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So many children either experience success long after their parents have passed on or they aren’t allowed to have decision-making roles until their parents are no longer in the picture.

Unlike my mentor, John H. Johnson, who built a great company and then handed down to his daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, the three of us built our company together, and my Oscar signs my check rather than the other way around.

I’d love to say that I sat in my easy chair one day and devised this whole scheme, but that wasn’t the case at all.

Maybe it’s because every generation wants to do better than their predecessors. Or maybe it was because for years my kids saw me go to work in shorts, flip-flops and a baseball cap and they wanted to take the reins and recreate what I had already started.

However it happened, I hope the entrepreneurial spirit sticks around long enough for my grandkids, the Fly Babies, to become their dads’ bosses after they graduate… from an HBCU, of course!

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All In The Family: Spreading Wealth Across Generations  was originally published on

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