October 26-27 (virtual) 28-30 (in person)
20/20 Vision: Blind Spots and Bright Spots in the Field of Family Enterprise
October 26-27 (virtual) 28-30 (in person)
20/20 Vision: Blind Spots and Bright Spots in the Field of Family Enterprise
Monday, October 26
8:00AM-4:00PM ET

GEN 503: Tools for Positive Change in Family Business Systems: Analysis and application

Presenters: Neus Feliu, Lansberg, Gersick & Associates LLC, FFI GEN faculty and Andrew Hier, Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise, FFI GEN faculty

Concepts include: 

  • an overview of family business assessment tools
  • insights into what to look for, look out for and how to choose family business assessment tools
  • methods for identifying risks and benefits, challenges and opportunities for professionals using family business assessments
  • “hands on” exercises for using assessment tools and discussing them with family business clients

This course is open to all and will count as credit for those pursuing an Advanced Certificate in Family Business Advising from The Family Firm Institute. More about the program can be found here.

Tuesday, October 27
Join us for the virtual portion of the 2020 FFI Global Conference. This day is divided into two segments: Virtual A (Concurrent Sessions) and Virtual B (Sequential Sessions). Register for one segment or for the entire day.

Please note: For those pursuing an Advanced Certificate in Family Wealth Advising from The Family Firm Institute, GEN 504 is incorporated into both virtual A and B. All day participation is required.

8:00AM-12:30PM ET

New Lenses on Classic Topics in the Field of Family Enterprise
Virtual A: Concurrent Sessions

Host Room 1: Debbie Bing, chair, FFI Board of Directors
Host Room 2: Carlo Salvato, faculty chair, FFI Global Education Network (GEN)

8:00AM ET

Welcome and Introduction

8:10AM ET
Session 1 (concurrent)

Room 1: Overcoming Roadblocks to Attain Strategic Vision in Family Firms

Presenters: Annie Koh and Wee Liang Tan, Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore

In an interactive session drawing perspectives from Asian family firms, we aim to discuss the complexities around decision-making in a family enterprise and the tools families can use to mitigate conflict, facilitate communication, foster better decision-making and hence transform the business strategic vision into reality.

A very important aspect differentiating family businesses from non-family businesses is the element of “family” or the family culture, i.e., the interrelationship between family and enterprise in economic, management and sociological frameworks. In addition to the general economic/business challenges which all enterprises face to a similar extent, family firms are hampered by factors peculiar to their specific characteristics. The family business culture in Asia may be dynamic but is known to have rigid rules relating to lineage and hierarchy, which makes succession and decision making challenging processes.

Numerous studies in the last few years indicate that longevity, long-term outlook, and stability are among the specific attributes of family businesses. However, it remains unclear how these firms address the unique performance and governance challenges in order to avoid pitfalls and build an enduring family business. In this interactive workshop, we will undertake case study analysis of Asian family owned businesses to discuss the complexities around decision-making in a family enterprise and the tools families can use to mitigate conflict, facilitate communication, foster better decision-making and hence transform the business strategic vision into reality.

Room 2: A Vision for the Future: New Family Enterprise Models

Presenter: Patricia M. Angus, Esq., CEO/ Founder of Angus Advisory Group LLC, Adjunct Professor, Managing Director of the Family Business Program, and Faculty Director of the Enterprising Families Executive Education, Columbia University Graduate School of Business

What roles will family enterprises play in developing the future of our world? This session will cover different business models, including Nordic industrial foundations, American B Corp’s, and global family offices focused on sustainable investing. The lens will expand to show how these models connect values, impact, purpose, and profit with practical applications.

9:15AM ET
Session 2 (concurrent)

Room 1: X-Ray Vision: Making culture visible (and an asset) in a family enterprise

Presenter: Todd Smith, CFAR, Inc., Boston, MA

Culture and all that it invokes – assumptions, identity, behaviors – is central in family enterprises, but figuring out how to address cultural issues can be daunting. This session will unpack the role of culture, using a tool to engaging families directly in understanding and then adapting their culture.

Today’s business world is flooded with ideas about culture and its impact on performance. Culture, and all that it invokes – assumptions, identity, behaviors – is particularly central in family enterprises. History, values, and beliefs are essential components that define what we have come to see as the specialness of family businesses, begun at their founding and guiding behaviors and choices in succeeding generations like an invisible hand. We know from research and experience that culture needs to evolve as businesses and families change, but often the culture that has made an enterprise successful is hard to pin down at the time it needs revisiting. It becomes “the way we do things around here,” requiring X-ray vision to distill not only what the culture is, but then, what aspects are essential to keep and what are vestigial, such that the interactions of family and business yield the best results for both.

Where and how can you begin, when culture contains deeply held beliefs that are often sensitive to (re)visit? This session will unpack the role of culture in family enterprises with an approach that engages them in their own discovery. The Culture Canvas (adapted from Dignan, Aaron. “The Operating System Canvas”) is a framework that focuses on three aspects of workplace culture: work structures, interactions, and motivations. Most importantly, the canvas, applied methodically, helps families “X-ray” their culture to identify and examine the usefulness of tacit assumptions that influence the most important ways of operating, including:

  • Who succeeds and who fails here?
  • How are decisions made?
  • How do people interact?
  • What is taboo (ideas, behaviors, people)?

In this session, we will share the approach through two cases, examining how the particular culture in each is reflected in its results. We will invite participants to share their own experiences.

Room 2: Family Philanthropy: The secret ingredients to making it rewarding and impactful

Presenters: Jim Coutre, Fidelity Family Office, FFI GEN faculty and Maya Prabhu, J.P. Morgan Private Bank, FFI GEN faculty

During this session we will share the different approaches to family philanthropy as well as the pitfalls to avoid. Engaging the next generation can bring real benefits and we will discuss practical ways to bring them in and give them a real voice. The session will include case studies from around the world.

10:15AM ET


10:30AM ET
Session 3 (concurrent)

Room 1: Developing a Clear Vision for Growing Your Multi-Family Office

Presenters: Michael Delgass, Wealthspire Advisors, New York, NY; Owen Ryan, Geller Advisors, New York, NY; Mark Rubin, Geller Advisors, New York, NY

A panel of experienced multi-family office leaders will discuss some of their best ideas as well as pitfalls in their experience as leaders in their firms.

