Tampa Bay businesswomen talk about working with their dads.
Working in business with your father can be complicated — and fun. I know, because I work with my father, Thomas L. duPont, on this very magazine, duPont Registry Tampa Bay. In honor of Father’s Day, I reached out to local women in father/daughter businesses and asked them how their partnerships work and their personalities mesh. The following are excerpts from their answers.
Lauren Thomas Compton
Principal, Thomas Financial Group (Life insurance solutions for affluent individuals and families)
Lauren’s Father: Rick Thomas, President/CEO
We’re both detail-oriented numbers people, both intense. When I joined the firm, Rick and his team had been doing things the same way for many years, and I came in with all new ideas of how things should be done. That didn’t go over so well at the beginning, but as time went by and I was able to prove my worth, Rick became open to new ideas. At the end of the day, we both have a lot of respect for the other, and we want the same objectives for our business. …What I enjoy most about working with him is calling on our family business clients together throughout the country. The senior generation appreciates our multi-generational approach, and the younger generation feels good knowing there is a plan to help their business continue down the line.
Creative Director, Botanica International Design Studio (Family-owned company specializing in wedding and event design, floral, decor and rentals for over 30 years)
Zoë’s Father: Ian Prosser, Owner
At times I feel like our brains are one and the same. We can be sitting in a meeting and literally know what the other person is about to say before they say it. My dad is a creative force, and he brings more creativity out of me, while I help pull more attention to detail and organization out of him. We have a great understanding of one another and our individual idiosyncrasies. …We work on incredible events and are fortunate to have some really amazing opportunities, but at the end of the day, if the world sees even just a sliver of my dad’s work ethic and respect and appreciation for our employees and the people that we work with in me, then I know I have succeeded.
Manager, Flammer Ford (Family-owned Ford dealership in business since 1964)
Meghan’s Father: Jim Flammer, Owner
We have very similar personalities, so sometimes it results in passionate disagreements and sometimes it results in amazing ideas and projects, but we also don’t hold onto things. So after the disagreement we walk away and he’ll ask, “Want to have dinner tonight?!” And when we agree on an idea we celebrate together! …The thing I love most is being able to learn and grow from all the wisdom my dad has accumulated over the years and to carry on the legacy my grandpa started some 54 years ago. Working with family has its challenges, but if you’re lucky the joy and positives that come from it far outweigh the bad. My dad is my biggest encourager and he’s also the one who challenges me the most to grow in my leadership skills, instilling in me the tools necessary to continue this family business for generations to come!
CEO, PAR, Inc. (A U.S.-based, family-owned company providing insights in the areas of mental health, learning, career guidance and human performance)
Kristin’s Father: R. Bob Smith III, Executive Chairman/Founder
As any family business can relate to, working with family has its own set of complexities as part of the journey. My father and I work very well together — we have many similar qualities that complement one another. He did an exceptional job preparing the company (and me) for the transition which occurred two years ago. He is a great listener and someone who provides me with support and encouragement when I most need it. We have a great appreciation for one another. The father-daughter relationship is already a special one. I feel especially blessed to be able to carry that into my professional life and having the opportunity to work with my father. He is not only a wonderful mentor and coach, but such a great person. I have learned so much from him.
Alison Howard D.O.
Physician, Anona Medical Center (A small, private family practice made up of Drs. Keweshan, Patterson, and Howard as well as eight staff members. Dr. Keweshan moved his family from PA in 1979 to join Anona and has been practicing medicine here ever since).
Alison’s Father: William Keweshan D.O., Physician
I think my father’s wisdom and years of experience complement my youth and innovation perfectly. Along with Chris Patterson, we all get along very well and love to laugh and tell funny stories and have a good time while maintaining compassionate care for our patients. …I appreciate my father so much because he was the reason why I went into medicine and I am so happy doing what I am doing. I remember growing up I would follow him around during his hospital and nursing home rounds and loved meeting all of his patients. We would sometimes have elderly patients over for Thanksgiving dinner…I knew my father was making a difference in their lives even if they were just a little less lonely, and I knew I wanted to be just like him.
Managing Partner, Dimmitt Chevrolet (Family-owned auto dealership serving Tampa Bay for 95 years)
Liz’s Father: Lawrence Dimmitt, President/Chairman
It’s a blessing and an honor to get to work with my father at Dimmitt Chevrolet. Dad is an incredible people person who truly enjoys talking with everyone and letting them know they are special. He and I work well together — I provide the push for new technologies and innovation, while his experience and wisdom are the foundation of all our decision-making. He is very skilled at asking that one poignant question that fuels our team’s breakthroughs and understanding. And he’ll be the first to tell you that we’re always hiring and there is a Chevy for everyone!
Sales Manager and Community Relations, duPont REGISTRY Tampa Bay (Family-owned media company)
Molly’s Father: Thomas L. duPont, Publisher/CEO
Working for my Dad is not something I take lightly or for granted. One of my favorite parts is that we share an office — well, my office is his conference room. So literally most cups of coffee, iPhone calls and conversations pass back and forth between the two rooms. I love hearing people stop in to say hi. Dad’s calm mantra of “Act, don’t react” has earned him the respect of an untold number of great people, and every day I try harder to be that way. Funniest thing? One time I tried calling him Tom instead of Dad, as I wanted to appear more professional. He didn’t answer — because he didn’t think I was talking to him.
President, FrankCrum Staffing (Founded in Clearwater in 1981 and now part of a family of FrankCrum businesses offering professional employment services)
Haley’s father: Frank Crum, Jr., CEO
My Dad is still active in all businesses on a daily basis, and my brother and I are the third-generation owners. My dad and I work very well together. I get to see the side of him that I didn’t see growing up, and that is his astute business mind. He is a dynamic man, full of passion, love and humility — and we always find the time to squeeze in a laugh. He would do anything for his family and takes great care of his work family as well. I couldn’t work for a better man!