It was a lovely start to the spring season to pack our suitcases and head to Melbourne for our fifth attendance of the Family Business Australia conference. Being a family business ourselves, it was our accounting and advisory firm that originally recommended that we join Family Business Australia (FBA) and through that membership we have developed so many great relationships, and attended many wonderful events. Of those, the conference is always an annual calendar highlight.
This year was a record with just shy of 500 attendees, much to our delight after working with FBA to deliver the conference marketing strategy and branding for the Future Proofing your Family Enterprise themed event.
The calibre of both attendees and presenters is what makes the conference such a standout, and we enjoyed hearing from some amazing businesses such as Costa Group, Brown Family Wine Group, Ferguson Plarre, Ray White, Yellow Brick Road, Whole Kids, and KeepCup.
A highlight for us this year was the opportunity for Tiny Hunter to deliver a session on ‘Becoming Customer Obsessed‘. It’s a privilege to be amongst a great line-up of speakers and there’s nothing we love more than an opportunity to share our knowledge on how to build successful brands for the long term. Our session was followed by an interactive workshop so delegates could start applying the thinking to their own businesses.
Affectionately known by many as ‘the Logies of family business’ awards, the Forum in Melbourne was packed to the rafters for the family business night of nights. A huge congratulations to all the winners.
The conference concluded with two fantastic keynotes, the first was an interview with Gaetan de Dietrich and Catherine de Dietrich by Prof. Dr. Marc-Michael Bergfeld. The de Dietrich legend goes back 335 years and we heard amazing stories across time from their start in cannon balls, to their constant diversification… plus their ties with history such as mixing with French royalty to the French national anthem first ever being performed in their living room during the French Revolution.
The interview really epitomises what I love about family business – a wonderful mix of business and entrepreneurship but also deep authenticity, intimacy and candidness.
Prof. Dr. Marc-Michael Bergfeld did a superb job in guiding the conversation from which there were many takeaways:
The incredibly successful Mark Bouris spoke to the topic ‘How Prepared are you for the Challenges the Future Will Bring?’. It was the final talk of the conference and packed full of interesting personal experiences – like what it’s like to deal with an intimidating Kerry Packer – and from those experiences a set of principles to run your business by. A densely packed session filled with immediately applicable, no nonsense advice.
When working together, Mark met with Kerry monthly and from that experience he has developed a set of questions, a ‘playbook’ that he refers to monthly. In Mark’s words ‘we need strict and rigid discipline to overcome the challenges we face in business’.
The conference wrapped with the grand finale dinner. A spectacular event with an incredible ‘The Greatest Showman’ performance of dancers, acrobatics and jugglers. One of my favourite things about the Family Business Conference is that this crowd just loves having a great time. It’s always such a wonderful reunion, businesses big and small, people young and old… having a drink, sharing laughs, swapping stories and jumping at any chance to hit the dance floor.
FBA you have created something very special, a joyful and generous sense of belonging.