Family Business Thoughts Shared by Joan Fisk

 In Family Business Stories

Submitted by Rick BakerSpirited Leaders

JoanFiskJoan Fisk shared many personal stories with us at the October 22nd Centre for Family Business breakfast event.

Several of Joan’s comments and stories struck chords with the audience.

Joan was kind enough to let me share with you some excerpts from her presentation.

Joan’s grandfather, Edward Warnock, while in his early 40’s conscripted to support the Canadian Second World War effort in 1939. This point struck me because my grandfather, almost the same age, did the same thing…leaving his teenage children for 7 years. From time to time, we must pause to remember the war-courage and war-sacrifice recent generations have been spared.

In 1954: Joan’s father, James Adam Warnock, picked up the broken pieces of the family business and started over. Within less than 10 years, James Warnock’s life had changed from that of a privileged private-school graduate to a ‘broke’ husband with 4 young children…soon to be 6 young children. Joan’s story of her father’s dedication to re-building the family business is one of the most fascinating family business success stories I have heard. And, the way Joan told the story was laced with openness, respect, realism, tolerance, and love.

Joan’s words will show you what I mean…

“My father, as you have heard, was a true entrepreneur. He refused to give up when he was faced with the demise of his family business empire, and it was this unbending drive, energy and passion he passed on to his children.”

Joan also spoke about ‘change-for-the-better’, including the positive change confirmed by the roles women now serve in business…

“In previous generations, generally accepted business practices did not include taking a woman into the company. That was on a par with taking women to sea: bad luck at worst and a lot of trouble at best. As you heard in the history of the Warnock Family business there were no women successors in the first 4 generations.”

In 1978 Joan became the 5th-generation President of the family business, Tiger Brand Knitting Company Ltd.

And, Joan shared a touching father-daughter story about how that happened too.

Joan: Thank You for sharing  your family-business stories with CFFB members, sponsors, affiliates, guests, and friends.


Joan Fisk…samples from Joan’s bio

Pres & CEO, Greater K-W Chamber of Commerce, 2008-2010
VP International Women’s Forum, 2007-2010
Director – Wilfrid Laurier University, 2005-2010
Owner – Joan Fisk Designs, 2005-2010
Director – Gore Mutual Insurance, 2000-2010
President – Tiger Brand Knitting Company Ltd., 1978-2005

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