An Interview with Tara Empson for Empson’s 50th Anniversary
“The company’s vision has always been to find high-quality wine producers and to build long lasting relationships, ultimately partnering with growers to promote their gems outside of Italy. The remarkable thing is that my parents were not only able to create business relationships with these wineries, but form friendships with the families that ran them.”
As Empson marks fifty wonderful years in business, CEO Tara Empson contemplates what it means to her to carry on her parents’ impeccable legacy. Partnerships with highly rated wineries, a dedicated team, and a combined commitment to excellence are just some of the things she touches on below.
What does it mean to you personally to carry on this incredible legacy?
It’s an absolute honor to have the opportunity to carry on my parents’ legacy. But it’s also a responsibility. I have a responsibility to live up to the standards my parents set and to the people, wineries, distributors, and customers we work with every day.
For me, it’s also about continuation – seamlessly continuing the work my parents started and honoring the precious relationships we’ve built over the years. Also to create new ones with the long term in mind
What has been the most rewarding?
Growing up with the producers and seeing them evolve and growing alongside them over the years has been especially rewarding. Also being able to give our best to the producers and tackle the constantly changing market.
I’m thankful that, even with the generational change, people have chosen to stay with Empson, opting to continue to be a part of this legacy. That people put their trust in the company and me. That means there is trust, and that there’s a shared vision. It makes me work harder for a better future for everyone.
Our team is such a key factor in all this. They have stuck by my side; they support me and the company and I feel truly part of a united force. I am very thankful for them.
What is next for Empson?
Empson will continue to ensure quality and competitiveness in the marketplace, tackling industry challenges in a proactive, not reactive way. At the same time, our relationships and legacy remain a cornerstone. We want to maintain our footprint, our DNA, who we are. When you do inherit a legacy as your future, this is part of the responsibility that comes with it. It’s important to bend but not break.
One of today’s greatest challenges is the sheer amount of choice there is out there. We want to focus on our current and future relationships, ensuring that people still choose us. Another goal is to look out aggressively for new opportunities.
What is your best memory?
One of my best memories was simply spending time with the producers, going to dinner with them and falling asleep on my mother’s lap as they talked business, even if I didn’t know what they were talking about. We were a close family – wherever my parents went, I went. They were super hands-on
What are the core values that take you through the day?
Honesty, Integrity, Trust, Respect, Communication and Consistency.
At the end of the day, there must be mutual trust in this industry. We are here to celebrate 50 years – despite hard times – because there was trust on both sides. Honesty also goes a long way. You also have to be consistent in your message. And communications is also key for us. You can’t have trust without communication. Naturally, we have faults as well, but we are trying to improve every day.
Anything you want to add?
It is an amazing honor. This company started before my time and is all about the relationships and bonds it has created over the last fifty years. It has been a privilege to continue building them and I’m so proud to be here to celebrate the 50th anniversary. It’s just proof that building relationships does really go a long way. And there is nothing as special as being able to stay at the forefront and still get chosen day after day. Of course, it is a business relationship, but at the end of the day, it’s about the people. You choose each other and that is a very strong message.
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