Center for Family Business Events

September 19 & 20, 2017 Conferences

The Elephant in the Room is Laughing: A Facilitator Looks at Humor’s Impact on Organizational & Group Process

An Interactive Session led by Izzy Gesell

Tuesday, Sept. 19 · 5:30 - 9:00 p.m. · Univ. of New Haven Orange Campus
Wednesday, Sept. 20 · 8:00 - 10:30 a.m. · Bigelow Tea, Fairfield, CT 

Humor is a language that people use to join and identify a common universe. They consciously and unconsciously make statements through humor about themselves, their relationships, their groups, and their fears, which they find difficult to say otherwise.

Humor, or the lack thereof, functions like a thermostat, controlling the climate within an environment. It is a key component of the atmosphere that surrounds all who interact within any setting. In family business, humor is one way the dynamics of the group are illuminated. Simply put, positive humor fosters a warm and inviting feeling. Negative, divisive humor can make a place and its people seem cold, cruel or aloof. Absence of humor altogether probably indicates a systemic blockage of communication.

This program aims to examine practical ways and means of understanding & using humor personally and professionally, and channeling the energy of humor toward more productivity, cohesion and creativity.

Participants will be able to:

1.    Distinguish between the 4 functions of humor:  shield, weapon, bridge, spotlight

2.    Discuss the ways humor impacts mental, physical, emotional, spiritual perception

3.    Apply one’s personal sense of humor to varied groups

4.    Look at how humor functions in their own companies and families

Izzy Gessel, former stand-up comedian and school teacher who now does leadership training, coaching and professional speaking, promises a fun

filled evening that will leave you with the tools to better deal with the daily challenges faced in your family business.

October 17 & 18, 2017 Conferences

Your Company has a Great Idea… Now What?

Presented by Bryan W. Mattimore, President of The Growth Engine Co.




Tuesday, Oct. 17 · 5:30 - 9:00 p.m. · Univ. of New Haven Orange Campus
Wednesday, Oct. 18 · 8:00 - 10:30 a.m. · Bigelow Tea, Fairfield, CT

So you’ve got a great idea to help grow your organization, but if you’re like most Fortune 500 companies – which traditionally experience new product failure rates of 80% to 90% -- you’re concerned that you’re not giving your new idea its best possible chance to succeed in the marketplace. Not to worry!

Growth Engine cofounder and innovation guru Bryan Mattimore will share a variety of empirically-validated market-research and innovation methodologies to help you and your innovation team succeed! Incorporating lessons learned from over 200 successful innovation consulting assignments – and how these learnings can be adapted and economically-applied to smaller and medium-size companies – this “minds-on” workshop will show you how to:

  • Identify the highest potential ideas coming out of a group ideation session using the “Billboard” and “Opportunity Matrix” techniques
  • Write an effective new product or service concept for qualitative testing  
  • Determine which of a half-dozen different testing methodologies to use to develop a preliminary idea into an integrated concept
  • Create low-cost or no-cost product prototypes
  • Develop creative launch plans for a new product or service 

Also included in the workshop will be innovation best practices to help smaller and medium-size companies successfully organize for new product and service initiatives including how to:

  • Use innovation management software to assure a continuing stream of new products and services for the company’s growth pipeline
  • Shorten the product development cycles – while simultaneously achieving higher success rates
  • Create cross-functional innovation teams
  • Identify and surmount internal innovation roadblocks
  • Include customers and suppliers in the innovation process to help solve new product development and manufacturing challenges

When you leave this session, you will:

  • Understand how to use state-of-the-art concept development and market-research innovation methodologies
  • Have an empirically-based model for creating efficient and effective company-wide growth initiatives

November 28 & 29, 2017 Conferences

The Impact of Social Media on Business to Business Selling

Presented by John Dretler Managing Partner of JD Revenue Growth Consulting 




Tuesday, Nov. 28 · 5:30 - 9:00 p.m. · Univ. of New Haven Orange Campus
Wednesday, Nov. 29 · 8:00 - 10:30 a.m. · Bigelow Tea, Fairfield, CT

We are all aware of the impact of Social Media on B2C (Business to Consumer) selling. After all, 79% of all internet users are on Facebook. But how about B2B (Business to Business) customers – has social media changed their buying process as well? The answer is an emphatic YES!! And their new buying process has totally disrupted traditional sales and marketing approaches.

During this meeting, we will examine the new B2B customer buying journey and how leading companies are changing their go-to-market strategies in order to win more business. You’ll be introduced to new approaches that will challenge your thinking on the interaction between sales and marketing teams, the new role of the sales person, the impact on sales and marketing budgets, and more. 

John Dretler has spent over 25 years as a Business Executive helping B2B companies achieve significant year-over-year revenue growth. This includes leading one company from start-up to acquisition and helping another grow from $40M to $200M in 5 years, including an IPO. John started his career at IBM and has an MBA from Boston College.John resides in Westport, CT.    

Your company is only as strong as your employees, please encourage them to join you to hear this important presentation.

Contact Us

Paul L. Sessions, Director
Phone: (203) 932-7421

Christine Delldonna, Director of Operations
Phone: (203) 931-6033

Mailing Address:
Center for Family Business
300 Boston Post Rd
West Haven, CT 06516

Office Address:
Center for Family Business
584 Derby Milford Rd.
Orange, CT 06477