2022 FFI Global Conference logo
Academic host: MIT Sloan Logo
1:30-4:30 PM
Pre-Conference Sessions
Pre-conference Session 1: The Family Office of the Future
Presenters: James Coutre and William Parizeau, Fidelity Family Office Services
Sponsor: Fidelity Family Office Services
Registration: Limited to 40, opens on July 15

Two more pre-conference sessions to be announced.

1:00 PM
GEN Faculty Meeting
6:00PM-8:00 PM
Opening Reception at MIT Museum Hosted by MIT Sloan School of Management
7:30 AM
Breakfast and Tributes
Tribute to Richard Beckhard (1918–1999), MIT Sloan adjunct professor and FFI founding member

Tribute to IberoAmérica Virtual Study Group on its 10th anniversary

8:15 AM
Welcome and Opening Keynote – Family Enterprise and the Fourth Economy
Followed by concurrent sessions on Changing Family Dynamics

John A. Davis, DBA, FFI Fellow, is a globally recognized pioneer and authority on issues related to family enterprise, family wealth, and the family office. He is the founder and chairman of Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, a global organization that is devoted to helping families achieve long-term and lasting success for their families, enterprises, and financial wealth. Professor Davis leads the family enterprise suite of programs at the MIT Sloan School of Management, after having led the family enterprise area at Harvard Business School for more than 20 years. He is the recipient of the FFI 2016 Richard Beckhard Practice Award and co-recipient of the FFI 2015 Best Unpublished Research Paper Award. He is the chair of the program committee for this year’s conference.

Headshot of John Davis
John Davis
9:45 AM
The Demographics of Evolutionary Behavior: Exploring the essential “humanness” of family enterprise leadership and continuity
Presenters: Andrew Gersick, Princeton University, and Kelin Gersick,
Yale School of Medicine and Lansberg | Gersick | Advisors

Advisors repeatedly encounter patterns of familial behavior that are hard to explain and harder to change: parental bias in leadership choices, destructive rivalry among siblings and cousins, gender biases, etc. This session introduces ideas from evolutionary biology that can help us understand these complex parenting and leadership actions in business families.

In our work across a wide array of cultures, we repeatedly encounter patterns of familial behavior that are hard to explain and harder to change: seemingly irrational parental bias in high-stakes leadership choices; destructive rivalry among siblings and cousins that sabotages familial collaboration; gender biases that limit continuity options; enduring competition among family branches that undermines the capacity to sustain effective governance. Why do these patterns endure? How can we help clients manage them more effectively? What tools can we use to better understand how family business leaders define their own best interests and weigh costs and risks as they pursue their goals? Systems theory, economics, social psychology, Bowen, Marx, and many other concepts help us to make sense and design interventions, but much remains unpredictable. 

One underutilized discipline for exploring these phenomena is evolutionary biology. New insights offered by evolutionary psychologists on such fundamental processes as kin and clan identification, parental investment, altruistic self-sacrifice, and the accumulation and transmission of power, offer powerful ideas with dramatic applications to family-enterprise management. For example, evolved behavioral drivers are definitionally non-rational and resistant to short-term change. They work because they precede or undergird conscious motivations and strategies. This suggests that some of the most persistent and confounding founder/parental behaviors—hypersensitivity to environmental risk, allocating opportunities to offspring in proportions that seem uncorrelated to each child’s potential, relentlessly accumulating resources to placate a self-generated sense of scarcity—can be helpfully understood as hard-wired coping strategies (mirroring phenomena like modern humans’ insatiable attraction to sugar and fat), reflecting drives that were historically adaptive but can be counter-productive in contemporary families and enterprises. Awareness of some fundamental principles of evolutionary biology can enrich our understanding of clients’ motivations and can inspire novel work-arounds that are effective for reasons the client may not realize.

Modern Family: The impact of demographic changes on the future of family
Presenters: Nancy Drozdow, CFAR and Megan Helzner, CFAR

Demographic trends impact every area of life. This presentation will explore how lower birthrates, delayed childbearing, and longer lives impact family businesses now and as we move towards the Fourth Economy. We will look at how we as practitioners can best support family business clients given these demographic shifts.

The decisions to delay having children and have fewer children, and the reality of longer lifespans have meaningful impacts on multi-generational business families. We as practitioners will need to adjust how we work to be maximally helpful to clients who may increasingly be smaller families, older families, and more age diverse families.

Like any major shifts, great opportunities and unique challenges are bound to emerge. Here are some:

  • Delaying having children, which
  • Grants parents additional time to develop themselves,
  • Results in bigger age spreads between generations,
  • Could mean would-be parents want personalized health data to aid in making decisions about childbearing, and
  • Could mean fewer working years for a parent and child to overlap in the business.
  • Having fewer children means fewer successors, so
  • Leading gens may be able to invest differently in the development of a smaller cohort, but with more pressure to “get it right,”
  • Leading gens may choose to think more expansively about who successors are,
  • Next gens may desire more support from non-family peers,
  • Next gens may be more purposeful in their interactions with the business,
  • Next gens will be poised to inherit more wealth per successor,
  • Next gens are predicted to live longer, which may mean that aging next gens need to think creatively about taking up leadership while the leading gen is still in the lead, which might
  • Give multiple generations the opportunity to work together and learn from one another, and come into conflict about different, generationally-influenced approaches to work.

In conversation with a client, we will discuss these trends, hear about their personal experiences, consider the broad implications for families, and we will think together and with the audience about ways that practitioners will need to adapt to the demographic changes coming in the Fourth Economy and those that are already here.

How Identity is Changing the Face of Family (Enterprises)
Presenters: Frank Barbera, Ryerson University, and Natalie McVeigh, EisnerAmper

The perception of families as homogeneous has changed due to increased considerations of racial, religious, political, sexual, and gender identities. Advisors are currently challenged with navigating these conversations with families. This session will consider two challenges: (1) What can family enterprises do to increase rising generations’ identification with the enterprise? (2) Are there ways for the individuals within the family enterprise to name and experience their multiple overlapping identities? Individual identity and identification with the family are two separate processes, which we’ll explore in this session.

