Artwork for podcast #redefinegifting
1800Flowers founder Jim McCann on SmileFarms & "Family"
Episode 116th May 2021 • #redefinegifting • Nicole A. Donnelly
00:00:00 00:47:33

Share Episode

Shownotes

In this episode, I get to speak with Jim McCann, the founder of 1800Flowers about how he got into giving AND the flower business. Jim shares how he continues to bring family and work together throughout the generations. You'll learn about www.SmileFarms.org and how they are helping hundreds of disabled adults and young people.

You can share the joy of giving with your organization and family through www.TisBest.org, charity gift cards and the recipient chooses their favorite charity to donate to such as Jim's SmileFarms.

Until next time, thank you for listening!

-Nicole A. Donnelly, CMO, TisBest Philanthropy

Transcripts

Nicole Donnelly 0:02

Hi, I'm here with Jim McCann, founder of one 800 flowers, and now has a host of many other companies. And today we're not talking business so much we're talking philanthropy, and some of the good work that Jim has started doing, because of the organizations he's involved with. And so Jim, will you tell me about the first time when you experienced a charitable act, whether you did something witness something volunteered? What was something that stuck with you? And how old were you?

Jim McCann 0:39

Well, Nicole, I would what comes to mind first, when you say that is a family activity that is, I was born and raised in Queens, New York. And I am the oldest of five children. My parents, and I are middle brothers on the on the oldest, then I have a sister and a brother, sister and a brother. So sandwiched in the middle is a brother named Kevin, who is born decel developmentally disabled. And back when we were kids, it was a dark ages in terms of attitudes about mental health, and people disabilities, and in particular, what was then referred to as mental retardation. And we were, we were not affluent, we were the opposite of affluent. And my dad was a painting contractor, and my mom was a homemaker. And the school system didn't really have good programs. So people like my brother Kevin. And, but what it is, so I remember, my parents started a group that would meet on Saturday mornings, and create recreational and social activities for other kids with developmental disabilities. And they'd rent the, you know, some rooms in a local church, school, auditorium kind of place. And it was the only time that these parents could get together, relax a little bit, not be on guard for what was going to happen to their special needs kid. And the other siblings would be involved too, so that the real social kind of interaction and bonding and that was when we were very, very young. Throughout my brother's life, and he's doing quite well, now he's 65 years old. Throughout my brother's life, he's always been the centerpiece of our of our family. And as my parents explained to us, we all had our events, graduations, achievements in sports or other activities, finally, religious ceremonies and getting married and having children and going to college, all those events realized my brother, Kevin didn't have those. And along comes a very thoughtful family, the Kennedy family, and they create something called Special Olympics. And that was my brother's opportunity to participate, and to have his day or days and have the family convene around him and his activities. So he was involved in a local Special Olympics on Long Island, and then the state Special Olympics, and then finally, the International games. So every June, we would go to a different upstate New York City, which would host the Special Olympics. And what made an impression on my other brothers and sisters and I is the thoughtful and caring people that were attracted to these events. There's a group, I don't know what their formal name was, but we call them the huggers that may have been in and they were assigned, there was a different volunteer assigned to every athlete. And the the, the celebration wasn't just around winning, it was around participation. And often in a track, Sprint, someone couldn't get out of the blocks, and someone made it 15 yards, not 100 guides, and they were all warmly received and embraced and hugged. And I emphasize hug because the value of a hug is something I learned how everybody appreciates the expression of connection and caring. And that's the earliest memory I have in terms of our actual involvement with with a charitable activity. And so my brother did that for many, many years. And then the, the, the pinnacle of his athletic career is that especial Olympian was his participation in international games and that that first one that we participated in was in at Notre Dame

Jim McCann 4:54

and in fact, we ran some fundraisers for to help pay for it and and be involved in a whole family. Writing was a wonderful, wonderful weekend. But that's my memory about the impact on family and the commitment of communities. I remember Elmira, New York just came out in droves to help put this on and celebrated and ensure that those individuals, those with special needs, all of the volunteers, all of the bands that would donate their time to play for the party and, and the huggers and the families that would gather from all over the organizers, the spirit of giving and caring was palpable. And it made a huge impression on me and my family, my wife, my children, all of them remember going to Uncle Kevin's Special Olympics days. So that's that's my earliest memory. And I and I saw the impact on Kevin, on me, our entire family and the communities that we were in.

