Having the next generation join the family business has breathed new life — and new perspectives — into RDI Diamonds.
Michael Indelicato, CEO of RDI Diamonds, remembers when his son Sam was 17, he “swore to me that he would never work in the company.” Sam planned to teach history at college level. However, while attending JCK in 2018 he discovered another passion.
“I started to fall in love with the business and really enjoyed making in-person connections,” says Sam, a
self-described extrovert. And for Michael, Sam’s joining the family business is his “proudest moment over the last 30 years.”
The learning curve for Sam is obviously different than for Michael, who founded RDI Diamonds and admits to having been “somewhat naïve” about the basics of the business when he started. He recalls the first time he was asked to sell diamonds on memo. “I said ‘sure,’ but I didn’t know what memo was.”
Michael recognizes that he has to let Sam make his own mistakes, even if it means repeating those that he made as well. “I may have done it 100 times and it didn’t work, but maybe it will work five times better for him,” says Michael.
“I’m open-minded, but Sam makes me more aware of what’s going on now. People buy differently today. He brings a new perspective to the business – in a good way,” says Michael, noting that Sam can relate to the younger generation on the customer side as well. And like most his age, Sam prefers to text rather than use the telephone.
Sam, who is now director of jewelry at RDI Diamonds, has solidified the jewelry program, doubling sales even during the pandemic. He identifies four components necessary for making a generational business work effectively: Trust, accountability, reliability, and love of what you do and for each other.
A firm believer in learning as an ongoing process, Michael is receptive to knowledge gleaned from myriad sources. He coaches the local football team, which Sam had played on, and recalls a time when he hired a professional coach to help improve its performance. The advice to “get good at six things and do them better than anyone else,” resonated with Michael for its applicability to both the team and his business.
Michael hopes that his younger son and daughter will also decide to join the company. For now, and the
future, his strategy is: “Let’s move on.”
Image: Michael and Sam Indelicato. (RDI Diamonds)