One of the America's most loved fast food chain is without a doubt Chick-fil-A. They are known for their amazing chicken, fast and friendly service, and their Christian morals and values; such as being closed on a Sunday and frequently helps communities in need. These values are deeply rooted in the CEO's faith.
Trudy Cathy White, daughter of Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy and author of the new book, “Climb Every Mountain,” recently told “The Pure Flix Podcast,” about the biggest lessons her dad instilled in her — and the transformational values that built the company into a powerhouse.
Listen to White reveal the details behind Chick-fil-A’s monumental success:
TRANSCRIPT OF PURE FLIX'S INTERVIEW WITH TRUDY CATHY WHITE:
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Billy Hallowell: Hey, I'm Billy Hallowell and welcome to the Pure Flix podcast. This is our fifth episode of the show. And if you've been listening, you know that we're a weekly show that offers up interviews with your favorite pastors and celebrities. Some insight and inspiration and a preview of what's to come in faith and family friendly entertainment. So there's a whole lot going on on our podcast here. But today, we're gonna switch things up a little bit and we're gonna actually open with a really fascinating interview. We're going to be having Trudy Kathy White on the show. If you don't know her, she is the daughter of Chick-Fil-A founder S Truett Cathy. And I've been dying to talk to somebody in the family because, listen, we all love Chick-Fil-A, right? So, finding out the more about the brand and the story behind it and the values that the the Kathy family has, that's that's what we're gonna be doing today. So without any further ado, welcome to the show. Hey, Trudy, how's it going today?
Trudy K. White: Going great. Thank you very much.
Billy Hallowell: Well, thanks so much for coming on the Pure Flix podcast today. So I wanted to ask you I've got to start, obviously, with the new book, Climb Every Mountain Finding God Faithful in the Journey of Life. You are the daughter for those who don't know. And I think most people do. Of S Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A. So I'm I'm going to just launch with a big question and I always wonder this when I talk to people who have been involved in really successful enterprises and you know, if you're listening, I'm sure you love Chick-Fil-A, but you may also realize it's the most popular every single year, the most popular fast food chain in the country. And there's a reason for that. So the question I'm gonna start with is, what is the biggest lesson you learned from your dad along the way? Just as the company was growing.
Trudy K. White: Yeah. Well, I've had the joy of growing up in the family business and watching my dad work really, really hard through the years. Interesting thing that a lot of people don't realize. My dad opened his first restaurant in 1946, but it was 20 plus years before he actually invented Chick-Fil-A. Chick-Fil-A didn't come on the scene till 1964. So that period of of life, my brothers, I have two brothers. We got to watch my mom and dad walk through a lot of challenges even in their own lives. They had had difficulties. My mom was raised by a single mom. My dad had speech impediment as a little boy. And when he opened his restaurant some years later, his second restaurant burnt to the ground. We were around during that time. I saw that fire happen and how devastating that was to my dad to lose his second restaurant. The interesting thing about it, it put him back in his first restaurant. And having gotten done that, they maybe would have never invented Chick-Fil-A. So, it's kinda interesting story in and of itself, how God even takes, you know, very difficult things and use them for our good and for His glory. But I think, so many things I learned from my mom and dad, you know, one is they taught us that the important things in life can't be bought with dollars and cents. The true things that people are looking for, like joy and peace and hope. It can only be found through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And so that was wonderful that our parents took us to that truth as we were we were growing up. They also taught us that everything belongs to God and that we are merely to be able to be good stewards of managing what God has entrusted to us. And I'm thankful for parents that taught us that very foundational to our upbringing. Even today, we take it very seriously, whatever we have. We realize it's come from the hands of the Lord, and we are just merely just to steward it really well for His glory. So our corporate purpose kind of sums up a lot about our family and a lot about, of course, all about what we are at Chick-Fil-A, and that is that we are here to glorify God, not being a faithful steward of all that he's entrusted to us and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-Fil-A.
Billy Hallowell: Well, and it's interesting. One of the questions I was gonna ask you is just, you know, how you hold on to faith and humility. And from everything I've seen and read, all the interviews with you and your family members, there really is a lot of humility. And we know that there's genuine faith there. And how do you hold on to that in the face of wealth and power, in the things that come along with that? It sounds like these are lessons your parents were teaching you guys along the way to equip you to sort of deal with that sort of thing, not many people deal with the level of attention that your family has had.
