Community Talks

These talks are facilitated opportunities for you to connect, discuss and share your experiences. They are 60-minute sessions with small groups. Each talk will be facilitated by one or more leaders on a topic important to business families. The facilitators will guide the discussion and encourage participation and debate.

Please note:  Sessions will NOT be recorded - make sure you attend live!

Day 1 - 2:30 PM EDT

Wealth – A Blessing or a Curse?

Facilitator:
Victoria Brown

Outline:
Family enterprises with wealth are concerned about raising happy, well-rounded, balanced children. We want to help and not hinder our kids.

Not talking about wealth and avoiding open communication may have negative implications. How do we talk about wealth – the big elephant in the room?

Questions:
1. When is the best time to talk about wealth to our kids?

2. How do we help create stewards of wealth?

3. How do we prepare the next generation to make the right decisions?

Day 1 - 2:30 PM EDT

Can You Have Too Many Experts?

Facilitators:
Julia Chung
and Jeff Noble

Outline:
Collaborative advisory can make all the difference to family businesses hoping to achieve long term success. Working with multiple advisors can be a struggle, both for families and advisors. In this community talk, we bring together family members and advisors to discuss the joys and pitfalls of collaborative advice, and how we might improve in the future.

Suggested Reading: Diary of a Financial Enterprise Advisor

Questions:
1. How has your family been helped or harmed - or anything in between - by working with multiple advisors simultaneously? What would you want to experience from your collaborative advisory team?

2. What has been great and what has been difficult in working as an advisor on a collaborative team? What would you want to experience for better outcomes?

Day 1 - 2:30 PM EDT

The Ins and Outs of In-Laws and Family Business

Facilitators:
Gary Benson
, Gabriel Dhahan and Kaely Dyck

Outline:
When you commit to a life partner you are also committing to each other's family. This can come with some hiccups along the way. When you add a family-run business to the mix this adds unexpected complexities which require sensitive and challenging conversations that can at times also be rewarding and surprising. Whether you work in the family firm, or are a parent of the next generation, there is a lot to consider.

Questions:
1. How do we decide who can or can’t work in the family business?

2. How do we welcome life partners and onboard them into the family?

3. What are some of the considerations of working in my partners family business?

Day 1 - 2:30 PM EDT
Day 2 - 1:15 PM EDT

Why Self-Care in the Time of Covid Isn’t Selfish: How to Cope with COVID Stress and Create a Sense of Wellness in These Still Uncertain Times

Facilitator:
Deena Chochinov

Outline:
Last spring, our resilience relied on an adrenaline-fueled response. The shock of COVID, the threat and uncertainty of it all made us hypervigilant in activating our adrenaline rush to pull together with a fighting spirit. It was our universal impulse and it worked for a while. But as the waves of the pandemic continue, it’s a different story and we need a different response: increasing our psychological stamina.

Many of us are trying to manage different states of mind (and body), including but not limited to boredom, hope, loneliness, exhaustion and even despair. More than ever, we require endurance, perseverance and boldness to find a healthy equilibrium each day.

Questions:
1. What self-care practices have you developed to increase your own psychological stamina?

2. How can your self-care/wellness journey have a positive impact on your family members?

3. How do we continue to support one another as the months pass and the ebbs and flow of stress continue to impact families and businesses?

Day 1 - 2:30 PM EDT
Day 2 - 1:15 PM EDT

Transferring Ownership is a Process Best Described as a Relay Race

Facilitator:
Danielle Saputo

Outline:
The receiver starts to run before the baton is transferred. There is a moment when receiver and passer run in line together. Then the receiver takes off and the passer still moves forward. Family enterprises have the strength of longevity and thinking long term, both on business strategy and future succession. This is how a family enterprise succeeds. Continuity planning is key. Creating a culture of stewardship is important way before the transfer happens.

Questions:
1. Have you clearly defined the role as an owner?

2. Other than skills, are you encouraging culture through your family values?

3. How are you reframing transfer of ownership for both the older and the younger generation?

Day 1 - 2:30 PM EDT
Day 2 - 1:15 PM EDT

What About Family Members Who AREN'T in the Business?

