Two Fall Events: 7th Annual Family Business Forum and Creating Your Family Business Succession Roadmap Online Course

Wednesday June 9, 2021

This Fall we have something for every family business. We are hosting our 7th Annual Family Business Forum Virtually on Strategic Thinking as well as our Creating Your Family Business Succession Roadmap Online Course. Take advantage of The Two Event Bundle which includes registration for up to four people for both of these events.

7th Annual Family Business Forum – Virtual:

Leverage Strategic Thinking to Achieve Your Goals

Hugh Gaither, MBA ’75, Founder and CEO of Feetures, Hickory, NC, along with his son Joe, UNC ’09, will speak at the Virtual Fall Forum about Strategy in the Family Business.

Join the Family Enterprise Center and your family business peers to learn how to leverage strategic thinking to achieve your family business goals.

October 15, 2021 9:00am – 12:00om via Zoom


Program Focus:

While many family firms have strategic plans, those plans often lack a clear expression of an overall competitive strategy that reflects deep strategic thinking. This strategic thinking is critical to achieving ambitious business and family goals, ensuring company profitability, and perpetuating the long-term survival of the business.

This program will help participants begin to identify and commit to an overall competitive strategy. For firms that already have a thoughtful competitive strategy in place, this program will provide an opportunity to go deeper and incorporate new insights into executing that strategy.

Who should attend:

The Forum will be helpful for family firms of all sizes and stages of growth. Participants will find it useful to bring multiple family members and non-family executives working in the business, as well as family members who do not work in the business but who have, or someday will have, ownership. Family members from more than one generation are encouraged to attend.  Board members of family firms also will find this program helpful.


Course Resources:

  • Videos with interviews of Cooper Biersach and Steve Miller and four successful family business leaders
  • Assigned readings
  • Live Zoom class discussions
  • Opportunity to engage individually with faculty members
  • Opportunity to join a small peer group to discuss and apply course topics

Recommended for:

Family business leaders, non-family executives, business-owning families, and future leaders; and is particularly useful if multiple members of a family firm participate.

Course Description:

Get out of the day-to-day and plan for the future.  This course is a unique opportunity to create a thoughtful roadmap for succession in your family business.  Come explore family business continuity challenges and common practices for successfully leading family-owned enterprises. Emphasis is placed on the importance of open, transparent communication in the family; the creation of a shared vision for the business; and the alignment of family and business goals.

Family-controlled businesses are characterized by challenges that threaten their continuity and by distinct resources that can create unique competitive advantages.  The challenges are primarily the result of issues presented by the interaction of family, management, and ownership systems – particularly when the family wishes to perpetuate its influence and/or control from generation to generation.  While 37% of the Fortune 500 firms are family controlled, the vast majority of family-controlled businesses are privately-owned and often experience difficulty moving from one-person general management to professionalized management that allows for success across multiple generations of ownership.

The course draws upon Steve Miller’s research: “Developing Next Generation Talent in Family Businesses.”  The research was focused on factors that influence next-generation leader development.  This research is incorporated into course videos and discussions, leading to practical ways participants can apply the findings to support successful transition from one generation to the next.

Preparation for each live session:

Each class will have videos and/or readings that will serve as the basis of discussion for the live sessions. Taking time to watch/read before class and to consider the reflection questions will ensure participants get the most out of class.

Time spent to prepare for each of the live sessions is approximately an hour.  Later sessions will require less time spent watching videos/reading, but instead preparation time could be spent applying material learned in class to your own family business.


Stephen P. Miller, Ph.D. & Cooper Biersach, JD/MBA, Co-Founders of the Family Enterprise Center

“The family business conference was a critical component of my dad and I working together, as it forced a level of planning that would have been difficult to attain otherwise.  It essentially laid the foundation for how we will interact and strategize going forward.  Most importantly, I got to see his excitement about this next phase of us working together, which made me realize that he wanted this to happen just as much as I did.  The guidance provided through the course to both of us will pay dividends for the rest of our lives.” – Landon Harris, MBA ‘ 21


For more information, please contact Paige Beesley.