Family Leadership and Family Governance: What Comes First?

Chris Herschend
Chairman, Herschend Family Entertainment

Chris is a third-generation owner and Chair of Herschend Enterprises. He has served on Herschend’s majority-independent board of directors since 1997 and was elected Chair in November 2019. 

His career experience outside Herschend includes The Coca-Cola Company, Cox Communications, the direct investment arm of a private family office, and the leveraged buyout & subsequent sale of an operating company. Chris earned his BA from Emory University and later his MBA from Emory’s Goizueta Business School and has completed (and lectured in) executive education programs at Northwestern University’s  John L Ward Center for Family Enterprises at Kellogg.

Chris is co-founder of Elmwood Management, a private investment company. He also serves as an independent director of E. Ritter & Company and at The Wonder Project, as a Trustee of the Ida and Cason Callaway Foundation, and as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Whitefield Academy. He is a past chair of the YPO (Young Presidents Organization) Global Family Business Network. 

 

 Kirby Rosplock

Welcome to the Tamarind Learning podcast. I am your host, Dr. Kirby Roplock, and today we are talking to Chris Herschend. Now, Chris plays a pretty important role in his family, and we're going to talk a lot more about his family enterprise, Herschend Family Entertainment. But our focus today is on preparing family leaders and the role of family governance and which comes first? Is it family governance to set up a curriculum and design for grooming leaders, or is it really family leaders emerging and family governance sort of falling into check? So, Chris, welcome. So great to have you here. Can't wait to learn a little bit more about you, your family, and Herschend Family Entertainment. Can you tell us more?

 

Chris Herschend

Yeah. Cool. I'm Chris. My wife and kids, Ashley and four kids, think I'm incredible. No, I don't know that that's true. But I am one of 67 family members. I'm third generation in our family, and that kind of breaks down. I was just scratching this out as we were hopping on the call. Two living members of G two. I'm one of eight in G three. Now seven, sadly. And then we created 26 people. And then 26 people have created eleven people. So that's our lineal kind of footprint. I think the most relevant number is 27. That's the number of households. So that's, to me, the unit of complexity, and that's where all the magic happens at the household level. So that's our family. We've been in business together 73 years, the way we count it, since 1950. And the business is a really healthy operating business. We've sold assets here and there, but the core operating business has been ours, 100%. Family-held theme parks, which turned into theme parks, and water parks, which turned into theme parks, water parks, and aquariums, which turned into other things that families do together. Kind of somewhere between two to 4 hours for some of our attractions to all day.

 

Chris Herschend

We have a handful of resorts and hotels now around some of our parks. So even overnight, longer stays. So we own the Harlem Globetrotters for ten years. So that's kind of what we do. All in all a healthy business and 100% family-held, but 0% family-run. I'm the only employee, and I serve as Chair of the Board, functionally as Executive Chair. And so we have an independent board of directors and non-family CEO and things like that. And like I said, we have been in business together for 73 years, but our family governance is probably about 25 years old.

 

Kirby Rosplock

So, Chris, you have a very unique perspective if you are the sole employee of this pretty substantial family. Right? So tell us about your journey to becoming chair. And was there some track or some well-constructed pathway to grooming you to this seat, or was it a little less organized or less premeditated?

 

Chris Herschend

The answer is yes. Would you like more detail or would it be helpful to hear more detail? That's why you're on this podcast today.

 

Chris Herschend

Yeah. So my grandfather died, unfortunately very young, so he was kind of out of the picture in 1955. So very early in the business sort of life, we started in 1950. He died five years later. My grandmother provided a lot of entrepreneurial energy and zeal and made a couple of decisions that without them we would have gone away for sure. But my dad and my uncle, so G two in our case, were sort of a sibling team that created all of the complexity and wealth in our operating business up until about the late 90's. Okay. But my uncle deserves credit and my dad together, they both do. But my uncle was really the designer of a system that created an environment where a G three leader might step up. But the cool thing, the mad genius, Jack is his name. Jack's design was that without a family member stepping up the business couldn't succeed. So he appointed a non-family CEO. This is now in 1991.

