2020 Speakers

Families in Business Conference Speakers

Nancy Amick

Senior Director, Abbot Downing

Nancy Amick

As a senior director of the Institute for Family Culture, Nancy works with individuals, couples, and multigenerational families to develop communication, education, and governance strategies that help them meet their wealth objectives and successfully grow, preserve, and transition wealth across generations.

With experience in leadership development, building high-performing teams, and leadership transitions in business, Nancy works with families on family business transition planning including how to engage and develop the rising generation of family leaders for future roles and responsibilities in the family business. She also consults on family governance, family legacy planning, communicating about wealth within the family, and family philanthropy.

Nancy joined Wells Fargo, Abbot Downing’s parent company, in 1998. She previously served in leadership roles in Enterprise Human Resources and as head of Organizational Effectiveness and Development for Wells Fargo’s Wealth and Investment Management division. Nancy provided executive coaching and strategic consulting on organizational change, organizational culture, leadership development, team performance, and individual effectiveness.

Nancy holds a doctorate and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego. She completed an executive coaching certification at Columbia University Business School and Teachers College. Most recently, Nancy co-authored three book chapters on how to create a systemic coaching culture within multi-layered organizational settings.

Nicolas Bernardi

Founder, Quality Call Center

Nicolas Bernardi

Family businesses:

  • Founder and Managing Director of Quality Center – Senegal (telemarketing outsourcing services),
  • Founder of Quality Candy – Ivory Coast (confectionery production and distribution),
  • Founder and Chairman of Jet Sodas – Ivory Coast (soda drinks production and distribution),
  • Real Estate developments in Senegal and France.

Served as the Chief Executive Officer of Louis Dreyfus Commodities West Africa from 2008 to 2013 and as Board Member of eight country subsidiaries.

Previously, served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Business Solutions Unit at telecom company Altice SFR in France. From 1995 to 2000, served as Marketing and Sales VP at Bouygues Telecom.

Started his career as a management consultant at Kearney.

Holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an M.S. degree from Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecommunications Paris.

Christine Blondel

Adjunct Professor of Family Business, INSEAD

Cornell Family Business Fellow

Christine Blondel

Christine Blondel is a Family Business Fellow at the Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell. She has been in the family business field since 1997, which gave her exposure to hundreds of family business cases through her teaching, writing, conferences, advising and board memberships.

Her publications and conferences focus on large, multigenerational, family businesses, governance and the key concept of Fair Process, and related topics such as women’s roles and the sale of the family business.

She is Adjunct Professor of Family Business at INSEAD and at Nova (Portugal), advises many family businesses and sits on family business boards.

She is actively involved in several Family Business Associations, and received the « Interdisciplinary Achievement Award » from the Family Firm Institute in 2017.

A graduate from INSEAD (MBA, Negotiation Dynamics, International Directors’ Programme, Value Creation for Owners and Directors) and Ecole Polytechnique France, she worked 3 years as a management consultant before joining Procter & Gamble, where she held positions in Marketing and Finance. She then coordinated INSEAD family enterprise activities from their creation in January 1997 until December 2007 – she was the first Executive Director of the Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise.

Her four grown-up children are certainly an important part of her CV, and to some extent the fact that several family businesses can be found in her direct or indirect ancestry.

Rochelle Clarke

Founder and Manager, Succession Strength

Rochelle Clarke

Rochelle Clarke is the founder of Succession Strength. As a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Rochelle has spent nearly 20 years helping companies execute global strategy. Having grown up in and around family owned businesses, Succession Strength was born out of Rochelle’s love for family businesses and her desire to see them thrive. After spending her career facilitating the interchange of best practices and practical solutions, Rochelle brings her unique experience to bear in helping family businesses overcome every barrier to a smooth succession. She is the author of The 5 Critical Succession Conversations: A Comprehensive Guide for the Family Business.

James H. Clement III, MBA '21

Land Resources Manager & Horse Division Manager, King Ranch

James H. Clement III

James Clement III is the Land Resources Manager for King Ranch, Inc. in which he works on surface management, title, and environmental issues on the historic ranches. James also manages King Ranch’s Horse Division and Media and Marketing. Under his management, King Ranch received the 2019 AQHA Best Remuda Award, the highest recognition awarded to a ranch horse program. Through James’ efforts, King Ranch has earned media wins in magazines and documentaries and grown their social media footprint. James was named a 2020 Next Gen to Watch by Family Business Magazine.

Both sides of James’ family are in generational business: his mother’s with Beggs Cattle Co. (est. 1876), and his father’s with King Ranch (est. 1853). James also founded and manages Bloody Buckets Cattle Co., and oversees the livestock, resources, and wildlife on Los Hermanos Ranch (est. 1967).

James has served since 2008 in the Marines, currently as a reserve infantry officer. James has deployed to Afghanistan, Chile, and Mexico, and is currently a Captain and the Executive Officer for C Company, 1/23.

