Bishop Kevin Vann Announces Marie Gray and Rand Sperry as 2015 Honorees
Garden Grove, Calif. (February 25, 2016) – The Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange, will honor two Orange County business leaders at the 14th annual Conference on Business and Ethics, sponsored by the Orange Catholic Foundation (OCF) and held at the Anaheim Hilton; March 4, 2016, from 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. The annual event is dedicated to supporting Catholic education, promoting ethical business practices and recognizing local business leaders for exemplary dedication to ethical business practices. Marie Gray, co-founder and creative force behind St. John Knits and GRAYSE, and Rand Sperry, well known real estate, business leader and CEO of Sperry Equities and Sperry Commercial will be recognized with the Bishop’s Award for Exemplary Business Integrity. This award recognizes accomplishment and personal dedication to ethical business practices.
“We are blessed to have so many business people that lead their companies according to resolute and compassionate ethical codes that respect their employees, associates, and our communities. I am again inspired by two such leaders that have excelled in their respective professions without sacrificing their commitment to leading their lives as Christ has shown us. Marie and Rand are truly applying their faith in all aspects of their lives and I am blessed to recognize their efforts and commitment at this year’s conference,” said Bishop Vann.
The conference program will feature a keynote address from the Most Reverend Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, prolific Catholic theologian, writer, and the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. Bishop Barron is also the host of CATHOLICISM, a groundbreaking, award-winning documentary about the Catholic Faith. Bishop Barron is a #1 Amazon bestselling author and has published numerous books, essays, and articles on theology and the spiritual life. He has also appeared on several media outlets including NBC, PBS, FOX News, CNN, and EWTN.Also, celebrated entrepreneur, speaker and professor Wing Lam, founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco will offer a keynote address regarding building a business and brand, all while maintaining a firm commitment to ethical business practices and relationships. Lam co-founded Wahoo’s Fish Taco 25 years ago in an old Italian restaurant near a stretch of industrial office plazas in Costa Mesa. The company now boasts dozens of locations across seven states and one international location in Japan.
“The annual Conference on Business & Ethics is a key part of OCF’s overall mission to create endowment funds, nurture planned giving, raise funds, and encourage stewardship to support all aspects of the Catholic faith in Orange County. It is an honor to bring the values of faith, integrity and service above self together with powerful keynote presentations and to raise money for our Catholic schools at the same time. The half-day event is an important fundraiser to allow the Catholic schools in the diocese to be available, accessible, and affordable to all students of all social and economic strata by providing scholarships to students in grades K-8 who require financial assistance,” said Cynthia Bobruk, executive director of OCF.
Bishop’s Award Honorees:
Rand Sperry: Rand Sperry is a well-known real estate and business leader in Southern California with more than thirty- five years of experience in the commercial real estate arena. In 1987 Mr. Sperry cofounded Sperry Van Ness, a group of companies focused on commercial real estate investment with one key mission: to create unprecedented value for commercial associates and their clients.
Based on this mission, Sperry Van Ness has achieved incredible success; all while maintaining ethical business practices and a commitment to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Mr. Sperry has since sold his interest in Sperry VanNess and is no longer affiliated with that entity.
Mr. Sperry currently serves as CEO of Sperry Equities and Sperry Commercial and is active in both church and community. He has been a member of numerous civic and religious boards and committees in Orange County, Calif., including being a member of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, Order of Malta, Board Member of Orange Catholic Foundation, Board of Advisor Diocese of Orange Land Board, Board Member of the Boy Scouts of America, and Chairman of the Christ Catholic Cathedral Facilities Corp. He currently resides in Orange County with his wife Rosemary and their six children.
Marie Gray: Internationally renowned for her classic knit designs, Marie Gray was the creative force behind St. John Knits, Inc., the company she co-founded with her businessman husband in 1962. Together they created one of the premiere clothing companies in the United States and one of the most recognizable fashion brands in the world.
Born in Europe and raised in Canada, Marie Gray was studying to be an opera singer when her family’s move to California brought her to the fashion industry. In the early 60’s, a simple hand-knit dress created on a whim, proved to be the inspiration for St. John Knits.
For the next 44 years, Marie Gray’s unwavering commitment to quality combined with styles of timeless elegance created legions of devoted customers. She left the company in 2005, but continues to serve on its Board of Directors. In recent years, Marie Gray was drawn back to the fashion world again and joined her daughter in a new venture GRAYSE – a company featuring a luxurious, casual collection of evening separates.
Marie Gray serves on the Boards of GRAYSE, St. John Knits, Inc. and Chapman University President’s Cabinet.
About the Orange Catholic Foundation:
Established by Bishop Tod D. Brown in November 2000, the Orange Catholic Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation and an autonomous pious foundation that exists to serve the Diocese of Orange, including its parishes, schools and overall diocesan mission. The OCF plans and conducts major diocesan fundraising programs including the Proud to be Catholic Pastoral Services Appeal (PSA), the For Christ Forever Capital Campaign, the Conference on Business & Ethics, the annual Wills & Trusts Weeks and other special fundraising events. The Foundation also manages endowments and various charitable funds and grants funds according to the donor’s intent. For more information, visit www.OrangeCatholicFoundation.org or call 714-282-3021.