Nicole Donnelly 5:59

That's lovely. It's making me emotional. I used I drove the van for Special Olympics like driving the athletes from the airport to the events or from their hotels to the events when I lived in Utah. And so we had the Winter Games there. And

Jim McCann 6:15

I well, Utah put on one heck of a Olympics.

Nicole Donnelly 6:19

Yeah. Yeah, I used to compete in snowboarding and lived up in Park City. And so that was, you know, yeah, pretty special.

Jim McCann 6:29

I met somebody this weekend that you look like and probably know, a young lady who's very accomplished in the world of Alpine events, Lindsey Vaughn. Oh,

Nicole Donnelly 6:41

I don't know her personally. But of course I know of her.

Jim McCann 6:44

remarkable, remarkable young woman.

Nicole Donnelly 6:48

Yeah. Yeah, she's amazing.

Nicole Donnelly 6:51

Absolutely. Okay, so

Nicole Donnelly 6:53

you have the family experience with Special Olympics? Um, at what point in your business? Did you get involved in philanthropic activities?

Jim McCann 7:06

ted I'd gone a long time now.:

Jim McCann 8:01

founded by a terrific fellow:

Nicole Donnelly:

I would so love that if it were here, my husband's brother is disabled as well. And he's never, I don't know, maybe he's had a few jobs. But he hasn't had one since I've known my husband, and he's 46 now, and we've been talking about group homes, and you know what happens when his dad passes away?

Jim McCann:

those tough conversations was tough thinking it's tough stuff to think about. But yeah, it has to happen.

Nicole Donnelly:

Yeah, this smile farms that sounds that sounds so amazing. Like that is such a, like magical. My mom worked in a group home too, when I was young, and then I did as well. So I've been in that environment to pay. Yeah. And I feel like it's so good for the social life of, you know, all the residents and I, you know, I take them out on road trips, day trips, and to the stores, you know, do all the things and yeah, it was, it was good.

Jim McCann:

That that led to my first career, you know, the family involvement. growing in New York City. My role models were policemen and firemen to people I looked up to in the community I grew up in, and I thought for sure I'd be in New York City policemen, in fact, I went to john Jay College of Criminal Justice, to pursue my idea of being a policeman. But along the way, I started working in a group home, home for teenage boys who had had tough backgrounds. And so I lived in and worked in a group home and group homes. I ran a group home program that was called St. John's Home for Boys. And it was a wonderful grade as you started to hint at. It meant so much to me. I learned so much as a 2021 2223 24 year old living in those group homes with 10 young men most of the time just me in them. I learned so much about myself and and of course them but it was a fast track education and psychoanalysis. all rolled into one. Yeah,

Nicole Donnelly:

I feel like it's probably it's pretty good for the emotional intelligence development because you have to be the calm cool, collected one all the time. You know, and you don't

Jim McCann:

when you're not.

Nicole Donnelly:

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Am I

Jim McCann:

screwed? I learned Then I wonder if it's the same for you. These are 10 teenage boys from very tough circumstances. And what I painfully discovered, because I wasn't very good at the work the beginning. And I got better because of good mentorship and counseling from people who actually knew what they were doing. Even though they came from very tough circumstances, very tough backgrounds. They wanted to know that there was a set of rules. And they were fairly applied. They wanted to know, that they were cared for, in fact, loved and that they were safe, safe from the man, the institution from one another, and from the challenges in the community, because we were in tough communities. But the underlying aspect is, you know, I just told the story of the day. These are tough guys. I mean, stars of the football team, or city athletes, beg some real bad kids. But I was talking to the other day about someone about the importance of birthday. So I said, you know, we have 5000. So people have flowers today. I send a birthday email to everybody. And we the response I get is remarkable. You know how much people appreciate it. And I said, no matter how big and tough you are, you still want to be remembered on your birthday. And I described how we had a wonderful house mother in the first group home I lived in, so I started working four o'clock in the afternoon, finished up at night. And then I was on duty in my sleep. And I had my room in the house, get up in the morning, get the kids out to school, and then the day counselor come in, and Dorothy house mother was a wonderful older woman. And she just cared for these kids for everybody. But her caring was very evident. And every, every guy in the house, we knew their birthday, and they got to pick the dinner they wanted to Dorothy we took the phone, and we make them put this silly hat on with this string around. It was the same hat. We kept it in a box. And they had to put this silly little ring along with this Barry headed thing on and these are bad guys. Right? But and they all did it. No, I'm not gonna take unless you already have mine to sing happy birthday. They all picked it didn't. They loved it. Yeah. Okay. Mr. Jim, that's what they would call Mr. Jim. My birthday is a week from Friday. I saw on the calendar that Mr. Aarthi is going to be off to we switch my birthday to the Thursday. Because it was cute.