When is it worth investing human and financial capital in a growth idea?
What are the key metrics that can be relied on for measuring success?
What are the secrets to knowing when to abandon any particular initiative?
How can implementation and execution go awry?
When should inorganic growth be considered?

The panelists will share case studies and personal experiences and answer audience questions.

Room 2: Upgrading Your Lenses: Did the prescription change while you weren’t looking?

Presenters: Nancy Drozdow and Caleb White, CFAR Inc., Philadelphia, PA, and Boston, MA

This session will take a close look at potential over-reliance on best practices among family business consultants, including cases in which the application of readily accepted industry “standards” had unintended consequences. Participants will be engaged in an interactive session, utilizing videos and case studies to explore this topic.

In 30+ years, family business consulting has evolved from study groups of dedicated practitioners to an established field with broadly accepted conventional wisdom and proven methodologies. In books, podcasts, and other media, practitioners evangelize the great work that many within FFI have created. Hardly a day goes by when we’re not asked about “best practice” on matters such as family employment, next generation development, non-family compensation, board of Advisors/Directors, from set up to term limits, and shared ownership by in-laws. Practitioners can rightly lean on the shoulders of best practice, as many of these topics are sufficiently common to have a book of knowledge that suggests what works. Families look to us for answers, pulling us toward fixing their dilemma.

Prescriptions can change when we aren’t even looking. Today’s armory of frameworks and accepted truths can have unintended consequences. The adage “When you’ve seen one family business, you’ve seen one family business,” means that any application of best practice demands a prior step of targeted diagnostic inquiry to capture a client’s idiosyncrasies and particular circumstances. This may seem obvious, but we can all be blinded by what we think we know, and belatedly come to see that massive adaptation or even abandonment of some of the frameworks many hold dear is necessary even when frustration grips both our clients and us. This session will use video and cases in which the application of readily accepted industry “standards” had unintended consequences.

11:30AM ET
Session 4 (concurrent)

Room 1: Helping Family Businesses: The family capital approach

Presenter: Gibb Dyer, Marriott School of Business, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

This presentation will describe why family capital is critical to the success of family firms. In particular, it will discuss how family capital is created, maintained, and transferred between generations. Consultants and researchers should have an understanding of this “family capital approach” to helping family firms.

Families that succeed across generations have the ability to create, maintain, and transfer family capital. Family capital is created by having stable family structures that allow family members to develop trust and share family capital. In addition, family culture, family activities, trust-related behaviors, and family capital transfer activities lead to: 1) the formation of successful family firms and 2) better outcomes for family members who are a part of those firms.

Room 2: Understanding the Complexities of Mental Incapacity When Advising Family Business Owners

Presenters: Patricia Annino, Partner, Rimon Law, Boston, MA; James Grubman, Family Wealth Consulting, Lexington, MA; Linda Bourn (moderator), Crystal, Alliant Private Client, New York, NY

Diminished capacity is a topic relevant for all of us, personally and professionally. Our multidisciplinary discussion will use presentation, video, and audience discussion to advance professional thinking and personal reflection about dementia, aging, decision-making, and family business systems.

The fields of law or medicine alone provide only a partial roadmap for addressing the modern uncertainties of mental incapacity. Using case methodology, this session will help advisors recognize potential issues with family business clients and think through whether and how to intervene. We will discuss proactive steps for handling situations where the decision-making of people in key roles may diminish due to dementia, addiction or illness. This includes when to get evaluations assessing specific capacities like financial decision making or changing estate plans.
12:30PM ET

Wrap Up of Virtual A Sessions

1:30PM-5:45PM ET

Master Class: Advanced Topics in Family Wealth Advising
Virtual B: Sequential Sessions

Host: Bilal Zein, 2020 Conference Program Committee

1:30PM ET

Welcome and Introduction

1:40PM ET

The Blind Spot Preventing Wealth Preservation: Infrastructure

Presenters: Stephen Magowan, Sunrise Management Services, LLC, West Palm Beach, FL; Natasha Pearl, Aston Pearl, New York, NY

What is the blind spot that prevents family wealth preservation? A family enterprise CEO will vividly describe an infrastructure implementation that preserves wealth, reduces risk, adds quantifiable value, and enables service customization. This session offers practical advice for every family enterprise to make infrastructure a bright spot and how to implement it, starting now.

Infrastructure is essential to family wealth preservation, but a surprising number of families and family enterprises lack infrastructure. These are the processes, systems, and resources required to reduce risk, provide consistent service levels, improve quality of life, and avoid surprises. Examples include consolidated investment reporting, up-to-date cybersecurity measures, medical/wellness management, residential preventative maintenance, and next gen education. This wealth preservation infrastructure enables clients to make efficient decisions and to participate in opportunities, investment-related and otherwise. Lack of infrastructure can have serious consequences, including costly workarounds, distraction from important family objectives, compliance violations, and even collapse. Lack of infrastructure can enable careless spenders to deplete their inheritance, residential maintenance breakdowns causing leaks or fire, cybersecurity breaches, and compliance issues leading to lawsuits, to name a few. The reasons for deficient infrastructure include unplanned asset accumulation (multiple residences, automobiles and aircraft), growing wealth through concentration without diversifying for preservation, focusing solely on cost reduction, and a feeling that it is inappropriate to focus resources on infrastructure vs. income-production.

Aston Pearl has created a proactive and systematic seven-step implementation process for wealth preservation infrastructure. This is cutting-edge intellectual capital that has been distilled from advising more than ninety family enterprises since 2003. This seven-step implementation process guides families and their family enterprises in identifying the areas posing highest risk to their wealth preservation, and in building and strengthening their infrastructure overall. In so doing, families and family enterprises will receive considerable benefits, including reduced time spent on low-value activities, increased time available for strategic planning and creativity, ability to customize services for individual family members, and increased staff productivity and reduction in staff costs. Most importantly, wealth preservation infrastructure sustains wealth and can help prevent the family from “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.”