Family is changing and, as family advisors, we have all dealt with the example of a ‘legacy’ family overshadowing the in-laws. However, the identity of the family and identities within the family are more far reaching—values, culture, race, gender, sexual identities, for example.

In this session, we will explore family enterprise research as well as research from divergent fields to support strategies for engagement and conversation to:

  • Discuss identity in the context of inclusion
  • Name some of the challenges individual family members may dealing with if the family stays homogenous
  • Discuss how these conversations with clients and families can shift
Death and Divorce: The inevitable link between family dynamics and ownership dynamics
Presenters: Massimo Baù, Kajsa Haag, and Hanna Almlöf of the Centre for Family Entrepreneurship and Ownership (CeFEO), Jönköping International Business School; Louisa Brunner, Leadership Consultant

Acknowledging the impact of family dynamics on family business is more critical than ever, in light of changing family demographics and the recent pandemic. This session aims to address the impact of family events such as death and divorce, and to discuss how to manage them as an owner, researcher, or advisor.

Family firms are characterized by the integration of a business and one or several owner families. The overlap of the business and family systems leads to a mixing of family aspects with business aspects and aims to sustain both a profitable business as well as family harmony. This makes family businesses different from other business organizations, even if family enterprises are the most common type of firm in the world and are thereby a major contributor to GDP and employment rates of most nations.

Married couples are central to the family institution, responsible for its longevity through the upbringing of children. When a marriage ends because of death or divorce, it causes a major disruption to the family system. The loss of a family member through death or separation is highly stressful for the family and can include feelings of failure, betrayal, guilt, and anger, but also of closure and relief. Besides psychosocial effects, such disruption necessitates financial and legal arrangements to formally separate an individual from a family unit. When the departing person is an owner of a family business, changes come into play that have far-reaching consequences for the business and its various stakeholders. Some of the complicating factors stem from the overlapping of roles, where owners that share family ties are also active in the running of the business. When an owner departs through death, divorce, or family conflict, his/her shares in the family business need to be transferred. This can lead to ownership changes, financial distress, conflicts, and more. It is therefore important to acknowledge the impact of death, divorce, and legal conflict in the family business context. This session will do so through illustrative examples from research projects and will discuss important considerations for owners, advisors, and researchers of family firms.

10:45-11:15 AM
Hospitality Break
11:15 AM
Concurrent Sessions: CHANGING DYNAMICS
Emerging Adults: Moving “forth” the family firm
Presenters: Diana Clark, O’Connor Professional Group; Kimberly Eddleston, Northeastern University and Cornell University’s Smith Family Business Initiative; Katelyn Husereau, CFAR

During the prolonged period of transitioning from childhood to adulthood, established working and family relationships can be upended for family businesses and their emerging adult children. This panel will illuminate how families can realign with the new realities of emerging adults to foster better decision-making, promote family well-being, and sustain the enterprise.

Demographic shifts in recent decades have radically altered the trajectory of people in their late teens and twenties. The length of time that young people spend making the transition from adolescence to adulthood has increased, and people in their late teens and twenties are taking longer to achieve the milestones that were previously associated with adulthood. This prolonged period of pending adulthood is associated with instability, identity exploration, and an increased likelihood for mental health disorders to emerge. It is during also during this period of emerging adulthood that many family firms begin to engage their NextGen more formally in the enterprise.

Families hope for business continuity and to effectively harness the optimism and energy of the NextGen. However, we posit that poor judgment, enmeshment, and conflict can ensue for family firms that do not recognize or align with the new realities of emerging adulthood. The challenges of these shifts are present across the stages of adult development. In the early stages, there is a push towards presenting maturity (early exposure to business conversations, involvement in business decisions), which can work against credibility building and engagement, and result in the inability to fully develop identity and interests. At later stages, parents intervene with the best of intentions but often the worst of consequences. Finding the right levels and types of support is trickier than ever for NextGen development. It becomes even trickier paired with the added complexity of helping NextGens become healthy adults who can meaningfully participate in or, in some instances, lead the family business.

Our multi-disciplinary team will explore the implications of these shifts and provide practical tools to help family firms take advantage of the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls associated with the new reality of emerging adults.

Evolving Competencies for future-ready business owners, stewards, and directors
Presenters: Stacy Allred, First Republic, and Mary Duke, Independent Advisor to Families

What competencies will tomorrow’s business owners, directors, and stewards need? This session expands on the Ownership Competencies framework from the 2019 FFI research report Professionalizing the Business Family to include competencies for beneficiaries and married-ins, as well as the higher competencies relevant to family directors. Practical applications and a process for implementation will be discussed.

In 2019, FFI sponsored the research report Professionalizing the Business Family: The five pillars of committed and sustainable ownership, by Claudia Astrachan, Matthias Waldkirch, Anneleen Michiels, Torsten Pieper, and Fabian Bernhard.

The presenters have found significant opportunities to apply this research in their work with enterprising families, most specifically with families looking to prepare for the challenges of an uncertain future and the anticipated generational transitions that lie ahead. These families are asking what skills and aptitudes they will need individually and collectively to ensure their enterprises are well owned in the future.

Because not every family member is an owner from a technical/legal perspective, the presenters began work to expand the competencies model to include family stewards, whom they define as family members with a connection to the family business and family legacy without direct ownership. (This cohort includes non-shareholding family members who may be married in, or beneficiaries of structures holding the legal title to their family business.)

In addition, some family members may be preparing for a future role as family director on their family business board. To address these higher and more focused director competencies, the presenters developed a second expansion on the Owner Framework from the cited report.

This adds a layer of steward competencies below the report’s owner competencies and adds a layer of director competencies above them.

The second half of the session will focus on how the presenters developed a process for collaborating with a business family to co-create their own competencies framework and to design a multi-year developmental journey that includes both individual and cohort learning opportunities and includes initial and periodic assessments to measure progress against desired competencies.

This expended framework leverages an interdisciplinary approach while being anchored in experience design and learning science, which enhances its effectiveness.

