Print Page | Contact Us | Join FFI
Main Conference
Share |


Thursday Morning, October 27

7:30AM–8:45AM Smart Start Sessions 

Kick-start your day with breakfast in the Exhibit Hall and three early informational sessions. 

Sponsored by 55 Fidelius Family Office, Legacies in Ink and JZ Partners, LLC

9:00AM–10:30AM IDEA LABS 

These parallel sessions focus on classic and new ideas on the field. Presentations are delivered with a cross-cultural multidisciplinary approach.

Entrepreneurial Families and the 1%

Michael Carney, Concordia University; Robert Nason, Concordia University 

The dramatic rise of wealth inequality is having a profound impact on today’s global landscape. Are business families part of the problem or the solution? Using data from the triennial survey of consumer finance, this session will discuss the role and responsibilities of business families as it relates to wealth inequality. We reveal a range of strategic postures that business families utilize toward wealth inequality including escape, dead money, extreme philanthropy, and engaged capitalism. This interactive session will also draw on the wisdom of participants through breakout groups to generate specific strategies that business families can and should utilize to meaningfully engage with wealth inequality realities. 

Radical EQ Ideas to Transform the Family Business 

Natalie McVeigh, Family Owned Business Resources (FOBR); Jean Meeks, positive eye consulting, inc; Steve Smith, Tec Laboratories

This session will deconstruct the personality of the ‘Founder-Entrepreneur’ into an archetype of behaviors; helping practitioners, heirs and family members understand and navigate behaviors they have experienced. We will show how a 35 year-old family business incorporated EQ in new ways to transform its workforce using a leader with heightened EQ.

Selling the Family Business When You Don’t Want to Sell the Family Business 

Eric Allyn, Welch Allyn Inc.

Welch Allyn was founded in 1915, and is today considered a premier medical device company. After 100 years of family ownership, the Allyn Family made the decision to sell the business in mid-2015. This live case presentation will center on the company’s governance system and the role of the majority independent board of directors and family in making the decision to sell. As former board chairman and chairman of the Voting Trust, Eric Allyn will share how the family put the needs of the company before their personal desires and how the board was able to structure a transaction that addressed both the pressing business issues in a consolidating healthcare world and the emotional connection between the family and company.

The Rise of the Personal Brand

Paul Bay, citizenbrand 

What is a personal brand? And what impact can a personal brand have on the family business? Family businesses face the challenge of transformation in a digitized world. Public perception of the family name and personal brand of family members, could increasingly impact the business and bottom line. Family enterprise members with a public profile (both online and offline) can unwittingly attract attention (positive or negative) to the business. What does this mean for family businesses and for those who advise them? This session will take a look at the ways family businesses, musicians, sports stars, business owners, CEOs of major companies along with other C-suite and senior management develop and manage personal brand.

Your Health is Your Wealth: What you need to know about the biomedical revolution*

Leslie Michelson, Private Health Management

There is no one factor that will impact one’s economic security, quality of life or long-range financial planning more than the state of our health. And while the markets go up and down, life expectancy is rapidly trending up. Now, more than ever, advisors need to understand the profound implications of this startling trend and its inevitable impact on family wealth and planning. In this session we will learn about some of the unprecedented changes underway in biomedical research — such as human genome sequencing, big data, nanotechnology and regenerative medicine, and how these innovations will alter wealth management strategies. 
*This session is approved for 1.5 credits towards the CIMA, CIMC and CPWA certifications by IMCA (Investment Management Consultants Association)

10:30AM–10:45AM Hospitality Break in Exhibit Hall

Hospitality sponsor: Hernandez & Company 

10:45AM–12:15PM IDEA LABS 

Adapting, Evolving and Transforming the Leadership Role in the Family

Maria Elena Lagomasino, WE Family Offices

Given data regarding gender and longevity (women live longer), educational competency ( the majority of college graduates are now women), and the shift in perceptions about gender differences, a different approach needs to be taken to developing leadership in families with significant and complex wealth enterprises

Cyber Safe Families: Leadership lessons and best practices for families and advisors

Brad Deflin, Total Digital Security; Holly Isdale, Wealthaven LLC

Like everything it touches, the Internet has successfully democratized cyber risk, and the theft of personal information has become the #1 motive for most all cyber attacks today. Unlike IT security threats of just a few years ago, the target of attacks in modern cyber warfare is focused on individuals and their personal information. This presentation examines how and why we got here, what the future holds, and provides context, framework, and suggested measures for families and their advisors seeking answers to the emerging challenges ahead.

Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned: Understanding the role of the advisor 

Kathleen Wiseman, Working Systems Inc.