Trudy K. White: Yeah, yeah, you're exactly right. That is something that has been instilled in us and just since the time we were quite young. But we have each had to make a decision about our own life, who was gonna control our lives. I'm a follower of Jesus Christ and wanting to honor Him. And it is wonderful to know you've been blessed in the way our family is, is blessed, but we feel blessed so that we can be a blessing to others. And so we are merely a channel of God's love to other people. A demonstration of his faithfulness and his blessing. So, we just wanna be an extension of His love to others. And that's really the way we manage the things that God has given us.
Billy Hallowell: Well, and I love the book titled Climb Every Mountain, because I think so many of us face so many mountains in our lives and that people face a different number of them and everybody's journey is different. But, you know, when you're a Christian and you rely on God to get through those things, that's where the power comes from to to overcome the things that come into our path. But I know one thing that a lot of people struggle with, and I think a lot of Christians struggle with this today because culture is changing. It's in the tides have changed and times are sometimes difficult. It's hard to speak out about different things. And, you know, obviously, I'm not gonna go into the the debates that have happened over different issues. But one thing I know that's been very frustrating for people and very difficult is when there's a perception that's, you know, negative that isn't accurate. And when you're in the public eye, I know that's a very difficult thing. How do you how do you deal with that even as a family or maybe even individual if you don't want to speak to that? Just having people think things that aren't true. And, you know, as a Christian, how do you how do you cope with that?
Trudy K. White: Well, I think the big part of that is trying to be guarded, to know exactly who you are and regardless of what other people think or what they might might say. And I speak to this about looking back to the very first chapter. It's it's all about identity and trying to understand who I am as a person. And it's very interesting that a lot of places where I go, a lot of parents will bring your children up to introduce themselves to me and they'll say, oh, this is this is Trudy. And then the next thing out of the parents' mouth, they'll say, "Do you know who she is"? And I'm thinking in my mind that I know what they're gonna say, but that's not really who I am. Of course, they'll go on to say, oh, she's the daughter of Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A. And that's true. There are a lot of things I could do, things I could say about who I am in terms of being a mother or grandmother or entrepreneur and author, speaker and so forth and so on. But when you boil that all down, actually, the most important thing is my mom used to say to us when we'd walk out the back door. She'd always say, remember who you are and whose you are. And this part of whose you are is so critical. So, when I think of myself and my own identity, you know, my focus is the fact that I am made in the image of God. God created me, and but for God, I wouldn't be here anyway. And so, you know, whatever other people might say, I just have to keep a perspective on the fact that who God is and what he says about who I am. And stay focused on that. That helps an awful lot.
Billy Hallowell: I think that's so important. I think identity is the key. And I actually wrote that down. Well, your mom said to you guys, because I have two little kids and I'm always trying to you every day, I we do this thing called Life Questions more with my six year old. 'Cause my three year old still a little too young. But, you know, we talk through, you know, what do you wanna know about life? And we we talk about God and we talk about just random questions. She asked me today, how do you know how do houses have roofs, who makes the roof and how do you get up there and do it? And so, you know, we go through all these different things, but I love that line. You know, remember who you are and who you are, because that is really the the focal point. If we could focus on that. It changes, I think, everything for our lives.
Trudy K. White: Yeah. Because, you know, that's that's really what gives us value. Now, when we think of when we think of things in life, we think about, you know, who owns this? And sometimes that's what makes us so valuable, depending on who who owns it. And, you know, let them know how much you pay for it kind of thing. And so when you look at that in your own life, you think about my own value. Who owns me? Is is God the creator. He he is the one who made me. And so that makes me extremely valuable to know the very same God who created the mountains is the same God who created me and the fact that he paid a big price. In fact, to send His son, Jesus Christ down on the across for me. Boy, that really makes him valuable so that it's very helpful to keep that in perspective.
Billy Hallowell: What is it been like just watching Chick-Fil-A every year get more and more popular every year be? I mean, it's funny, I live in New York City and so you guys you guys have obviously expanded into New York City now and the lines were insane. I mean, the lines were just like out the door and they still are at lunchtime. What what what has that been like to see this vision that your dad had and to watch his hard work and to see what this monumental company is now.