Family Offices: Unmet needs and challenges in the fourth economy
Presenters: Ana Gonzalez, Grand Valley State University; Dianne Welsh, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Anneleen Michiels, Hasselt University

This session will present findings from a survey among forty single-family officers on their challenges and unmet needs in relation to the speed, scope, and system impact of the fourth economy, and and will conclude with an interview with two family office members on the unique challenges they face on opposite ends of the age range of their family offices.

The growth in number of family offices appears to be fueled in part by generational transfers of family-owned companies, as well as a desire among wealthy families to be actively engaged in seeking higher-than-market returns while investing in the communities where their wealth was created. In this session, we share the challenges and unmet needs faced by family offices, based on forty interviews with single-family officers. Their most acute unsolved challenges center around long-term and multi-generational commitment, succession planning, and family dynamics.

In the second part of the session, Dr. Ana Gonzalez, Dr. Dianne H.B. Welsh, and Dr. Anneleen Michiels will do a live interview with Jim Brooks (age 72, first-generation member of the family office he started in the 1990s) and Robert Jandernoa, (age 42, second-generation member of his family office, 42 North Partners) who will share their stories regarding the challenges they faced on securing multi-generational engagement and commitment in the family office.

The goal of this session is for family business practitioners and advisors to understand the key considerations that family offices face with regards to the changing demographics (e.g., an aging population).

Current and Next-­Generation Family Business Owners Aren’t So Different After All
Presenters: Jon Martinez, ESE Business School, University of los Andes and Neus Feliu, Lansberg Gersick Advisors

Our study found that contrary to popular belief, family-enterprise members in younger generations do not perceive the world as differently from their pre-millennial peers as we may think. Though similarities in cross-generational perceptions outweigh differences, there are some interesting discrepancies driven by country of origin, gender and parenthood status.

Are millennials and younger generations really different from older generations in the family firm? Do they think, feel and act differently? What are their interests, perceptions, aspirations and attitudes toward the family enterprise? What are the major challenges that they think the family business is facing now and will confront in the future? What kind of support do they expect from older generations in their developmental process to become the leaders of the future?

These are some of the key questions that motivated this study. A group of twelve researchers from five countries in four continents have collaborated on this research project.

The research group developed a comprehensive survey designed to understand the interests and perceptions of members of different generations that belong to enterprising families in different parts of the world.

The data was collected in five countries: Chile, China, Mexico, Spain and the United States. A total of 1,318 complete responses were received. Although the majority of respondents (1,139) are nationals from those countries, there are 179 responses from 34 other countries, as their familycompanies are located in these other nations.

Contrary to popular belief, family-enterprise members in younger generations do not perceive the world as differently from their pre-millennial peers as we may think. Our study sought to identify cross-generational differences that may cause challenges as generations work together to define the future of their family enterprises. We were encouraged to find more similarities than differences.

We found this to be broadly true in our survey responses regarding interests, aspirations, and perceptions related to family business. Though similarities in cross-generational perceptions outweigh differences, there are some interesting discrepancies driven by country of origin, gender and parenthood status as well as a few cross-generational differences that warrant consideration.

12:30 PM
GEN Certificate Luncheon
1:45 PM
Keynote – The Future of Work: How humans, AI, and robots collaborate in the 21st century organization
Presenter: Julie Shah, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, MIT and Thomas Malone, Director, MIT Center for Collective Intelligence
Julie Shah headshot
Julie Shah
Thomas Malone headshot
Thomas Malone
3:00 PM
Concurrent Sessions: FUTURE OF WORK
Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines
Presenter: Elizabeth Beck Reynolds
Building a Competent Next Gen: What do we need to do?
Presenters: Isabel Botero, University of Louisville; Carol Wittmeyer, St. John Fisher College; Juliana Binhote, University of Louisville

Family business owners often believe that the success of the next generation is tied to working outside the firm. However, this approach represents a risk for the continuity of the firm. In this session, we provide a competency framework as an alternative way develop successful next-generation members.

The involvement of next-generation members in a family business is a key contributor to their continuity and success. However, for the family business to be successful, the next generation that is involved needs to be willing and able to contribute to the success of the firm. Given the international trends showing a declining interest from next-generation members to enter the family business, it is becoming increasingly important to understand what is needed to successfully prepare family members who express interest in joining the family firm.

Researchers acknowledge that the leadership of a family business is unique, in that it requires individuals to manage family and business relations. Thus, when next-generation members take over the leadership of the family firm, they have the responsibility of managing and maintaining both family and business relationships, gaining buy-in from family and non-family stakeholders, and engaging in actions and behaviors that show their stewardship towards the family and the business.

To successfully perform these tasks, the next generation needs to gain a variety of competencies that will help them successfully manage the family and business domains. Competencies describe the integration of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other behavioral characteristics that are needed to achieve superior performance. Researchers have outlined a wide array of factors that contribute to the success of a next-generation member when leading the family firm. In this presentation, we outline four competency areas that are essential for a family leader within a family business: business, family, ownership, and self. We also identify the different ways that these can be taught to the next generation and begin the development process starting in the early years of the next generation.

Beyond the Brick and Mortar: How much does “place” matter in the fourth economy?
Presenters: Eliza Orleans, CFAR, and Sara Miller Paul, CFAR

The fourth economy’s geographically dispersed workforce tests an influence long taken for granted by family businesses: their physical location. Participants will explore the role played by “place” and consider ways to recreate its value, regardless of physical context.

A tight-knit, family-owned business had been based in the same building for generations, with a committed staff and most family members living nearby. The business was not only a source of pride for the family but also for the local community, where continuous investment wove the social and economic fabric closely together. Today, accelerated by COVID-19 but also in response to tight labor markets and growing numbers of family shareholders, the benefits of working together are being called into question. Are employees still required to work in-person, or will there be a bifurcation between remote and on-site workers? What happens to the local economy if employees can live and work anywhere? Amidst this change, can this company’s tight-knit “feel” survive?

As the fourth economy accelerates a geographically dispersed workforce, we believe that the definition of, and role played by, a business’s “sense of place” is changing. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for family businesses, which are shaped by their origin, including stories of how and where they were founded and deep ties to a community. “Place” still matters, but it goes beyond geography. “Place” is emblematic of culture—the behaviors, language, and beliefs that underpin “how we do things around here.” Historically, bricks-and-mortar have enabled a family business’s culture, but what does that look like in the future, as digitization, AI, and other technology become universal? The task for family businesses is to extract and make explicit those elements of culture that matter, so that stakeholders, no matter their physical location, appreciate and live it.