Early in my thirty-year career as a family business consultant, I believed my training in Bowen Family Systems and business gave me a “leg up” on other consultants, enabling me to advise family businesses about specific structures that would assist my clients to meet organizational challenges and create a successful future. Over the years, I saw that no matter how eager the family business members were to accept “expert” advice, the structures we had worked so hard to build were overwhelmed by the underlying relationship process. In this candid session I will share mistakes that have allowed me to distill the core principles of Bowen Systems, that guide my consulting, shape consulting engagements and deepen my understanding of the role of the advisor. 

Preparing or Procrastinating? How the world’s largest family businesses undertake successful successions 

Torsten Pieper, Kennesaw State University; Bobby Stover, EY

Leadership succession can be a stressful time for family businesses as they work to ensure a successful transition. To ensure a smooth succession, leading family businesses create the best possible environment and begin laying the groundwork for the process long before it is needed. EY and Kennesaw State University turned to over 500 of the world’s longest-lasting family businesses to uncover their approaches to succession planning. This session will look at four key best practices used by the world’s largest family businesses to promote successful successions, generation after generation.

Year 2040 — Guiding family businesses into a new era

Alberto Gimeno, ESADE Business School; Maria Jose Parada, ESADE Business School 

In a context of ever accelerating change, — and disruptive changes — family-owned businesses (FOBs) are better suited than listed companies to adapt or react to these changes. Moreover, these FOBs can develop strategies to respond to or — even — lead these changes. We will propose a conceptual framework to develop these family strategies. We will present a living case to illustrate these options.


12:15PM–1: 30PM Lunch, Learn & Connect Break

General Lunch Enjoy lunch with colleagues in the Exhibit Hall and Mezzanine

GenSpring Lunch Sponsored by GenSpring (by invitation)

Cross Generational Communication: Are you up for the Challenges?
   Daisy Medici, Lauren Benenati, GenSpring Family Office
Research tells us that communication is the most essential ingredient for sustaining wealth across generations. But, cross-generational communication can be particularly challenging as each generation brings its own habits, beliefs, and ideals. Please join us as GenSpring shares recent findings that will illustrate the challenges and provide recommendations for bridging the generational communication divide.

Trusted Family Lunch Sponsored by Trusted Family (pre-registration required)

The Secure Online Family Portal - Digital Innovation In Communication For Your Client           Families
     Edouard Thijssen, 5th Generation Member, Aliaxis Group, Belgium/USA
Join us to explore how technology can help families you work closely with to stay together and enhance your value proposition. Learn best practices on how to foster top-down and peer-to-peer communication (family, shareholder and board), and receive insights on why a centralised and secure documentation management system is vital for families. Trusted Family is a secure technology platform that was founded in 2007 by two next generation members of multigenerational business-owning families in order to address their own family communication concerns. These two families' engagement is still driven by our innovative online family platform that can be used on web, iPhone & iPad. Currently we also work with 100 other families and their trusted advisors globally.


These parallel master classes, 2.5 hours long, provide in-depth learning experiences that are incisive and thought-provoking

Evolving Concepts of Practice Building 

Join senior practitioners representing various models of practice as they share their experiences and insights on how their practices have evolved over time. Then participate in a small group session with one of them to ask more specific questions on how to build your practice. A true once-in-a lifetime opportunity to learn from key leaders in the field how the building and managing of practice has changed in the last 30 years and what the future might hold.

Panelists: Carmen Bianchi, Carmen Bianchi Family Business Associates; Francois de Visscher, de Visscher & co; Dirk Junge, Pitcairn; Marion McCollom Hampton, Banyan Family Business Advisors; Michael Shulman, The Birchwood Group

Moderator: Paul Karofsky, Transition Consulting Group, Ltd.

Leadership through Influence 

When we think of leadership, the image that frequently comes to mind is the “V formation” of migratory birds. The leader is out front, setting the direction and the path, describing the vision and the road to the future. But, most of us have to lead from the side, from behind, from the bottom or from a distance. To lead effectively when we are not in the front, we need to develop our skill in influence. In this workshop participants will identify their default influence style, learn alternative styles and practice the use of a variety of styles to create influence. 

Facilitator: Stephanie Olexa, Lead to the Future

Mindfulness & Managing Family Business Stress

This interactive workshop, based on the Mayo Clinic program for Stress Reduction and Resiliency, focuses on an alternative view of mindfulness as a stress reduction practice for family businesses. We will discuss the causes of stress, the creation of coping strategies, and how your interpretation of life events can alter and impact your stress level. Participants will learn Attention Training, use of compassion, acceptance, acknowledging a higher power, forgiveness and gratitude as resources for managing stress and as an effective resource for interpreting the events in a family business.