James serves on the boards of the National World War II Museum, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the American Quarter Horse Association, the National Ranching Heritage Center, the Equine Initiative at Texas A&M, and the Houston Private Director’s Association.

James graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore, MD, and is currently enrolled in the Executive MBA program with Cornell University. James is married to the former Miss Paige Shaw, from Kingsville, TX, and they have one son.

Molly Crist '10

Owner and Operator, Onward Travel

Molly Crist

Molly Crist is the co-founder and owner of Onward Travel, a boutique tour operator based in Walden, NY and Philadelphia, PA. The company partners with an engaged, selective list of businesses, organizations, and industry associations to offer interest-specific guided tours to their clientele. Culinary tours are a specialty and they also focus on tours for the fruit tree industry. Onward has operated 50+ tours throughout Europe and the United States plus Japan, New Zealand, and more.

Before starting Onward Travel in 2013, Molly worked as an innkeeper, owned and operated a food truck in Michigan, coordinated leasing for the innovative Downtown Market Grand Rapids, taught cooking classes, and wrote for a variety of Michigan-based publications.

Locally, Molly serves on the Board of Directors and the Disbursement Committee for the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan, volunteers with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County, and participates in Leadership Orange.

Molly holds a degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University and lives in the Hudson Valley, where her husband, Joel Crist (CALS ‘10), is a fifth-generation apple farmer at Crist Bros Orchards. Molly and Joel have a toddler daughter, Zinnia, and an energetic pup. Molly enjoys hiking, gardening, traveling, reading, and cooking.

Gary Dake

President, Stewart’s Shops

Gary Dake

Gary Dake, President of Stewart’s Shops in Saratoga Springs, NY, has over 35 years of experience working for and now running his family and employee owned business. He joined the company in 1984 as a Market Coordinator and became President. Gary is often sought out by local media for his strong business acumen, leadership skills, and expertise in the dairy industry, gasoline commerce and retail sales. Gary is on the Board of Directors of Saratoga National Bank and Arrow Financial Corporation. He further serves the community as Chairman of St. Peter’s Health Partners Board of Directors. He is a 1982 graduate of St. Lawrence University with a B.A. in Economics. When he’s not in the office, Gary can be found on the golf course, baking bread, or spending time with his family. Gary lives in Saratoga Springs with his wife, Aimee.

Candace Davies Benzel, MBA '06

Vice President, Goldman Sachs

Candace Davies

Candace Davies joined Goldman Sachs as a Private Wealth Advisor in 2006.  Previously, Candace was a Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch, where she oversaw private and institutional client assets, focusing on asset allocation and risk management. She attained her MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University in 2006 and her BS from Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2000.  Candace is a 1996 graduate of Nardin Academy and member of the school’s National Alumni Advisory Board and Leadership Council.  Candace is the Founder of Goldman Sachs Team in Training, raising over $700,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and is also the former President of the Business, Economics, Science, and Technology departments of the Central Los Angeles Public Library.  She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two English Bulldogs. 

Rustom Desai, MBA '95

Senior Lecturer; Board Director; Retired Global Executive, SC Johnson Graduate School of Management

Rustom Desai

Rustom Desai joins the Johnson faculty this fall after spending 25 years as a global technology executive with Corning Incorporated. During this time, he has built and led businesses to scale in developed and emerging markets, and across multiple tech markets including semiconductors, consumer electronics, and optical communications. While living and working in the US, China, Taiwan and India, Rustom has had the opportunity to create, and in some cases dismantle, strategic alliances of all flavors. He brings this first-hand experience of the opportunities and challenges that strategic alliances offer to his class. ​

Rustom is also a skilled board director, having spent 20 years on public, private and advisory boards. Through these and other career experiences, he has developed unique, up-close and personal experience in the area of family owned company governance and management. ​

A 1995 Johnson alum, Rustom has stayed active with the school over the years, as a founding and advisory board member of the Emerging Markets Institute and an occasional guest speaker. He looks forward to this next challenge of fully immersing himself in the success of his students.​

John Engels

President, Leadership Coaching, Inc.

Cornell Family Business Practitioner Fellow

John Engels

John Engels is a leadership anthropologist who teaches, coaches, speaks and writes internationally on relationship management and emotional maturity. In 1996, he founded Leadership Coaching, Inc., a consortium of business-owning executive coaches who share a specialized background in family systems theory.

Informed by the biological sciences, John’s team offers a deep dive into self-awareness, self-responsibility, relationship connectivity and coaching expertise.

John’s formal education includes degrees in journalism (St. Bonaventure University), and theology (Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, CA.) and 24 years of study and research in Bowen Family Systems Theory at the Georgetown Family Center in Washington, DC (now the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family.

His informal education consists of evocative discoveries within his cross-generational family, and 40 years of interactions with indigenous and spiritual leaders, cross-cultural village elders, Attica Prison inmates, animal biologists, law enforcement chiefs, military combat leaders, education and government administrators, and thousands of business clients.