Through case studies, we examine how family businesses from multiple industries are adapting to a dispersed workforce, and in particular, how they maintain relationships with their local communities, tools for recruiting and retaining top talent, and how they convey the business culture.

Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Family Business: Understanding how family businesses can leverage new technology without undermining their culture
Presenters: Vern Glaser, Rodrigo Valadao, and Jennifer Sloan, University of Alberta

This session introduces a framework that enables practitioners, consultants, and researchers to become informed consumers of analytics and to build an analytics culture within family firms. Participants will learn how to: (1) use data to enhance decision-making, (2) question and evaluate data curation, and (3) advocate for data-driven decisions.

Open-capital organizations stemming from first-generation entrepreneurs (e.g., Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft) have been actively pushing the boundaries of data analytics and reaping substantial benefits from their efforts for at least two decades. Yet the same does not seem to be true for many family firms, which operate through different sets of logics, values, and interests that may derail attempts to build a more data-driven culture. In this session we argue that the contemporary affordances enabled by analytics represent a huge, underexplored opportunity for family businesses and discuss how data and algorithms can be used to generate organizational value for generations to come.

Despite the underlying technological character of such a theme, the intention of this lecture is not to turn practitioners, consultants, or researchers into data scientists, but rather to enable them to become more informed consumers of analytics. To achieve this goal, we will introduce a framework that comprises three interactive stages, namely: (1) constructing data, (2) leveraging algorithms, and (3) visualizing insights and accountabilities. Each element of this framework will be accompanied by illustrative cases containing real-world data and will show how analytics can become more culturally embedded in family firms. Participants of this session will be introduced to ways they can (a) use data to frame decisions, (b) ask effective questions about the data presented to them, (c) understand and critique the methods by which data has been collected and organized, (d) use data to improve organizational outcomes, (e) advocate for others in their respective organizations to do the same.

4:00 PM
Hospitality Break
4:15 PM
Concurrent Sessions: FUTURE OF WORK
The Future of the Family Business Board and New Work Dynamics
Presenters: Alfredo De Massis, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano and IMD Business School; Cristina Bettinelli, University of Bergamo; Kimberly Eddleston, Northeastern University; Ruth Aguilera, Northeastern University

The session focuses on the major challenges of the digital transformation of board meetings of family firms. The effectiveness of board meetings that are conducted digitally, meetings in which directors discuss and make key strategic decisions mainly via digital channels, remains an unexplored topic. This session will foster interdisciplinary interaction among different types of experts.

The digital transformation has shaped a new set of workplace dynamics, and governance bodies are not exempt. Board of directors’ meetings are witnessing new approaches to communication, information sharing, and organization. Virtual spaces are becoming “the place” where many key discussions take place.

The virtualization of most meetings leads also to new and unprecedented ways of managing social relationships and their inherent tensions.

For example, when social relationships are managed through digital channels, the effects are twofold. On the one hand, this increases personal detachment and mitigates possible emotional escalations; on the other hand, there is a risk of less involvement and greater distraction. How can the family enterprise leverage the digital transformation of board meetings? What new skills (e.g., digital interpersonal communication), challenges (e.g., engagement, participation), and issues (e.g., discussion effectiveness) emerge?

To address these questions, we see a need for facilitating a constructive dialogue between different types of actors (i.e., academic experts from different fields, family business advisors/consultants, and family business directors). Empirical evidence as well as conceptual and anecdotal examples need to be brought into the conversation in an effort to identify the most recent trends and to share concerns and experiences as well as possible solutions. By bridging theory and practice, this panel will put together corporate governance and family firm experts (academic experts, family business advisors/consultants, and directors) to address these pressing questions of our time and identify the key pillars on which to build the future of the board of directors’ work in the family enterprise setting.

The Mindset of the Family Enterprise of the Future
Presenter: Richa Arora, KPMG Family Office

The pressures brought on by fourth economy are driving family enterprises to rapidly require and develop new digital skills and capabilities. The biggest limitation to family enterprises, however, is not the technology itself, but the mindset at the heart of the enterprise. This session will examine the importance of change management, the untapped potential of the next generation, and how a digital mindset can also be applied to societal and environmental changes.

The fourth economy, “the Great Resignation,” and many other forces of change are driving family enterprises to rapidly require and develop new digital skills and capabilities. This new working world necessitates a forward-thinking approach, one that embraces collaboration, openness, innovation, and speed in order to remain competitive. The biggest limitation to family enterprises, however, is not the technology itself, but the mindset at the heart of the enterprise.

Many family enterprises are inherently resistant to change, with “closed” ecosystems that may not encourage new ways of thinking. To not only modernize, but also sustain a family enterprise, families need to lean into disruption. While not every enterprise is ready and able to take on large transformations, there are small, tangible steps towards adopting a digital mindset that can help shift families towards embracing the future of work.

By unpacking the elements of digital mindset, this session will examine the importance of change management, the untapped potential of the next generation, and how a digital mindset can also be applied to societal and environmental changes.

Back to the Future: Time travel and interdisciplinary advising in the fourth economy
Presenters: Debbie Bing, CFAR, and Benjamin Persofsky, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

This workshop explores how the fourth economy redefines what constitutes expertise and changes the kinds of expert help that families seek. We’ll use a futurist tool to identify shifts, innovations, and gaps between current practice and future needs—ideating on what advisors can do now to lean into the future. This interactive workshop takes participants on a journey to explore disruption in advising by “time traveling” into the future. Picture the following:

It is 2030. FFI is gathering and things look different. Back in 2022, futurists, economists, and researchers were writing about the fourth economy and the harbingers of accelerating change. That conference had provoked unparalleled discourse, with powerful reflections on how transformation would dramatically change the field.