Facilitator: Thomas Hubler, Hubler for Business Families Inc.

12:15PM-4:00PM Tendencias en la consultoria de empresas familiar en Iberoamerica (Trends in Family Business Consultancy in Iberoamerican Countries) 

Hosted by the FFI Iberoamerica Virtual Study Group, this session will be conducted in Spanish and will feature presentations on governance, ownership and research as well as several case studies, including The Barcelona Soccer Club case. Please note: this session begins at 12:15PM with lunch. 

Moderators: Javier Macias, EAE Business School; Miguel Ramirez-Barber, Profit Consulting; Guillermo Salazar, Exaudi - Family Business Consulting Presenters: To be determined


Friday Morning, October 28

7:30AM-8:45AM GEN Certificate Awards Breakfast and Program 

9:00AM–10:30AM IDEA LABS 

Addiction and Mental Health Issues: Partnering towards motivation for change 

Simon Bloom, Simon Bloom Consultancy ; Ross Ellenhorn, Prakash Ellenhorn; Ed Levin, Levin Mental Health Consulting

The impact of addiction and/or mental health issues on a business in terms of the personal and professional cost can be monumental. Finding ways to address these issues and facilitate acceptance of professional help can be a very difficult task. The advisor risks damaging their relationship with clients when attempting to discuss the problems and leading clients to access help. Helping the family at such a critical time enhances the advisor’s value to the family. Easily learned techniques to build a collaborative relationship can assist the client in getting proper treatment and can preserve and enhance the client/advisor relationship. Participants will be directed in role-play to begin to learn and practice the art and science of building collaborative relationships to motivate change. 

Embedding the Family’s Values in the Firm for the Next Generation 

Bonny Landers, Sandaire Investment Office; Kydd Boyle, Sandaire Investment Office

Recent research has identified an important new expectation for Millennials — that they will find meaning and will effect positive change through their work. In fact, many prefer to call themselves “Generation S” for Sustainability. Moreover, their sense of sustainability and responsible business practices extends beyond the family business to their investments. For example, US Trust found that “Compared to other age segments, they are by far the most committed to creating positive social change with their investment decisions.” In order for family firms to Adapt, Evolve and Transform, they need to understand this shift in values in order to engage their inheritors in the family business. The class will guide participants in a facilitated discussion and role-play of defining family values with the goal of creating a common understanding of the values of the Next Generation. 

Family Character is Company Character: A case on Karangkraf

James Hoopes, Babson College; Leilanie Mohd Nor, Universiti Tun Abdul Razak; Mohar Yusof, Universiti Tun Abdul Razak 

Is it better to “take a person with character and help with ability or take a person with ability and help with character”? Character building is a critical factor in ensuring a family environment of shared values and virtues. Traits such as humility, determination, self-reliance, endurance, and courage, among others, are often identified as influencing factors in producing respect and trust for the founding generation of a family business. This presentation reviews a live case in Malaysia in order to discuss and focus on the importance of character building to determine what the founding generation can do to develop next-generation leaders and how next generation family leaders earn the respect of those they will lead while perceiving that they “live in the shadow” of a successful entrepreneur.

Genes, Technology, and Incalculable Ethics: The family office of the future

Alex Hayward, Vestra Private Office; Ronnie Stangler, Physician Bespoke Medicine Advisory

Most families today approach next generation preparation planning and succession by anticipating the uncertain and hedging the unknown. In the coming decade, quantum advances in the science of genetics and imaging technologies will allow for far greater sophistication of understanding of the human capital of its members and clients, and their descendants, albeit with incalculable ethical complexities. In the context of family enterprise, the “new medicine” will change both families’ approach to operation and succession, and the way in which key advisors can support such informed families. We will present insights on processes a family can undertake to achieve information they require, as well as the ability to interpret, utilize and use such information in a humane, sensitive, and scientifically appropriate manner. Critical analysis of the potential value including the limitations of such studies will be explored. 

The Evolving Role of Trustees 

Cynthia D.M. Brown, Commonwealth Trust Company; Holly Isdale, Lansberg, Gersick & Associates; Asher Noor, AlTouq Group; Miles Evans, Clairmont Trust Company, moderator

Trusts are used to own stock in family owned business for a number of reasons, but frequently these trusts are set up for tax consideration and neither the corporate nor the family governance are taken into account at the onset. Soon thereafter, trustees have their own responsibilities and show up at shareholders meetings with agendas not necessarily aligned with those of the family. This panel will explore the conceptual and the practical side of having a trustee, the family’s expectations and how the trustee role is evolving as a resource for families. The discussion will focus on trustees as shareholders of family owned companies, and the panel will compare risks/reactions/evolution of trustees and the roles they play in the family business.



