It was a different kind of business conference, not honoring captains of industry for financial prowess but for helping out those in need.
Two San Juan Capistrano residents were honored at the Orange Catholic Foundation’s 10th Annual Conference on Business and Ethics this week. The foundation raises money to help families pay for private, Catholic education for their children.
In the spotlight were locals Frank Kavanaugh, managing partner at Fort Ashford Holdings, LLC, of Aliso Viejo, and Robert R. “Randy” Redwitz, president of Robert R. Redwitz & Co. of Irvine. The event was held Wednesday at the Irvine Marriott.
Videos of the two honorees highlighted the leadership roles the two San Juan Capistrano residents.
In the video honoring Kavanaugh, his wife, Susan, mentioned Frank’s turn-around from dropping out of high school to returning back to school, and attending UC Irvine. Susan said Frank likes to “fail forward.”
After accepting his honor, Redwitz spoke about the video honoring his success and business integrity, saying, “It really is not for me a history of what I’ve done, or what I’ve tried to do, but really a wake-up call to look to the future, to be more nondiscriminating in service to everyone.”
Redwitz offered a passage from the book Tattoos on the Heart by Father Gregory J. Boyle, founder and CEO of Homeboy Industries.
“It was a statement that Jesus was too busy being faithful to worry about success,” he said.
Ken Blanchard, author of One Minute Manager, was a keynote speaker and happens to be a longtime friend of Redwitz. Blanchard gave the group a Cliff Notes version of his book, comparing his top secrets to the way Jesus lead people according to Scripture.
In his remarks upon receiving the award, Redwitz spoke highly of his friend. “Ken is passionate about a nondiscriminating service to others. … If we are faithful to service to others, ethics and business integrity take care of themselves. But it is a daily challenge, and we fail all the time.”
Kavanaugh threw down the gauntlet and challenged those in attendance right then and there.
“Let’s make a difference now,” he said. "The Kavanaugh family is pledging $10,000 per year, for three years, so these amazing people can focus on the kids.”
Two anonymous donors pledged to match whatever funds the public at the conference donated, up to $35,000. The net proceeds are expected to be in excess of $150,000 and the Fund a Need segment raised another $120,000 in pledges and gifts, according to the foundation.
A student from , Lauren Stafford, spoke on behalf of the students of Orange County elementary, middle and high schools who benefit from the donations.
“You guys are the ones who changed my life, and the lives of those around me,” she said addressing the elementary school student council on stage. ”Incredibly, I received a letter from JSerra, on my birthday that said that I had just enough financial aid to attend JSerra. ...
“What began as something as hard for my family became something that seemed possible. Thank you for everything you have given to me and for all the other students that have been touched by your generosity.”