Primary in the 2022 discussion was the very premise of advising: Would this be the final death knell to siloed, non-interdisciplinary work? Would the capability to model outcomes with AI refute the value of scenarios and planning? Would balancing past, present, and future in continuity work become irrelevant? What constitutes advice in a future where entrepreneurship and non-traditional sources of learning and innovation could eclipse traditional experience and training?

At this workshop, our cross-discipline team will use Histories of the Future©—a well-tested tool for creating rich, hypothetical, but not unrealistic narratives. Imagined actions, mistakes, successes, moves, and countermoves will be considered, suspending current constraints and illuminating more complex imagined, future experiences, considering the following:

What new voices will make up an “interdisciplinary” constellation? Experts in wellness, ESG, personalized medicine, or personal AI? Which current resources will feel less relevant?

How will a larger constellation of advisors collaborate? Will seamless collaboration be valued?

How is the shift from expertise to “grounded” creativity assessed? What will count as help?

How will demographic and generational shifts—e.g., seven generations at the table —disrupt advisor relationships?

How will evolution of business models—folding, collapsing, or combining delivery of specialties—disrupt advising models?

With global dispersion, how will advisors foster shared purpose among farther flung families? Will legacy matter?

Ultimately, we identify potential major shifts, gaps between current practice and future needs, and examples of current innovations—envisioning what advisors can do now to lean into the future.

The Impact of the Digital Economy on the Changing Nature of Family Stewardship and Governance
Presenters: Arnaud deConinck,Trusted Family, Andrew Keyt, Generation 6

Digital tools are starting to spread but families struggle understanding where to start, how to integrate these tools in their continuous evolving governance structures. This session will use family cases to discuss how families are embracing technology to fit the future of work and the needs of changing social dynamics.


All successful family businesses must keep reinventing and rethinking roles in the family ecosystem. But not all family businesses are resilient to cope with fast changing socioeconomic trends. This pandemic has proven once again the changing nature of family stewardship and the importance of governance.

How to start rethinking governance structures and processes for communication to cope with these new societal trends changing the nature of work? How to embrace cross-generational trends and embrace the evolving quest of the rising gen to balance work and family life?

This session will focus on these changing dynamics and how technology coupled with purposeful governance helps to professionalize family meetings, family relations and support the families long-term success.

We will also invite live cases from multi-generational families showing how they’ve succeeded in coping with these changing family dynamics, social and even cultural trends there are continuously shifting in families.

6:30-8:00 PM
Speakers & Sponsors Reception – by invitation only
7:00 AM
General Breakfast
7:00 AM
Fellows and GEN Alumni Breakfast
8:00 AM
Keynote on Societal Trends (TBA)
9:15 AM
Hospitality Break
9:30 AM
Concurrent Sessions: SOCIETAL TRENDS
The Evolving Dynamics of Next-Generation Philanthropy
Presenters: Jon Quinn, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

In recent years, the Covid-19 pandemic, a worldwide reckoning with racial injustice, and increased political polarization have transformed the dynamics of “next-generation philanthropy.” This session will provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss these trends and potential ways to implement values-based business practices in their businesses, family offices, and philanthropy.

The largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history is underway during a time of rapid global technological, climate, and social change. In recent years, these forces have garnered increased attention amid an ongoing global pandemic, a worldwide reckoning with racial injustice, and an increasingly polarized political climate—all of which have radically transformed the dynamics of the “next-generation philanthropy” pursued by younger people.

In this session, attendees will participate in a discussion about the evolving dynamics of next-generation philanthropy. In particular, the session will address themes such as: how next-gen philanthropists are breaking away from traditional philanthropic strategies and pushing family businesses to achieve greater impact, and how philanthropy can alter family dynamics. It will involve a discussion of how global events over the last three years have accelerated and exacerbated these trends. Finally, the session will also provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss and compare with each other how they could potentially implement values-based business practices in their businesses, family offices, and philanthropy.

Impact of Millennials on Asian Business Families: Lessons for the rest of the world
Presenters: Jeremy Cheng, GEN+ Family Business Advisory & Research; Keng-Fun Loh, INSEAD; Kazuyoshi Takei, Wellspring

In this interactive and collaborative session by the FFI Asian Circle members, you will learn about the challenges and impact on the future of Asia’s business families by the growing influence of their millennial generation, and what it means for the rest of the world.

Of the two billion millennials globally, an overwhelming 1.1 billion (or 60%) reside in Asia. There are more millennials in China Mainland than the whole US population, and they make up 25% of the Asian population. It’s inevitable that the business families in Asia are starting to feel the rising influence of their millennial generation of adults born between 1981 – 1996, which makes them 26 – 41 this year.

Through collaborative interactions in our FFI Asian Circle community meet-ups in China Mainland and Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, we will share the insights and ideas related to:

  • improving the impact of their changing values
  • outlook on participation in the business family and the legacy family business
  • intergenerational communication gaps from this next generation of leaders, owners, executives and family members

Discussions will include:

  • the values that drive them
  • how they define success personally and for their families
  • how they can improve the intergenerational communication challenges
  • views of their own and their children’s future participation, ownership, control, and governance roles in the family business

We will also explore the impact to family businesses globally, and how we as advisors can help families plan for the future, with lessons for the rest of the world.

How Does an Aging Society Disrupt Enterprising Families?
Presenters: Maria Sinanis, Cambridge Family Enterprise Group

Participants will hear themes from ageing literature that impact family enterprises and our advisory work with them. In small groups, participants will identify additional relevant themes and suggest ways to address them. The presenter will supplement these responses with recommendations for mitigating the disruptive forces of longevity in family enterprises.

This session will examine themes related to:

Family activities and interests, such as:

  • Living longer inspiring great medical advances
  • Retirement transitions allowing for contributions to family and community
  • Longevity prompting an increased need for long-term care
  • The rise of “grey divorces”

Business activities and interests, such as:

  • Most Gen Xers and Boomers don’t envision leaving work behind, while millennials enter the workforce with exit strategies
  • Company workforces experiencing four or more generations overlapping
  • Companies have not yet tapped the high growth market segment of ageing people

Ownership activities and interests, such as:

  • 39% of 13–22-year-olds believe they will have an inheritance and don’t worry about saving for retirement
  • Post-divorce, new spouses can create challenges to estate plans with existing heirs
  • By living longer and depending more on their assets to live, next generation inheritances are delayed or dissipated
  • Participants will reflect on longevity themes in small groups, and end with highlights for the broader group. These issues are becoming more common in the work we do with families. How are we helping families address them today? What kind of disruptive forces have not yet been discussed?

