Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Taking Stock

Family Business Film Screening and Talk-Back with Director Ben Stillerman

Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Location: Breazzano Center, 209 Dryden Road, Ithaca NY

Taking Stock is a documentary which explores the conflicted connections between business and family, community and country. The film follows the relationship between Ben Stillerman and his father, Clive Stillerman, a shopkeeper-philosopher from South Africa, and his complicated relationships with his relatives, employees, customers, and friends, as seen through the lens of a family business, Benoni Discount Stores. Co-hosted by the Cornell Jewish Studies Program and Africana Studies at Cornell.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Successors Forum

A pre-conference workshop for owners, family members, and students

Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Location: Breazzano Center, 209 Dryden Road, Ithaca NY

The most common question of a family business owner - how and where do I start to think about transitioning the business?

Throughout the life of a family business, naturally-occurring transitions take place. Predictable family business transitions include acquisitions, leadership succession, shifts in services or products, transfer of wealth, disruptive relationship challenges, and the marriage, divorce, illness or death of key leaders. Whether these transitions are smooth, leading to opportunities and growth, or rough, resulting in a full-blown family or business crisis, depends to a large degree on the maturity and conversational skill of family leaders. Is there a reliable alternative to the “discomfort viruses” - avoidance, conflict, distance, and defensiveness - that so often threaten healthy conversations at the expense of the business and the family?

This is an ideal opportunity to prepare for and begin to execute your important transition conversations. This full-day exploration will be both strategic and tactical. Topics covered will include, but are not limited to:

  • Where do we begin, who has a seat at the table, and how to articulate our plan and put it into place?
  • Managing myself and others
  • How to hold ourselves (and others) accountable


Family Business Workshop - Essential Tools for Working with Families in Business

Time: 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Location: Breazzano Center, Collegetown, Ithaca, NY

This 3-hour workshop, for families as well as advisors and practitioners, will more fully prepare you to understand the unique nature of families in business and better equip you to work with them in a myriad of situations. Taught by Cornell Family Business Scholars Christine Blondal and Doug Baumoel (’78), using current cases as well as your own, this workshop will add new tools to your kit and better prepare you for your important work.

  • Explore the fundamental yet unique elements of the family system and how it applies to understanding the nature of families in business
  • Strategies to improve communication and move the planning process forward
  • An overview of conflict and techniques for normalizing difficult situations within the family or business  
  • Applying frameworks to challenging family or business relationships


Welcome Reception and Dinner

Time: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Location: The Terrace Restaurant, Statler Hotel

“A Taste of Family Business” - Welcome Reception begins at 6:00, Dinner begins at 7:00.

The opening reception to feature family-owned wineries, breweries and agriculture related products from NY state and beyond. Hear the stories direct from the family members, taste their products and kick off the 2017 Families in Business conference experience. Here are a few of the family businesses that will be featured:

  • Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery
  • F. Oliver’s Oils
  • Johnson Estate Winery
  • Myer Farm Distillers
  • Red Jacket Orchards
  • Red Head Wines

After dinner: A conversation with Andrew Gellert ('89), third generation President of Gellert Global Group, one of the leading North American food importers for over 100 years. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Registration, networking, breakfast

Come early for networking with our conference supporters, students and alumni.

Time: 8:00 am

Location: Ballroom Foyer, Statler Hotel

Opening Keynote

Time: 8:30 am – 9:30 am

Location: Carrier Ballroom, Statler Hotel

Morning Panel Session I

Time: 9:40 am - 10:40 am

Location: Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton & Yale Rooms, Statler Hotel

Family Office Forum

  • Understanding the Why, When, and What of Family Offices

Business Family Forum

  • Looking Back, Moving Forward

This Gen Student Forum

  • Decisions, Opportunities and Responsibilities

Advisors Forum

  • Research and Findings Briefs

Morning Panel Session II

Time: 10:45 am - 12:00 pm

Social Enterprise

  • Conscious Capitalism and Impact Investing

Digital Enterprise

  • Minimizing Risk

Financial Enterprise

  • Private Equity and Harnessing Family Capital

Global Enterprise

  • New Venture Creation

Lunch and “Future of Family Business” panel

Time: 12:00 - 2:00 pm

Location: Carrier Ballroom, Statler Hotel

Moderated by Margarita Tsoustoura, Academic Director | Smith Family Business Initiative. Featuring: 

Sam Seltzer ('48) Mentors Forum

Time: 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Location: Sage Hall

A special post-conference program that allows current students and young alums to spend time, one on one, with Cornell Family Business Scholars and family business leaders. Students will have the opportunity to sit with up to 3 different business leaders and select their own agendas for exploration. Registration is required.