Celebrating FBN-I’s 25th Anniversary in Paris
Amidst an array of hors d’oeuvres, French culture, and breathtaking Parisian sights, Family Business Network chapters from around the world came together for FBN-I’s 25th Anniversary in Paris this past week. Accompanied by FBC’s Membership Director Anne Smart, FBC Board Member Mary Yeager, and a few other FBC members, the families of the French chapter opened their doors to the members from across the world. Iconic brands such as Hermes, Chopard, Cartier, and Taittinger shared their family business stories of leadership, legacy, and sustainability.
While the event emphasized the significance of promoting a sustainable future and adjusting our business strategies to maintain a healthier environment, it is also important to recognize how sustainability can benefit the family business itself. For instance, the understanding and appreciation of family business legacy brings an obligation to support and promote a sustainable future in all that we do. In doing so, we will be able to not only sustain our own generation, but all those that follow us. Former Vice President and environmentalist Al Gore spoke to Now Gens and Next Gens on the importance of sustainability during the Gala Dinner held at Château de Versailles, reminding them that a sustainable business model requires frequent communication within the family business.
Mary Yeager remarked that this particular event was unforgettable. The Gala Dinner at Versailles was an “amazing setting” full of hundreds of years of French history and culture. Mary has attended FBN-I Summits for years, and primarily began to attend them through her father’s influence, who believed these international events offered valuable insights on European family businesses through their long histories and experience with leadership and conflict resolution within a family business setting. “What you learn [at FBN-I events] is incomparable.” Mary particularly esteems the rare opportunity to connect with families from around the globe–from Columbia, India, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Mary learned that many American family businesses lack the family-ownership longevity that is prevalent in so many European family businesses when she reconnected with French family business owner Pierre Taittinger, who inspired Mary with his history of repurchasing his family’s business from a private investment firm. Mary had been moved by the Taittinger family business story at an earlier FBN-I event, and was interested to see how they were doing. After a tour of his business, Pierre Taittinger met with the group for an informal chat and exchange of views, which was followed by a memorable formal luncheon overlooking the Taittinger family’s vineyards.
A major highlight of the event was the opportunity to meet and exchange with peers from iconic family businesses, such as Chanel, Cartier, Houles, and Sisley. A speaker from Comité Colbert, an association whose purpose is to preserve French style in order to ensure business growth of French companies, spoke about the importance of not only maintaining the legacy of the family business, but also the legacy behind the work and content produced. The speaker referenced former CMO of Procter & Gamble, Jim Stangel, who once spoke about sustainability and how working toward a common goal will pay off for your family business, and for your family itself.
Among promoting family business growth through sustainability, the summit brought together family businesses to recognize FBN-I as an organization that celebrates family businesses and facilitates communication and the development of connections between family businesses from around the world.
Special thanks to FBN-I for a great event, and to Anne Smart and Mary Yeager for providing additional highlights.
How can we maintain sustainability within our family business practices while keeping our family’s vision?
What is your family doing to reach a greater level of sustainability within your family business?