Trudy K. White: Well, we we we love it that people are eaten chicken. Of course, the cows help promote that a lot. Just to challenge everybody to keep eatin' more chicken. We we certainly appreciate that. And we we feel honestly tremendously blessed and at the same time, tremendously a tremendous sense of responsibility to to manage this as the company grows and as customers get more and more demand, on our service being quick and friendly and all that kinda good stuff. We just really want to. We wanna honor God through it, through our lives. We we feel like that when we do our very best. It's very honoring to the Lord. It's like we're maximizing everything He's given us. So, I think our customers have come to expect excellence in our in our restaurants wherever they eat across the across the country. And, we are so grateful for our operators who doesn't do such a great job out there on the front lines to make sure that they're committed to their team members. We love to invest in people. In fact, my dad's often mentioned and we're really not in the chicken business or in the people business. And so we enjoy the fact that we able to invest in people. It's one of the reasons I was kind of inspired to write this book because, you know, it doesn't matter who you are or who you're related to or what you have. We all have challenges in life that we have to face, including myself and our whole family. And so shortly after my mom and dad passed away, I knew that I wanted to write this book and I knew I wanted to base it around this theme of a mountain and to help people understand that, hey, life is hard and There're going to be some challenges. But the beauty about it is, that God will walk this journey with us? And we kind of sense that in our business as well. We see the hand of God blessing us and we just don't want to mess it up.
Billy Hallowell: Well, you guys have done a very good job of, I think, inspiring a lot of people and setting a very high bar. You say you're in the people business, and I think that's evident with with how you've served people very well. And let let me ask you this about the book, and it's kind of an on the spot questions. I don't know if you can answer it. And maybe there isn't an answer. But what what was the hardest part, if any, of the book for you to write personally?
Trudy K. White: No doubt the hardest part was when I spoke to loss. Loss is something everybody has to deal with. And it was particularly difficult for me because I was speaking to the loss about parents, having lost my dad in 2014. Ten months later, my mom in 2015, so it was a big challenge for our family. It was a walk of faith to lose people who were so profound in our own lives? And it's inspirational to us. But when you take a loss, everybody has to deal with loss. You know, when you when you're a little child, you know, you may lose your blanket or you may lose a game. When you're a middle school, you may lose one of your best friends in school because they move away. And when as you get older, those losses sing a lot more significant, of course. And oftentimes we do think of the loss of death. And so I speak in the book about just going through grief and what that's like. We all have to deal with grief at different stages of life. And I have certainly had to do that and kind of describe the process. So that was probably the hardest one, because that's the one that's most precious to me just a few years out from losing both parents.
Billy Hallowell: Sure. I know that absolutely makes sense. And what you spoke a little bit about this, but what's the big takeaway for Climb Every Mountain? What's the one thing you want every reader to leave thinking or feeling?
Trudy K. White: Well, I really want and believe, encouraged and encouraged in this way that no matter what mountain you face in life or how steep the climb is for your life, that you recognize the fact that you will always find God faithful in that journey. And that is really the essence of why I wrote the book to help people understand life is gonna be hard. I think God is about trying to He's not trying to make our life comfortable, but He is trying to deepen our character. And sometimes I in my life, God gets my attention a whole lot more when I'm going through difficulties and does when things are smooth and going just fine. In those difficult moments and those hard times that we lenient to the Lord a little bit more and recognize how much we really need Him. And so I want people to realize the fact that, look, you don't have to. You don't have to live this life alone. You have a God who loves you and created justice as mighty and strong and unchanging as mountains are that we see around us. That's how faithful He'll be in our journey of life as well.
Billy Hallowell: So my last question 'cause we're running out to the end here. I know proceeds for the book are going to the Impact 360 Institute. Can you tell me a little bit about your organization?
Trudy K. White: Yes, this is a dance institute that John and I started several, many years ago, over 10 years ago. And it really is focused on helping young people right out of high school before they head to college. We recognize the fact that a lot of young people, even if they're raised in a Christian home environment, when they head off to college, they walk away from their faith. The statistics are just unbelievable when you look at what happens there. And so we wanted to see if there was a way we can invest in the lives of young people to come, and they study at our institute for nine months. We have a fellows program that we offer and the students look at Biblical World View. They understand that we really base the curriculum on three pillars. Know, Be, and Live. and I've ended each of my chapter on those challenges as well, that we like know God deeper in our life, that these young people might be transformed in their own character. As you walk this journey of life with the Lord, you understand how he begins to work in your life. And the third that they might live a spirit empowered life to be able to have a positive influence out in in society and even through their college years. So this book will contribute to a student grant that will help these young people to be able to come and study with us for over the course of a year.
Billy Hallowell: Well, that's that's incredible. And I really appreciate you taking the time today to come on the show. We'll make sure we link out to the book so people can grab copies of it. Thanks again.
Trudy K. White: My pleasure.