 

Chris Herschend

Anyway, he appointed a non-family CEO early, while he was still certainly capable of running the business. So that was step one. Step two is he stepped. And we had an independent board before that, so I guess that was technically step one, which was a non-family majority independent board of directors, and nonfamily CEO. So the pressure was off. There was no need for one of us to become the chosen one. We had a great executive. We had the ability to pick. By we, I mean the shareholders through the board had the ability to hire and retain and incentivize talent. And so I think that might be the most fundamental thing. So once you know, you can do that as a business. You're freed from the need to sort of anoint a prince or a princess to save your company. And I felt total freedom. I grew up in my family of origin, the five siblings of mine and I, sorry, four siblings plus me, we felt total freedom. None of us felt like we had to return to our hometown or save the business. We'd get that question socially, but it was never engineered that way. So that's the environment really important.

 

Chris Herschend

Then, for me personally, I sort of became interested in the best possible way. It was sort of interesting to me. It wasn't relying on me, so I felt the freedom to kind of dabble and learn. And that was really what was here before me. There really wasn't much family governance coming out of Gtwo. It was very limited to the shareholder agreement, board, and CEO, which again, I think was fundamental. I don't think we could have reverse-engineered that from G three very easily. So it took a little sort of founder creativity and, frankly, decision rights to kind of get that established.

 

Kirby Rosplock

So it sounds like sort of, as you're dabbling and expressing interest and getting more curious, this is also a formative stage for more formalized governance and family governance, because you had the business governance, you had the board governance, you had the operating company governance. So that wasn't in question. But what I'm hearing you say is that there was the opportunity for you to start to get curious, get interested, get more knowledgeable, probably find a little bit of a footing and a pathway towards being more engaged, more involved on the operating side. Tell us what was happening on the family governance side. Was there an issue or something urgent that created the need for more family governance, or did it just organically evolve?

 

Chris Herschend

It was more organic, thankfully. Right. I guess we could have had a business crisis. So the business was doing fine and we're not in a high growth industry. We didn't have a capital crunch or a debt crisis or anything like that. We had a healthy business that was growing in a healthy way. So that was really good. We were lucky with good health. My uncle and my dad are still 89 and 91, and they're still happy and involved, but not nowhere involved in our systems. So all of that was really healthy on the family side. The family governance side really began crucially, and I think this is true for any parent and child, not just business-owning parents and children, but crucially, that freedom I felt, and I'll speak personally, I think this is the case for my cousins and siblings as well, but the freedom I felt to do whatever I wanted allowed me to kind of gain confidence that I was needed and necessary and useful. And there was a period of angst and am I going to get a job? I think that kind of helped me prove to myself that, yeah, I was marketable and had some ability that was useful just generally.


Chris Herschend

And so I think that's foundational for any, call it 20-something to go through that. And parents shouldn't short-circuit that. Sometimes a well-meaning business-owning parent can short circuit that by giving a child total confidence that they're going to have a job, that they'll have a certain salary, their lifestyle is essentially secured. And now in exchange for that, I need you to provide leadership to the business. And I think maybe that leader is a little bit stunted emotionally and professionally because they never had the marketplace pressure of just simply needing to apply for and win a job. So I was lucky I had that. And I had a little bit of a career outside beginning outside the family and totally independent of Herschend. And then the curiosity I would receive. The Family Business Advisor was a newsletter that a consulting group used to publish. And I would read that and I remember just cold calling the publisher at one point and just asking for an introduction or some help to kind of help us think through some stuff that I could see was going to be a challenge for us.

