It was a connective day of learning. 143 community leaders, business owners, and student entrepreneurs attended the New Roots/New Routes virtual family business conference on May 25th, 2021. This was the newest evolution of the USF Gellert Family Business Center’s Bi-Annual Convening, which has historically taken place in-person. Because of ongoing restrictions, the event went online. But meeting virtually only meant we were able to broaden our community further throughout the Bay. Chat rooms and sessions were filled with vibrant discussions and insights. Attendees had access to opening and closing conversations, virtual networking, and could choose two out of four breakout sessions to attend.
Strong family values, passion, and trust were themes that came up throughout the afternoon, alongside discussions about flexibility and the ability to pivot in difficult times.
Here are some insight-packed highlights from the day…
Resilience Through a Pandemic
Family businesses shared their stories of the creativity that carried them through more than a year of pandemic-era restrictions—like Red Bay Coffee, who made the decision to “meet people where they are” and brought coffee service directly to first responders at hospitals and to residents getting outside at Lake Merritt.
And Matt Horn of Horn Barbecue in Oakland, who spoke about the importance of sticking to his principles even as he changed the way he did business. When he realized that things were going to be tough, he kept his core values close as he asked the question, “Where do we go next?”
And many businesses felt the added strain of working from home or being forced into close quarters with their working family. Business owners shared what they learned from this experience. They stressed that when you work that closely with family, it’s important to respect them as professionals, maintain a work-life balance, and make space to connect outside of work-time.
Quotes to Think About
Some insights shared by speakers were truly memorable. Here are a few of our favorite quotes from the day…
“Find good people and stay out of their way, whether family or hired employees.” – Andrew Luong, Doorvest
“How do you pass on your dreams?” — Dorcia White, General Manager, Everett and Jones Barbeque
“Culture drives productivity. Never give up your identity for a dollar.” — Member of the Barulich Family, BiRite Foodservice
“Success stems from a strong family unit demonstrating respect and cooperation.” — Member of the Barulich Family, BiRite Foodservice
After the event, USF Family Business students shared what they learned…
“I think I learn to simplify my mind. Most of the entrepreneurs start with an idea that they are passionate and know well about, does not have to be a complicated one, and slowly build upon it.” — Kaitlyn Dong
“I learned that a successful business is similar to a successful and healthy relationship: there must be trust, honesty, and a dedication to the connection one makes with people in business.” — Grigori Sahakyan
“I learned that communication is so important for family business. For family business, it is easy for them to bring business stuff to home and it is easy for them to have argument. But people should have love to each other and remember the foundation of the company, which is love.” — Stella Liang
Award Winning Businesses
The evening ended with a special virtual wine tasting hosted by P. Harrel Wines and a ceremony to honor the 2021 Gellert Family Business Center Awardees.
This year’s winners were…
Miyako Old Fashion Ice Cream – Fillmore, Hospitality Category
Offering signature ice cream for more than 30 years under the ownership of Tom Bennett. USF students who studied Miyako were impressed with the company’s proud, long-lasting service to their neighborhood.
Mendel’s – Haight, General Category
Mendel’s sells art and craft supplies under the leadership of its third-generation owner Naomi Silverman, who hopes her son will someday take over the business. They’re proud of their proactive approach to generating job opportunities in the community.
The awards and ceremony were made possible by The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Foundation.
The People Who Made It Happen
USF Gellert Family Business Center would like to thank the many professionals who shared their time to make New Roots/New Routes a success.
A huge thank you to these event speakers, moderators, and partners…
Lu Barton, Red Bay Coffee
Gwendolyn Wright, SBDC
Grant Ruroede, A Slice of New York
Dorcia White, Everett and Jones Barbeque
Nina Moore, Everett and Jones Barbeque
Julia McCotter, Alliance For Community Development
Jennifer Davis, Ready for Next Advisory Group
Bill Barulich, BiRite Foodservice Distributors
Tom Maier, USF
Paula Harrell, P. Harrell Wines
Dean Charles Moses, USF School of Management
Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, President, University of San Francisco
Leonard Weingarten, Chair, Gellert Family Business Center Advisory Board
Susan Reynolds, Board Member, Gellert Family Business Center Advisory Board
Jesus Nava, Board Member, Gellert Family Business Center Advisory Board
Gene Seip, First Bank, & Board Member, Gellert Family Business Center Advisory Board
Jack Fitzpatrick, The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Foundation.
Brigette LeBlanc, SFAACC
Regina Davis, Regina Davis Consulting
Audree Jones-Taylor, Simply Re-Creating/Audree V. Jones-Taylor
And a job well done to the organizers who brought it all together…
Dr. Monika Hudson, USF
Aki Amai, USF
Lori Oates, BB Events
Shiela Locatelli Wallace, BB Events
Ersson Bartle, BB Events
We’ll be back!
We hope to see you at our next Bi-Annual Convening or virtual conference soon.
Until then, the best way to stay connected to the community and resources offered by the Gellert Family Business Center is by becoming a member. Learn more!