Such a fantastic time was had yesterday at the 2015 Orange County Business Journal’s Family Owned Business Awards. Chelsey and I have an affinity not only with small business owners but with family-owned businesses, as well, probably because our father has owned his own business since the early 1990s.
According to the Conway Center for Family Business, family-owned businesses account for 50% of the U.S. gross domestic product and makeup approximately 80% of all business enterprise. The 2015 Edelman TrustBarometer study found that consumers trust family businesses 30% more than they trust large corporations (at least in the industrialized world).
Google the phrase “family businesses” and you’ll find an interesting assortment of articles spanning topics from succession planning to the “and daughter” evolution of family businesses. It seems yesterday’s luncheon was more timely than ever this year.
With a smaller, more intimate crowd than last month’s Women in Business luncheon, the Family Owned Business Awards brought together more than 275 members of the Orange County Business community—to announce and celebrate 52 nominees and 5 special award recipients (listed here).
Producer, director and documentary filmmaker Greg MacGillivray delivered an interesting and entertaining keynote presentation—through imagery and film clips he took the audience on several of his most interesting and precarious adventures as he created and produced nearly 40 documentary films, including the highest-grossing IMAX Theatre film ever produced, Everest (1998).
A past Orange County Business Journal Family Owned Business award winner, his Laguna Beach-based company, MacGillivray Freeman Films, is the first documentary film company to reach the one billion dollar mark at the box office. Fueled by passion? I think so.
“Try to do something in your life that you really enjoy—so that you don’t ever have to work a day in your life,” said MacGillivray. “My kids now work with me (Shaun and Meghan) … my wife (Barbara) works with me—it’s just a fantastic life that I’ve been able to have, here in Orange County, and I don’t think I could’ve done this anywhere else.”
One of the coolest lessons (no pun intended) MacGillivray shared came from the time he was searching for a partner for his film, Everest. He just couldn’t get anyone to invest in the project, and it turned out to be the luckiest stroke of his life.
“The film went on to make millions of millions of dollars and it set our company up to be very secure and sound and enabled us to start our philanthropic work—our foundation devoted to the oceans of the world (One World One Ocean),” recounts MacGillivray.
A beautiful picture of how God works all things together for the good of those who love Him—life’s biggest frustrations can turn into the most amazing blessings, moments of triumph and opportunity.
The other really memorable takeaway from MacGillivray’s keynote, came during the pursuit and documentation of the oh-so-rare leatherback sea turtle, and its process of laying eggs. I highly recommend you watch the video, below.
“Every scientist we talked to said, ‘don’t even try it.”
To capture this precious footage, MacGillivray + crew had to get zodiac (inflatable boats) to land on the beach, hike hundreds of pieces of heavy camera equipment along that beach, cross a crocodile-filled river to get to a one-room ranger’s shack—all in 98 degree heat in the middle of nowhere. The hope was that they would be there—with a 350-pound IMAX camera—when/if a leatherback turtle came to shore (after a 6,000-mile journey) to lay her eggs.
“This is the same beach that they, themselves, were born on,” shares MacGillivray. “At one o’clock in the morning we got the word.” And after two and one-half hours of filming, not only did the team conquer what they set out to achieve, but they had an incredible sense of accomplishment.
There aren’t many people who would go to these lengths to document a process of this nature. The persistence, care and tenacity it takes to tackle a challenge of this magnitude are rare qualities, indeed.
I could go on and on about MacGillivray and his wonderful companies and foundations. To learn more about his efforts to give back to the world’s ocean, and to educate people (on land) about the importance of ocean health, please find and follow the following social media profiles and do something today to help promote one of their upcoming projects: @1World1Ocean on Twitter, @IMAXGreg on Twitter, @MacFreeFilm on Twitter, MacGillivray Freeman on YouTube, One World One Ocean on YouTube, and One World One Ocean on Facebook.
Rochelle Veturis Coles is Chief Executive Officer, Public Relations & New Media Strategist at Sister Act Media. Her consultancy works with mission-focused brands to amplify their impact in the “socialmediasphere.” Last year alone, she worked with more than 200 newsprint, television, and online media outlets. Named a “Twitter Powerhouse” by the Huffington Post, Rochelle has been featured on MSNBC’s Your Business, KTLA5, OC Family, OC Metro Business, Orange County Business Journal, and Orange County Register, to name a few.