 

Chris Herschend

And so the very first thing we did was shareholder objectives. That was their advice. Hey, you've got your agreement, but you probably need objectives for shareholders. And so that was really what started it for us. Shareholder objectives became the very first thing. Once we had that, we were able to hang some guidelines and family governance off of that. That sort of buttressed our objectives. And then that was 25 years ago, and we just kind of steadily worked from there. We worked out from that core, and we started to constrain the family in some ways. How many tickets are we allowing ourselves to our parks? How many tickets can we give away? We had a company plane. What's the right way to make that fair? So this person can use it or this person can use it, but we don't all feel any bitterness or frustration. So just kind of straightforward stuff like that.


Kirby Rosplock

Yeah. So it sounds like you really started from the operating side, clarifying what is it as shareholders were trying to achieve with these various family enterprises. But then that sort of starts to bring over this emphasis more on probably family members and well-being and what is it. I mean, I'm sure there might be things like policies around decorum, like, hey, don't post hateful, horrible things. There's a whole number of policies. It sounds like you started to develop as a functional need of, like, we can't give everybody 100 million passes to the parks. We can't have everybody fly private. So now you're putting rules around behavior. So talk to us. Did you at some point go into a mission and a vision and a charter? Did you go that far? Or did you look more at structures like a family council or a family assembly? Tell us how that started to evolve.


Chris Herschend

Yeah, absolutely. And you're right. It started from the need to kind of govern our relationship with our operating business so that it was consistent with, I guess, our values, our values of professional leadership and independence, and we governed things. Like when you go onto one of our parks and you see something you don't like, what's the appropriate way to share that and with whom and how quickly? So that was definitely where it started. But, yeah, we created a family council. We thought at first the family council might be a clearinghouse for difficult issues inside the family, trust issues, or hurt feelings. We've quickly realized none of us are really qualified to do that work. And we had consultants with us every step of the way. That was one big principle. We always had a non-family member in the mix in our meetings just to provide a little accountability and a little bit, our behavior is a little better when we have a non-family in the room. It just feels like we all want to kind of, I don't know, impress them. Impress isn't the right word.


Kirby Rosplock

How about behave? I think anytime somebody else is present, you think about, well, what will they think about me if I act like a total jack or say what I really feel? So I do feel like consultants can be a moderator. Right. It just helps make a lot more civility in certain tense moments.

 

Chris Herschend

Yeah. In our case, they brought good ideas from the outside and introduced us to other families. It goes back to your first question. What happened to kind of create this? I mean, it was curiosity. A lot of it was just curiosity. We're like, well, what are they doing?  What do they do? You can easily fill your head with what other families are doing or have done. You can read a lot of these books. And I did. I talked to a lot of people. But what I enjoyed then, and still really enjoy is the work of customizing it to fit our situation. Our situation is a little bit different than my friends over here or my friends over there. And so I really enjoy sort of fitting what we learn into our family. What kind of worked family governance-wise for us is the family council was crucial, and it just became a place for ideas to kind of get passed around and then filtered through. And so we decided we wanted to meet regularly early on. So a lot of the workaround. What's our agenda going to be?

 

Chris Herschend

Where are we going to meet? How are we going to pay for this? Who should attend the meeting? It's very complex now we've got married ins. We decided early on that we wanted them always there. We had to decide, like, how do we want to treat married ins? Do we want to include them in everything or just certain things? In our case, we were like, include them in everything, 100%. They can even hold leadership positions if they can be elected into leadership positions as defined. If they don't have the trust of the family, then that'll take care of itself. If they do, great. And so we've had over the years now lots of married-ins and different leadership positions in our council. The regular meetings drive a ton of interaction. We moved to more of a committee structure after about 10 or 15 years. We found that making decisions as a group of 12 to 17 was just unwieldy. So we kind of shrunk it down to three to five. That created a need for a lot of transparency, a lot of documentation, a lot of report-outs that people felt they weren't missing out on, little decisions.

