"Find your passion or an opportunity and work hard and be tenacious and consistent." It's a recipe for success that has proven true for Albert Chauvet. He and his wife Bérénice are the owners of Chauvet Lighting, a global conglomerate of multiple lighting brands whose products grace high-profile concerts, well-known sports venues and iconic structures worldwide. But the Chauvet's success is measured in much more than the business's bottom line.
Some would say they've accomplished the American dream. The couple grew up in Haiti, came to America, set goals, and reached them. But they didn't forget those less fortunate at home. Their heart for the Haitian people was broken after the 2010 earthquake that killed 200,000 people. They support several Haitian charities and individuals focused on the country's recovery.
Bérénice says, "This is of course largely because we both are of Haitian origin, but it is also due to the magnitude of disasters, pain and misery that Haitians have and continue to experience. We've also directly helped people buy land or build homes in Haiti. We have a fundraising page with Food for the Poor, based here, and have gotten homes built in Haiti through them, as well."
Here in the United States, they personally support numerous charities including their own Catholic parish, the Community Habilitation Center in Miami, which serves adults with developmental disabilities and S.H.E.A.R. (Sharing Hope Empowerment And Reaction), a homeless non-profit started by one of their employees. They encourage all their workers to make the time to give back.
Bérénice explains, "We are fortunate because people helped us along the way. Also, not everyone has access to many things that we take for granted here in America. We can all help break the circle of poverty and ignorance and that starts by giving time, money and paying attention to the needs of others. Sure, all humans are created equal, but [they] do not face equal circumstances. Giving helps balance that."
JM Family Enterprises, a vehicle distribution and processing company in south Florida, recently recognized the Chauvet's contributions. JM's founder, Jim Moran, established the African-American Achievers awards program to thank South Florida community leaders serving as role models.
"This is well appreciated," says Albert. "It means that some people notice the good work we are doing and that encourages us to do more and hopefully inspires others to do more." Bérénice concludes, "Few things of importance, of value can be achieved from nothing. At some point, someone has to give you a break or advice, a helping hand or simply a friendly smile of encouragement. It's proven true for us." (See additional images bottom right of page.)