Nicole Donnelly:

Yeah, that's so sweet.

Nicole Donnelly:

So there's the group homes. And then what did you do after that before flowers?

Jim McCann:

Well, it wasn't a long time. So I was four years living and working to group homes. Then I got promoted to the administration of the home. And then it wasn't 24 seven anymore. And it was it was wonderful work. And it was good people doing the good work for very, very little money, not for profit, social services. doesn't pay well. But everyone knows that going in. But you know, I've married young Mary Lou and I married very young, we started a family very young. And these kids want to do strange things like eat, buy clothes, and go to school. So he's always doing things on the side. Because I grew up working for my dad, I knew how to do things around buying a building, fixing it up and renting it out and selling it and I had done that. And being an Irish Catholic kid from South queens, I had a genetic requirement to be a bartender part time. So I was doing that on Friday and Saturday nights to supplement my income from the home. And one of my customers there on the flower shop across the street told me he was going to be selling it. I said, really how much you're going to be asking for it. He said $10,000 Well, serendipity is I just sold a building in Brooklyn and I had that fixed up and had a $10,000 profit. And so lo and behold, I said to him, you might have I come work there a couple of Saturday afternoons before I go to work with the VA. And he said, Sure, but why is it well, maybe I'm a buyer. And I did that Mr. Cheese flower business is nice. You deal with people at nice times in my life, mostly. You get to interact with them. It's retail, I can figure that out. I've always worked in retail. So I wanted to buy in a flower shop. But I didn't leave my job at St. John's right away. I stayed on for several more years doing both because I needed the security of steady income because I went into the florist business not just to be a florist, which of course I became, but to build a business. And so the six months after I opened the first flower shop, I opened the second I did one every six months for 10 years. And then actually every quarter I'd open up another shop and then I eventually had to retire from St. JOHN. So I've only done two career things. I did lots of part time things, but two career things were St. John's home and the flower business. And they overlap for about eight years.

Nicole Donnelly:

That's a long time to be doing both.

Jim McCann:

Well, the good news I'm not smarter than too many other people, but I'm willing to work harder.

Nicole Donnelly:

Yeah. Yeah. I'm on the work harder No, and sending out the birthday emails to everybody. When COVID hit, you also started writing emails to the to the customers which you consider or community. Without right? We didn't need. Yeah, and you personally

Jim McCann:

believe them? Can we pause for a minute? Yeah, we're back. During, at the advent of COVID, I started writing a letter to our customers who we were more and more beginning to think about as a community. And what I mean by that I was trying to mimic that relationship we had with our customers. 40 years ago, when we had the one flower shop on the Upper East Side in New York. Our customers weren't just people came in and buy flowers, there were people who we got friendly with who we got to know, there were people who stopped by just say, Hello, stop in and ask for recommendations in terms of bringing your friend from out of town. What restaurant? Should they go to what restaurants are hot? What shows her on? What What's going on? Who's who's going to be Rodney Dangerfield nightclub across the street from us? Are they? Are they any good? Can you can you get my name on the list? Can I drop off my dry cleaning? Can I help you they come in and feel comfortable making themselves a mug or coffee. So it was genuinely a relationship and and all these years later, 40 years later, 40 plus years later, we tried to mimic that same relationship with those customers who made us go as a business then. And the only way you can do that effectively is with using current communication tools. You can email, social media, video content. And so when COVID struck last year, it just seemed logical to me that if if we genuinely thought about our customer group as a community, that I ought to write and share what I and we were thinking, my brother and I what we were thinking about what was going on and and a year ago, it was dark. Orpheus we're very, very primal. Would we get sick? Would any of our family or friends get sick? Would they be a business would be have access to health care. The supermarket's This is remember, we're in the New York area where the virus first struck, struck heavily. hospitals were full stories of ambulances refusing to pick people up, there was no way to take them. Of course, the horrible stories of the refrigerator bands holding the bodies that were coming out of these places. It was a very dark, Primal Fear kind of time. So I took this starting to write and the ideas and thoughts with my brother and I were feeling and sharing. And we started doing it. And we just started going out on Sundays. We eventually called it the celebrations pulse letter. And it's a teta remarkable impact on us. And our interaction with our customers how we think of them more and more as a community. And the feedback and the dialogue that's come from that has been nothing short of remarkable. Now it's evolved over the year. The emotions are so fearful and dark. And although the crisis continues on, it feels different. It looks different the prospects of better the vaccines are a miracle of science that we're greatly benefiting from as a long way to go. But it's certainly looking brighter than dark. And, and we've taken the every Sunday sharing by theme message, which is it's all about relationships. During the during this course in this past year, Meredith Weinberg who's my assistant chief of staff, she she and I have met some remarkable people who we call our COVID buddies, because we've become very close and friendly with them. And we've never met in person, thank God for this kind of technology, huh? Yeah. And, and, and three of them were three of the most remarkable renowned psychologists in the world, who we asked to help us think about our relationship with our community, what we're feeling what our needs are, and we took to calling them are our connectivity Council. And they're remarkable and one of them in particular, George Everly Dr. Joe Joe Lee from the from the Johns Hopkins School, and from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, was a tenured professor there. ordinary man extraordinarily gifted person and thinker psychologist Rate repute and the expert on trauma and the impact on on mental health and anxiety etc. And his his teaching that we've learned a lot this year is the key you want to know who's going to survive who's going to be the most resilient in times of trauma and stress. You want to know who has the best best mental health? It's the people with the most best and deepest relationships.