These fast-paced interactive learning sessions are designed to raise critical questions and generate high-impact knowledge transfer. They are quick-take looks at the conference theme of adapt, evolve, transform from varying perspectives. 


The Bridge to Growth: How servant leaders achieve better results, and why it matters now more than ever

Jude Rake, JDR Growth Partners 

The Lost Generation: A new threat to leadership and succession planning

Patricia Annino, Prince Lobel Tye LLP 



Family Business Leaders’ Attitude Toward Conflict 

Linda Salim, Universitas Ciputra

Impartiality in Family Enterprise Mediation: Its benefits and challenges

Jack Wofford, Mediator



Going from Red to White: Using neuroscience concepts for transformational change

James Hutcheson, ReGENERATION Partners

Mindful Leadership: Harnessing the New Brain Science

Kirsten Armstrong, Ascent Private Capital Management of US Bank



Crossed Cultures: Negotiating family differences across generations

James Grubman, FamilyWealth Consulting; Dennis Jaffe, Wise Counsel Research

Cross-Cultural Exploration of Intergenerational Dynamics of Family Businesses

Ricardo Fainsilber, CIIS



A Foundational Tool to Transform Family Business Results: Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT)

Brett Coffman, BB&T Wealth 

Getting Families in Crisis Unstuck: Can advisors make meaningful change with resistant families? 

Diana Clark, O’Connor Professional Group; Arden O’Connor, O’Connor Professional Group


Friday Afternoon, October 28

12:15PM-12:30PM Annual Meeting

12:30PM-1:45PM Lunch, Learn & Connect Break 

GEN Alumni & Fellows Lunch

All GEN Alumni and FFI Fellows are welcome to attend. Pre-registration required.

Lunch on Your Own

Spend time connecting with colleagues. Get outside and enjoy the city! Restaurants and cafes in the hotel and surrounding neighborhood are listed on the conference app.

2:00PM-3:30PM IDEA LABS 

Agile Companies: When the Business and Family Need a Better Board

Allen Bettis, Legacy Associates; Ricardo Mejia, Consultar Empresarial; Borja Raventos, Grupo Cordoniu

Topics to be covered including recognizing when the family company has outgrown the board it has; the advisor’s role in developing inside champions for better corporate governance; cultivating the independent director/CEO alliance to increase business agility and capture new business opportunities; strategies to overcome resistance and prepare the family for board change. 

All in the Family: Challenges, opportunities and adventures from a family working together advising other business families 

Juan Pablo Cerón, Maria Jose Cerón, Salvador Cerón De La Torre, STF Consulting Group

Imagine the challenge of working with your father and four siblings — diverse personalities, skills and perspectives. Now imagine that the work you do together is as family business advisors — helping other families and their businesses be successful over time. There are more and more advisors who fit into this dual category of family enterprise member/advisor. Some provide internal help to their own family firms, some consult with clients outside of their own family and some do both. We may be “in their shoes” but do we “walk a mile in them”? 

Extreme Risk and Resilient Family Enterprises: Lessons from the front lines of capitalism

Devin DeCiantis, Lansberg, Gersick & Associates LLC; Ivan Lansberg, Lansberg Gersick & Associates LLC 

Family businesses around the world face the expected challenges of competitive markets and the added complexities of family engagement. Many business families, however, operate in especially uncertain environments. This session will provide an update on a global research project exploring how family firms can both survive and thrive in our increasingly volatile world.

Flourishing Families with Social Impact Investing

Justin Rockefeller, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

What do people really mean when they talk about “impact investing?” This session will provide family enterprises and their advisors the why, how, and what of impact investing. As a case study, Justin Rockefeller will review how the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has been aligning its endowment with its mission. He will also discuss the ImPact, a social enterprise empowering families to make more impact investments more effectively.

Vertical Leadership in Family Enterprise: Agility, community building, and innovation

Jud Hendrix, Global Human Project; Kathleen Hoye, Family Business Center, University of Louisville; Greg McCann, Stetson University

Vertical leadership, the #1 trend in leadership development, is designed to change not just what leaders know, but how they think. It is a mindset that is essential for dealing with today’s environment of radical complexity, interdependence, and exponential change, and can profoundly enhance innovation. Included in our discussion will be examples of both vertical leadership development and direct experience with techniques that can be used to develop a leader, family, or a group of leaders vertically. This interactive session offers examples of innovative leadership practices, as well as direct experience with integrative techniques to add to your toolbox.


End of Main Conference



FFI Sponsors