2:45PM ET

Zooming in on Opportunity: Seeing the formula for next generation engagement in family offices and wealth enterprises

Presenters: James Cornell, Fiduciary Wealth Partners, Boston, MA; Katelyn Husereau, CFAR, Inc., Boston, MA

This session will explore intentionality among family businesses as they look to meaningfully engage the next generation. It will include a live case study from James Cornell (seventh-generation owner of Cornell Enterprises) and video case studies from other families that created a family office structure that engaged their next generation.

Meaningful engagement of the next generation in a family office or wealth enterprise can be tenuous unless a focus is intentionally created. Oftentimes, much of the value of a family office is left unclear, including continued wealth/capital creation, not to mention opportunities for connection, fulfillment, and success.

Family offices or wealth enterprises offer unique opportunities for the next generation to engage in value creation efforts. For families that are serious about continuity and growth, intentionality is key. This means linking the interests of the next generation to the activities (existing and potential) of the family office by offering creative pathways conducive to discovering roles that can help foment the kind of curiosity so critical to enabling family continuity.

Across generations, there are frequently differences about the perceived purpose of family capital: the ways it should or shouldn’t be put to work, who has authority or decision-making, or even the purpose of a family office at all. Creating an aligned vision for a family office or wealth enterprise across generations is critical as a family looks to the collective future.

This session will feature a live case from James Cornell, seventh-generation owner of Cornell Enterprises, sharing his story. It will also feature videos from other families that have intentionally created a family office structure and engine that have enabled renewed engagement and excitement in the next generation. We’ll explore the ways that next generation interests can be surfaced, members from reluctant branches can be meaningfully engaged, and momentum across generations can be created and leveraged. Participants will hear about the opportunities that outweigh the challenges of engaging the next generation in the work of the family office and wealth enterprises’, walking away with practical next steps that can help support families in working toward intentionality.

3:45PM ET

Values-Based Investing: How to incorporate your values into your investment strategy

Presenters: Jim Coutre, Fidelity Family Office, FFI GEN faculty; Maya Prabhu, J.P. Morgan Private Bank, FFI GEN faculty; special guest Jay Lipman, Co-founder and President, Ethic Investing

You can make a difference through your philanthropy and your investments. This session will provide an overview of what impact investing is, current trends and developments in the field and how families can practically get started in impact investing.

4:45PM ET

Developing an Expanded View of Family Enterprise Sustainability: Incorporating social and environmental objectives alongside generational goals

Presenters: Fredda Herz-Brown, Relative Solutions, New York, NY; Erika Karp, Cornerstone Capital Inc., New York, NY; Rebecca Meyer (moderator), Relative Solutions, Philadelphia, PA

In the FFI community, we help family enterprises achieve sustainability by guiding them to work on their shared economy and/or their relationship system with one primary focus on generational sustainability. This will be an interactive session open to the exploration of relevant client experiences with sustainability practices.

It’s hard to ignore the growing interest in social and environmental sustainability that has captured the attention of many family enterprises as they seek to be responsible global citizens, reduce risk and/or create value for their businesses and investment portfolios. What is the relationship between these often-siloed efforts toward sustainability? How can a focus on all aspects of sustainability improve the individual parts? The presenters will explore if and how family enterprises might integrate their sustainability efforts across generational, social and environmental objectives and what challenges they might encounter in doing so.
5:45PM ET

Wrap Up of Virtual B Sessions

Wednesday, October 28
(In-Person at Marriott Marquis Times Square NY, NY)
(followed by reception)
Jessica Genick headshot

Opening Keynote

Jessica Genick, New York, NY

Jessica Genick is a Tony-nominated producer of 10 Broadway shows including the current production, Come From Away. Daughter of the famed and prolific producer, Jerry Frankel, Jessica grew up in the business of theater. In addition to producing, Jessica creates and leads “Business of Broadway” workshops and specific curriculum for students of all ages and for private groups. Prior to her career as a producer, Jessica was a professional actor and received her BFA in Musical Theater from Syracuse University. Jessica then studied Drama Therapy at The New School and received her Master’s Degree in Drama Therapy from NYU. Jessica is also a Leadership Coach at Fordham University.

Thursday, October 29
(In-Person at Marriott Marquis Times Square NY, NY)
Concurrent Sessions

Blind Spot: Family office and investment governance

Presenters: Grégoire Imfeld, One Family Governance, Geneva, Switzerland; Kathryn McCarthy, New York, NY

Family office and investment governance is often a blind spot in the overall family governance system. When recognized, it is a stepchild until something goes wrong. Through case studies and real-life examples, we will explore different ways family offices and investments are governed, identify pitfalls, and offer enhancements.

There are many excellent family governance practitioners globally. But, quite often, the governance of the family office and of the investment is left out or, at a minimum, is an afterthought. In fact, many business-owning families don’t even acknowledge the existence of a family office operation when it is embedded in the family business, let alone have policies and decision-making guidelines. “Cashed out” or financial families often don’t get it right either. Classically, omitting investment governance. Many family members conflate family and family office governance and ignore the governance of the investment process until there is a problem.

How do we overcome these governance blind spots? In this session, mainly through case studies and real-life examples, we will learn about the different ways family offices can be governed, highlighting the different needs of business and non-business owing families. We will also define the requirements of family office and investment governance and explore how major family and business transitions influence the family office and its governance. In addition, we will identify some pitfalls to avoid and offer some consistent practices to enhance family office and investment governance.

Unraveling the Hidden Threads of Family Conflict

Presenters: Jane Beddall, Dovetail Resolutions, LLC, New Haven, CT; Richard Lutringer, Lutringer Mediation Associates, New York, NY, and Palm Springs, CA; Jack Wofford, John G. Wofford, Esq., Cambridge, MA

This session will help consultants and advisors better serve client families by recognizing, understanding, and addressing hidden conflict. Participants will observe a demonstration of how they can interact more effectively with families in conflict and learn how conflict professionals can help families and those who work with them.

