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.

Connected Conversations webinar series

The Smith Family Business Initiative announces the Connected Conversations webinar series, drawing upon the content and expertise of our Cornell Family Business Scholars and extended network. These webinars are open to all as we strive to provide timely content and remain in contact with our students, alumni, and extended network.

The Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell BusinessFeed

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.

The Smith Family Business Initiative (SFBI)
March 22, 2019

Helping family businesses thrive: SFBI turns five years old

A Cornell-wide program, the Smith Family Business Initiative was founded in 2014 with a $10 million donation from John Smith, MBA ’74, and his wife, Dyan.


Family Business Blog

March 31, 2020

Creativity, Community, and Commitment.

During a recent interview with a 3rd generation family business owner, he detailed the history of his 100+-year-old enterprise repeatedly glossing over such events in their history as The Great Depression, World War II, and countless recessions and economic shifts. He simply said, “We made it through.” This perspective is not uncommon for many family … Continue reading Creativity, Community, and Commitment.

March 26, 2020

The Need for a New Family Enterprise Mindset

Greg McCann is a Cornell Family Business Scholar, as well as an innovator as a teacher, author, consultant and former director of the award-winning Stetson Family Enterprise Center. Greg will be kick off the Connected Conversations webinar series on April 1 with Leadership Agility in a Complex, Chaotic, and Global World. Registration is free and … Continue reading The Need for a New Family Enterprise Mindset

March 17, 2020


– more time at home – more opportunities to write – more space to read – more occasions to call – more excuses to connect – more ways to learn – more chances to experiment – more reasons to innovate – more moments to think – more of now