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2017 FFI Global Conference Call for Proposals
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October 25-27, 2017

Hilton Chicago
Chicago, Illinois USA



Submit your proposal for the Main Conference (October 25-27, 2017).
A separate Call for Proposals for the Research & Education Symposium which will be held on October 28, 2017 will be issued in early 2017. 

Deadline to submit proposals for the main conference: January 13, 2017 (midnight Eastern). Late submissions can not be considered. Proposals must be submitted online. 


For your convenience, you can draft your proposal using the attached Word document (click here to download the worksheet). Final submissions must be made via the online form. 


Today’s “digital revolution” continues to transform the way we live and do business. The technological devices that we now consider essential and inevitable were once the things of dreams for innovators, tinkerers and futurists. And yet, these dream machines are powered by something so innovative it quite literally changed the world: electricity.


The 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago was the first competition to light the world as Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla vied to be the innovators who would illuminate and connect our global cities. It was an historical moment and the beginning of the electric revolution with a long and vibrant legacy that continues to be the foundation upon which we create, connect and innovate in the 21st century.


Family enterprise and electricity share many features. Both power industry, commerce and global GDP. Both provide foundations upon which creativity and innovation are built. Both can short circuit and leave live wires exposed. The comparisons are endless.


With this in mind the 2017 Program Committee invites proposals that illuminate and spark innovation connected to the following:


Find the spark: What sparks creativity and innovation? How do we recognize the spark and cultivate new connections? How do we prevent short circuits? Or is it sometimes beneficial to short circuit ineffective systems and clear the line to allow connections to develop? What tools are needed to effectively channel the spark into the grid?


Alternate the current: What are the causes of conflict and controversy in family enterprise? Where are the live wires? How do we uncover them? Where are the outages? How do we create or rewire the grid to more effectively channel these currents into power?


Manage the grid: Where do we spend energy?How do we find, create or harness new sources? Are there more sustainable sources? How do we build the grid of the future? How do we plan for future sustainability while using current power sources? How do we recharge?


Flip the switch: How do we act as a transformer to harness or regulate the voltage? How do we act as a generator in times of outage? What are the environmental risks? How do we avoid and recover from shocks? How do we increase capacity? How do we collaborate and connect currents to increase capacity and efficiency?


Shine the light: How do we ignite continuity and illuminate legacy? Where are the foundational currents? What does the future grid look like? How do we identify and cultivate a new generation of innovators, tinkerers and futurists? How do we amp up? How do we generate change in the world?



  • Snap learning: 30 minute presentations to discuss emerging topics. Typically these are single presenter. Snap learning sessions will be paired thematically into a 1 to 1.5 hour time slot and will be moderated. 
  • Idea labs: 1.5 hour sessions with multiple presenters, preferably from different disciplines and/or including a professional, an academic and a family enterprise member.  
  • Master classes: 2 to 2.5 hours with an in-depth discussion and participant interaction. Typically these are workshops, panel discussions with break out activities, group exercises, etc. 



  • Title
  • Presenter(s)
  • Abstract (300 words maximum)
  • Summary description of presentation suitable for publication in the conference program (50 words maximum)
  • Presentation learning outcomes
  • Presenter(s) bio(s) suitable for publication in the conference program (50 words maximum)
  • Videos showing presenters’ presentation skills are encouraged
  • All conference presenters must be paid registrants at the conference and are expected to participate broadly, as the overarching goal of FFI conferences is to foster a community committed to the exchange of ideas in the field of family enterprise.

If you have any questions about how your proposed topic fits the theme of the conference, email Brigett Owens, or





Deadline to submit proposals: Friday January 13, 2017 (midnight Eastern). Late submissions can not be considered. 



2017 Program Committee


Daphne McGuffin, co-chair, BDO SuccessCare Program

Catherine Rossbach, co-chair, SAGE Publications, Inc.

Warren Baker, The Family Business Fulcrum

Rania Labaki, EDHEC Business School

Mariana Martinez, Bethesda Family Therapy

Asher Noor, AlTouq Group

Elizabeth Zabludoff, FTI Consulting, Inc.

FFI Sponsors