Jim McCann:

It's it's scientifically proven, there's just no question about it. So that's been the theme of our writing, thinking researching this past year is to help our our public our community. Think about things like we've done forums on the impact of COVID on kids. I'm very concerned about my grandkids and in school at a school zoom learning, lack of social intimacy, lack of, you know, so what's going to be impact and what are we as parents and grandparents, friends, aunts, uncles, what should we be thinking about in terms of what we need to do? And George has been very helpful on that. Dan Willingham, a renowned psychologist, especially become expert recently in early childhood development. His name is Dan Willingham, University of Virginia, PhD from a little school in, in Massachusetts called hobbit thoughtful, caring, good, good man. And the most recent addition is a wonderful woman named Dr. Chloe Carmichael, who is just delightful. litella. Yeah, she's just terrific. And she has a new book out about dealing with anxiety. And I'll symbolize the premise of the book, which is so much of what we've been writing about, which is roghan experiencing anxiety. And what cheaper off isn't a book is no that understand that and understand anxiety is going to get your engine revving. And it's going to create energy. So that energy can be overwhelmingly negative. Or if we're conscious of it, and we develop a right framework for how to deal with it, we can turn that energy into a positive. And so it's all about harnessing the energy that comes from anxiety, to help you to live more positively and healthy. And she's terrific, and a third member of that connectivity Council. So out of this darkness, it's come so many good things in terms of learning relationship, it's not to minimize the half a million or so people now who have lost their lives and nine people for everyone that's past who are now experiencing grief. But they help us to think about it, frame it, and bring helpful tools, ideas and dialogue to our community that helped them to live better, healthier lives.

Nicole Donnelly:

Yeah, that's so thoughtful. I don't know many organizations that would go to that degree to, to intentionally care for their communities. You know, and I think that speaks,

Jim McCann:

let's, let's be honest here. First, it's spent it first and foremost, it's beneficial to us and our team members. And we just get to share it with our community. But this is selfish motivation here is look, we get to talk to some of the smartest, most thoughtful, knowledgeable people in the world. So if you learn something, you want to share it. I don't want to share it with my brother, I want to share with my brothers and sisters, I want to share it my family with my kids, my teammates, and now the art community.

Nicole Donnelly:

Yeah. So if we wanted to benefit from this, how do we start getting your newsletter? How do we start, you know, learning, getting the what you've been learning?

