Wealth: Keeping African American Business In The Family

This is my fourth consecutive year at Black Enterprise Entrepreneur’s Conference and each year I have a major take away. I just left Success: The Next Generation – Keeping Business in the Family session moderated by BE’s Carolyne V. Clarke, Host, Black Enterprise Business Report and what’s clear is that African Americans are still missing it BIG TIME with keeping it in the family and building a legacy because we won’t do some key things.

I had the privilege of spending a little time with each of these panelists and they are dynamos who have figured out how to build wealth – keeping it in the family

Next Generation Success Panel

Next Generation Success Panel(photo credit: Melissa Brown)

The panel (Left to Right):

Jessica A. Johnson, President & Principal, Johnson Security Bureau

Craig Wayans, Founder, Second Generation Entertainment

Carolyne V. Clarke, Moderator

Bill Perkins, CEO Bill Perkins Auto Group

In the skillful hands of Carolyne Clarke, each of the panelist shared their experiences of working with family, creating wealth and not allowing the lines to cross – a delicate but necessary skill set.

Bill Perkins has led the way for his children who are now joining him in business. He welcomes them but not mandating that they join him neither is he just handing anything to them.

“They have to earn their way. Learn the business just like everybody else and my son has to come to work everyday and earn my employees’ respect. Nothing will be given to him and he knows that I will fire him.” – Bill Perkins. He expects that in training his son in this way he will be even better prepared to run the business than he is.

Jessica A. Johnson took over her father’s male dominated business after his death and says, “People management is important when dealing with relatives just as with other employees. You have to deal with issues when they come up because they’ll be at Grandma’s for dinner with you.”

Jessica went on to share how you have to set standards in your business and not deviate regardless of family.  She’s so poised, professional and clearly powerful – don’t let the “pretty” fool ya!

Craig Wayans is from the comedic Wayans family we’ve all come to love.  There are a lot of Wayans’! It was interesting to hear how their family and business culture is the same – fun, yet productive. “We’re a very close family. We celebrate every birthday together and we laugh a lot, but we have a blueprint we follow when it’s time to work,” says Craig.

Craig also shared that some are better at some things than others and at the end of the day whomever is best at the job is who does it. He says you can’t always avoid hurt feelings, but at the end of the day they kiss and hug, express their love for each other and keep it moving.

If African Americans are going to build wealth we have to think legacy. We have to learn our chosen business and the business of maintaining relationships starting with family. We cannot neglect personal growth. It affects every area of our lives.


About Zara Green
Hi, I'm Zara Green, A "Do Better" Fanatic and Your Advocate...I'm glad you're here! As a personal growth Author and Speaker, who's Individuality & Resilience-Focused, I spark conversations that expand thinking, encourage effective & productive responses and produce better individual decision-making and better interpersonal communications in relationships. Growing Up with Zara because life is meant to be enjoyed ;-)

One Response to Wealth: Keeping African American Business In The Family

  1. Keisha Smith says:

    Awesome take away!!!!!

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