs to all six of them, not to me, not to me, I don’t have not one single share. And I don’t mind at all. I don’t work for the shares, I work because of ideas of my husband and children.
The advice I would impart and I would also give this to many next generation members, is that the challenges you perceive are not necessarily the challenges that are really there before you. And in that I mean, as I reflect over my experiences, it’s my perceptions about reality that were my biggest hurdles. Keep in mind that no matter what you do, you’re proving capability, thoughtfulness, stewardship, and I think alignment with the values and culture of your family.