The Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell is dedicated to supporting and strengthening the network of owners, leaders, and alumni that work in, with or for a family business.

Founded in 2014 from a generous gift from John and Dyan Smith, the Smith Family Business Initiative provides education, networking and new knowledge for family business owners, successors, and students from across the globe.

Connect. Learn. Engage.

Connected Conversations

An on-going and evolving
webinar series highlighting
current issues in family,
business, and leadership.
Allow yourself time to connect, learn, and engage—
these conversations are free
and open to all.


Valuable Vantage Points

A monthly virtual networking
symposium, open to all. Each
discussion will be a mix of
content, conversation, and
collaboration. Topics will
range from tactical to strategic, and will be specific to family business.



This is an outgrowth of our
popular Sam Seltzer ’48
Mentors Forum. After two
successful in-person forums
in 2019, students and mentors alike have been asking for
more opportunities to connect.


Family Business: By the Numbers

5.5 million

family businesses in the U.S.


family businesses that are led by a female CEO or President.

24 years

average life span of a family-owned business.


new business ventures established in the U.S. founded with significant involvement of the family.


Take a look at blogs, news, recaps, and more created by and for the Smith Family Business Initiative.