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Northeastern University The Center for Family BusinessThe Center for Family Business

Past Events

Massachusetts Family Business of the Year Awards 
June 14, 2017

Drop the Torch: Chasing Succession is a Losing Game 
May 18, 2017
There's no better time than the present for a fresh start. Join us at our April program where together we will identify opportunities and ideas towards unlocking our individual potential and expanding the potential of our businesses.

Creating Value for the Family Business: Make Your Business Worth More Money 
April 13, 2017
Speaker: David Humphrey, Beacon Equity Advisors
The next generation of leadership shouldn't be a "given" just because of the last name. The most successful leadership transitions are when both generations are "all-in" and genuinely interested in the continuation of the firm. The senior generation has to be ready, willing, and able to delegate, develop, and disengage. The next generation has to be competent, qualified, and invested in the business. Join us at this program, where we will discuss why "grooming" the next generation doesn't work, and how to engage a qualified family successor.

Branding the Family Business from the Inside Out: It's All About Culture 
March 8, 2017
Speaker: Evelyn Starr, E. Starr Associates
Your company culture and operations affect how the world sees your brand and the success of your family business. Working on your culture first not only sets your company up for greater success, it also creates a better work environment and a more cohesive foundation on which to build your brand. Come learn how other family businesses have addressed internal challenges and what business benefits have resulted.

Hidden Agendas: Identify the Real Issues Holding Back Your Family Business 
December 7, 2016
You’ve launched family meetings, and successfully reduced the “drama”. But does it seem like new ideas keep getting bogged down in your family business? Are you struggling to move forward with new initiatives but can’t figure out why? Join us at this meeting as we discuss the dynamics and forces behind goal conflict and divergence in the family business, and how you can remove the bottlenecks from evolving and growing the business.

Don't let family get in the way! 10 Steps to an Effective Family Meeting 
November 10, 2017
Presenter: Ira Bryck, Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley
Are family issues creeping into the operations of your family business? Is the family getting in the way of the business? Do your efforts to remove the "drama" often cause more conflict or problems? Join us as we discuss how you can prevent family dynamics from derailing your business with family meetings. At this program, we will identify what really happens in a family meeting, as well as remove the mystery from driving successful dialogue and show you simple steps to running your own effective family meetings.

How strong is your team? Creating Your A-Team 
October 12, 2016
The right team is the key to the success of a business. If you want your family business to thrive and grow, you need an A-team of talented and motivated family and non-family member employees. It sounds simple, but why is it so difficult for so many? During this program, you will be given an opportunity to learn how you can better attract, develop, motivate, and retain the key players needed to improve and sustain your business.

Massachusetts Family Business Awards & 25th Anniversary Celebration 
June 15, 2016

30 Days to a Family Business Advisory Board – When You Need an Advisory Board Yesterday 
May 24, 2016
Once we understand the benefit of a board of advisors, most of us want one formed yesterday. At this program we will guide you through a simple 10-step process to get your new advisory board up and running as quickly as possible. The process doesn’t need to be complicated and once your board is up and running you’ll be surprised at how many issues can be resolved quickly that have been holding you back from growing your family business. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner.

Getting Goal-Setting Off to a Great Start - Expanding the potential in your business and yourself 
April 27, 2016
There's no better time than the present for a fresh start. Join us at our April program where together we will identify opportunities and ideas towards unlocking our individual potential and expanding the potential of our businesses.

Never Waste a Good Family Conflict-Using Conflict to Grow Your Business to the Next Level 
March 16, 2016
When a family business doesn't work, it really doesn't work, but when it does, it can't be beat. When families experience conflict it usually means they are growing and changing. Getting problems on the table for discussion is healthy and can unleash some pent-up issues such as poor performance, firing a family member, and fighting among family members, all of which block progress. It all comes down to family communication.

Keeping the Family Business Innovative 
December 2, 2015
Forget succession, it's all about maintaining entrepreneurship and keeping the business innovative. Without a successful, innovative business, succession won't be an issue.

Creating Opportunities for the Next Generation 
November 3, 2015
As the senior generation approaches the time to transfer the business to the younger generation, they often take it for granted that their children will want to join the company. Recent research, however, suggests a growing trend that member of the younger generation want to strike out on their own. This makes it all the more important to involve them earlier, and to be more aware of their career paths and opportunities in the family business. In this program, we will look at developing such career paths and how to instill a desire in the next generation to join the family business.

Habits of Highly Effective Family Businesses
October 6, 2015
Why is it that so few family businesses make it into future generations? Join us for a panel and Q&A session with family business speakers who have successfully implemented the keys to success in a family business: Advisory Boards, Family Meetings, & Strategic Planning. Learn why they are so effective and important to the success of a family business.

