“Don’t ruin Thanksgiving dinner.” That’s the Lynn family mandate passed down from my grandmother.
This simple directive reminds us that working with and for family is not just business; it’s personal. We’re family first, with other families depending on our business decisions every day. And that’s a responsibility we take seriously.
With that charge in mind, I didn’t step lightly into the family business. My 15 years in corporate America, working for major brands such as Sonoco and Campbell’s equipped me with transferrable skills and tools needed to run a business. Yet, my opportunities were limited. Launching new products, rising through the ranks and working with some talented and amazing people was great, but my impact was limited. Ultimately, my tombstone would not read: “Adrienne was the best engineer we’ve ever had, thanks for this product launch!” But the family business offered me leadership on a broader scope: touching more areas of strategy, contracts, IT, finance, etc. But most importantly, it offered endless opportunities to leave a legacy.
So, when relocating closer to home became an option, I not only moved geographically, I moved professionally. I carefully strategized with my family as making this transition would prove challenging for everyone involved. Succession planning for family business is critical, and there’s no road map on HOW to do it. It’s a deliberate, proactive and continuous process. We’ve worked hard on the succession plan going from a tricycle to a bike, and eventually to a car.
Along the way I’ve discovered that while corporate may shut down for the day, entrepreneurship remains open 24/7. I find myself thinking about ENVIRO almost all day every day. I’ve also learned that all of my corporate skills did not transfer directly to my new career with ENVIRO. The business models are different, and the people are different, so it wasn’t an apples-to-apples switch. But, I’ve been able to use my experience to balance with the family business model.
I’ve also acknowledged that there’s only one Dr. Lynn, so I was not trying to replace him or fill his shoes. Krystal, Bryan and I have our unique personalities and talents that we bring to ENVIRO, and we’re building a team that believes in the company’s vision and future. Dr. Lynn provides us with his rich history, advice and knowledge, and we work together to continue growing the company. Like any business, ENVIRO has its ups, downs and challenges; but our goal is to build upon the amazing foundation my father has established.
Working with family in this capacity is truly a blessing.
LEARN | LEAD | SUCCEED