Hidden threads of conflict often impair a family’s ability to thrive as both family and family enterprise. The emotional impact of unidentified conflict can be extreme, and exacerbated by its hidden nature. Advisors are accustomed to helping families who want basic guidance to create a plan for leadership and owner succession, a family charter, an estate plan, etc. Often these general engagements acknowledge the need to deal with specific, identified, and immediate disputes. For professionals working with families in a myriad of situations, however, the unspoken threads of hidden conflict often inhibit movement. When such conflicts are left unspoken and unaddressed, consultants and advisors can be stymied in efforts to serve and support families. Many struggle to understand their own reactions to conflict, feel ill-equipped to handle it, and are unsure where to turn for help.

In this session, participants will increase their understanding of conflict, first in observing and discussing a demonstration of a common scenario, including identifying specific tools they can use. A panel discussion about conflict – nature, causes, and effects will help participants gain employ. Additionally, the session will cover if and when the advisor and the family might gain from introducing the skills and experience of a mediator, conflict coach, or other conflict professional. Participants will discuss whether, when, and how to introduce that idea to families, and what type of professional could help in a given situation.

From Family in Business to Business Family: The blind spot of family identity

Presenters: Maria Jose Parada, ESADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain; Marta Widz, IMD Business School, Lausanne, Switzerland

Business families highly attached to their legacy identity may not realize the need to adapt their identity to reflect their current portfolio of businesses, leading into pursuing ill strategies and unnecessary family conflicts. This session uncovers the “blind” spot of family identity development that advisers can help address effectively.

Business families that are highly attached to their legacy identity may not be able to realize the need to adapt their identity to reflect their current portfolio of businesses.

Pentland Group, a family business, employs more than 20,500 people worldwide and generates about ĺŁ2.9 billion in sales. Pentland Group’s was founded 1932, when Berko and Minnie Rubin – immigrants from Eastern Europe – set up the Liverpool Shoe Company, a small fashion footwear business. From that humble beginning as a shoe retail business, the family owners built a portfolio of sport and fashion brands (such Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury, Mitre, KangaROO). In 2004 Rubin family purchases a 57% controlling stake in a publicly listed JD Sports Fashion: chain of over 1,300 retail shops.

Even though the JD Sports Fashion makes about 80% of the total portfolio of the Pentland Group, the Rubin family still identifies itself with the legacy brands business. Their mission statement is: “Building a family of brands for the world to love, generation after generation”.

In this interactive session we uncover the “blind” spot of Rubin family identity with the goal to embrace the reality of their portfolio structure. We highlight the need to navigate away from the legacy brands identity and develop a new collective family identity, which would reflect the sports retail publicly-listed business.

Furthermore, we provide the advisers with the toolbox on how to assist the business families with developing the collective identity: the what, the who, and the storytelling.

Using Pentland Group as an illustration, we build on bright spots on emotionally overlooked business units, allowing business families to navigate away from the leading into pursuing ill strategies and unnecessary family conflicts. Advisers may play a critical role in uncovering blind spots and embracing the bright spots.

Concurrent Sessions

STEP 2020 Global Family Business Report Release: Main findings and live practical implications

Presenters: Andrea Calabro, IPAG Family Business Institute (IFBI) & STEP Project, Menton, France; Georges Samara, American University of Beirut-Olayan School of Business and IPAG Family Business Institute (IFBI), Beirut, Lebanon; Daniel Trimarchi, KPMG Private Enterprise, Toronto, Canada

The global launch of the STEP 2020 Global Family Business Report from an academic, consulting and business family perspective with a family business owner/manager sharing their experience on specific aspects covered in the report. Participants are asked to interactively work on the challenges the family business faced.

The STEP 2020 Global Family Business Report, based on direct interviews with family business leaders from all over the world, explores and articulates how business families are dealing with the impact of changing demographics on family firms’ succession and governance models. Through case interviews, the report examines different core topics such as differences in generational outlook, retirement planning, gender and societal changes, and unexpected succession, by answering the following questions: a) How do generational differences affect succession and governance and in turn performance of family firms? b) How do the age of the current leader and/or age of the successor affect succession and in turn performance of family firms? How does personal retirement planning affect succession and performance? c) What is the role of gender, family configuration, and societal changes in influencing succession and in turn performance of family firms? d) How does the family business prepare itself for unexpected illnesses, severe accidents, or sudden death of the family business leader?

During this session participants can discover the main findings of the STEP 2020 Global Family Business Report based on multiple family business cases from all over the world. After a deep dive into the core aspects of the report followed by a Q&A session the second part of the session will have one family business owner/manager, who participated in the report, sharing his/her experience in relation to some specific findings from the report. Participants (organized in groups) will be asked to interactively work on the challenges the family business faced and on the open questions directly presented to the audience. After having collected all the possible solutions from the audience, the family business will disclose what they actually did to address the previously communicated challenges in an interactive debate. A final wrap-up will conclude the session.

Developing an Expanded View of Family Enterprise Sustainability: Incorporating social and environmental objectives alongside generational goals

Presenters: Fredda Herz-Brown, Relative Solutions, New York, NY; Erika Karp, Cornerstone Capital Inc., New York, NY; Rebecca Meyer (moderator), Relative Solutions, Philadelphia, PA

In the FFI community, we help family enterprises achieve sustainability by guiding them to work on their shared economy and/or their relationship system with one primary focus on generational sustainability. This will be an interactive session open to the exploration of relevant client experiences with sustainability practices.

It’s hard to ignore the growing interest in social and environmental sustainability that has captured the attention of many family enterprises as they seek to be responsible global citizens, reduce risk and/or create value for their businesses and investment portfolios. What is the relationship between these often siloed efforts toward sustainability? How can a focus on all aspects of sustainability improve the individual parts? The presenters will explore if and how family enterprises might integrate their sustainability efforts across generational, social and environmental objectives and what challenges they might encounter in doing so.


Concurrent Sessions

Helping Family Businesses: The family capital approach

Presenter: Gibb Dyer, Marriott School of Business, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

This presentation will describe why family capital is critical to the success of family firms. In particular, it will discuss how family capital is created, maintained, and transferred between generations. Consultants and researchers should have an understanding of this “family capital approach” to helping family firms.