As a writer and speaker, John strives to weave self-exposing reflections, real-life leadership challenges and penetrating questions into stories that jump-start new thinking. Calling attention to the humor, pain and complexity of leadership, John has delivered presentations, podcasts and programs for the Family Business Alliance, Young Presidents Organization, Vistage, United States Military Academy at West Point, Caritas Bangladesh, the American University of Beirut, Taziki Psychiatric Hospital in Okinawa, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in Dublin, Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, the Gandhi Institute, Cornell University and hundreds of other organizations.

John is a Family Business Fellow for Cornell University’s Smith Family Business Initiative, an Advisor for the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, and a faculty member for the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative in his hometown of Rochester, New York.

Elisa Freire

Chairperson to the Board of Directors, Panagro

Elisa Freire

Elisa Freire is Chairperson of the board of directors of Panagro, a first-generation family-owned cherry grower and exporter in Chile’s Colchagua Valley. She is owner and director of The ESL Workshop, an English as a foreign language academy, where she has taught for over 12 years. In her 23 years of teaching the arts and English as a foreign language, she has helped hundreds of students fulfill their academic and professional pursuits.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Anthropology and Sociology from Lafayette College. She earned her teaching license from UNC Charlotte. Recently, she graduated from the INCAE Executive Education’s General Management, Business Management, Women’s Executive Leadership Program, and Family Business, a joint program with the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.

She lives in San Fernando, Chile with her husband and two daughters. An avid trail runner and painter, she has traveled extensively and is fluent in English and Spanish.

Zengoro Hoshi

Owner, Hōshi Ryoken

Zengoro HoshiHoshi Zengoro was born in 1938 (Showa 13) as the eldest son of a Houshi in Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, he was named Houshi Hajime. From an early age, he was educated as a tracer of the Houshi family. After graduating from the Faculty of Law, Keio University, he worked for the International Tourist Ryokan Federation and honed his international sense from the experience of the previous Tokyo Olympics. Named Goro, in 1987 (Showa 62), he joined the Henokiens Association, which only long-established stores that have been in business for over 200 years can join, and quickly adopted internationalization. Even now, at the age of 82, he talks to customers as a “howa” with a Buddhist perspective such as the history of the lawyer.

* * Currently, “Houdan” has been canceled due to the new coronavirus.

Holly Isdale '86

Founder, Wealthaven

Cornell Family Business Practitioner Fellow

Holly Isdale

Holly Isdale founded Wealthaven in 2010 to provide clients with a single point of contact for the oversight of their wealth management needs. After 20-plus years on Wall Street, she was frustrated by the fact that wealthy families, despite hiring the best attorneys, accountants and investment teams, still could not achieve their financial goals, primarily due to lack of coordination and execution among the experts. Holly created Wealthaven to provide clients with high level strategic planning, hands-on oversight and conflict-free advice.

Holly has worked with entrepreneurs and business owners for her entire career — from initial funding to IPOs or mergers, through succession planning and even last rites. This in-depth knowledge of tax, investments, estate planning, family governance, philanthropy and just plain common sense, allows her to help families to identify their goals, create an actionable plan and to deliver results.

A graduate of Cornell University and of Boston University School of Law, Holly began her career as a corporate tax attorney but left the active practice of law in 1994 to build and lead the estate and financial planning practices for several top Wall Street firms, including JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Bessemer Trust.

Holly serves on the board of Family Firm Institute, the global organization for family business consultants. She is a member of the American Bar Association’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Committee, the Purposeful Planning Institute, Philadelphia Estate Planning Council, Society of Trust and Estate Professionals and several other organizations. She is a frequent speaker on issues relating to family, tax and transition issues as well as philanthropic considerations.

Holly recognized as a finalist for the Family Business Advisor of 2013 award from STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Professionals).

Dennis Jaffe

Research Associate, Wise Counsel Research

Cornell Family Business Practitioner Fellow

Dennis Jaffe

Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D. is a member of Wise Counsel Research Associates. Dennis is now in the third phase of his 100-Year Family Enterprise research project, resulting so far in five working papers (all available on Amazon). Dennis is a weekly contributor to Forbes Leadership channel, reporting on family cross-generational family business and wealth. His global insights have led to teaching or consulting engagements at Hult University in Dubai, the Pacific Asia chapter of Family Business Network, and the Advisory Board of Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is part of the Polaris team working with the Family Business Network to create a roadmap for family and business sustainability.

For 35 years, Dennis was professor of Organizational Systems and Psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco, where he is now professor emeritus. He received his B.A. in Philosophy, M.A. in Management and Ph.D. in Sociology from Yale University.

He has been an active member of the Family Firm Institute since its inception, presenting at annual conferences, serving on the board, designing and delivering educational courses in their GEN program and writing for the Family Business Review. In 2017 Dennis was recognized by the Family Firm Institute for his international work, and in 2004, received the prestigious Richard Beckhard Award for his contributions.

He was Thinker in Residence in 2007 for South Australia, helping the region design a strategic plan for the future of Australian entrepreneurial and family businesses. He was the researcher for the JP Morgan 2005 study of best practices of multi-generational families, and a more recent study of succession in Asian families. In 2010 he was a visiting professor at the undergraduate family business program of Stetson University.