    The presenter will share a case that illustrates ways that advisors help families mitigate disruptive forces such as the interface between societal ageism and the collective family’s internalized ageism through training and development initiatives, generational legacy planning, and family mission setting.

    Family Businesses and the Metaverse: How family businesses can leverage cryptocurrencies, blockchains, NFT’s and the metaverse today
    Presenters: Robert Mayer, Twenty Second Consulting, LLC

    Cryptocurrencies, blockchains and the metaverse will transform how every business interrelates with its customers, vendors and workers. Understanding the difference between these technologies will be critical in helping family businesses establish themselves in these areas. This presentation will help you understand these technologies and how they can be implemented.

    The last two years has seen a dramatic shift in the way people interact with each other, the businesses they work for and with, as well as the businesses they personally interact with on a daily basis. New and lesser adapted technologies like cryptocurrencies, blockchains and the metaverse will continue to change and advance this shift.

    The aim of this presentation is to educate and inform family businesses and their advisors on how family businesses can continue to flow with these shifts by utilizing cryptocurrencies, implementing blockchain technology and setting up a presence in the metaverse.

    Attendees will learn what cryptocurrencies, blockchains and the metaverse are, how they differentiate from each other, and how they interrelate. Do all cryptocurrencies require blockchains? Do all blockchains have cryptocurrencies? Do metaverses require both? From there, attendees will be given real world examples of how these are being used and what different uses are being explored. Screenshots, videos and news headlines will be used to illustrate these uses. Finally, the presentation will show how family businesses and their advisors can implement these futuristic technologies into their daily workflow.

    Attendees will leave this session with a firm grasp on what cryptocurrencies, blockchains and metaverses are (and how they differ), an understanding of how they are currently being used, and how they and their clients can put them to use.

    10:30 AM
    Hospitality Break
    10:45 AM
    Concurrent Sessions: SOCIETAL TRENDS
    How Black Family Firms Can Wage War Against Wealth Inequality
    Presenters: LaTanya White, Concept Creative Group

    This session will shed light on the structural systems that have created barriers to Black wealth–building—a key component that is perpetuating wealth inequality in the U.S.— and what Black family firms, entrepreneurship educators, policymakers, and private wealth practitioners can do about it.

    A significant underlying cause of the racial wealth gap is the absence of intergenerational wealth transfers in Black family firms. Data reveals that one third of the 400 wealthiest Americans inherited their wealth from the entrepreneurial endeavors of earlier generations in their family. Researchers found that among Korean American, Mexican American, and African American entrepreneurs, the latter purported to have the highest level of legacy motivation—that is, the intent to pass down their family business.

    An important aspect of succession planning is the construct of generativity and generative intent. Generativity is practiced through leading, nurturing, promoting, and teaching the next generation. Other scholars postulate that this is done while simultaneously creating outcomes that benefit society and perpetuate from one generation to another. Generativity is couched in the actions that connect to a future by moving down the generational chain. Given the insights provided by several scholars on the systemic barrier to Black wealth, Black family firms require a more equitable approach to business development training and wealth management services that contextualizes their historical experiences.

    For Black entrepreneurs exposure to foundational wealth-building concepts is not enough to bring their generative intent to fruition. In that way, entrepreneurship educators, policymakers, and private wealth practitioners are challenged to change and adapt to burgeoning influence of minorities on economic policy and practice. Dynastic Wealth™, a comprehensive entrepreneurial approach to wealth transfer in Black business families, is the result of the cultivation of both quantitative and qualitative forms of wealth. It accounts for the lived experience and ancestral narrative of Black entrepreneurs in a way that no other entrepreneurship curriculum or wealth management service has done to date. In collaboration with the conference attendees, the aim, then, is to increase intergenerational transfers of wealth in Black family firms to create income equality spanning all boundaries.

    Who cares? What Drives the Different Generations When It Comes to ESGs and Why Does It Matter?
    Presenters: Doris Sommavilla, Stonehage Fleming; Elizabeth Bagger, Avanti Family Business Advisory

    ESGs have featured high on the agenda for many families during COVID and research indicates there are clear generational divides. Our role as advisers is crucial. We need to understand what is happening and how we can serve them better. This is what this workshop will explore and uncover.

    Family businesses have always recognized their place in society and in recent years the ESG conversation has taken on great importance as families navigate the world we live in with its current set of challenges. Therefore, most family business advisers will come across and need to understand how to help their clients have these conversations across generations.

    We were inspired by the work of colleagues who investigated trends in family business during COVID which saw half the families surveyed place ESGs firmly on the agenda. It prompted us to start our own research to understand the generational shifts in passions and drives from S to E better and also to investigate how we as advisers can work better with our clients. Our research therefore targets both family businesses and advisers.

    The objective in this session is not only to share our findings about the different approaches each generation may take and how we see our role as advisers in response to these changes, we will also seek to co-create new ways of having a deeper conversation with clients about these important issues in ways that allow each generation their place. The wisdom is in the room and this workshop will seek to harness that to the greatest degree possible.

    Board Matrix: Reloaded – Broadening the Definition of Acumen Needed in Family Business Boardrooms With Great Wealth Comes Great Responsibility: To do what?
    Presenters: Caleb White and Daphnie Pierre, CFAR

    Combining video interviews and a panel of multi-generational family business board members, the session will explore different approaches being taken to adapt their governance structures, board membership, decision-making processes, and resource allocation to better reflect and be responsive to societal questions and challenges of most concern to their constituencies.

    With even the most advanced family business boards, new board member recruitment might regularly involve assessing existing members’ skills, capabilities and experiences in light of the firm’s strategy to address gaps as they are typically defined. Once recruitment begins, resumes tout candidate’s deals done, R&D budgets managed, patents filed, next generation members mentored, committees chaired, etc. Recruiters respond with candidates curated from data bases matching desired attributes.