Billy Hallowell: So that interview was a lot of fun. Again, it's always fun and inspiring to kind of get a chance to speak with people behind the brand. Who are they? Who is the family. And you see so many headlines and you read so much. And you see every year that Chick-Fil-A is the most popular restaurant chain, fast food chain in the country. Well, okay. But what goes on behind that? And who are the people there? So it's a lot of fun to get a chance to see that and learn a little bit more about it. And also some pretty incredible lessons, I think, from the family just about life and living in the way you kind of should do things in business. So we're gonna move on, though, in going to our next segment here. And this are our segment we usually start the show with. I wanted to change things up a little bit today and dive into a little inspiration. I'm not sure how many of you have been over to our pure Flix Insider Insider blog, but if you have you know, it's filled with daily content that can inspire and uplift you. If you haven't been there, I would highly recommend it. It's over at Insider.pureflix.com. And one of the stories we have up there are 20 Bible verses about God's love. And obviously February has been the Valentine's Day month. Right. It's like the month of love. And so we focused a lot on the blog this month in just talking about different ways that the Bible talks about love. And obviously, the most important form of love comes from God. And so, not gonna read you all 20 verses but I wanted to pick out three that I think are really important as we just think through the week and we reflect and and we think about the way that God cares for us. Right. So, the first verse is John 15:12, "This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you". And it's interesting because Jesus is really commanding Christians here to love one another in the same way that God has loved humanity. And anybody who knows anything about the gospel knows that Jesus died right on the cross for the sins of humanity. That is an incredible. That's the most intense love that I can imagine in the most incredible act that I can imagine. So, that kind of brings us into the second verse, which is John 15:13. The verse reads, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". And so, again, we think about what Jesus has done. We think about love and the importance just in general of sacrificing for others. Right. Not not laying down your life all the time, but but doing things for others. And we think about what Jesus has done for us and for the sake of humanity. And it really is the most touching and powerful example of selflessness. I think, you know, a lot of times it's easy to think about ourselves and not others. But we know that we're called to think more about others than we do about ourselves and that that could be a tough thing. So the last verse I want to read, John 3:16, and most of us know this verse, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life". If you're listening to this and you wanna know more, go over to our blog Insider.pureflix.com. You can read more verses about God's love. But that one, that is the core of the New Testament John 3:16. So there's a lot to think about there, head on over again to Insider.purefllix.com for more.
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Billy Hallowell: Welcome back. So we're gonna close out the show today with another interview, actually. And this is somebody who I actually met last year, and he's a really interesting guy. His name is Daniel Canuto and he's an actor and a filmmaker. And he also has a new series coming to Pureflix.com on March 1st. The series is called King's Messengers. And it's kinda like this really interesting end times like show. I'm not going to give too much away, but I wanna welcome Daniel to the show right now. Hey, Daniel, how's it going today?
Daniel: Hey, Billy. It is going well.
Billy Hallowell: So we are here to talk about your TV series, Kings Messengers. It's coming to Pureflix.com very soon, without spoiling too much of the series. What can you tell us about it?
Daniel: Well, it's a fun survival story that we created that we wanted to do something a little bit more geared towards the younger generation, and we hope that people enjoy it.
Billy Hallowell: So you have you play the character David Sutherland. I love that name. So tell me about. Tell me about David Sutherland.
Daniel: Yeah. So David is an ambassador, son. So Znora is the world that the series takes place in. And it's a fictional country. And David is the ambassador's son from Great Britain. And so he is left after kind of civil war has broken out in this country. And he's trying trying to survive and make it out.
Billy Hallowell: Oh, wow. OK, so that sounds. See, I love this kind of stuff. Right. This is the kind of the kind of series that I like to watch because I love anything that is either sort of end timesish or feels like there's some struggle that people have to overcome, get through. Right. And so you've I think you've tapped right into that. What was the inspiration, impetus for King's Messengers?
Daniel: Well, believe it or not, it actually took place at the idea came at the National Religious Broadcasters Conference a few years ago. I was there in Nashville, Tennessee, at the NRB convention, and I was talking to a church media guy and he was talking about kind of creating content that we could use to engage youth groups and to engage the younger generation. And it was literally during that conversation, I had the idea we could make a series that could do that. And hopefully it does that. And that is now what the King's Messengers is.
Billy Hallowell: So like, and obviously, when you come up with an idea like this, 'cause the way you just described it, it sounded like, oh, we just came up this idea and we did it. And I know and obviously you know this because you've done it, that that is it's such a hard process. Like what goes into getting a series made from the start, that sort of inspiration that you had to to the completed product? Like, what is that? I know this is a loaded question, but I just I'm dying to know kind of like what how you do that, what goes into it.