Dennis has been a frequent contributor to periodicals such as Family Business, Journal of Financial Planning, Private Wealth, Journal of Wealth Management, and Worth magazine. His work has been featured in Inc., NPR Marketplace, Entrepreneur, Time and The Wall Street Journal, and he was profiled in People Magazine. In 2005 he received the Editor’s Choice Award from the Journal of Financial Planning for his article on family business strategic planning.

Active in nonprofit governance, he served on the boards of the World Business Academy, Saybrook University, and the Center for Mind-Body Medicine.

Dennis lives in San Francisco, CA. His website is www.dennisjaffe.com.

Tarandip Kahlon, MBA '21

Taran Kahlon

Param Kandhari, MBA '21

Param Kandhari

Param Kandhari is a 1st year MBA candidate at SC Johnson Graduate School of Management. He belongs to a 3rd generation family business involved in manufacturing and distribution of Coca-Cola in North India. The family business was started by his grandfather more than half a century back and currently has 3 generations working in it (Param’s grandfather, father and brother). Param plans to venture back into his family business after gaining an international experience and real-life practical skills through his MBA.

Richelle Kate King, MMH '18

Executive Assistant to the COO, Crown Regency Hotels

Richelle Kate King, MMH '18

Richelle graduated from MMH Class of 2018 and currently works for her family’s hospitality business in the Philippines. Her family business includes hotel development and property management, real estate development, and real estate rentals and leasing. Her family’s business has been in operation for over 15 years and is currently transitioning from 2nd generation to 3rd, of which Richelle is a member of. Richelle started in her family’s business by handling Marketing and being responsible for launching a social media presence for their hotel brand. She eventually handled Reservations and left to pursue a master’s degree in Hospitality. During her academic journey, she completed an internship at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, focusing on Operational Analysis. Upon returning, Richelle currently handles Corporate Sales for the entire group while also involving herself heavily in daily operations of their 9 hotel properties. She has also opened other business ventures such as a beverage chain and a restaurant.

Rania Labaki

Associate Professor of Management, EDHEC Business School

Cornell Family Business Fellow

Rania Labaki

Dr. Rania Labaki is Associate Professor of Management at EDHEC Business School and Director of the EDHEC Family Business Centre (France). Her current research interests revolve around the interplay between family dynamics and family business behaviour, in relation with entrepreneurial, financial, socio-cultural and succession decisions.

A passionate advocate for family business, Rania developed throughout her career a unique mix of academic and practical knowledge on family business. She is actively involved in the leading international organizations dedicated to family business. She serves as Board member of the International Family Enterprise Research Academy (IFERA), Head of the Scientific Committee of FBN France and Program Content Advisor of BFF. She is the FFI Fellow, past-programme committee member and Research & Education Symposium co-chair. She also serves as Advisory Committee member of the EIASM Workshop on Family Firm Management Research, Women in Family Business (WIFB) and New York City Family Enterprise Centre (NYCFEC). She is co-editor of the Entrepreneurship Research Journal and serves on the review editorial boards of the leading journals specialized in family business.

Among her past appointments, Rania was Associate professor and Director of the Financial and Wealth Management Master Program at the University of Bordeaux, Director of the Family Business Global Executive MBA at EDHEC Business School and Visiting Scholar at Baruch College – The City University of New York, Zhejiang University (China), Zeppelin University (Germany) and Salerno University (Italy). She was also Academic Expert of The Family Business Network International for 7 years, in charge of developing and facilitating programs for the Next Generation international conferences and trainings and providing guidance and support on strategic activities related to education, research and entrepreneurship.

A regular speaker at academic and practice-oriented conferences and institutions, Rania lectured and made presentations on family business in more than 50 countries across continents (including Cornell University, INSEAD, Egon Zehnder and KPMG). She also chaired or co-chaired 14 conferences on family business and contributed to the development of numerous partnerships with family business stakeholders, intended to support and promote family business research creation and dissemination. She enrolled in both quantitative and qualitative research projects, including.

Michael Liersch

Head of Advice and Planning for Wealth and Investment Management, Wells Fargo

Michael Liersch

Michael Liersch is head of Advice and Planning for Wealth and Investment Management, which is responsible for developing and propagating research-based methods to help advisors and clients most productively collaborate around their money decisions.

Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Michael worked at JPMorgan Chase where he served as managing director and global head of Wealth Planning and Advice. Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, he served as head of Behavioral Finance and Goals-based Consulting at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, and as head of Behavioral Finance at Barclays Wealth, Americas. He was also a faculty member at New York University, where he taught management and organizational analysis.

Michael earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with honors from Harvard University and earned his doctorate in Cognitive Psychology from University of California, San Diego. His perspectives have been featured in media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Bloomberg and USA Today. Michael is also published in academic and industry journals for his research on human behavior.

Michael resides in Connecticut with his wife and daughter where they enjoy time with family and friends.

