When three executives from some of Sacramento’s most reputable businesses are on one stage, you can be sure they will attract a full house. At the Fall 2018 Family Business Forum, Rise to Leadership in the Family Business, we were pleased to welcome Allison Otto of Otto Construction, Dina Kimble of Royal Electric and Shawn Devlin from River City Bank who each discussed their backgrounds, journeys to leadership, balancing work with other responsibilities and challenges they face as they relate to family dynamics in their businesses. The caliber of the panel was striking; all three women have been recognized by local and regional business and civic organizations for their leadership skills, community service and success in business.  Moderated by human resources consultant Kim Silvers, the panel enthralled the audience of FBC members and guests with their tales from the trenches, stories that can resonate with all generations in the family business.

The morning panel (from left to right): Dina Kimble, Allison Otto, Shawn Devlin and Kim Silvers.

The women described significant moments during their young adulthood and key turning points that launched their careers and had insightful advice for both women and men rising to leadership in their own businesses:

  • Mentorship: One panelist revealed that a college professor redirected her to a career path that would utilize her natural talents for business and leadership.  Whether a parent, professor or colleague, it’s important to connect with someone who can instill confidence and offer objective advice while having your best interest at heart.
  • Use your eyes and ears: Another panelist shared memories from her teenage years working in the tool room of her family business.  She watched her father interact with employees and learned first-hand how to take care of the company.  Every situation can impart wisdom if you’re willing to learn.
  • Challenges are unavoidable: In leadership, it’s inevitable that situations requiring daunting decisions will come along.  A panelist was faced with difficult choices after the sudden death of her father.  By relying on those with experience to provide guidance and, with practical consideration, she made tough calls with confidence.

Closing speaker Lizbeth West (center) with program chairs Maggie Bender-Johnson (left) and Pat Lewis (right).

The lunch session featured Lizbeth West, shareholder and labor law expert with Weintraub Tobin an FBC Technical Advisor Member.  Ms. West educated the audience on legislation recently signed by Governor Brown.  In the wake of #MeToo and recent headlines, it’s more important than ever that business owners know what is required to protect themselves and their employees from harassment and discrimination.

FBC’s Family Business Forums are half-day networking events that feature timely topics that pertain to the specific challenges faced by family businesses.

Thank you to the table facilitators (from left to right): Trevor Kern, Justin Horner, Dave Boyce, Gina Lera, Steve Bender, Amber Holwell, Nancy Gilfillan, Tyler Deary, Todd Bollenbach, Pat Lewis, Maggie Bender, Shawn McElmoyl.

View all event photos here.


Photos by: Riverview Media/Tia Gemmell