I have been blessed throughout the many chapters of my life. Some blessings were not apparent at the time, some blessings have been bittersweet, and some blessings have simply been well timed. All, however, have guided me through the chapters of my life including my next chapter which begins Monday.
In just a few short days, our family will be handing over ownership of ChizComm and joining Genius Brands International. Upon closing this transaction, our Executive will maintain leadership of the organization, reporting to our new parent company. I am excited to be joining Andy Heyward and the Genius Brands team and although I will no longer be my own boss, I will retain my entrepreneurial spirit.
This unexpected transaction took root only a few months ago, but in retrospect I can see that it shouldn’t have felt unexpected at all. My chapters and my blessings led me here.
As a young adult, I lost both of my parents and this profound loss made me internalize and aspire to the examples they set out and their ‘work hard, play hard’ values. Less than a decade later, with only pennies in my pocket and the support of my patient wife, I was blessed to be invited to join a small start-up by the name of Spin Master. In that chapter, blessings came in the form of mentorships, learnings, relationships, travel, promotions and professional growth. Along the way, I was blessed with support from my wise wife, four healthy children, a happy home, and cherished friends and family.
The next chapters of my professional journey did not start with a roadmap but guided me through a phenomenal path complete with struggles, milestones and celebrations. I earned my MBA from the school of life where the boardroom was my classroom, and my mentors were my professors. I learned that I have two eyes, two ears and one mouth so I should observe and listen twice as much as I speak. I also learned that business is about relationships and compromise, fair play lets us all win together, and that integrity and ethos keep you grounded. I learned the value of gut instinct layered with the discipline to listen to others and to ‘sleep on it’. And finally, I learned that I am no one without a team of players that teach, support and inspire each other.
These professional and personal learnings paid mass dividends as I opened the doors to ChizComm in 2013. As a first-time entrepreneur, I recruited my reluctant wife to be my business partner, and together we established a business through hard work, focus and passion. The business has grown to service hundreds of brands in the kids, family and lifestyle space through both ChizComm, as well as ChizComm Beacon Media, our media division, which was acquired in 2019, another blessing. Our family of employees are the true backbone of this company, demonstrating their client dedication, remarkable smarts and creativity, and collaborative approach every single day. I am proud of the respect they show each other, their commitment to client success and their ‘all hands-on deck’ attitude. Our family of clients, past and present, have all entrusted my team and I with their business, an honor and blessing for which I am forever grateful.
While I tease that my wife, Jennifer, reluctantly joined me on this path, the truth is that she has been my greatest blessing. Working with your spouse as a business partner is not an easy journey, but Jennifer‘s wisdom and vigor have defined our success. Our business partnership has been a tug of war, and I have never been happier to have the shorter end of the rope.
On February 1, 2021, my new chapter begins with a commitment to continuing to strengthen ChizComm, now an independent subsidiary of a public company. I am committed to identifying synergistic growth opportunities for clients as they benefit from the capabilities of Genius Brands. I am committed to continuing to foster an expanded team that builds together, learns together and celebrates together. I am committed to applying my experience and knowledge to grow the powerhouse ecosystem that I envision for ChizComm and Genius Brands. I commit to endless laughter and imagination as I navigate through this next chapter. And I commit whole-heartedly to the people I come home to every night. My family. My blessing.
I wish you all continued health and success in 2021.