Insha Malhotra '16

Director, Status Hospitality Group

Insha Malhotra

Yash and Insha belong to Kanpur, India where their father, Vikas Malhotra ventured into the hospitality space three decades ago with Kanpur’s first Fast Casual restaurant called “Treat”. The group has now grown to a collection of 4 hotels, 15 restaurants, and 22 private event venues that now host over 1,500 weddings & social gatherings annually. In 2019, the group ventured into the industrial real estate space with the creation of +nineone to develop warehousing parks in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populated state (220 million). The diversification is now proving to be a crucial new avenue of business opportunities to develop Grade A warehouses for global e-commerce and logistics companies to serve India’s growing middle class. The group has developed over 400,000 sf for Walmart, Reckitt Benckiser Group, and others and envisions to cross 1,000,000 sf of developed and rented assets by 2022.

Insha studied at The International School Bangalore in India. During her time at Cornell, Insha lead Hotel Entrepreneurs and hosted various pop-up restaurants around campus, she also interned with The Gettys Group in Chicago prior to joining the family business. Since 2016, Insha has conceptualized several restaurants and handles the operations of Status Hospitality Group and The Landmark Hotel, Kanpur’s only five-star hotel.

In August 2020, Insha and Yash started a drive-in restaurant concept called ‘Drive & Dine’, a child of the pandemic that came about due to the restrictions that the Government of India had posed on restaurant dining. Drive & Dine has been very successful so far and has received media coverage from the likes of Condé Nast, Travel + Leisure, and others.

Yash Malhotra '18

Director, Status Hospitality Group

Yash Malhotra

Yash and Insha belong to Kanpur, India where their father, Vikas Malhotra ventured into the hospitality space three decades ago with Kanpur’s first Fast Casual restaurant called “Treat”. The group has now grown to a collection of 4 hotels, 15 restaurants, and 22 private event venues that now host over 1,500 weddings & social gatherings annually. In 2019, the group ventured into the industrial real estate space with the creation of +nineone to develop warehousing parks in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populated state (220 million). The diversification is now proving to be a crucial new avenue of business opportunities to develop Grade A warehouses for global e-commerce and logistics companies to serve India’s growing middle class. The group has developed over 400,000 sf for Walmart, Reckitt Benckiser Group, and others and envisions to cross 1,000,000 sf of developed and rented assets by 2022.

Yash studied at The Doon School in the Himalayas, prior to his time at Cornell. Following his graduation, he worked at Tungsten Partners in New York City doing financial structuring for companies in the creative spaces and became a minority investor in Grupo Gitano (a hospitality company based in Tulum, Mexico) prior to moving back to India in the summer of 2019. Yash has since lead investments and new business development for +nineone and is operationally involved in Status Hospitality Group and The Landmark Hotel.

In August 2020, Insha and Yash started a drive-in restaurant concept called ‘Drive & Dine’, a child of the pandemic that came about due to the restrictions that the Government of India had posed on restaurant dining. Drive & Dine has been very successful so far and has received media coverage from the likes of Condé Nast, Travel + Leisure, and others.

Kevin Omar Williams '99

Alternative Investments, Family Office

Cornell Family Business Practitioner Fellow

Kevin Omar Williams

The family unit is at the heart of Mr. Williams’ approach to strategy, investments and impact. He provides a critical link between honoring the legacy of the Founding Generation and guiding the innovation of the Next Generation. Currently, he is responsible for private equity, private credit investments and inter-generational impact for a Single Family Office. Additionally, he leads the KKR-backed Alternative Investments Accelerator program at national, non-profit MLT, an organization dedicated to economic mobility. Previously, he was the Vice President of Corporate and Business Development for a portfolio company created by Sterling Partners – a diversified $5 billion AUM investment firm – to operate and acquire graduate schools. Formerly, he was the 4th founding team member of the Special Opportunities Fund (“the Fund”) at Australian firm, Babcock & Brown (B&B). B&B – a global, ASX-listed, $70 billion AUM fund manager and investment firm – provided strategic seed capital of $100M to the Fund which made non-control and control investments in essential services and specialty finance companies. Mr. Williams began his career in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley.

He serves or served on the boards or committees of:

  • Harvard Alumni Impact Investing Alliance – Board Member
  • Cornell MOSAIC – National Diversity Steering Committee of Cornell Board of Trustees
  • REACH: Rewarding Achievement, backed by Pershing Square Foundation – Board Member

He also serves as a mentor to the Cornell Tech community and is a Fellow of the Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell University. Recent speaking engagements include Mastercard’s “Inclusivity in FinTech” Seminar; Goldman Sachs-led FinTech Innovation Roundtable; Novartis-led Health AI Innovation Roundtable and the Cornell Family Innovations Summit 2019. Mr. Williams received his BA in Economics and Government from Cornell University and earned his MBA at Harvard Business School.