 

Chris Herschend

The fact that we started paying for meetings that got more and more expensive, and we started running stipends for different family members who were providing leadership in different areas. So the family side, not quickly, but over time became very organized, fairly complex, highly customized, and indispensable. And so today, the family office sits outside the family business and has a funding relationship. There's a symbiosis there that we provide shareholder relations services and things like that are the way we phrase it. But it has become kind of its own animal. And some people don't like the phrase family office, I understand that. But we do run investment functions out of there. But more importantly, because investment functions are, you can buy those from a lot of places, but it's the home for so many of the activities that kind of define our family that it's become critical.

 

 

Kirby Rosplock

Yeah. So let me ask a couple more probing questions. The family council. Talk to me about its relationship to, say, your board of directors, your executive leadership on your family companies, is there a liaison or a representative that connects, or how does the family council communicate maybe broader issues or interests or needs of the family to the different other operating entities?

 

Chris Herschend

Yeah, we created an owner's council in 2017. We had kind of a mini-crisis on the governance side in that I was the governing owner, which in our system is not. Again, I mean, I'm elected every two years. It could be any of us. But I was increasingly alone in that not many family members and owners were engaged or were close enough to the issues in the business to be able to respond quickly when we had a business issue that needed shareholder input most directly. Electing directors, nominating, and electing directors, are the most important work for the ownership group. And I just felt like I needed more. I was isolated from many in the family, and I was a little bit concerned that the family wasn't able to move quickly because there was just too much slack in the line. And so we created an owner's council, which became like a kitchen cabinet for me. And in this window of time, at the same time, there was another family member who was becoming much more involved and served with me on the board and had served, but that position had rotated a few times. It was a little bit too concentrated in one person.

 

Chris Herschend

And so the owner's council became a team of four owners who really became that responsible voice to the board. So we were able to speak with one voice as owners to the board, and they kind of knew, okay, it's these people are the ones. Because we had individuals from the family attending a board meeting and sharing an opinion and an independent director, it's hard to kind of remember, like, well, how influential is this person? Or how significant of an opinion is that? Or how carefully should I? And we don't want to diminish family members. You don't have to pay attention to them. Rather, we wanted to kind of lift up, okay, these four people have the responsibility of talking with our entire family in an appropriate way to kind of gather and coalesce opinions and needs. So if you need the family's opinion quickly, we should be able to get it pretty quickly, and you, as an independent director, should be able to rely on that. So that owner's council became really important for us, and so they sit together now. Owners council and family council. If you were going to describe it, you'd say the owner's council is concerned with ownership issues.

 

Chris Herschend

And the family council is concerned largely with making sure we're communicating well inside the family kind of this layer. So household to household, making decisions quickly, communicating ideas, organizing our meetings, making sure our meetings are awesome and fun and repeatable and that people are willing to take vacations, all that kind of stuff, that's awesome.


Kirby Rosplock

So when you think about your evolution from curiosity, going out and getting outside work experience, and then what? You've been involved with Herschend Family Entertainment for like 20-plus years. I'm not going to date you, Chris, but you're not chicken, right?

 

Chris Herschend

That's one way to say it.

 

Kirby Rosplock

So when you think about your nieces, nephews, and children, are you thinking any differently about how family members are inculturated around Herschend Family Entertainment and the opportunities that could be in their future? I heard something really valuable that you said and shared.

 

Chris Herschend

Which is how many things? Just one thing that I was valuable?

 

Kirby Rosplock

Yeah, just one. I mean there's maybe two now, there are lots of very important things.  I did really like that you mentioned in your personal journey that you needed your own personal validation of like I can cut it on my own, I can find my own work experience. There's no nepotism. And that's always a pervasive fear, right? In any family business, what are you thinking about differently for those coming up or similarly for those coming up that you hope to take an interest in the family enterprise?