Jim McCann:

Well, it's easy. You could just just write to write to us at flowers, and we're happy to put you on the list. We just had a meeting just before this about we're hearing that question more and more because we just send it to our our customers. So 7 million people a week, getting all letter and reading a letter. And that's a remarkable number, but more and more asking them. How do I share this without forwarding an email? And we just had a meeting so I don't have a good answer for you on that yet. Just before you and I engaged here, we had a meeting and the team is telling me people want to know can they repurpose this letter? Can they use it elsewhere? I put in a video clip of a conversation I had with Chloe Carmichael, Dr. Chloe Carmichael in last week's letter and 10s of 1000s of people clicked on it to get the some of the pearls of wisdom. I mean, she just she knows how to take something very complex and make it simple and give you the three things you need to do that are easy to remember. She's just she's so digestible. She makes everything so digestible, and she's terrific but three, those three people I feel very close to each of them and all of them and and I've never met them in person. Strange

Nicole Donnelly:

is and we're really It's fortunate that we do have the technology to be able to Connect.

Jim McCann:

Wow. Wow, How different would it have been?

Nicole Donnelly:

Yeah, tears best had the best year ever last year,

Jim McCann:

from Tell me a little bit about this, his best.

Nicole Donnelly:

Um, we have charity gift cards. And it was somebody can't who came from technology. Simeon and Eric are the two co founders. And Eric was a Harvard Law grad. And Simeon, was in Microsoft. And they both had different reasons. Eric wanted to stop giving stuff and give more, you know, give to charity. And Simeon wanted to he had been on a big project and wanted to celebrate the team. They all wanted time off to volunteer. And that and he said, Well, we're technologists, let's solve a charity problem with technology. And so they built this charity engine that taps into everyone who's registered in the database, the 501, c three is pulled into the site. So if I give you a charity gift card, you can redeem it for any charity that you want. And so then it just amplifies giving.

Jim McCann:

It's terrific. I love when people go, Hey, we can solve this with technology. It's not my field. It's not what we intended to do. But we can say we can fix this.

Nicole Donnelly:

I love that attitude. Yeah. And we can we can figure it out. And so now we're trying to do more, to integrate with other people's technologies. So that you know, I mean, like, you're influential in the business world, and when someone's starting a business, I think so many people now have heart and they want to give, they might not have a profitable business yet. They can give charity gift cards to vendors and to their employees. And still be in that, you know, marketplace of love and care at whatever scale works for them. Because, you know, not everybody's got the funds to go start something like a big smile farm. And it's like, and I think that's so that a lot of people are on that path where they really do want to make a bigger impact.

Nicole Donnelly:

And that's

Nicole Donnelly:

more of the business culture now than ever.

Jim McCann:

Yes, indeed. Yeah.

Nicole Donnelly:

Which is

Jim McCann:

awesome. Amazing. You know, you're you're of that age. But I remember contemporaries of mine boomers, thinking, Oh, these, these millennials, they're so self self absorbed, and they really don't want to work hard. Oh, my goodness, that couldn't be further from the truth in terms of what we see it flowers. These are people who not only do they want to do they work hard. Not only do they work spa, but Chris and I have been blown away by how developing smile farms as the preferred charity to primary active charity of flowers and all our other brands, Harry and David, Wolfe, amens, Cheryl's simply chocolate etc. that when we have an event, so we do fundraising events, we do golf tournaments, we do trips to ball games, we do a gala. Every year, we do flower shows, we do lots of different things. The number of people who volunteer reasonable Wellman, and it's and those and you want to know who the best performance and flowers are. The correlation is very, very high. It's the same people, it's the same people because they're the people who throw themselves into things that are important to them, work, your volunteer activities, and it becomes social too. So these are terrific, bright, talented, young people who are smart and caring and give their time So, so frequently, it's it frankly, it's something Chris and I talked about, it's the benefit of smile farms that we don't often talk about. We always talk about the obvious benefits, how it helps people like my brother Kevin to have meaningful work and learn job skills. But now it's starting to evolve with smile farms and Nicole so that smile farms campuses, which are run and staffed by people with disabilities are now saying how can we help help other people with other needs so we started out growing flowers and plants obvious because we know where we're going to get them sold. But more and more we're growing food stuff. We have a big push on peppers. I'll tell you why in a second and tomatoes and cucumbers. We do a lot hydroponically and we have one campus that's a it's it's the exception because it's mostly young people 20 and under who were 99% are wheelchair bound, many of them have multiple disabilities. So for that we we had to build high beds that they can work in out of wheelchairs, and they had to be wide enough apart. That two wheelchairs could pass one another And we went with a hydroponic setup there and we grow tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers. And we grew so many last year that these people from the biscotti center in Albertson, Long Island, Nassau County, Albertson, were getting the biscotti school van truck to take the excess produce bushels of cucumbers and tomatoes and peppers over to the soup kitchen nearby. And at the look on their face and their expression when they came back, telling us about how they help people who had food insecurities. Yeah. And we were the primary user that produce because we we feel the need everybody for Scotty two meals a day breakfast and lunch. And we use it first. But we were producing so much by the end of last summer when the heat of the Long Island summer. And these hydroponic beds, I was so productive, that we couldn't use it all ourselves. So we were giving it to the food pitch in the day to see that connection with people with one kind of need, helping other people with with different needs. have meaning and purpose in their life. The it's a virtuous circle.

