Connected Conversations

business family ownership

Open to all.

The Smith Family Business Initiative hosts 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. Registration is required.


REGISTER January 13, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

The Power of Positive Leadership

John Gordon, President, The Jon Gordon Companies

REGISTER Wednesday, November 18, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET

The Four Types of Wealth

Angela K. Mwanza, MBA ’00 Co-founder and Manager Evergreen Wealth Management


Leadership Agility in a Complex, Chaotic, and Global World

Cornell Family Business Fellow Greg McCann shares how to grow self-awareness, hone the ability to insightfully understand others, identify the approach best suited for the circumstance, distill complex issues for multiple stakeholders, and create value from change.

Level-Setting Bitcoin, Blockchain and Digital Currencies

Susan Joseph, CALS, Managing Partner of SusanJosephLLC, and Barry Seeman ’83, MEng ’86 and MBA ’87, Managing Partner at Bear Run Partners, LLC, shared their perspectives on the operational and investment opportunities for family enterprises as it relates to blockchain technology and digital currencies.

Managing the Future of Uncertainty

Cornell Family Business Practitioner Fellow Holly Isdale ’86, shares strategies for balancing long-term perspective with immediate action steps each of us can take.

Taming Anxiety and Building Maturity

Cornell Family Business Practitioner Fellow and leadership coach John Engels explores the effects of anxiety on work and family relationships, and how parents and business leaders can bring greater maturity, clarity and poise to “twitchy situations.”

Revisiting the Responsible Company

In his landmark book, The Responsible Company, co-authored with Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia, Vincent Stanley, draws on their 40 years’ experience – and knowledge of current efforts by other companies – to articulate the elements of responsible business for our time. Look towards the future with Vincent, explore the many levels of a “responsible company,” and examine why this approach matters with increasing importance.

Next Gen Now: Reactions and Reflections from Current Students and Young Alumni

Cornell Johnson MBA students and recent alumni participate in a discussion on “Next Gen Now: Reactions and Reflections from Current Students and Young Alumni.” They share their perspectives on the future of their family enterprises, where their businesses have pivoted, and the current realities from where their families live.

Leadership Lessons for a VUCA World

Today, more than ever, we live, work and compete in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world. Leading during these uncertain times is challenging business and requires leaders with the vision to see opportunities in volatile and ambiguous situations, the courage to act in the face of uncertainty and complexity and the character and resilience to make hard decisions in order to rebound from unexpected setbacks. Discuss the bias VUCA leaders have towards action, even in the face of uncertainty, and how they leverage this as a strategy for success.

Why Family Governance Matters During Times of Crisis

Ann Dugan, Cornell Family Business Practitioner Fellow and veteran of her own family’s business, shares examples of sound governance practices, identifies where to start and how to carve a pathway forward to fit your family’s and business needs.

Leadership on the Frontline: Reflections and Lessons from an Italian Entrepreneur

As the news began trickling in during January, Michael was forced to deal with a contingency plan he did not want to execute on. Nearly six months later, and as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, Michael will share his reflections on what has transpired in Italy thus far and critical lessons that business owners and advisors should take with them.

Minority Business Entrepreneurship and Ownership

Recent focus on black business ownership has highlighted the difficulties and opportunities that present both globally and locally during tumultuous times. In this Connected Conversations, owners and entrepreneurs will guide us as we delve deeper into these issues, explore areas of growth, and highlight the resourcefulness and innovation often required of minority owned businesses.