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What It Means to be Family -Owned

Did you know that, according to DWT Family Resource Center, family-owned businesses generate more new jobs than any other segment of the economy? Family-owned businesses employ 60 percent of the U.S. workforce and are responsible for 78 percent of all new jobs created in the United States. Impressive.

According to the Family Owned Business Institute, there are 5.5 million family businesses in the U.S., contributing to 57% of the GDP and employing 63% of the workforce. I think it is safe to say that family-owned businesses are the backbone of our economy. 

It makes sense why family-owned businesses work. We experience it first hand at Intero. Colleen McKenna, founder and principal of Intero Advisory, is my mom. Sydney is not only my colleague but also my oldest sister, and her husband is Jim Cusick, our new director of digital enablement. We are a small family-owned business making a significant impact. 

Colleen (yes, I call her Colleen Monday- Friday, 9-5) continually builds a team that she can count on, trust, and that share her commitment and vision. 

Our team family business emerged from necessity rather than design.

In January of 2016, Colleen needed to quickly fill a vital role with someone she could trust and wouldn’t have to commit too much time to train as I was about to undergo brain surgery. It just so happened Sydney was ready for a new role after a couple of years in market research. Sydney, knowing all of Colleen’s idiosyncrasies, was able to jump in, bringing her talents and skills to building our processes from start to finish.

When I was looking for jobs post-grad, the last thing I thought I wanted to do was to work for my mom, but the more I thought about it, why wouldn’t I? She has cultivated a culture at Intero that some people can only dream about (4 day work weeks, dogs in the office, snacks galore!), and I knew that I would be lucky to start my career here. 

I had worked there most of college, so I didn’t need much training and quickly took over all of Sydney’s clients after my first week (while she was on her honeymoon). Colleen and Sydney knew that I could do the work and handle the clients on my own and that confidence from day one has shaped me into the professional I am today.

We’ve recently added Jim, and my middle sister Meredith will join full-time this July. My dad is always around to help run errands, deliver lunch, or quick office fixes. 

We’re comfortable sharing our ideas, asking for help, and always have each other’s backs. We understand Colleen’s vision and work hard to execute that daily. 

We can confide in each other; we laugh a lot, work hard, and even do a little wedding planning (after office hours, of course!). 

Family-owned doesn’t mean it’s only family. We have and have had many amazing men and women work at Intero. I think one thing that separates us apart from the rest of the family-owned businesses is that Colleen strives to make everyone feel accepted. There is no special treatment. Everyone is valued and respected, and Colleen has an open door. 

At the end of the day, if you could build your own team, why not pick the people closest to you? People that you can trust, people that you know will have your back, people that have skin in the game.

We are proud to be family-owned. Colleen is building our legacy.