Automotive company CEO to share his principles for crisis leadership

The president and CEO of one of the nation’s largest private companies will make an unprecedented appearance at Florida State University’s University Center Club on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This event will wrap up The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship’s 2011-2012 quarterly speaker series, “Advice Straight Up.”

Colin Brown, the president and CEO of diversified automotive company JM Family Enterprises Inc. (JM Family), will speak about business crisis leadership and share the guiding principles that helped him lead the company through a recent wave of unforeseen circumstances. Brown has navigated JM Family through the recession, product recalls and fallout from a natural disaster, all while maintaining the associate-centric culture and legacy created by the company’s founder, Jim Moran.

Brown, who became CEO of JM Family in 2003, directs all of the company’s businesses, including Southeast Toyota Distributors LLC, the world’s largest independent distributor of Toyota and Scion vehicles; World Omni Financial Corp., a diversified financial services company; JM&A Group, one of the largest independent insurance and extended warranty groups of companies in the United States; and JM Lexus, the largest-volume Lexus dealership in the world.

“Jim Moran founded JM Family Enterprises Inc. with the philosophy that our associates are our most important asset,” Brown said. “That simple belief continues to drive our success today. In the good times, and even more so in the tough times, it’s trusting and empowering our associates that give us the competitive edge.”

Brown will be the fifth high-profile speaker to visit Tallahassee for the “Advice Straight Up” series. Hosted by The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at Florida State, “Advice Straight Up” provides attendees with candid discussions and real-life solutions for business growth and development.

Past “Advice Straight Up” speakers include cosmetics guru Janet Gurwitch, social media pioneer Chris Brogan, PepsiCo marketing manager Rami Jabaji and Southwest Airlines marketing executive Dana Williams, who all shared personal and professional advice with business owners and entrepreneurs.

In the week following the event, attendees can participate in the invitation-only “Straight Up Follow Up Roundtable” and brown-bag lunch. During the roundtable, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 27, LearnSomething CEO Steve Roden will use the information shared by Brown to facilitate a discussion and provide action steps for participants trying to navigate their way through a business crisis.

Tickets are $15 for students and $30 for the general public in advance, or at the door for $35. For more information about the “Advice Straight Up” series and The Jim Moran Institute and to purchase tickets, visit