I believe every family should be able to enjoy what they have, know where they are going, and make the most of their lives together.
I’ve been passionate about the dynamics of family enterprises ever since I was part of a family business myself. Having lived through the unique type of conflict that happens in family enterprise, I tried in vain to find competent, effective help. Attorneys, mediators, and family business consultants had pieces of the puzzle which were marginally helpful, but just as often made matters worse. When my family business was sold after a decades-long struggle, and my family was left to pick up the pieces of a tragically missed opportunity, I decided to unravel the complexity of family business conflict myself and develop frameworks and approaches that could help other families avoid the same fate. That led me to start Continuity, where I found my true calling.
Over the past 20 years, I have worked intensely with families who share significant assets to help them overcome differences and create long-term strategies for success. Focusing on managing conflict while helping families grow and build stronger enterprise together has proven to be a powerful combination. While family and business governance development is central to my work, skills ranging from family dynamics to business and financial analysis are crucial for bringing enterprising families to a better future.
My work with family businesses and family offices requires attending to issues spanning the granular – eg. developing job descriptions and org charts, to the macro – eg. helping stakeholders find purpose both individually and as a family cohort. Through the consulting approach we have developed, we have provided robust succession planning, organizational & personal development, and conflict management strategies for scores of enterprising families.
I see it as my obligation to share my experience, vision and ideas with the next generation of advisors to enterprising families. To that end, I enjoy mentoring and training, as well as writing and speaking on these topics.
Author, Speaker, Thought Leader
As a trusted advisor, author, speaker, and thought leader, I have authored and co-authored many articles and book chapters featured in professional publications and journals. I’m also the co-author of the book Deconstructing Conflict: Understanding Family Business, Shared Wealth, and Power. My second book will focus on the Family Factor, how families gauge and build strength as a connected family.
As a featured speaker, some of my notable engagements include presentations at the Campden “America’s Families in Business” conference; the Family Firm Institute’s Annual International Conferences; Program on Negotiation at Harvard, the Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell University, Suffolk University Law School, Attorneys for Family Held Enterprise (AFHE) Conferences, and many estate planning and conflict management groups.
Creative Problem Solver
Having founded, launched, and led businesses in Europe and the United States, I have decades of executive leadership and strategy experience. But I also draw upon music when I think through some of the most complex issues with the families I work with.
As a semi-professional jazz fingerstyle guitarist, I see parallels between music, family dynamics, business strategy and change management. The cadence and rhythm of conversations, the interplay between consonance and dissonance in relationships are all part of the landscape of this work. Music is a combination of many complex elements all happening together over time. The goal is for the music to say something – to have a purpose. That takes time, the expertise to execute it well and the ability to create an interesting story from a finite set of notes. I bring that sensibility to the families I work with.
When I’m not busy serving enterprising families, or serving on or advising Boards of Directors, you’re likely to find me playing guitar at charitable events and the occasional open microphone sessions at local music venues.
My credentials include an MBA at Wharton; BS, Electrical Engineering at Cornell University; Mediation Certificate at Mass. Continuing Legal Ed; Fellow, Director Professionalism Certificate at the NACD and Fellow, Certificates in Wealth Advising and Family Business Consulting at the Family Firm Institute.