Recently, I was challenged in a very different way than I usually am. I was invited to a conference that show-cased upcoming health and medical innovations for family offices.
Family offices are a source of money for these innovative companies that is different from Venture or Private Equity. The world’s most prominent families where represented for this conference. So I took the day off to attend the conference, which was in the BioTech capital of Torrey Pines, in La Jolla, California.
When I got there, I had no idea where the conference was amongst a sea of buildings, so I parked and started looking around. I finally found a receptionist, and poked my head in to ask if she knew where the conference was. She pointed me to a room down the hall where the meeting was.
I looked into the board room where maybe 20 people were seriously suited up — I had on a t-shirt, jeans, coat and scarf. My instinct was to take off, and I did! I said, whew! I don’t belong in that meeting, that’s for sure!
Then, as I was walking out the door and taking a deep breath, one of the organizers yelled out, “Anthony, come back and come on in!” So he walked me into the room and I said OMG… I motioned for everyone to just continue talking and not get up. So, I sat down and began listening to some of the most prominent family offices on the globe, talking about their investment strategies — literally a net of billions upon billions of investment here.
Then, a beautiful lunch was served, and I thought to myself, what did I walk into? My knees where getting a little weak because I knew at some point I was going to get called on to introduce myself, and I wondered what I was going to say. I was clearly in a different world. So I was practicing being confident — and by that I mean being confident that although I didn’t have their billions, I had something worth more — a smile and a positive attitude.
I started really building on the “gratitude factor” thinking about everything I was thankful for. I said to myself, OMG, this is a teaching and learning moment for me! I didn’t sign up for this and every once in a while my heart would flutter. I knew this introduction was coming, and I really had no idea where I was going to come from, and I certainly didn’t want to embarrass the individual who had invited me, who had come outside to get me and bring me into this very exclusive luncheon.
Well, the entrees where served, and then, it was my turn to introduce myself when someone said, “Anthony, we all did introductions at the beginning, so would you mind giving the group a little of your background?” At that moment, in my mind the Zolezzi Family Office officially opened.
I proceeded to tell the group that I was a member of the Zolezzi Family of Fisherman who at one time operated one of the largest fleet of fishing vessels in the world. And that although I never ran the family business, I had come back to San Diego after 25 years to be with the family and to really understand the Medical and Health Innovations that where bubbling out of San Diego. The only question anyone asked me was what type of fishing my family had done, and I said tuna. Then they asked where, and I proceeded to tell them globally, but headquartered out of San Diego.
Whew, I was glad when that was over! Then, after the luncheon, we all joined the bigger conference group and we proceeded to be pitched by some of the most innovative companies in the health and medical business. It was three companies per hour and was incredibly exciting. Needless to say, the rest of the day was a blur.
Then this morning, waking up, I said to myself, wow, yesterday was a memorable day! I started reliving the fright of sitting in that board room and I remembered that it was definitely a teaching moment.
So what did I learn or confirm? That we are all fabulous and incredible and all have Family Offices, whether it’s the Smith Family Office or whatever your last name happens to be. And that positive thoughts, vibrations and focused gratitude can easily put you on the same level as the Rockefeller’s, Buffets or anyone on the planet. YEAH!