Families that succeed across generations have the ability to create, maintain, and transfer family capital. Family capital is created by having stable family structures that allow family members to develop trust and share family capital. In addition, family culture, family activities, trust-related behaviors, and family capital transfer activities lead to: 1) the formation of successful family firms and 2) better outcomes for family members who are a part of those firms.

The Future of Family Business Professionalization: Bridging the practice-research divide

Presenters: Claudia Astrachan and Fredda Herz-Brown

What would meaningful, rigorous academic research look like if we established a dialogue between family business practitioners and researchers? How could family business practitioners benefit from substantiating their business practice with data-based evidence rather than anecdotal accounts or best practice approaches that may not adequately reflect a family’s disposition and ability.

In this registration-only workshop, we discuss implications of the recent practitioner-oriented research project on ownership professionalization, funded by FFI and the 2086 Society. Following a brief characterization of the nature and relevance of the research subject, and a discussion of the key findings and limitations, we invite the participants to engage in small group discussions. Participants will have the opportunity to share their interpretation of the research findings and address essential questions that should be investigated going forward, drafting a research and practitioner agenda. Our goal is to encourage collaboration between research and practice, particularly in the area of ownership professionalization, by identifying research areas of mutual interest and benefit.

The Power of Family Ownership

Presenters: Josh Baron and Rob Lachenauer, BanyanGlobal Family Business Advisors, Boston, MA

The key to the longevity of a family business lies in how its owners exercise their power. In this session, we will describe the five core rights of family owners and explain how they can be used to help position family businesses for lasting success.

Family businesses come in all shapes and sizes, but what unites the corner store with the conglomerate, and what distinguishes them from other kinds of companies, is the one thing that all family businesses have in common: they are owned by people who are related to each other. The importance of owners in influencing the business has not always been understood. The family business field has traditionally focused on organizing and aligning the business family. While important, what has been missing from this formulation is what we see as the most important role of the family, which is making decisions as the owners of the company.

It is vital to understand ownership if you want your family business to last. The reason ownership is so meaningful, and so powerful, is that it brings with it the potential to make decisions that influence virtually every aspect of a business. Owning an asset brings with it rights that no one else has. In fact, the best way to understand ownership is to think of it as a set of five core rights. The key to longevity of a family business lies in how its owners exercise these rights. In this session, we will describe the five core rights of family owners and explain how they can be used to position family businesses for lasting success.



Concurrent Sessions

20/20 Vision in Family Philanthropy

Presenters: James Chen, Clearly and The Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation, Hong Kong, China; Denise Kenyon-Rouvinez, Gen10 SA, Epalinges, Switzerland; Walter Sweet, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, New York, NY

This interactive workshop will analyze the present state of family philanthropy to help create a vibrant roadmap for the future. The world and humanity have never before so strongly needed the commitment of all trades represented in FFI. Rethinking and commitment are deeply needed for a better world.

Family philanthropy has made tremendous progress over the past 30 years. It has professionalized, focused, and grown. Is this enough? Have we reached the magic formula? Certainly not. Too many gifts end up in the wrong pockets, to many causes are still not addressed efficiently, too little money is reaching valuable causes.

The three moderators will use their vast expertise and experiences to help navigate the bright spots and blind sights of current practices. Through exercises and discussion, they will create a roadmap for family philanthropy in the coming years. More than ever, humanity is faced with burning challenges. Together we can aim to make the world a better place. It is urgent. It is vital. We can put our heads together to bring beautiful ideas to life.

First, You Must See Something. Then, You Must Say Something.

Presenters: David Bork, Family Business Matters, Carbondale, CO; Jack Mitchell, The Mitchell Family of Stores, Westport, CT

This presentation centers around the historic professional relationship between a family business client and their consultant. The issues addressed will include keeping potential outliers in the family, dealing with family members’ substance abuse and addiction, and growing from one small store to a nine store, coast -to-coast, luxury clothing businesses with unity across generations.

Who doesn’t love their kids and want the best for them? The whole notion of legacy in business is that the next generations of the family are the benefactors of past and current success. But, what family doesn’t have its problems? This is the scenario that family business consultants will encounter consistently throughout their careers. David Bork presented at an industry forum in 1984, attended by brothers Jack and Bill Mitchell (Mitchells of Westport). The Mitchell family had some challenges, and Bill Mitchell advised brother Jack to meet Bork and hire him.

Now, 36 years later, David Bork and Jack Mitchell are talking about the work it can take to right the business ship when challenges logjam the core families. At some point, someone in the family has to say out loud that the family has not been able to resolve a problem. It can be a relief to bring in an outsider and share the current dilemma. Once a business is established, who can bring innovation to keep the momentum? What corporate structure will best serve the enterprise? What happens if the heir apparent can’t step up? How should succession be determined? There are so many facets of sustainability to address. Jack Mitchell will give examples from his family’s experience and David Bork will recount the measures taken to assist or initiate a resolution and their underlying principles. Hopefully not ripped from the headlines, but most certainly a presentation of the painful life situations that call for collaboration and guidance.

Overcoming Psychological Bias with Family Business Governance

Presenter: Randel Carlock, INSEAD, Singapore

This experiential governance workshop is designed to support advisors and consultants in developing their family clients for director, chair, and ownership roles. The activity helps participants experience the director role in working on a board: practicing negotiation, decision-making, listening, team building, leadership, and fair process.

Families are about emotions, and businesses are about logic, so business families often struggle with balancing the family’s emotional expectations and the business’s economic demands. All family business decisions involve a degree of emotionality that makes balanced judgments difficult. Social scientists label making decisions or taking action in an unknowingly irrational way as “psychological bias.” Psychological bias is a serious issue in family-controlled businesses because the family’s central role as leaders, directors, and owners means that every aspect of the family and business is influenced by the family’s shared assumptions, beliefs, and values. This can lead to psychological bias in decision-making and planning, resulting in weak business performance, missed opportunities, unprepared successors, and damaged relationships.

One solution for addressing psychological bias is developing sound governance structures and processes such as boards of directors, family councils and family agreements. Many business families find that a well-functioning board generates a sense of direction, clarifies expectations for investment and ensures accountability. The professional director role requires both rational thinking skills (technical) as well as human insights (social) combined with teamwork to consider the facts, build scenarios, explore options, take correct decisions, and monitor performance.