    As social and business issues are less separable today, multiple family business constituents, often led by the next generation, are asking their leaders how they will not only respond to but potentially lead a call to action on many of today’s environmental, social, and other debates. With a sense of mission, what is their role and where is it enacted?

    Newly recognized experience gaps in the boardroom are requiring a reboot to the traditional skill and capability matrices. Our experience brings us into families and their business c-suites to help see and better understand how to address ESG issues, with eyes open to risks and the thorny questions asked of the company, its ownership and leadership. Having board members with greater “societal acumen” can quickly accelerate the entire organization’s ability to understand and adapt to the current moment. Waiting for the “dust to settle” or too insular or passive a board stance on social issues can spell unanticipated risk, reputational and otherwise. Boards with greater attunement to political and social forces will not only help management work through any looming crises stemming from new demands being made today, but also spot opportunities for thoughtful differentiation.

    We will also explore how board agendas and investment decisions are changing in response to unignorable ESG topics. What takes priority? How are decisions taken regarding risk management, product development, talent optimization, etc.?

    Family Office Impact Investing: A Nordic Perspective on Sustainable Entrepreneurship
    Presenters: Camille Korschun, Mattias Nordqvist, and Erik Wetter, Stockholm School of Economics

    Family firm owners are being called upon by stakeholders, policy makers and family members to address major global challenges. Family offices are increasingly supporting social entrepreneurship by engaging in impact investing and funding new ventures. In this session, we’ll discuss the unique attributes of family offices that contribute to this trend: families’ alignment between values, purpose, and investment decisions; their long-term time horizon relevant for sustainable investing; and the control and resources that make it possible. Given its strong trajectory in sustainability and social entrepreneurship, the Nordic context provides an opportunity to understand the interactions between families and society.

    Family offices are organizations that manage, preserve, or create wealth for individuals and families over multiple generations (Amit, Liechtenstein, Prats, Millay, & Pendleton, 2009; Rosplock, 2014). Family offices typically perform a variety of services for families including investing, tax planning, asset management, succession, philanthropy, etc. Family offices have existed – formally or informally – for centuries (Rivo-López, Villanueva-Villar, Suárez-Blázquez, & Reyes-Santías, 2021) but only recently have become recognized as powerful economic drivers and engines for entrepreneurship.

    Investment institutions and practitioners argue that family offices are leading the way in impact investing; direct investing in social ventures that have a broader set of success criteria than purely financial (Barber et al. 2021); engaging in entrepreneurial philanthropy often defined as philanthropic ventures over which the funder has a higher level of direct engagement than just donations and fundraising (Harvey et al 2011; Shaw & Gordon, 2011), and/or supporting non-profit organizations to develop commercial revenue strategies in order to achieve improved financial sustainability (Ko & Liu, 2021). Nordic countries are known as leaders in sustainability and social change and family offices in the region are integrating this unique perspective into their investment agendas guided by this strong commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation.

    In this session, we will discuss why and how family offices are becoming more engaged in impact investing by drawing on examples of innovative Nordic family offices. Specifically, we will highlight the internal drivers and generational dynamics behind this shift by using the socio-emotional wealth (SEW) perspective. Additionally, we will explain how external factors, such as technology and new business models, are influencing the organization and execution of family offices’ entrepreneurial strategies. We will present examples of Nordic business families (Gullspång Invest, Leksell Social Ventures, and Norrsken) to illustrate the different ways in which positive societal change can be achieved.

    12:00 PM
    Keynote – Family Enterprises Shaping the Future of Society: The Case of Ferrovial
    Presenter: Rafael del Pino, Grupo Ferrovial S.A.
    Moderated by: Iván Lansberg, Lansberg Gersick Advisors and Neus Feliu, Lansberg Gersick Advisors

    A conversation with Rafael Del Pino, Chairman of Grupo Ferrovial S.A., a leading family enterprise in the development of transport infrastructure, mobility solutions and, engineering.

    We will discuss how the Del Pino Family has made innovation a core part of the legacy. The company’s stated purpose is “developing sustainable infrastructure for a world on the move.” The Del Pinos have turned disruptive change into opportunities by leading strategic transformations in Ferrovial and the family’s philanthropic foundation. We will also address how the family has managed generational transitions across the complex portfolio of activity including operating companies, a family office and a family foundation while still responding effectively to the strategic demands posed by a fast-changing environment and the family’s evolving priorities and needs.

    Iván Lansberg and Neus Feliu will facilitate this conversation with Rafael Del Pino and next generation members of the Del Pino Family.

    1:15 PM
    2:00 PM
    Keynote – Creating Climate Futures: Business in a changing world
    Presenter: Jason Jay, Senior Lecturer and Director of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative

    Jason Jay is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. He teaches executive and masters-level courses on strategy, innovation, and leadership for sustainable business. He has helped secure MIT Sloan’s position as a leader in the field of sustainability through teaching, research, and industry engagement. With Gabriel Grant, he is the author of the international bestseller Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World. Dr. Jay also works as a facilitator for companies, organizations, and business families, supporting high quality conversation and shared commitment to ambitious sustainability goals. His clients have included EFG Asset Management, Novartis, Bose, Environmental Defense Fund, BP and the World Bank.

    Jason Jay headshot
    Jason Jay
    3:15 PM
    Sustainability Journeys in Two Enterprising Families: B-Corp certified family business and family office
    Presenters: Marta Widz and Foo Me Har, WMI

    In live and video interviews, this session illustrates the sustainability journey towards B-Corp certification of Maitri Assets Management, the multiple family office established by the Tolaram family in Singapore, as well as the Chiesi Group, the 3rd generation Italian family business, a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry.

    Even before the term “sustainability” was coined, many enterprising families walked the sustainability talk driven by the values of their founding fathers. Many family businesses are now turning these values into sustainability activities, and some of them in sustainability strategy. Not many, however, pursue a unified and cohesive impact strategy that cuts through everything they do. And even less make a step further and become B-Certified. Partially because of the necessary disclosure of otherwise considered as private elements of governance and financial results.