Nicole Donnelly:

It is it really is. So more recently, you acquired worth magazine.

Jim McCann:

Yes.

Nicole Donnelly:

And you want to tell me a little bit about what worth is, and then how you ended up bringing, you know that feeling of love and impact into that, that project or company as well?

Jim McCann:

Well, so I stepped down a few years ago is the CEO of flowers. And my younger brother Chris assumed that role I became the chair. So I'm still there full time very actively involved. But it freed me up somewhat to create a family office investment platform, which we always wanted to do to invest in technologies we saw coming along beyond what we do to make ourselves a better floral and gift company. So we call that clown and, and I bought them with a terrific young man named Paul stimulus, who is a wall street veteran, and he just finished up this career on Wall Street. I said, Why don't you come partner with us helped me build this investment platform called clown. And he didn't. So we invest in funds, mostly tech funds, and we're very active limited partner. We we raised a spec recently to do some larger investments in companies that want to get directed if consumers want to have a direct relationship with their consumers want to be perhaps an omni channel, district distributor, and want to make that digital leap to commit to being fully digital like we do with flowers. And and then using polesden is he made some investments, direct investments where we bought a few companies. And we had a thesis that turned out to be bad timing. The thesis was magazine publications out there that would be better and bigger brands if they had a strong live component to the live events. Well, we did that right before COVID self love No more live events, even though they were very successful. And we bought three different companies worth worth magazine, which came out of fidelity to economy which was founded by people out of Fortune Magazine, which is looking at the intersection of technology and everything else. So like you mentioned in charity, technology and charities, technology and healthcare technology in the economy, all those things. And they were always alive events company with a publication, but we want to beef up their live events and another one called CDs, which focuses on innovation, thought leadership. And, and, and they did primarily live events, while COVID hits live events are on hold. And we merged them into what we call Claire on media. And they are focused on building their communities, their audience and digital networks. One of the verticals within within worth is called Women and worth. so remarkable program, and it gathers 1000s of remarkable women from around the country around the world. And so we add cloud media, we it worth me, we get to meet extraordinary folks. And so many of them. So I've done public void service for over 25 years. And lots of times I wind up as the head of the non Gov committee on the voice in Amman because my network and my opportunity allows me to find people that would be good for good for boards. And every board I know every board I know or know of is looking to make sure they have the right blend of diversities on their boards. And so oftentimes I get the call, hey, do you know someone that could do blank? So you have women at work and we get to know these remarkable people who might not hit the radar screen of a fortune 500 company or I have the right tenure video, you know, to have risen to those levels, but we get to know them early. And so by accident, we wound up doing lots of placements. So people we knew with bullets who are looking for different kinds of diversity, heavily women because of the desire and appointive part of companies to have female diversity on their boards, and pie because of the wealth and pool of people we get to know through women and work in particular, that we decided, let's make this a formal activity. Let's step it up. And it's not a business for us. We don't want it to be a business. So we'll do sort of as a nonprofit, but we're having fun because it gives me a chance to meet remarkable folks, mostly women, but not just almost all diverse in one way or another, whether it's through disabilities or ethnicity or gender. And it's, it's, it's catching a little life of its own. And we call it the worth of Fellows Program worth Boyd Fellows Program. And it's becoming a little bit more real every day.

Nicole Donnelly:

Excellent, thank you.

Jim McCann:

Um,

Nicole Donnelly:

where do you see that going in the next couple of years? Do you think you'll be back to physical events?