Facilitators:
Steve Legler
and Monica Clare

Outline:
Most family enterprises spend a lot of time and energy focusing on the family members who work in the business, often to the dismay of other family members who are not part of the business. In this Community Talk, we will switch that up completely and concentrate on those family "outsiders," looking at some possible roles they can play, examining the "information asymmetry" and what can be done about it, and discussing the importance that clear boundaries can play.

Questions:
1. What are some of the potential roles they can play?

2. How do you deal with the "information asymmetry"?

3. How do you deal with boundaries between family and business?

Day 1 - 2:30 PM EDT
Day 3 - 12:00 PM EDT

Me, Myself and My Family: The Importance of Individuality in the Family Enterprise

Facilitator:
Vincent Valeri

Outline:
Whether you are part of or working with a small family business, or a multimillion-dollar operation, the family enterprise is always an endeavor that is emotionally charged and filled with various family dynamics, especially during times of transition. At their core, these businesses, and the families at their helm, consist of individuals holding onto their dreams, desires and fears. This coalescing of individual personalities, ideals and talents are a valuable asset in the family-run organization, but they must be embraced, understood and nourished to ensure overarching financial success, but perhaps more importantly, legacy building. This community talk will draw on personal and professional insights to help you understand more deeply the individuals behind the enterprise.

Questions:
1. Should one of the goals of family governance be to include the pursuit of happiness of each individual member?

2. What are some strategies to help individual family members develop into better leaders and move closer to their highest level of happiness?

3. What are the benefits of starting at the individual level of family enterprises? What are some of the roadblocks?

Day 1 - 2:30 PM EDT
Day 3 - 12:00 PM EDT

What is the Role of Humility in Leadership?

Facilitator:
David R. Smith

Outline:
One of the biggest secrets of leadership is that it can be lonely. Separating signal from noise is a core capability when navigating information and perspectives supplied by others. Given these and other factors, leadership is not for the faint of heart, but is it only the domain of the intrepid? Whether at the boardroom, executive or family table, leaders need to accept that they don’t have all the answers and their curiosity will be a durable ballast in good times and bad. However, in order for curiosity to be an effective leadership capacity, one must be able to balance their sense of direction, while remaining open to adapting it based upon changes to their understanding. Regardless of whether we are leading from the front, side or back of the room, if we can remain open to new information and develop our inquisitive skills to explore a range of views, the potential impact of our collaboration increases, the relationship with our teams deepen and the prospect of our organization thriving becomes more tangible.

Questions:
1. Can an effective leader be both confident and humble?

2. If so, does this combination also hold true for their most trusted advisors?

3. What attitudes and beliefs are most supportive to improving the leader’s relationship with team members - be they employees, volunteers or family?

Day 2 - 1:15 PM EDT

Women Leading Family Firms

Facilitators:
Monette Malewski
and Lianne Ulin

Outline:
Changing demographics are creating new roles and leadership opportunities for women in family businesses. Research shows that having women in leadership and strategic roles makes economic sense for businesses. It’s been consistently shown in numerous studies that more women in leadership means better financial and all-around performance. Even so, women continue to navigate the ongoing challenges of social norms, stereo types, unconscious gender bias and traditions within the family. Monette Malewski and Lianne Ulin hold CEO and VP positions in their family business and will lead this conversation.

Questions:
1. What are some of the challenges faced by women in family businesses today?

2. What is changing and what needs to change?

Day 2 - 1:15 PM EDT

Family Meetings

Facilitator:
Chris Reichert

Outline:
Clear and open communication is a must for enterprising families. In fact, countless studies have shown that hosting family meetings is often the best way to ensure a smooth transition across generations, yet many families are intimidated and aren’t sure where to begin. Participants (family members and FEAs) are encouraged to come prepared to share experiences from work done in this area, so everyone can learn from each other and depart with practical insights to begin applying.

Questions:
1. What makes a family meeting successful and why?