 

Chris Herschend

So I'm personally as a parent still deeply committed to that approach, which is there's freedom, and Ashley and I want our kids to be joyful and useful and loved but also useful to the world. So there are lots of opportunities out there. And the GDP of our state, let alone our country, is much, much larger than our business. And so there's just more opportunities out there than our one company vocationally for sure. Now for governance, you can't really outsource governance, you can do an independent board, but you can't outsource ownership. So right now I said, whatever, 67 family members, that's our universe of owners. And so that'll be about 250 people by the time I am 80. So 30 years, sorry, to date myself. So 67 to 250. So we'll have more people, we'll have a larger population. But I still think the most important thing is for everybody in that group to feel the freedom to opt into any kind of governing ownership role. And I think it's about 5% of any family population typically is a good number, a bottom line number. You have to have about 5% of your population kind of willing to serve.

 

Chris Herschend

So we're about there now. We have about that now. That's, what, three and a half for us? We have a little more than that. But I've seen families where it's closer to 10%, and it's just awesome because there are lots of good-natured, smart, qualified people who are willing to serve but don't have to serve. And so there can be some. You can take a break, you can come back. So that's what we're doing now. You cannot parent other people's children. And so I can set up policies. We can set up policies that reinforce the ethos that I shared. That's important to me, but it's not that narrow. In our family system, we have different parenting styles, and different parents want different things for their kids, and so we've allowed for that.  We have internships and different things. So there's a vocational track, but we do kind of have a hard ceiling on, you got to work somewhere else for a season. A very typical arrangement. I think it's a very common best practice. Before that age, internships encouraged fun. But mainly we want cousins and younger cousins, and as they're teenagers, we just want them to fall in love with each other.

 

Chris Herschend

Like, we want them to know each other, to enjoy our family meetings. We do men's retreats, we do women's retreats. We do things where the bar is lower in terms of governance and education, and it's higher on just fun and fellowship because we think if there are relationships across households and across branches, that trust will grow. When trust is present, then it's pretty natural from that point to elect a representative, to understand the nature of the respectful dialogue you have to be able to have. There's still enmity and frustration between households. There are households in our family that don't trust and like other households or me.

 

Kirby Rosplock

No.

 

Chris Herschend

Well, I just think if you don't have that in your family, you're not looking very hard. I just think that's present in almost every system, just like there are families who are too quick to trust and too trusting, and you're almost like, don't you want to read this? Our system is set up to kind of allow for the freedom that we've talked about. And hopefully, well, I'm pretty confident that there'll be enough people who are literate, interested, and warm to the idea of serving the family. For example, I don't want to be the kind of person who's just always rolling my eyes and making jokes about how hard it is. It needs to be kind of appealing and fun. And I tell people all the time, I have the best job on the planet. Like, nobody's got a better job than this. This is the greatest gig. It is so fun. If you like serving your family. If you don't like serving your family.

 

Kirby Rosplock

Yeah, no, but you've done a lot. I mean, I'm also hearing how much investment you've put into building family culture and affinity. Yes, not everybody gets along, but that is the norm, not the exception. But you've done a lot to make an emphasis, to give people on-ramps to be connected, to appreciate the differences. Like, I'm so not like cousin Harry or Auntie Sally or whoever, but I kind of think they're interesting or maybe they add a great perspective and I should think about what they have to say. That is, I think, you know, we live in a world where we're consumed by screens, we're consumed by if we're liked or not liked on social media. And you can't replace the family relationships. And when we replace them with AI and avatars and whatever else, it's no wonder that there can be easily major disconnections, right? As we spread out across the last generations.

 

Chris Herschend

For sure. I think if you were going to distill it down if you were going to distill our philosophy down, it would be just a presence and repetition kind of place. Make the environment one that kind of makes it easy for people to want to come and come together. And then there's a lot of work behind that. But we want it to look and feel and be really accessible, really easy. Kind of has a low bar for a family member just to simply come. There's a higher bar for leadership. And I don't necessarily mean Chair of the Board, I mean committee leadership. We have an education committee. We call it legacy. There's probably a better name for it. But basically, kind of who are we? Where are we going? Where are we coming from? How do we know? What's the connective tissue? The leadership of those committees, the leadership of the family council. We do 360s. We do all kinds of stuff to kind of hold a higher standard for those positions. And that can be really hard. Right. Because it's not a job and it's a family member. And so accountability can be a lot tougher there.

