The New “Face” of Family Business

Photo: Julie Shuford Photography

From Family Business to Female Business

Any time I hear the phrase “Family Business” uttered aloud, the theme song to ‘The Godfather’ soundtrack slowly starts to flood my ears; the violins getting louder and louder with piercing crescendo. Visions of professionally handsome, mustachioed men come to light. These immaculately tailored three-piece suit shadows clutter the room with the air of masculinity and musk. My mind echos the concepts of old world tradition while my nostrils fill with sweet wafts of al dente spaghetti drenched in red sauce.

Fast forward from the 1950s to modern day 2019.

From Boys Club to Girl Power

“Family Business” isn’t the staunch, rough and tumble boys club of yesteryear! Who runs the world? Girls! Fathers passing down “the business” to their sons has been replaced with mothers bringing up their daughters to be self-assured women who follow no pre-laid, familial path. Instead, they blaze their own trails. Still steeped in tradition, the modern day family business looks less like well-coiffed men talking business over spaghetti and more like fashionable women in sleek jumpsuits juggling successful self-made empires. These girl-bosses value their own worth, care for their family, yes – getting spaghetti on the table for dinner (gluten-free, of course). All while exuding a Don Vito Corleone, kiss-that-ring, kind of confidence.

Getting Real

Our “Family Business” is now a “Female Business“. Women no longer need permission to continue but rather have carte-blanche to kick ass and take names! So where does all my girl power and pizazz come from? I grew up the daughter of a single mother, suddenly widowed in her early 40s with two very small children to raise. For most of my childhood and, quite honestly, a good part of my adulthood, I never quite understood why my friends had two parents. It seemed frivolous.

My Mother did everything that two parents did and more. She held down multiple jobs, picked us up from school and made dinner every night. She drove us to every play date and attended every school function without exception. My mother was the first one up in the morning to make lunches. She was last one waiting up at night. So why exactly did other kids need two? To me, there was (and still is) no stronger, more capable, and resilient woman than my mother. I didn’t have a Godfather but I did have one hell of a Mother!

I’m sharing this with you because, for me, my “Family Business” was always a “Female Business”. I wasn’t taught to play like a girl. I was taught to win like a champion. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that family business has anything to do with the mafia. It does overlap with the sense of tradition and passing down of strength, knowledge, and confidence from one generation to the next.

Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! – Auntie Mame

The power that today’s woman has is our universal “Family Business”. It needs to be nurtured, taught, and cultivated, built up from one generation to the next. One wrong move and that meatball will slide right back down to the bottom of the spaghetti bowl.

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