2. What structures are important and why?

3. What tips or tools might you have for others looking to improve the effectiveness of family meetings?

Day 2 - 1:15 PM EDT
Day 3 - 12:00 PM EDT

Resiliency of Family Businesses

Facilitator:
Naim Ali

Outline:
Over the past year, many family businesses have been hit hard by the economic impact of the pandemic. Some business families depending on the industry have been impacted greater than others and have had to be particularly resilient in order to survive.

This conversation will begin with one family’s experience and then expand to consider the challenges, hidden opportunities and risks that family businesses continue to address.

Questions:
1. What common challenges are family businesses facing?

2.How can we create room for innovation as we try to stay afloat?

3. How do we plan with so much uncertainty?

Day 2 - 1:15 PM EDT
Day 3 - 12:00 PM EDT

What Does It Take to Be an Effective Shareholder in a Family Business?

Facilitator:
Gerry Meyer

Outline:
We will discuss what it means to be a shareholder in a family business, looking at desired personal attributes, competencies and experience. How do prospective shareholders prepare and educate themselves to become a shareholder, and what does this look like for successive generations.

Questions:
1. What makes an effective and engaged shareholder?

2. What are successful strategies for preparing to become a shareholder in a family business?

3. Do you need to be active in the business to be an effective shareholder?

Day 2 - 1:15 PM EDT
Day 3 - 12:00 PM EDT

The Sibling Effect: What’s Required to Successfully Prepare for a Sibling Partnership?

Facilitator:
Holly Simmons

Outline:
Transitioning to a sibling partnership is a complex process. Not only will the business function differently, but siblings will require a new set of skills not necessarily modeled by the founding generation. Early in their careers, siblings focus on learning the ins and outs of the business, working in parallel with one another while relying on the founder for direction. They develop their own style, build leadership skills and find their niche. As conversations turn to succession, siblings can be left wondering how it’s going to work when they haven’t worked together to make collaborative decisions or been intentional about developing their relationship.

Questions:
1. What things get in the way of successful sibling partnerships?

2. What are the key skills siblings need to develop to become effective partners?

3. What role does the family play in supporting the sibling partnership?

Day 3 - 12:00 PM EDT

Baa Baa Black Sheep Have You Any Pull?

Facilitator:
Michael Louie

Outline:
Challenging yourself as the leader of a family enterprise to have difficult, yet measured conversations with your family can help the overall health of your enterprise and your family's relationships, and facilitate succession of your family enterprise.

Questions:
1. How do you begin difficult conversations and make them productive?

2. How do you set boundaries on your conversations?

3. Does it matter if the family member is in or not in the business?

Day 3 - 12:00 PM EDT

Communication and Conflict Management

Facilitator:
Shauna Feth

Outline:
Interpersonal communication in family enterprise is unique and complex. This can be one of the most challenging areas for all of us and even more so with our families, especially if we are working together. In this community talk, we will share strategies, tips and tools that have helped manage conflict and clear communication.

Questions:
1. How important is effective communication in family businesses?

2. From a governance perspective, what are some of the best strategies that we can share about effective communication?

3. What conflict management strategies have you used or witnessed that were effective in reducing or mitigating conflict?

Day 3 - 12:00 PM EDT

Family Constitutions

Facilitator:
Patrick O'Connor

Outline:
Family Constitutions (a.k.a., Family Charters) are important tools for enterprising families. When approached and developed properly, they can unite families around its mission, vision, values and goals. When poorly approached, they can become documents that divide families, and then collect dust on the shelf. Participants (family members and FEAs) are encouraged to come prepared to share their experiences from work you’ve done in this area, so everyone can learn from each other and depart with practical insights to begin applying.

Questions:
1. What has been your experience or approach to creating a family constitution?

2. What are some of the topics that can be covered and why are they important?

3. What tips or tools do you have for others looking to develop a family constitution?

Registration Closes Monday!


Don't miss your chance to join the family business community from across Canada as we learn, share and grow together at the Canadian Family Enterprise Forum!