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Center for Family Business Forums

What Forums Are:

Confidential groups of 10-12 family business members meeting monthly to discuss matters of business, family and personal interest. The Center’s Director, Paul Sessions, serves as facilitator for the Successors and two Management Forums.  Andy Errato facilitates a Management Forum.  Lynne Perry facilitates our Women's Forum.  If you are interested in any of the forums, please contact Paul Sessions.

You will have an opportunity to:

  • share, learn and grow
  • seek advice and help in solving your problems
  • give advice and help other solve their problems
  • a confidential trusting environment for education and exchange of ideas

What forums Are NOT:

  • group therapy
  • social gatherings
  • boards of directors

Forums Provide a Vehicle for:

  • a confidential, trusting environment for education and exchange of ideas
  • advice and problem solving on business and personal issues
  • skill development in the human side of enterprise
  • family business education -personal growth and a deeper look into your own personality

Principles of a Successful Forum:

  • confidentiality
  • group purpose/shared expectations
  • commitment
  • organized interaction
  • leadership
  • group continuity

Forums currently meet approximately once a month in the evening or morning, include dinner or breakfast and last about 3 hours. Additional Forums will be scheduled to meet the needs of the majority of the participants. There is a nominal per meeting charge to cover our costs. The following are brief descriptions of our current Forums.

Leadership Forum: for the senior generation of company ownership - these are people concerned with estate planning, succession planning, communicating with the next generation and preparing them for leadership, knowing how and when to let go, and protecting their retirement funds, which are in all likelihood tied up in their companies.

Successors Forum: for the younger generation, those slated to take over or hoping that they will. They deal with succession issues, but from opposite perspective of the Leadership Forum. They also work on getting along with siblings and cousins, earning the respect of employees who have been with the company much longer than they have and understanding the responsibilities of ownership, management and leadership.

Management Forums: we began an experiment in December 1996, bringing together CEO’s and COO’s of 10 Member companies. The group consisted of both men and women, and both family and non-family. Its purpose was to help them deal with the issues of leading and managing their companies, and perhaps ultimately to become a sort of ad hoc advisory board for the group members. The experiment went so well and created so much interest from other Center Members that we now hold 3 of these Forums each month.

Women’s Forum: for women of all ages in key management positions coping with the issues of women working in a family business world that is largely male dominated. It also deals with the unique balance of roles that women in business find themselves having to manage.