Friday, October 30
(In-Person at Marriott Marquis Times Square NY, NY)

Annual Meeting

Concurrent Sessions

Ethical Dilemmas of Family Business Members and Their Advisors

Presenters: Rania Labaki, EDHEC Business School, Lille, France; Christopher Robichaud, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Boston, MA; Wendy Ulaszek, Lansberg Gersick and Associates, New Haven, CT

Ethical dilemmas in a family business often lie at the intersection of the family and the business. This session suggests a framework of analysis and guidelines for family business members and their advisors to prevent and address these dilemmas towards contributing to the continuity of the business and the family.

Ethical dilemmas in a family business seem more complex that in other types of organizations, as they often lie at the intersection of the family and the business. This session will particularly focus on the dilemma related to conflicts of interests between family business members. These dilemmas are sometimes ignored, understated or mismanaged by both family members and advisors, for different reasons whether related to financial and political stakes or emotional and cognitive biases. This might lead to serious consequences on the longer run, such as disruptive relationships or cut-offs in the family, dysfunctional behavior of family members such as addictions or suicide, or even business competition which can all seriously harm the family business. Both family business members and advisors would benefit from addressing the ethical dilemmas in a thoughtful way to contribute to the continuity of the business and the family. Reflecting on the following question, “To what extent are the family business members and advisor(s) considered as ethically responsible for destructive consequences of conflicts of interests and how to be proactive or reactive to facilitate alignment?”, this session will be moderated by a team of experts in ethics, psychology and family business with an academic and practice background. In an interactive format, we will first set the ground for conceptual fundamentals on ethics and responsibility. We will then suggest two cases on ethical dilemmas to be discussed with the participants. Finally, we will collect insights from the discussions and share learnings based on our own experience and research. Our overall intent is to increase the awareness of family business members and advisors on the importance of ethical dilemmas and the responsibility that lies behind as well as their consequences, and to equip them with a grid of analysis and tools to prevent and address them.

Family Learning: Why and how

Presenters: Amy Hart Clyne and Genine Iffla, Pitcairn, New York, NY, and Jenkintown, PA

While families recognize the importance of learning and education, many lack a clear vision of what that looks like. During this interactive session, we will breakdown why families should prioritize wealth education and most importantly, how families have successfully achieved their family learning goals.

Family learning is essential to multi-generational success. As families recognize the amplified role of the Rising Generation, they are expanding their perspective on education to go beyond investment know-how and a college degree. In addition to financial knowledge, family leaders are looking to wealth education as a way to share values and pass on the knowledge that will inform a new generation of family meaning.

In our opinion, family learning is one of the most important issues families are confronted with right now. One of the most common questions families ask is, “How can I help my family plan around our wealth?” Most families will agree that wealth education is of high importance. In fact, surveys have shown that family learning is ranked at the top of the list. Yet many families do not have a clear vision, lack focus, or frankly, are not prepared to make this important initiative a priority. According to a recent survey conducted by Pitcairn at its annual Wealth Momentum Forum, families ranked “lack of time” and “lack of a clear path” as the most significant obstacles to family learning.

During this interactive conversation, we will put an emphasis on why families should prioritize wealth education to share knowledge and values across generations and how families have successfully created family learning plans – and how we, as advisors, can enable families to achieve their goals. We will examine what we see as families’ biggest obstacles for family learning as well as offer several strategies, with first-hand examples, for implementing best practices.

Learning From One’s Mistakes: Better is possible

Presenter: Kathy Wiseman, Navigating Systems, Santa Fe, NM

How do we humans learn something new? What is the process, and how can we improve at it? As advisors, what is the way in which we review our client engagements, test our assumptions, identify missteps, and find ways to initiate solutions?

As advisors, what is the way in which we review our client engagements, test our assumptions, identify missteps, and find ways to initiate solutions?

Equally important, how do we deal with our mistakes? We all make them, both personally and professionally. What counts is that we learn from these “mistake” experiences. So how do we get better at that too?



Concurrent Sessions

A Global Values Framework for Family Enterprises

Presenters: Brett Coffman, Truist Financial, Charlotte, NC

Family business stakeholders often seek to use their businesses as a force for good. Through this presentation, the principles of B Corps will be addressed through stewardship theory as a unifying multi-generational framework used by businesses around the world to codify and communicate dimensions of social and environmental values.

While financial performance is a foundational dimension to a family enterprise’s long-term success, additional dimensions have drawn increasing influence. B Corp certification is a worldwide framework to consider social and environmental dimensions as well. Measures are used to assess how the business model and operations impact workers, the community, environment, and customers. In addition, business practices around supply chain, charitable giving, and employee benefits are reviewed against global performance standards. Beyond evaluation of products and services offered, the overall impact of the company behind it is assessed to place social mission in equal importance to its product and economic mission.

Based in stewardship theory, B Corp principles represent a framework for multigenerational family enterprise stakeholders, who seek to unify around a set of corporate principles, values and criteria, to ensure an ongoing socially responsible family business. At the core is the idea of linked prosperity wherein all stake holders connected to the business prosper; from those who produce ingredients, to employees who make the product, to communities in which the company operates. As a result, these shared values in the family become built into the company’s culture and legal structure.

Through this presentation, the principles, values, and techniques of B Corps will be addressed as a framework for multigenerational sustainability. An assessment tool will be introduced to address how a family business can integrate covered principles and techniques into their family discussions and legal structure. A foundational premise is that clients know the values they want to perpetuate, but may not have a consistent framework to codify those values and ensure that they are built into the culture of their enterprise. As a result of this presentation, practitioners will come away with valuable tools that can be used to assess and codify some of their clients’ most unifying family values.

Double Vision: How multiple perspectives (and pursuits) grow the value of a family enterprise

Presenters: David King and Keri King, Triple Crown Sports, Fort Collins, CO; Mairi Mickel, Mairi Mickel’s Business Families, Edinburgh, Scotland

This live case study interview (facilitated by an independent director) features intergenerational family members, telling the story of the King Family’s “Double vision”. The families multiple, but collective goals, addressed openly led firstly to a successful ownership/ leadership transition then to an exciting high growth, family led new business.