    This session illustrates the sustainability journey towards B-Corp certification of Maitri Assets Management, the multiple family office established by the Tolaram family in Singapore, as well as the Chiesi Group, the 3rd generation Italian family business, a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry. In live and video interviews, the key drivers of the B-Certification will share their motivation, and reflect on the advantages and disadvantages, timelines, techniques, as well as long-term consequences of B-Corp certification adapted by the enterprising families.

    By showing the exceptional examples of Maitri Assets Management, the first FO in Asia, and (to our best knowledge) second FO in the world to gain such certification as well as Chiesi Group, a large EUR 2 billion global pharmaceutical leader in the pulmonary area, we will illustrate how the shared sense of purpose builds momentum for a radical change toward sustainability of family enterprise systems.

    The session is designed to also showcase the key learnings from the Tolaram and Chiesi families on sustainability journey, and in particular B-Corp certification: advantages and disadvantages, timelines, techniques, long-term consequences. It will thus equip family business advisers with a toolbox for building the advisory practice on B-Certification, a trend that cannot and shall not be reversed!

    Family Business in the Age of Transparency
    Presenters: Alexis Du Roy de Blicquy and Andrew Bryson, FBN-The Family Business Network

    After decades of operating quietly, family businesses are facing the realities of the new age of transparency. As they are forced to deal with issues like social equity and climate change, families are searching for their path forward. Finding the right solutions to these issues will largely determine their future.

    The future of ‘single-bottom line’ companies is increasingly tenuous. This is a welcome development for advocates of a more sustainable and inclusive world. As economist Jeffrey Sachs posits, “For decades, many of America’s top CEOs have pushed for unaffordable personal and corporate tax cuts, a rollback of environmental protections, sky-high salaries for themselves and stagnant wages for their workers” – measures that have exacerbated wealth inequality, accelerated environmental degradation, and triggered unsustainable levels of debt.

    In an age of heightened transparency and distributed power, mainstream companies are facing tectonic shifts in social expectations. The public in general, and customers in particular, are putting pressure on businesses to shoulder their share of responsibility – demanding action on climate change, corporate excess and income inequality. There is a rising insistence for businesses to be transparent about their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance, including their contributions to local economies and policies on value chains. Companies worldwide are attempting to respond by increasing their uptake of ‘sustainability reporting’.

    While there are growing numbers of family enterprises who embrace a triple bottom line, external reporting is not a widespread practice for privately-held family firms. That is why UNCTAD and FBN have jointly developed the Global Initiative “Family Business for Sustainable Development (FBSD)”. Its ambitious package of deliverables aims at mobilizing business families and their firms to embed sustainability into their business strategies, thereby committing to concrete, measurable contributions towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Key components of the FBSD Initiative include, among others, the family business sustainability pledge and the development of transparent and comparable sustainability indicators for family business reporting.

    Subjective Interpretations of Time as an Advantage for Family Enterprises in Climate Change Strategies
    Presenter: Sanjay Sharma, University of Vermont

    With a dramatic increase in frequency and scale and scope of climate change related events, nature is increasingly establishing the timeline for response. Even though the consensus forecasts from natural sciences offer little room for interpretation or negotiation, there is a wide variation of interpretation of the timeline of business response from the immediate to the distant in the future. Family enterprises potentially have an advantage over non-family firms in developing a holistic interpretation of subjective time linked to past family history and narratives and a trans generational future in developing strategies that can yield first mover competitive advantages. The research presented in this session draws on examples from the rapid response of family-owned estates in the Bordeaux wine industry to climate change.

    The subjective experience of time is an important concept to explain phenomena important to organizations, and especially family enterprises. A subjective interpretation of time is holistic and embedded in past history, legacy and culture and also in anticipation of the future such as the trans generational growth of the family enterprises. This is in contrast to how managers of non-family firms often interpret time objectively in the present based on current events. The subjective interpretation of time becomes ever more critical as societal pressures escalate for family enterprises to address environmental sustainability and especially climate change. Interpretation of time serves organizations as a mechanism to coordinate and align action. Firms that influence interpretations of subjective time in an industry set the timeline and gain power. The research presented in this session draws on examples from the rapid response of family owned estates in the Bordeaux wine industry to climate change. This industry depends on nature and consciously deploys time in different forms in its business model.
    Borrowing a Page from Nature’s Notebook: Synthetic Biology and New Opportunities for a More Sustainable, and More Circular Economy
    Presenter: Ryan Morhard, Director, Policy and Partnerships, Ginkgo Bioworks

    According to BCG, by the end of the decade, biotechnology could be used extensively in manufacturing industries that account for more than a third of global output. Specifically, beyond food and healthcare, synthetic biology is expected to disrupt chemicals, textiles, fashion, and water within the next 5 years, sectors such as mining, electricity, and even construction following just after.

    This session will describe this manufacturing revolution, and introduce attendees to synthetic biology, one of the key technologies driving it. Then, together, attendees will engage in interactive, informal, and facilitated discussions to collectively consider opportunities to apply synthetic biology for a more circular economy.

    For centuries, we’ve treated Nature as an infinite resource and infinite trash can, extracting raw materials, shaping them through industrial processes that spew out greenhouse gases, and then throwing them away. But we know these resources are not infinite and, too often, there is no “away.”

    Advances in technology now allow us to partner with Nature to unlock fundamental shifts in how things are made and disposed of: a world where things grow and decay, creating circular, regenerative processes.

    Biotechnology is not just for pharmaceuticals and healthcare anymore. These days, biological manufacturing, based on Nature, offers solutions across all industries that address some of the issues that are most contributing to climate change today, from fossil fuel dependency to agricultural emissions and land use to plastic pollution.

    Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of synthetic biology, and more importantly, how this new technology can make their business more sustainable and more circular. Absolutely no knowledge of biology or biotechnology is required to enjoy this session!

    4:15 PM
    Hospitality Break
    4:30 PM
    Closing Plenary – Ricardo Marino and other panelists to be announced
    5:45 PM
    Kick off to NYC conference in 2023
    9:00 AM-4:00 PM
    Post Conference Day with FFI Futurenaut Mark Stevenson (program TBA) Samberg Center at MIT