Mary Owen

Lifetime Trustee, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Mary Owen

Mary is an accomplished business leader, investor, fiduciary, and strategic planning consultant.  She invests in sports, technology and fashion and focuses her strategic consulting on individuals, family businesses, closely held companies and pro sports franchises.

In addition, Mary is a Director of the Hall of Fame Resort and Entertainment Company (HOFV) and a Life Trustee of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation; a $1.2  billion dollar private grantmaking foundation place based in Western New York and Southeastern Michigan.  Ms. Owen worked for the Buffalo Bills from 1997- 2014 ultimately serving as Executive Vice President and represented the team at the ownership level for twelve years serving on the International Committee, Super Bowl Committee and the Board of the NFL Foundation. She was a Trustee of her uncle, Ralph C. Wilson Jr.’s, estate, along with three others, which included overseeing the sale of the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise to the Pegula family for $1.4 Billion Dollars in the fall of 2014; the highest price ever paid for a NFL franchise at that time.  She is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and holds a M.B.A. from Walsh College.

J.J. Pagel

Assistant Farm Manager, Pagel’s Ponderosa

JJ Pagel

JJ Pagel has grown up in the dairy industry his whole life. His family owns Wisconsin largest family farm Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy LLC. Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy is now a third generation run dairy. JJ works alongside his Sister Jamie and Brother Bryan, as they run the family farm.  JJ attended UW Madison’s 2-year Farm and Industry Short Course and Cornell University’s Dairy Executive Program. Today Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy milks 5,500 cows and crops approximately 8,800 acres of land. The Pagel family makes cheese at the dairy that is sold at their retail store Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese. They also are partners in two others dairy’s, Dairy Dreams and High Plains Ponderosa Dairy.  If that is not busy enough JJ has a full house at home too. JJ is married to wife Chase and together they have 4 kids, Kiley (18), Jaylyn (11), Jaxen (9), and Jase (7). JJ and his family also enjoy helping out in the community where they can. JJ and Chase are active members of the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotions, JJ helps to coach sports teams when time allows, Chase is an active member of the Kewaunee School Board, and their oldest daughter Kiley has started her college career at St. Norbert’s where she is studying to be a CPA and move into a roll that she can help dairy farms as well.

Michael Palumbos

President, Family Wealth & Legacy

Michael Palumbos

Michael is a second generation family wealth advisor serving business-owning families.  Marty, his father, started the wealth advisory practice in 1973; he also served many family owned businesses. Michael is the father of seven, grandfather of two, and he is married to Victoria, a special education teacher in the Pittsford School district. Michael has three siblings and four nephews.

Michael has over 18 years of experience in the financial services industry and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Rochester. He has earned the Certified Business Exit Consultant and Chartered Financial Consultant designations. Michael is also on the Board of Directors at Wayne Cooperative Insurance Company, a member of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

Alyana Popat, MMH '21

Marketing Manager, Simba Corporation

Alyana Popat

Alyana is currently pursuing a Master of Management in Hospitality at Cornell University, SC Johnson College of Business. She was previously working with her family business, Simba Corporation, in Nairobi and held several roles within the Hospitality department of the business.

Alyana started off working in the Business Development department as an analyst, where she was heavily exposed to strategy development for the overall corporation and had significant engagement with the board of directors. Following this role, she found her passion in the hospitality industry when she headed the Marketing for the hospitality department.

Alyana also took on the role of an entrepreneur and started her own wine importation and distribution business, focusing on Portuguese wines. She also developed a new restaurant space, that will introduce 11 new brands into the Kenyan market.
Marketing Manager, Simba Corporation

Alyana has a strong passion for philanthropy and social entrepreneurship and was also heavily involved in setting up and running the Simba Foundation, the corporate social investment arm of Simba Corporation that aims to create sustainable opportunities for empowerment of African communities. She currently sits on both the Shining Hope for Communities Kenyan Advisory Board and the Simba Foundation Board.

Alyana holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Manchester Business School.

Anna Richards, MBA '20

Founder, 2020 Consulting

Anna Richards

Anna Richards is a business advisor and founder of 2020 Consulting. Anna provides expertise in business succession planning, management accounting system design and implementation, and financial analysis. She holds an MBA from both Cornell University and Queen’s University, a bachelor’s in Agricultural Business Management from the State University of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, and is a graduate of both LEAD NY and the Cornell Dairy Executive Program. In her free time she enjoys just about anything that involves horses, kids and cows.

Alan Rosen '91

Owner, Junior’s Cheesecake

Alan Rosen

Alan Rosen ’91, is the third generation of the Rosen family to lead the venerable brand, Junior’s. Born andraised in New York City, he grew up watching his father, Walter, run the original Junior’s restaurant. After graduating from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration in 1991, Rosen spent three years working at other industry restaurants before returning to Junior’s. He started at Junior’s as the director of marketing, with a goal of growing and expanding the business beyond the original Brooklyn location. Today, Rosen oversees the restaurants, retail bakeries, wholesale, and mail-order operations, which generates revenue over $100 million annually. Junior’s serves over 5,000 customers daily and sells approximately 20,000 cheesecakes every week.