Imagine this scenario: a successful, growing family enterprise founded by a visionary entrepreneur successfully transitions leadership and ownership to a next generation leader. The next generation is capable and passionate about the legacy operating company. The broader family group is engaged and proactively helpful. The long tenured management team embraces the change. Setting good boundaries the founder (mostly) sticks to them. An independent board supports the strategy and transition without overstepping or under-serving. The founder’s purpose, the authority of the new CEO, the sanity of the staff and wellbeing of the customers are not only protected but advanced. With some bumps and plenty of learning along the way, broadly speaking a success story.

Fast forward short two years, and a spin-off business that leverages the brand and capability of the legacy company is born. A second next generation leader (sibling to the first) takes the reigns with her father, and the next chapter of vision and value born of entrepreneurship has begun.

This is the story of the King family’s “Double Vision” in which their ability to see multiple perspectives, futures and paths at once are coupled with willingness on all sides to plan, change and stay the course. This session Is an interactive, panel interview with four family members conducted by an independent board member who was there through the process. It will cover:

  • Discovering and communicating multiple “perspectives” on the future across many family members, individual interests and collective goals
  • What to do when “double vision” threatens to make the future blurry with conflicting views and needs
  • The role of research, education and advice from the field of family enterprise in pushing family members to identify and adapt outside models
  • The job of an independent board, supporting and pushing family leaders, revealing their “blind spots”


Concurrent Sessions

Financial Independence From the Family Enterprise: A critical factor for effective ownership and management succession

Presenter: Randy Waesche, Resource Management, LLC., Metairie, LA

Money is an all-powerful, persuasive, and influential medium of exchange. It could be argued that the genesis of most family conflict is money and money’s influence on the family enterprise system.

This presentation addresses the conflict between shareholders inherent need for economic independence to effectively transition management and ownership.

Money seduces. No matter how much family advisors want to avoid the subject, money is seductive. But, as advisors, we cannot avoid the subject. Money, and its ability to render economic independence, is a critical factor in family enterprise succession. Money’s influence, or more appropriately the lack of it, inhibits succession.

Effectively drafted legal documents, sound long-term family planning, corporate governance, and a strong culture imbedded with values and purpose are essential ingredients for a family enterprise; but, without the owner’s financial independence from the business, succession is compromised. Financial independence, by the transferring generation, is critical for a successful transfer to the next generation.

For the family business owner, financial independence can be defined as having enough income to discharge all living expenses for the rest of their and the spouses’ lives without having to access the financial resources of the business.

However, financial independence, and its association to money, is confusing and not well understood. In many family enterprises, whoever earns the money, and/or whoever controls it, dictates the fate of the family and the enterprise. If all the capital is tied to the business, financial independence is not realized.

Money is an all-powerful, persuasive, and influential force in ownership and management succession.

An understanding of money, and the liberating financial independence it provides the transferring generation, makes the difference between families that function cooperatively and those that are dysfunctional. In family enterprises, money is not a commodity but, rather, a defining element that influences and defines the enterprise.

When the assets of the family business are indistinguishable from the transferring generation’s personal assets, the transferor will not/cannot relinquish control or ownership to the next generation without offsetting compensation or continued involvement in management.

Growing your Advisory Practice: Using the entrepreneurial neuromarketing mindset to spot opportunities

Presenter: Sajjad Hamid, Entrepreneur Central, Chaguanas, Trinidad & Tobago

Professionals seldom master marketing and fail to deliver value both to their clients and their advisory. The emerging field of neuromarketing offers a better perspective on understanding family business owners and how to craft superior selling strategies. By using the entrepreneurial mindset, advisors can grow their enterprise.

Many professionals, including family advisors, depend on walk-in clients, and even when they prospect family business owners, they are not well trained in marketing. This general lack of competence in selling frequently means a trial and error method, leading to costly mistakes, and a better system is needed.

The first step is understanding the entrepreneurial mindset so that the advisor can communicate better with the prospect and, secondly, use that to grow his or her business. The second step is to segment the business market by sales and number of employees into micro, small, medium, and large family firms. Of these segments, the most lucrative for young advisors are the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Still, larger family firms are the most attractive, and they are good targets for the very experienced and bigger advisories.

Family firms can be analyzed from the perspective of the three-circle model. Owners have different needs from family members or those who belong to management. This requires a psychological perspective.

The third step is developing an outbound and inbound marketing pathway. Outbound will require developing a sales strategy that identifies the most attractive enterprises and using neuromarketing in developing persuasion and neurolinguistic techniques. Inbound marketing requires attracting clients through digital marketing (website and social media content to interest clients), developing topical events with industry experts, and short training on critical issues that the target market faces. Advisors should establish a strong relationship with finance and insurance professionals, as they can assist their target in getting valuable information to grow their businesses.

The final step is to analyze how these efforts work. Measurements each of your strategy outcomes, like social media and website visits, can be used to build a database of family firms so they can be used to improve outbound marketing.

Promoting Resilience in the Age of Entitlement

Presenter: Diana Clark, O’Connor Professional Group, Boston, MA

There is a myriad of reasons for the current elevated diagnosis of anxiety and mood disorders in young adult populations. Treating professionals report that entitlement contributes to the issues and compounds the emotional, family and business problems by making them more difficult to treat.

Researchers and statisticians report that the current generation of teens and young adults are experiencing higher levels of anxiety, depression, and significantly higher rates of suicide than previous generations. The reasons are myriad: The constant comparing against images posted on social media and uncertainty of their economic viability are contributing factors. Additionally, those immersed in the work of substance use disorders report that entitlement and its sequelae not only contribute to anxiety and life dissatisfaction but also compound the issues by making the mental and behavioral health disorders more difficult to treat.

Not limited to the economically advantaged, entitlement is the set of projected expectations that the world will favor, rescue, and reward without corollary responsibility. Further, entitlement has the potential to derail therapeutic efforts when the struggling emerging adult becomes frustrated with the pace of progress and expects instant results. In community, family and business settings the expectation of special privileges not open to others often generates resentment.

