My greatest achievement are my children

I’m privileged to work with two of my daughters in our family business. It’s a joy and they represent for me all that’s brilliant in being able to bring on the next generation and see them flourish. For me, transition of the business to Amalia and Olympia wasn’t easy, but I admired their passion to take the business to a new level I could only dream of. Amalia presented a strategy for the future that she is excited about and will transform us into a global brand. It’s one thing to have an idea, its another to make it happen. I believe in ‘us’ and am excited at what the future holds in store for the whole team and for Family Businesses Leaders everywhere.

I often talk about how important legacy is and that I care that women, as well as men, should build their legacy so that future generations can benefit, know their roots and be proud to be part of something worthwhile. I thought I’d share with you Amalia and Olympia’s touching and unexpected speech about their thoughts on the life of this crazy woman they call ‘mum’. All I can say is that I wish from the heart that every Family Business around the world could experience what I experienced that night. There is nothing in this world better than to be appreciated by your children. OMGA. Being a parent and furthermore setting up in business with your kids, doesn’t come with a handbook. We just dive right in and go with the gut, trusting, teaching, leading, supporting, loving, believing.

10 years ago, our founder and mum, Anita Brightley-Hodges took a gamble. When we started, nobody took family businesses seriously. They were the poor relation in the business world, perceived to just be small corner shops and old fashioned companies. But I think what we’ve seen here tonight has blown all of that out of the water. Without Anita’s belief, vision and absolutely dedication to flying the flag for Family Firms, these Awards, this community here tonight, simply wouldn’t exist.

She has spent the last decade turning up to every event, meeting, conference – in fact she’ll go to the opening of an envelope if it means she can tell everyone in the room about the importance of Family-owned Businesses! Anita has made it her mission to meet some of the country’s most inspiring leaders of family firms – to learn from them and bring their experience back to share with our community.

As well as these incredible National Awards, Anita is also the brainchild behind The National Family Business Conference. An annual event in London where leaders of Family Firms can meet, share and learn from each other. We all know that being in business with your family can be ‘challenging’ to put it politely! So how amazing is it that, thanks to Anita, there’s a place we can all meet together and support each other?

On top of that, Anita has made it her mission to get as much airtime and coverage for Family Firms as possible. Speaking at business, leadership and entrepreneurship events, featuring on webinars, podcasts, appearing on local TV and writing for the National press. In fact she has been voted one of the top 20 most influential business leaders in Kent. For Anita, all of this means that she’s flying the flag for Family Businesses and getting their voices heard.

Having heard all that, you’d think there wasn’t much time left for anything else….Wrong! Anita believes that in order to be a good business, your business must do good. That’s why she’s passionate about fundraising for amazing causes such as Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, Caudwell Children and of course Alzheimer’s Research UK. But Anita’s true legacy lies in the digging of 30 borehole drinking wells in Uganda through her ‘WellGood’ campaign which has literally saved thousands of lives and transformed communities in East Africa.

Since Anita founded these Awards 10 years ago…. We have celebrated over 1,200 finalists, honoured over 100 National Champions and helped to raise over £170,000 for charity.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’ll join me and the rest of the Family Business Place team in being upstanding for someone who has changed the face of Family Business and put them firmly on the map. Our final Special Recognition Award goes to the Founder and Chairman of Family Business Place and The National Family Business Awards ….

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