Angie Sabel

Managing Director, Abbot Downing

Angie Sabel

Angie is a managing director in Abbot Downing’s New York office. She is responsible for providing clients with comprehensive relationship management and partnering with Abbot Downing’s specialists for asset management and planning. Angie brings over 20 years of experience in advising entrepreneurs, business owners, and corporate executives on their families’ private wealth management.

Prior to joining Abbot Downing, Angie was a Managing Director at Avenue Capital Group and led the Principals’ Private Group for over 13 years where she was responsible and oversaw the Principals’ investments in Avenue and regulatory, compliance and communications regarding the Principals. She also directed the Principals’ family offices overseeing their investments with third-party investment managers and in various business joint ventures, their comprehensive tax planning, their wealth transfer strategies, structuring and protecting their assets, and their philanthropic initiatives. Prior to Avenue, Angie was a Tax Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Private Companies Services/Personal Financial Services group. She served as both the relationship and engagement leader for business advisory services, tax planning, and wealth management and preservation strategies to her clients which included the Principals of Avenue.

Angie is a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder and earned the Certified Public Accountant designation. She holds a bachelor of science in Accounting and Finance from University of Florida and received a graduate certificate from Florida International University.

She and her husband, William, live in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Satoru Saka

General Manager, Hōshi Ryoken

Daniela Scur

Assistant Professor of Strategy, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Cornell Family Business Faculty Fellow

Daniela Scur

Daniela is an Assistant Professor of Strategy at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University.

Daniel Scur’s research focuses on organizations and how organizational practices affect productivity and labor outcomes across countries and industries. She studies organizational economics with a focus on emerging economies and developing countries. The research questions she is currently working on include why family firms adopt fewer structured management practices (and what to do about it), how school management and personnel policies affect teacher effort and student outcomes, how personnel management affects wages and other employee outcomes in manufacturing firms, and how female leadership influences organizational practices.

Daniela is affiliated with the CEPR and the Productivity Partnership and she is a Research Fellow at the MIT Sloan School of Management, with the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, and at the London School of Economics with the Centre for Economic Performance. Professor Scur serves as a faculty fellow at the Cornell Smith Family Business Initiative. She continues to work on three large data collection initiatives: the World Management Survey, the Development WMS, and the Ownership Survey.

Emery Schoenly, MBA '21

Emery Schoenly

Emery is from a family business focused on homecare. He graduated undergrad in 2014 from Yale University, worked at Vanguard for a little over five years, and is now a 2nd year at Cornell completing his MBA.  For his summer internship he worked at American Express as a Product Manager their Digital Labs group. After Cornell he is planning on returning full-time to American Express. During his free time he enjoys trail running and mountain biking.

Amrit Singh '11

Co-founder, Indian Milk and Honey

Amrit Singh

Amrit is a first-generation entrepreneur who runs a branded food and food packaging solution business – Indian Milk & Honey. Their Lassi, Ghee, Buttermilk and Cream products are sold in Ahold, Kroger, and Whole Foods stores, Blue Apron meal-kits, and on Amazon. After a 13-year consulting career around the world, Amrit came to Cornell to become an entrepreneur. In 2012 Amrit started by making Lassi 50 miles away and then selling it in the back of his car on campus. In 2014, Amrit & his wife Ipshita, a trained chef and Iron Chef competitor, built a SQF certified processing plant in Freeville, NY. For his second entrepreneurial venture, Ag & Food Tech, Amrit and a team of Cornell researchers are commercializing a Cornell emulsion technology. Amrit & Ipshita have a 4th grader who is remote learning. As a family they love playing cricket and exploring local restaurants.

Dave Spitulnik

Managing Partner, Spitulnik Advisors

Dave Spitulnik

David Spitulnik is a successful executive with over 35 years of experience in both large technology companies and in consulting to and leadership of midmarket, closely held and family owned businesses across a variety of industries. In addition to serving as chair of the Private Directors Association’s Private and Family Business Center Outreach Committee, David frequently writes and speaks on a number of topics related to leading, building, maintaining and strengthening businesses and their governance structures. Drawing from a broad range of experience in the United States and internationally, David is often called upon to advise family and non-family members on board creation, structure and effectiveness so that the board and company can maintain powerful forward momentum.

David recently published a book on leadership, Becoming An Insightful Leader: Charting Your Course To Purposeful Success. The book focuses on the journey from managing to leading to advising and reflects David’s belief in communicating and questioning how individuals and teams will define and then accomplish their goals and objectives.

David graduated from Haverford College with a B.A. in Economics and received his MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

Christina Suriadjaja, MMH '19

Co-founder, Travelio.com

Christina Suriadjaja

Christina Suriadjaja first started her career at the age of 14, groomed by the Singapore Sports School to be a professional athlete. She represented Singapore for 3 years in Netball and 1 year in Soccer. Her educational background is in business and hospitality from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business’ School of Hotel Administration. During her academic journey, she worked part time for an ecotourism website in Los Angeles and occupational science research with Atwater Park Center focusing on early childhood education for children with autism spectrum disorder. She then continued to work for InterContinental Hotels Group in Singapore. Christina is also a Forbes 30 under 30 class of 2017 honoree and winner of the Global Ernst & Young Next Generation Award at the World Entrepreneurship of the year event in Monaco, 2017. In Travelio, she is in charge of business development, strategy, fundraising and investor relations.