The consequences are not limited to the emerging adult. The sequelae of entitlement often permeate a family system. Parents, accustomed to rescuing and propping up their loved ones’ illusions may become reactive when the professional advice includes accountability, structure and rules. Diana Clark leads the group to understand the historical and familial origins of Entitlement and the ways we can dismantle this phenomenon and instead promote resilience.



Concurrent Sessions

The Next Generation as “Agents of Change”: How can they earn their license to operate?

Presenters: Francesca Ambrosini, PwC, London, UK; Peter Englisch, PwC, Essen, Germany

In our largest NextGen survey to date we heard from nearly 1000 respondents who are aspiring to become leaders and we heard a common refrain: the majority of them see themselves as capable, committed and ambitious agents of change. They want the current leaders to see them that way too.

The Next Generation as “Agents of Change”: how can they earn their license to operate?

PwC’s latest global Next Generation Survey of close to 1,000 next gens from 70 countries shows that the next generation in family businesses strongly believes they have the attributes and outlook to become effective leaders. They believe they can help the family firm adapt to a disruptive business environment, characterised by intense competition, changing customer needs, new technologies and economic uncertainty. But, comparing these results with our survey of 3,000 current generation family business leaders for our latest Global Family Business Survey, we see that the current generation doesn’t believe the Next Gens are ready, just yet.

Given the speed of radical change in the world we live in, it is imperative for both the current generation of family business leaders and the Next Gens to understand each other. And fast. Align their field of vision.

The session will include a presentation of the key findings of the PwC 2019 Global Next Generation Survey, including highlights from case studies. This will be followed by a panel discussion featuring members of both the next and current generations who will comment on the findings and share their own experiences. The goal – also with the input from the audience of this session – is to come up with recommendations for how the next generation can earn their license to operate so the current generation can benefit from their vital contribution to futureproof their business.

The Blind Spot of Not Using Spirituality as an Owner

Presenters: Mette Ballari, Oslo, Norway; Natalie McVeigh, EisnerAmper, Boston, MA; Sasha Siem, Siem Offshore, London, UK

The factors involved in successful family business are uniquely complex. While we are increasingly aware of the crucial role that self-development and emotional/mental wellbeing plays within this matrix, very little attention has been placed upon the crucial role that “spirituality” plays in establishing vision, moral code, values and culture for a family business. How can spirituality help the owners to find their vision to the best for the business, family and the society.

Last year at the FFI conference in Miami we spoke about spirituality in family business advising. We have observed that spirituality can help the family to delve deeper into who they are and what they want? Help them to find their vision so they can take the business to the best for the family and the society.

Sasha Siem will share her experience of use spirituality as an owner and how it has changed her, her relationship with her family, her family’s choices and the trajectory of the family company. Natalie and Mette will share how they have been sharing spirituality in their work with clients and how it has increased the speed at which self-sustaining change has been made.

When diving deeper into metaphysics and the science of spirit we are able to realize that these two aspects are actually one and that divorcing them, inevitably means some level of “lack” within our business. Be it in communication between employees, cashflow, product quality, customer relations, as well as our own well being as owners. Spirit and Matter are interconnected and inextricably linked.

What really works? Tapping the Wisdom of 100-Year Global Family Enterprises

Presenter: Dennis Jaffe, Wise Counsel Research, San Francisco, CA

Reporting from interviews with 100 global family enterprises that succeeded as a family and in business beyond the third generation, these generative families invested in their core values, building a great family, developing skills and values of rising generations, and continually adapted through an alliance across generations and with advisors.

Many myths and assumptions bias the work of advisors and color the desires and requests of families. Models and tools are assumed to be useful, even though there few outcome studies of the evolution of family governance activities, tools and practices. This interactive talk presents the results of a 7-year study, that interviewed family leaders from two different generations, in 100 large, global family enterprises that succeeded for more than 3 generations. We report, using their own words via audio, their experience as they evolve across multiple generations, what they actually did.

There is some consensus that families should form family councils, boards with independent members, and create family constitutions. Also, some common assumptions have grown up in our work:

  • family wealth is created largely in the first generation
  • innovation comes from the top and the older generation
  • family wealth tends to disappear by the third generation
  • the family enterprise ends with the sale of the business
  • family involvement weakens the business.

This research challenges some of these and shows how these features evolve as the family grows internally and faces challenges and threats in their economic world.

The findings of the research are very hopeful, as we studied the most successful families. They see their values as the key to their success. They are continually adapting and innovating what they do and how they do it across generations and allow each part of the family enterprise to express its voice. Each new generation redefines the family and their portfolio of business and financial activities, as they face new internal and external challenges. They have a social and philanthropic mission that grows over each generation.

Their stories help advisors and families make choices in their first and second generation that can set them on a long-term path for success.

Niki Russ Federman headshot

Closing Keynote

Presenters: Niki Russ Federman, 4th generation co-owner, Russ & Daughters, New York, NY

Niki Russ Federman was pretty much born in a herring barrel, with a sharp knife in her hand and a penchant for caviar. Educated at Amherst College, Niki worked in a variety of professions — from the art world to international development — before realizing that her appetite was fulfilled by continuing her family’s 106-year-old culinary legacy at Russ & Daughters. Russ & Daughters is a New York culinary and cultural icon, known for the highest quality appetizing foods: smoked fish, caviar, bagels, bialys, babka, and other traditional baked goods. 

The home of bagels and lox since 1914, Russ & Daughters has been continuously owned and operated by four generations of the Russ family. Today, along with her cousin Josh Russ Tupper, she is the 4th generation to own and run Russ & Daughters, Russ & Daughters Cafe, Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum, and Russ & Daughters Brooklyn. Niki appears frequently in a variety of media, including The New York Times, NPR, Food Network, The New Yorker, Martha Stewart, Travel Channel, and Vogue.

She is also one of the subjects of The Sturgeon Queens, a PBS documentary about Russ & Daughters. Niki is a board member of the Lower East Side Partnership and Chair of the Friends of the Educational Alliance. She is fluent in several languages, but alas, Yiddish is not one of them. Niki was named one of Crain’s New York Business’ “40 Under 40” and Eater’s “New Guard of Power in NYC Dining.”