July 21, 2015 (Keystone, SD): In the shadows of Mt. Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota, Executive Directors from universities throughout the United States and Canada converged last month, to discuss how they could better meet the needs of the family businesses that they serve. For over 20 years, these Directors have met in various locations around North America, with one objective: to share ideas on how to be of better service to the family-owned businesses that they serve on a day-to-day basis.
Representatives from California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, and Alberta and Nova Scotia, Canada attended this year’s gathering.
Discussions on workshop and seminar topics, current research in family business, aligning with the university, peer affinity groups, specialty programs, awards, and other aspects of running a family business center at a university were held. Each participant left with more motivation and ideas that would make their respective centers a more valuable resource for family businesses in their regions.
“Every year, I look forward to attending this conference because it is tough to come up with ideas that will benefit our members and keep them engaged in our monthly events,” stated conference host and Director of the Prairie Family Business Association, Beth Adamson, from the University of South Dakota. “Each time I attend this conference, it is inspiring to meet with my counterparts, and get new, fresh ideas on how to do my job better. We all leave much more motivated and educated, and so many of the ideas that have been implemented at Family Business Centers around North America are a direct result of this conference, and these people.”
Directors from universities all over the United States and Canada were in attendance this year. With over 70% of businesses in the world being owned and operated by families, the need for universities to enhance the value that is offered to these family businesses has never been greater.
“Too many family businesses become a story of how things can go wrong when there is not open communication, education, and trust,” stated Doug Box, founder of Box Family Advisors, and a guest speaker at the Alliance Conference. “To meet with so many educators in family business was inspiring to me, and I encourage family businesses to take advantage of the resources that are available through such prestigious universities around the globe.” Box, from Dallas, Texas, works with family businesses to assist with their success, today, and into the future.
The Family Business Directors Alliance Conference will be held again in June 2016, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.