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.


Next Connected Conversations webinar: Resiliency and Determination - The Amazing Journey of the Maldonado Family

Victoria Maldonado

On October 14 from 12-1pm EDT, panelist Victoria Maldonado ’93, Executive Director at Grupo Economico Maldonado (GEM), will lead a discussion on “Resiliency and Determination – The Amazing Journey of the Maldonado Family.”

Veronica’s journey began in her family business in Venezuela and has taken her to each corner of the globe. Finally settling in Miami, Florida, her family’s business has experienced political turmoil, relocation, innovation, and most importantly, determination since its founding in 1911 as a cattle ranch. Veronica is the 4th generation of the Maldonado family business, which is now diversified from agriculture into dairy, energy, real estate and investments. Verónica Maldonado is the Chairman of the board of the GEM (Grupo Economico Maldonado) companies since July 2018. Prior to that she was Executive Director of the GEM Family Office and she was chair of the Maldonado Family Council. She is the president of the foundation, La Compañia Humana, which supports education, community development, music, and environmental awareness in Venezuela. She advises, consults and works with first and multi-generation family businesses. She is board member of WellMeaning Investments, a real estate company and sibling partnership. Veronica graduated from Cornell University ’93 and completed with honors the EMBA in Family Business in the Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia.

She sits on the advisory boards, and has been a speaker in family business matters in the summits of the Family Business Network, JP Morgan Next Generation program, the YPO Latin America Family Business Seminar, Campden Conferences, The Women’s Forum, Women In Family Business (WIFB), Business in Families Foundation, and has co-chaired NMS Management’s Family Office Forum in Palm Beach and is a member of the Family Office Community Circle.

She has written articles, finished family business management programs and has extensive experience in trusts, investment management, process management and corporate structures in US, Japan and Venezuela. Veronica is fluent in English, Spanish and conversant in Japanese.

The Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell BusinessFeed

A large group poses for a photo in a reception space
April 28, 2020

Knowledge into action: Preparing the next generation of family business leaders

The Smith Family Business Initiative (SFBI) understands family business—how it operates, what makes it unique, and the impact it has on the global economy.

Fisk Johnson in a diving suit above water holding plastic waste in the ocean
March 23, 2020

Fisk Johnson, CEO of SC Johnson: A champion in the crusade against plastic ocean waste

SC Johnson CEO Fisk Johnson talks about why ending plastic ocean waste is important to him, his company, and human life on this planet.

Christina Keller portrait
February 25, 2020

Profile in Leadership: Christina Keller, MBA ’07, president and CEO at Cascade Engineering

Christina Keller, CEO and president of Cascade Engineering, upholds and updates a family tradition of do-good capitalism.


Events

Family Business Blog

June 26, 2020

Values

Like all of you I’m shut in, and being shut in I have to look out at my work and my business. What am I going to do? How am I going to emerge? Are my clients, my customers going to be there? What am I going to come out to? What is business going … Continue reading Values

June 15, 2020

Crisis as a Revealer

I’d like to talk about the crisis as a revealer. Indeed, a lot has been said and will be said about the readiness of our governments, of our health systems when the pandemic arrived. And a little bit will be about the fact that our houses were not in order. And so I wanted to … Continue reading Crisis as a Revealer

June 9, 2020

Resilience

Think about this question: what do Michelin, Walmart, Sicly and Dolce & Gabbana have in common in these times of crisis? Like any other business, they thrive to survive, however, unlike non-family businesses, they have managed to develop resilience over time by dealing with different types of crisis, whether family or business crisis. As such, … Continue reading Resilience