Margarita Tsoutsoura

John and Dyan Smith Professor of Management and Family Business, SC Johnson Graduate School of Management

Margarita Tsoutsoura

Margarita Tsoutsoura is an associate professor and Smith Family Business Professor of Finance at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. She is also Faculty Research Fellow at the NBER Corporate Finance Program and Research Fellow at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Most recently, Tsoutsoura was associate professor of finance at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.

Professor Tsoutsoura has several research projects studying family firms and privately held firms. Her most recent project studies the effect of mandated pay transparency on the gender pay gap. She is also interested in corporate governance as well as the effects of corruption and tax evasion. Her work on tax evasion was awarded the 2013 Wharton School-WRDS Award for Best Empirical Finance Paper. The Fulbright Fellowship and the WFA Trefftzs Award are among Tsoutsoura’s other varied honors and fellowships. She is Associate Editor at Management Science and the Review of Economics and Statistics.

Her work has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, and Review of Financial Studies. Her research has been covered extensively in print and electronic media, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Economist, New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, BusinessWeek, International Herald Tribune, and CNBC.

Tsoutsoura earned her PhD in finance with distinction from the Columbia University, Graduate School of Business, her MSc in financial engineering from the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley, and a BSc in economics from the University of Piraeus in Greece.

Lauren Turner, MBA '21

Lauren Turner

Lauren Turner is a  4th Generation Cornellian graduated for Cornell undergrad in 2013 and is a current student in the Cornell MBA Class of 2021. She is the Student Council Alumni Affairs Chair and has raised money for various Johnson non-profits. Lauren serves on multiple boards at Johnson including Family Business Club VP Of Events, Access Johnson Alumni Affairs, Golf Club VP of Communications, and Sailing Club President. Prior to Cornell MBA worked at European investment bank, BNP Paribas, as a regulatory relations project manager. Lauren is the current co-owner of  her family’s business Matric Group that makes circuit boards for health, energy, and transportation industries. During the 2020 health pandemic, Matric was deemed an essential business and Lauren helped her family strategize to keep employees productive, safe, and motivated. The company transformed 3D printer technology to make face shields for the community and hospitals in New York City. Her dad and brother, Richard Turner and Ricky Turner, are both double red cornellians and alumni of Johnson. Ricky currently runs a sheet metal fabrication company that makes products for the Navy, transportation, and industrial sectors in Jamestown, NY.

Sid Tyagi, MBA '21

Sid Tyagi

Siddhant, an ardent automotive enthusiast, comes from Delhi, India. His love for cars and mobility led him to pursue Mechanical & Automotive engineering. Post his graduation, Siddhant started his professional journey by involving himself in his family businesses (father’s brewery & sister’s restaurant business) before he ultimately kickstarted his own entrepreneurial venture Doratomondo Technologies Private Limited, an application and web development enterprise.

Jennifer Wilson Buttigieg, P '19

Co-President and Owner, Valerie Wilson Travel

Jennifer Wilson Buttigieg, P '19

Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg knows that to keep up with the travel industry’s continual change, as well as thrive in it, you must see opportunity everywhere and in everything. As Co-President & Owner at Valerie Wilson Travel, Jennifer’s forward-thinking approach and “challenge the status quo” mindset has helped to cement Valerie Wilson Travel as an industry leader.

As the world navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer’s hands-on leadership skills and passion helped VWT, its team, clients, and suppliers steer through the crisis with communication, clarity, and community. Her consistent success building VWT’s strategic partnerships with GeoSure, Men’s Vows, and PSNGR1 keeps VWT in the spotlight through her thoughtful influence and leadership to its Corporate Travel, Meetings, Incentives, and Fulfillment divisions, its exceptional airline programs, and its business development.

Jennifer’s commitment to the travel industry is tremendous, remaining actively engaged on top travel brands’ advisory boards, editorial advisory for periodicals, assisting with philanthropic and civic engagements and as part of alumni committees at her alma maters of Harvard Business School and Haverford College. She is a frequent speaker on the travel industry, recently showcased on CBS, CNBC, TMR Master Series (as a guest and moderator), PhocusWire’s New Reality With…, Skift Global Forum, and the RM World Travel and Peter Greenberg Worldwide radio shows. She is passionate about ASTA and its goal of having the travel industry speaking in one unified voice. She serves s as Co-Chair of the Government & Political Affairs Committee as well as sits on the Corporate Advisory Council.

In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys traveling with her husband and son. She is a seasoned golfer. Though her favorite destination is subject to change, her favorite golfing is in Scotland, where the unpredictable weather ensures an endlessly exciting game every round.