Daniel: So making a film or TV series, any project that actually is completed and makes it into some kind of commercial distribution format is nearly a miracle. It's just it's tough to get. It's tough to get a project all the way to the end, especially with a film project, because, as you know, there's a lot of money that it takes to make it happen. A lot of time, a lot of people. So with the king's messengers, I had the idea. I came back from the NRB convention. I did talk to some investors who were able to raise some money to get it going. And we created four episodes, just to kind of as sort of proof of concept. And we were testing them out with churches and it seemed that the concept seemed to work. So then we created four more just to have a mini series of eight episodes, and it did take about three years to do. But we got an eight episode, mini series off the ground and we're looking forward to having a premiere here on Pureflix.com.
Billy Hallowell: So tell me a little bit about your background. Like, how did you. At what point did you decide I want to be in entertainment. I want to create film and TV? Just I'm curious about your background.
Daniel: Yeah. So no one in my family is from the entertainment industry or even very few really kind of creative types. My mom was an accountant and my dad is an engineer.
Billy Hallowell: So you chose a different career path.
Daniel: Yeah. So it was a very different career path. But they could not have been any more supportive of this. So it's it's a miracle, really. But my dad actually, so has his back on his engineering. But he's a he's a airline pilot actually. And he was he came home from work one day when I was a kid, and he was telling me about one of his coworkers, who did the payroll on some kind of I think it may have been a Warner Brothers movie that was being shot in Europe and my dad was just telling me this story was like, yeah, his coworker was on set and nobody liked anybody. And it was it was awful. But everybody liked the payroll person because they they handed out the checks and paid everybody. And this is the weirdest thing. But this is honestly true. I heard that story and I was like, I want to be one of those people that works in the entertainment industry and makes movies that sound like exactly what I wanna do.
Billy Hallowell: And that was just the spark. That was the moment.
Daniel: That was the spark. It's so crazy and weird. And it's not even a happy story. But I heard that I was like, that sounds like so much fun. So I guess be careful of any Billy, as you raise kids. Be careful of any weird stories you tell them about your coworkers. You never know what might spark the creative juices.
Daniel: But, you know, I was actually always just very interested with creating things. I was always making stuff, you know, doing puppet show doing it like all as a kid, you know, doing plays for mom and dad, just always trying to do some some kind of creative demonstration of some things, I guess for me, it was kind of, I think, something that was always there and to some degree, just God given. And, you know, but I heard that as a kid, and that was actually one of things that was spark my interest. And then when I was 17 years old, I'm 30 now, but when I'm 17 years old, 13 years ago, I had my chance to intern on my first set and I was able to intern on a movie that was being done by one of the producers of I Can Only Imagine. So I interned with Joshua Walsh shoes. Now he produced I Can Only Imagine and I think October Baby and Woodlawn and some of the other big faith based titles that are going to theaters. And I think Pureflix is also involved with some of those projects. But I was able to intern. That's my like last couple years of high school, these are suppose to be shot in Orlando, Florida, at the time to other faith based films. And I was I was down there summer '17 and '18. And from then on, I've just continued to be involved with films and film projects ever since.
Billy Hallowell: Well, that's pretty incredible. Now, as far as King's Messengers, what are you hoping people take away from this series when they get a chance to watch it?
Daniel: Well, I think the basic concept is faith through trials. You know, the project is set in a fictional environment. But the truth is, all of us are facing trials in our lives and we're looking to connect with God. And how do we do that in a modern context and realize that even though trials are there, there still is hope. And so I guess the basic takeaway is hope. One of the things that we kind of venture into with the series is now there's a lot of promises in Scripture. And one of the promises that Jesus gives us is that in this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. So the fact is that trials and tribulations are actually a promise of God. It's not a promise of God we tend to claim, but it's it actually, you know, it does happen and it will happen. But the second part of that be of good cheer. You know, Jesus has overcome the world. So we still have immense reason for hope because the God who makes all things new is alive and well and still fulfilling each one of his promises to us. And so there's there's many reasons to hope.
Billy Hallowell: Well, listen, I really appreciate you coming on this show today. Any final, is there anything else you want us to know about the series that maybe we haven't talked about?
Daniel: Well, just watch it on Pureflix.com and hope I you guys enjoy it.
Billy Hallowell: Well, thanks so much. We really appreciate it. We'll talk to you again soon.
Daniel: Okay. Thank you, Billy.
Billy Hallowell: So again, check out King's Messengers on March 1st on Pureflix.com. You know, listen, we're at the end of the show now. It's been a good one. Had a good time. Two interviews on the show today. Lots to talk about. A little bit of inspiration for you. Make sure you head over to the blog Insider.pureflix.com. Read our daily content and check back next week for another great episode of the Pure Flix podcast. Thanks for joining me.
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You can read more about White’s life in her book “Climb Every Mountain.”