Massachusetts Family Business of the Year Awards
June 10, 2015

When Generations Collide - Innovation with Respect to Tradition
April 29, 2015
There is a tendency for the senior generation to overestimate their own success and underestimate the competency of the younger generation. The younger generation wishes the senior generation would be more accepting to new technology and new ideas. Lifestyles have also evolved from the founder’s long hours in the startup of the business to the younger generations’ more balanced family/career. We’ll discuss how to take advantage of this powerful opportunity for both generations to exchange ideas blending the founder’s strategies with the younger generation’s new ideas.

Positioning the Family Business for Growth
March 10, 2015
As our family businesses grow, we need to begin introducing more formal structure and organization while retaining the unique benefits of being a small business. Some of the issues include, formalizing the organization structure, stricter financial reporting, recruiting non-family executives, and openly sharing strategy with employees. Understanding what outside investors find important when valuing a private business can help us develop and grow the business in a like way even if we aren’t planning to sell.

Branding the Family Business – Leveraging Our Unique Strengths as a Family Business
February 4, 2015
Family businesses have a big advantage over other businesses. Some of these “soft” opportunities include managing the family business reputation to create higher customer loyalty and more dedicated employees. The “hard” advantages include a more committed ownership and the ability to be more responsive with a flatter organization structure. In this meeting we will help you identify, develop and promote your unique family business qualities to help level the playing field with larger corporate businesses.

We Can’t All Be Chiefs - Creating Roles for the Next Generation
December 10, 2014
As the younger generation takes on a more active role in the family business we need to better define their job positions and responsibilities to avoid sibling rivalry and conflict. Discussion topics will include, planning career paths, dividing responsibilities, skills assessment, compensation, management styles and the most sensitive; choosing future leaders. Members will leave with an action plan for charting the development plans for family members which can be put to use right away.

Succession Planning Workshop - Fresh Perspectives Across Generations for Bridging the Succession Gap
November 4, 2014
We all know we need succession planning but how do we get started. This workshop will feature the experiences of several families - from two generations’ perspectives - and provide methods for getting the family motivated to begin the planning, keeping the process to a minimum, and creating a “working” plan that can be used on an ongoing basis, not just a one–time exercise that gets filed away on the shelf. We’ll show you how succession planning doesn’t have to be a long, complex, formal process.

The 3% Club – Creating Dynasties-Success Factors of Multi-Generation Family Businesses
October 2, 2014
Only 3% of family businesses make it into the fourth generation.
Our panel of family businesses will identify key issues and challenges that multi-generation family businesses face and they will share their ideas and insight to achieve longevity in business.
Join us in a conversation as we search for the keys to joining the 3% Club.

2014 Massachusetts Family Business of the Year Awards
June 11, 2014

How to Form an Effective Advisory Board
May 7, 2014
Advisory Boards serve as an effective sounding board for family businesses to validate strategies and move their companies to the next level. This in-depth half-day program will take you through the steps to form an effective advisory board.

Do I Really Need a Succession Plan? Yes, of course!
April 8, 2014
If tragedy strikes the leader of your family business are you prepared?
Not having a succession plan doesn’t mean your firm won’t survive, but the disruption and financial consequences can be significantly diminished with one. It’s important to have some succession plan in place even if it’s not a comprehensive plan. We’ll present the option of a “flash” succession plan, which is a quicker but effective alternative to a more formal plan.

Family Meetings – Getting the Family on the Same Page
March 4, 2014
Family meetings aren’t just for resolving conflict and sensitive family issues. They are also an effective method for discussing the strategic direction and vision of the business from the family’s perspective before sharing it with others. Typical topics include: leadership transition, growth rate, lifestyle or professional business, taking on outside financing and hiring non-family management.

Preparing the Next Generation for Leadership
Dec 11, 2013
We've heard of the hard issues for succession planning, including estate planning, transfer of ownership and other more financially related topics. This program will present the “soft issues” to consider when preparing for the next generation to lead the business. We’ll provide a “Master Plan” checklist for grooming the younger generation to lead the company. Some of the topics include, shadowing the senior generation, managing older employees, and gaining acceptance by employees and suppliers.

Action Planning for the Family Business
November 05, 2013
Family business founders commonly keep the strategic planning of the business close to the vest. In this program we'll discuss the importance of formalizing the plan and sharing it beyond the inner family circle. You'll also discover how the processes of preparing a plan is often more beneficial than the final plan itself.