Jim McCann:

Well, yes, yes, we'll be back to physical events. Where we have, we've done a lot of the digital events, obviously, our communities are growing, getting deeper and stronger during this time, which is happening. But it's because we have such wonderful people and good leaders and those brands and include our media, Josh campell, the CEO of the combined companies, cloud and media. And yes, I was I be speaking with Josh and his team this afternoon. I spoke with them earlier in the week, they have half a dozen events. Now on the counter, there'll be smaller and there'll be discreet, and they'll be super sensitive to doing it in a safe and healthy way. But there's a clamoring for people to reconvene. And Josh and David Kirkpatrick who runt David, who's our editor in chief of veteran of Fortune Magazine, he was telling me just the other day that he was surprised that venues are booking up. There's a real scarcity of space available for for conferences and events, because people are dying to reconnect.

Nicole Donnelly:

Yeah.

Jim McCann:

Yeah,

Nicole Donnelly:

I could see that. And I think, you know, once we can travel more, that's going to get booked up, everybody is going to be heading out.

Jim McCann:

I traveled this past weekend is the first time I've traveled like that. And it almost it almost felt normal. Everyone was wearing masks, people are very, the airlines at all they've done a really good job of a building and safety is the number one priority, in this case, health, safety. And it I was quite comfortable doing it. So I I have a board member, a mentor and a friend. His name is Adam half. He's a board member of flowers. And he's one of the great marketing seers, visionaries that I know. And he reminded me eight months ago, that we are people a culture of individuals who are in a hurry to forget. So he said, Don't Don't think that this link is always those people feel safe. They're going to be back out that. I think he's right.

Nicole Donnelly:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And so one last question before we wrap this up. What it sounds like you've done a lot that is going to live well beyond you and make an impact in the community with smile farms, and with a lot of the things that you're you've been building up and with worth and I'm curious if there's what is it that you want to be remembered for? What's the legacy that you want to leave here?

Jim McCann:

Well, I never want to leave. So I want to I want to be remembered as a guy who never left.

Jim McCann:

You know is that's an uncomfortable question for a lot of people. Me too. But I will tell you that I've never had more opportunities to do more and fun and interesting things that I do now. It's especially interesting to me if it involves my family, or I have three grown kids I have six and a half grandkids and anything I can do that involves them well that we're and we're doing more and more things together in business and and our charitable activities. So to see that my oldest son My middle child is very active in smile farms. He Is our MC with a good friend of ours who's one of the preeminent media training people in the world. So to see my son work with jack ronchetti, and see him learn to be a good public speaker and emcee at our events, to see my niece organize every summer our, our it's not a fundraiser, it's a friend raiser. When we take 800 900,000 people to a bowl game together, wow, you have a smile bombs, and they bring their kids and grandkids. So those are the kinds of things that interest me most, and I'm proud of stuff. And that I'm focused on doing more and more of is doing things that involve our families. And, and getting down on my grandkids. My oldest grandchild is a 12 year old granddaughter, and to see her now aware of the things we're doing and asking me questions about smile farms. And now that they're getting older, I hope they're coming to worth into economy events and learning, you know how Bob Graham pop out and call me. Bah bah, bah, you know that I heard you on the zoom call the other day with it. That man, it develops real estate all around the world. And you you guys are talking more about community than you were talking about the cost of raw materials. I said, Well, his name is Mike Melman, and he's the founder of a company called discovery land. And what he creates is really fancy communities that my grandkids have visited some of them that orlo about when I say community, you think I mean houses. When he says community, he's talking about the relationship between people who feel like they're special, because they belong to a beach club on Long Island called the dune deck, because it's more than a beach club. It's a community. And so they have this dialogue with my 12 year old granddaughter about the difference between community, a place and community a sense among people. I'm so happy that she was nearby to hear me and Mike have that conversation. So that's the stuff that gets me turned on. Yeah.

Nicole Donnelly:

I think you'll probably have many more conversations with your family about those sorts of things.

Jim McCann:

I'm just trying to hang around so we get those opportunities. Well, the fact that I

Nicole Donnelly:

mean you've got a long ways to go

Jim McCann:

back to my grandkids I found out when they were here with us last keep track of the things I say that they think are funny.

Jim McCann:

When I told her I was particularly fond of pelicans. I've heard that back about a dozen times now she texted particularly fond

Nicole Donnelly:

of pelicans,

Jim McCann:

of pelicans because they were down to visit us in Florida and we have these beautiful pelicans here. I thought particularly fond of those and I didn't realize how silly it sounded, but, but I heard back from them a lot. Keep a list of popovers

Jim McCann:

that's fun.

Jim McCann:

Because it's been a pleasure to get to know you a little bit and chat it up. Yeah, thank

Nicole Donnelly:

you so much for this.

Links