 

Chris Herschend

There again, a consultant helps us a ton. When there is a difficult conversation about performance with a family member on what's essentially a volunteer position, I think it's mandatory to have a third party helping guide that or even owning that conversation, because if they blow up and if it goes sideways, then that relationship is much more easily severed than mine to my cousin or mine to my sibling. As painful as it is to replace consulting advice, good consulting advice is really hard to find. It's better than losing your sister or losing your voice with your cousins. You got to protect that.


Kirby Rosplock

Absolutely. And I agree with you that there's nothing worse than that element of family where you have to judge. Right? Or you have to critique, or you have to give feedback or constructive criticism, which might not be welcomed. It may light a match to some other issue that you didn't even know that was so explosive. So I applaud the fact that you professionalize, right? Even these working committees and this whole family governance angle, because that is actually relatively rare. I mean, I don't know of any other family that does three hundred and sixty s of counselors. I do what a great practice for even individuals to understand what a 360 is and how this can really help them grow, learn, and be better managers, leaders, and teammates.

 

Chris Herschend

I think one of the best things about family business, period, is that it's a proxy for real life. Like, the things that make you effective in a family are the same things that make you effective in a job or a marriage. It's patient listening, deferred gratification, others ahead of self, sort of all the things listening before speaking all these things. 360 is a tactical example of that. A 360 is a great business tool. What a gift to give a family member. A healthy 360 process. For example, in a loving environment where there's not a performative environment, where your goal isn't to chin the bar so you keep your job, but really just to be a better version of yourself. And we have feedback right now. We have a third party we kind of call our feedback guru, and he just helps us read through the feedback we give each other, and then he delivers it in a way that can be used. I pinch myself, like, what person wouldn't benefit from that? And obviously, not everybody in our family wants the feedback. I'm not saying everybody. Hey, but those that do, what a gift.

 

Chris Herschend

So it's really a big blessing and a great advantage. And it's the kind of advantage that families kind of multigenerational business-owning families ought to press. Not just the wealth and not just the influence or the ability to give a bunch of money away or whatever kind of floats your boat, but really to just help grow your family members. Not in a paternalistic way, it's not my job. I mean, I'm just one of them. It's not like I'm the creative genius behind all this. So I'm just sort of an administrator in this system. And these are kind of the things that the family keeps identifying, things we can do together. So, like I say, it's a great gig.

 

Kirby Rosplock

Yeah, well, it's a testament to how the culture of your family has evolved and that it's also rooted. I mean, it's at the core of your business, right, is family. You're serving families day in and day out. You're creating education opportunities, opportunities for fun, togetherness. And that's something you've transitioned and you literally foster. I mean, you walk the talk on the family governance side, which I think is probably why you have so much continuity. You have so much buy-in and you have people wanting to come back to the table, wanting to find ways to help or be involved, because there are growth opportunities. Right. And it's not just about growing the financial wealth. It's like growing your family capital, which not all families figure out how to do.

 

Chris Herschend

Yeah, it's pretty special. What we do is not that unique. I don't think I've seen a lot of families with no business that do a good job of getting together every year. Every other year, it does get harder and harder and harder. And so the resources of the business help us to sort of invite and draw people in. One small example, obviously, we cover many of, if not all, the costs for families to come to our meetings. And you can get tunnel vision on that. And we got policy upon policy upon policy for how we reimburse and what's fair, but it's iterating all the time. Like, if we got dogmatic on that and just said no, we would lose people because we'd be brittle and they'd be hurt.  They have 700 kids, and why don't we have a policy that allows for this? I don't know. I think the older I get, the more I'm just like the work of taking these things apart all the time, holding them really loosely. That actual work is to take that one small example, fighting and fussing and discussing about what's the right way to handle reimbursements for this family meeting is the work.