Working for a Family Dynasty –The Washington Post
October 01, 2013
The recent sale of the family-held Washington Post newspaper company ended a family business dynasty. For ten years, Alan Spoon was President of The Washington Post, serving with the famed mother-son team of Katherine and Donald Graham. Learn how Alan managed his role as a non-family member leader of this exceedingly high profile family owned and managed enterprise. Alan will share some of his experiences, including; non-family executives, educating investors, creation of value and the benefits of longer term vision vs. short-term profits. He will also share his observations on the recent sale of the family-held newspaper and the lessons we can learn from their decision. Speaker: Alan Spoon, Polaris Partners

2013 Massachusetts Family Business of the Year Awards
June 05, 2013
Join us for this special event to promote and highlight some of the great achievements of Massachusetts-based, family-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

Advisory Boards - A 10-Step Checklist to Put It To Work Right Away
May 08, 2013
Determining you need an advisory board is a good first step. Where it gets difficult is the formation of the board and preparation for the first meeting. We will remove the mystery and walk you through a 10-step plan to get you up and going right away.
Speaker: Mike Burnell

Working with Advisors-Selecting, Working With, and Managing Effective Outcomes
April 09, 2013
Choosing to engage outside advisors can be a rewarding experience when managed effectively. Learning how to select, interact, and manage effective outcomes with outside advisors can help make the experience successful.

Leadership Transition-Preparing a “Master Plan” for the Next Generation to Lead the Business
March 13, 2013
Deciding who will lead the business in the next generation is only part of the process. Putting in place a formal training program for the younger generation, including leadership development, business education and shadowing the parent to learn the practical skills, can go a long way to make the transition more seamless.

Special Event for Auto Dealers Center for Family Business Event
Feb 06, 2013
To be successful as an auto dealer you understand and react to forces affecting your industry. To be successful as a family business you also need to understand and adapt to the stresses that affect your businesses. Join the Northeastern University Center for Family Business and Burns & Levinson as we identify: the Interpersonal Dynamics within a Family Business, the Major causes of Stress for the Business and the Family, and the Keys for Strengthening the Family Business

Using Family Meetings to Prevent Family Conflict
November 07, 2012
Family meetings can help keep the family baggage out of the business by creating a safe atmosphere to openly discuss and anticipate family issues before they creep into the business. Speaker: Jane Hilburt Davis

Six Hidden Benefits of Advisory Boards
October 02, 2012
Aside from the primary role of providing outside advice on key business issues; advisory boards also provide an effective platform for dealing with the hidden issues of family communication, decision making bottlenecks, moving stubborn projects forward and serving as a tiebreaker for validating differences in strategic direction.
Speaker: Debbie Bing, CFAR

Center for Family Business Leadership Development Forum
Sept 10, 2012 Being a member of a family business can often feel lonely and isolating. Family business issues seem different. Family business peer groups provide an opportunity to discuss the important issues that are relevant to only them. Family business peer groups provide members a safe and confidential setting to identify and discuss important business issues.

When Generations Collide – Managing the Multi-Generational Business
Apr 25, 2012 One of the greatest challenges in managing a family enterprise is navigating the generational differences in vision, strategy and management styles. The younger generation wants this; the senior generation wants that. Join us as we address the complex challenges of generational transition in the family enterprise.
Our presentation will include a guide to:
Preparing for successful management succession
Developing the next generation of family leadership of the business
Continuity planning for the family shareholder group
Creating effective governance of the enterprise to support management transition and growth of the business

Family Meetings -Discussing the REAL Issues
Mar 14, 2012 Sensitive family issues need to be discussed or they bubble over and create work-place problems. The office however is not the right place for some of these discussions and avoiding the problems will not make them go away. How then can we develop clear and open lines of communications to keep the family and business running smoothly? Join us as we identify some of the most common issues that families have difficulty discussing and provide attendees with tools to make discussions more effective.
Speaker: Nancy Drozdow, CFAR

Estate planning, Nov 30, 2011
Going Outside – Bringing Non-Family Executives Into the Family Business, 2011
Using Advisors in Your Family Business, May 04, 2011
Creating and Effective Exit Strategy, Mar 02, 2011
Using Advisors- Rescheduled, Feb 02, 2011
Strategies for Getting the Best Out of Your Family Business, Oct 13, 2010
Getting to the Next Generation, Oct 06, 2010
Family Vacation Homes, June 16, 2010
Members Panel, May 05, 2010
When Tragedy Strikes Will You Be Ready? Apr 07, 2010
Hiring and Retaining Key Non-Family Executives, Mar 03, 2010
Making Difficult Decisions and Reaching Consensus, Feb 03, 2010
Leveraging Our Unique Strengths as a Family Business, Dec 02, 2009
Resolving Family Business Conflict, Nov 04, 2009
Creating an Advisory Board, Oct 06, 2009
Leadership Development Forum, Sept 17, 2009