July/August 2021

  • July/August 2021

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In this issue

  • Deeply Rooted

    For most visitors to the Napa Valley, Trefethen Family Winery is the welcome wagon, the first winery they see as they drive north from San Francisco and points beyond.

    Trefethen Vineyards

    Brennan's: Old Is the New New

    Ask Ralph Brennan — scion of a legendary New Orleans restaurant family and protector of the Brennan family name — what keeps him up at night, and he will reference a familial saying.

    “My Aunt Adelaide had a phrase: ‘Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations,’ ” Brennan says. “Sometimes you can blow it. You see that a lot in family businesses, so if you want to keep it a family business, you have to be thinking about the future and innovation and change.”

    Ralph Brennan's core values

    Ralph Brennan’s 5 Core Values (in his own words)

    1. Personal & Professional Growth

    “I want our team to be better a year from now than they are today. As they grow individually, we grow as a company.”

    2. Community & Social Responsibility

    8 emotional lessons of succession

    In 2012, our family business began a healthy succession process – but do not mistake “healthy” for “painless.” We did all the right things — planned, brought in outside advisers. However, while the emotions were expected, they were woefully underestimated. Succession is a mind game with opposing views from one generation to the next. Here’s what we learned about the emotional challenges that come with the process: 

    The family therapist is in: Building trust

    Building and sustaining relational trust can be complex and daunting. Trust-building is not just a novel team-building activity you do every couple of years. In this new era of post-pandemic recovery, it should be the highest priority for the entire family enterprise. In my work with family councils these past 12 months, I have seen extreme variations in family dynamics due to the convergence of the pandemic, social unrest and a rising generation of family members eager for empowerment and change. Relational trust issues have become front and center.

  • Leadership in 60 seconds

    These thoughts on leadership were contributed by participants, CEOs and board members during a networking event, called The Hub at the Transformational Women in Family Business conference.

    Know what you stand for

    This tidbit is all about living your values. Leaders know what they stand for, live it and communicate it.

    Tap someone on the shoulder

  • What does family business mean to you?

    As part of our feature story on the Trefethen family winery, we wanted to know more about their family dynamics. Members of the Trefethen family say they are usually on the same page when it comes to building and marketing their brand. We decided to see if they were correct. To do this, we asked Janet, John, Hailey and Lorenzo Trefethen to respond individually to the same set of questions. The results were nothing short of fascinating.

    What does ‘family business’ mean to you?


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