How did you find courage to leave the day-to-day operations of your primary business, change directions, and innovate and take risks associated with your next venture?
When we started SRAM, it never felt like work because we loved what we were doing and were always way out on the edge of innovation. We loved working together and were confident in our direction and that we were making the world a better place through bicycles. When we founded World Bicycle Relief, I was driven by that same belief. The only difference was applying all my efforts to serving the under-served at the bottom of the economic pyramid, instead of the top of the economic pyramid. I was able to replace myself from the best members of our team. They gave me the ability to hand off leadership to strong fresh eyes, which allowed me to focus on a critical area that no one else was interested in diving into. To me, there was no question and no courage required.
How did you adapt your professional identity, which is often closely aligned and tied to your family business?
Within our family and our company, one’s identity is defined by one’s passion and integrity. I left the day-to-day leadership of something I loved and was passionate about, to take on the founding and leadership of something else that I was passionate about. Instead of trying to win the Tour de France, we were trying to deliver bicycles to tsunami devastated Sri Lanka, where people were prevented from rebuilding their lives. Bicycles bridged the distance and opened possibilities to access the good, services, jobs, and schools they needed. I love the world of high performance bicycle components, and I love being able to apply all that I have learned at the top of the market to helping others, whose lives at the bottom could be revolutionized by a simple, reliable bicycle.
How does the concept of your legacy show up in the businesses you no longer operate but continue to own?
The legacy I’ve left behind is that of our family’s core values, which have now become our employee’s core values. Yes, it is good to leave a financially healthy company, and I would have never transitioned in a crisis, but it is more important to ensure that the core values of the family are deeply rooted, so that they can weather the good and bad times all companies must go through. With the core values intact, the organization can evolve, grow and heal itself.
I feel like I had been training all my life for what I am doing now, and I am glad I have found something that is meaningful and impactful that I can fully throw myself in. Consciously or unconsciously, what I am doing is fully aligned with our family values so I am in harmony with our family and those who have gone before us. I think it would have been unnatural to follow any other path.
FK Day, SRAM
FK Day is President of World Bicycle Relief and Executive Vice President of SRAM Corporation, the largest bicycle component manufacturer in the USA and second largest in the world. F.K. has 20 years of experience developing new products and ensuring quality control of components manufactured in six countries in Asia and Europe.