 

Chris Herschend

There's more value in that, I think in some ways, the trust that's built or destroyed using that process, well, it doesn't sound very sexy, but I think it's the most valuable thing we can do because you're just in relationship yeah, for sure.

 

Kirby Rosplock

Well, if you were to leave listeners and viewers today, couple of highlights from our podcast. What do you think is critical to family leaders and cultivating them and cultivating strong family governance?

 

Chris Herschend

Well, at the very beginning, we talked about the operating company stuff. I think that the most fundamental thing is to have an operating company that doesn't rise and fall on a single personality or personality. So an independent board, to the extent you can find and attract a nonfamily CEO, I think that's great. So that's probably number one. And then I think the freedom, you follow that line through the family side, I think the freedom to choose their own path is really important for family members. But then the frequency of meetings and just familiarity, relationships, and trust that come from those meetings is vital. And then I'd say maybe the third thing would probably be the principle of having a nonfamily member in your most sacred family spaces. Like in every family meeting and every sort of family council have a non-family member there. I think most families benefit from this. I think families that sort of circle the wagons and for example, they just get down to lineal. I think that system is more fragile and I think the more durable system is to have a non-family member in frequent gatherings, kind of just listening and playing back and reflecting and confronting.

 

Chris Herschend

Every leader needs that and every minority voice needs to feel heard. And people who are further out from the center of the family system can use a voice like that to be amplified a little bit. And I just think that's really healthy. So those big three things for us, and then just enjoy it. Enjoy your family. Let slights kind of roll off a little bit. Listen to the nugget behind it if you can. Make sure you're getting feedback, but also then just go enjoy it. And I think that's what I would hope people maybe take away if they're listening to this, but also just have as their primary goal, just enjoy your family. Even through the weird.


Kirby Rosplock

Well, we know life is stranger than fiction and there is some weird stuff that happens. I won't share any of my stories, but Chris, I am so grateful. You have just shared so much valuable information, really good insights from your personal perspective, but also just from seeing a system like a family business system evolve, grow and change and really helping. I think me and many of our listeners get deeper insights into how things can organically happen, but also intentionally happen. Right? Like cultivating sort of certain themes, and certain ideas, and also knowing that governance is never done. It's constantly iterated on. And same with the tracking and the evolution of family members, they're never baked or done. You're constantly probably thinking about on-ramps for a family in their 30's, 40's, and 50's if they weren't necessarily tracked early on. So there always needs to be awareness that there are on-ramps to get engaged and get involved.

 

Chris Herschend

I think, too, for the elder generation or for the controlling generation, which now is essentially me and my generation, when somebody demonstrates curiosity and interest, you cannot control everything they produce. My uncle did a great job of allowing freedom, and creative freedom for me. I had ideas. He didn't come down and say, well, that'll never work, or you can't do that because he sort of let me create and I think that's now my job is to sort of not shut everything down, but let some of it kind of flourish. Even if it's not great, even if it's kind of kooky. Allow some of that up to the surface. I think that's another thing that we all need to be conscious of permitting.

 

Kirby Rosplock

Awesome. So great. I'm so grateful for your time. All your wisdom, your great experience.

 

Chris Herschend

All of the wisdom.

 

Kirby Rosplock

All the wisdom. Yeah. Not just the one thing that I called out before, but all of it. So thanks again, Chris, for being on the Tamron Learning podcast. We'll have more links so you can get more knowledge about Herschend Family Entertainment in case you're looking for a great aquarium trip, a trip to Dollywood, all these great things that Chris's family has curated, and meaningful family opportunities to be together. So thanks again, Chris. So appreciative.


Chris Herschend

Cheers. Thanks, Kirby.

 

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