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May 5, 201510:47 AMThe Gray Area

with Donna Gray

Time again for the Wisconsin Family Business of the Year awards

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Hearing the award winners’ stories at the awards dinner is always inspirational, regardless of whether you’re running or working in a family-owned company. When the family name is on the business’ door, that’s something to be valued. It’s also something to be protected. 

Not too long ago I was at a luncheon, seated next to a woman who carped and complained through the entire hour-and-a-half program. She was feeling unhappy and unappreciated in her position (a very high-status job), and kept insisting that I was so much better off since I own a family business and I’m “my own boss.” I kept my laughter in check as I thought of all the times I’ve heard things like this over nearly 40 years.

It really makes me wonder why people would imagine things are rosy all the time when you own or manage a family-owned company. Some people actually must believe we lead idyllic lives, rolling in dough, going to work when we feel like it, leaving for long lunches every day, asking the maid service to do the laundry and rake the yard before they leave –– oh, yeah! The truth is, family business owners only have to work half days –– any 12 hours they want.

The annual Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Awards go to companies that inspire and that set examples for the rest of us. Hearing their stories, you can tell they’re not taking the day off when the sun is shining and the fish are biting.

Congratulations to all the nominees. I can’t wait to hear your stories.

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