The Family Wealth Alliance, a leading voice on trends and developments in the family office community, presented its “Best in Industry Award for Family Counsel” to The Family Business Consulting Group. The honor is bestowed to an individual or firm that embodies the notion of “trusted advisor” in providing knowledgeable advice and guidance for family clients in navigating major challenges such as generational transitions.
The Awards were announced during The Alliance Anniversary Awards Gala on October 17, 2018, attended by 165 industry leaders and held in conjunction with its annual Fall Forum in Chicago.
“We received more than 100 nominations for this year’s awards, and our judges had an extremely difficult time choosing the category winners,” commented Thomas R. Livergood, Founder and Chief Executive Officer. He added, “each finalist deserved to win, as the businesses represented were truly best in class in so many ways.” The judge’s panel was led by Jamie McLaughlin, CEO, J.H. McLaughlin & Co., and Nancy Ann Akeson, President, Total Personal Services Administrative Group.
Our firm is honored by the recognition and dedicate this award to the families who inspire us every day to do the work we love to do.
The Family Business Consulting Group is pleased to announce the addition of Amy Wirtz, CEPA as its newest consultant specializing in shareholder value enhancement, business planning processes, and transition implementation of management, leadership and ownership. Her passion stems from growing up in her grandparents’ second-generation business, surrounded by the wonderfully complex matters a family business presents.
“Amy demonstrates so many of the qualities that FBCG values, from her education and her many years of working with family companies, to her deep sense of service to clients,” said Managing Principal Drew Mendoza. “Her work in collaborative law underscores her extensive understanding and experience of transitions in family firms. We are pleased to welcome her to the team.”
Amy brings a diverse range of experience to family enterprises by serving in various roles such as an exit-planning advisor, collaborative lawyer, mediator, arbitrator, lecturer, and teacher. Drawing from 25 years as a lawyer, she believes in peaceful resolutions to complex issues by helping families learn new communication skills to resolve family and business matters. While no longer practicing law, today Amy focuses on providing creative solutions to family business engagements and presenting to relevant audiences. She also helps business owners use their advisors as a resource team to create optimal value.
Prior to joining FBCG, Amy had been a certified collaborative lawyer for over 14 years and a mediator for a nine-year period. Both of these certifications require extensive training in interest-based negotiations, listening skills, reframing and alternate dispute resolutions. She attended Cleveland State Marshall College of Law and the University of Toledo for her undergraduate schooling where she received a bachelor in secondary education.
Amy has been a member of the North East Ohio Exit Planning Institute since its formation. She is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor and an instructor for the Exit Planning Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Amy serves on the Advisory Board for NewComer Farms located in Bryan, Ohio. Additionally, she teaches ethics to family counselors (PhDs, LCSWs, etc.) at Case Western Reserve University and is the Diversion Officer for Bay Village where she works with children who have a first-time brush with the law to avoid a criminal record.
Amy is married with two adolescent children and lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio.
The Family Business Consulting Group is pleased to announce the addition of Jean Meeks-Koch, Ph.D. as its newest consultant specializing in advising family enterprises facing significant organizational transitions. She has extensive experience specialized in large-scale change management initiatives, organizational systems and restructuring, leadership and team cohesiveness development, executive coaching, psychometric personality and competency assessments, and leadership curriculum design and implementation in various modalities.
“Jean’s insights into organizational and family systems is tremendously keen as is her strategic and financial acuity,” said Managing Principal Drew Mendoza. “She is very well rounded and a wonderful resource for the families with whom she works.”
As a recognized expert in organization structure and behavioral dynamics, Jean is uniquely positioned to help clients select strategic change initiatives that match their unique organizational characteristics. She collaborates with families to look beyond the immediate pressing issues and look out into the next generational horizon. With a vigilant eye on the triple-bottom line, Jean intertwines her financial acumen, organization structure, and human systems capabilities together navigating the human dynamics of change.
Jean earned her Ph.D. in Organization Systems and Behaviors from Saybrook University; Masters in Accountancy from Southern Utah University; and Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Southern Utah University. She holds several certifications including the Advance Certification in Family Business Advising from the Family Firm Institute.
The Family Business Consulting Group is pleased to welcome to its team David Karofsky.
David brings over 25 years of experience in coaching and consulting to individuals, families and companies to develop better cross team communication and build alignment among leadership. His client work is focused on executing the transition of ownership and leadership, professional development, conflict resolution, strategic planning and forming governance structures for family and closely-held businesses.
David is a recognized practitioner in the field, international speaker, and co-author of So You’re in the Family Business: A Guide to Sustainability with his father, Paul Karofsky. David joined his father’s firm, Transition Consulting Group, when he began his family business consulting practice, which has given him a personal appreciation for the joys of family business. David feels the move to FBCG offers the best of both worlds. “When FBCG approached me about joining its practice, I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to become part of a new team and expand the value I provide to my clients, while still being able to collaborate with my father.”
“We’re excited to have David on board,” shared Drew Mendoza, Managing Principal. “We have a lot of respect for the work that David and his father, Paul, have done with families over the years. David brings great energy, knowledge and expertise around family business, and he’ll have much to contribute to the FBCG team and the families that we serve.”
David is a graduate of Bowdoin College and received his Ed.M. in Counseling Psychology from Boston University and his MBA from Northeastern University. He is based in Boston, where he lives with his wife and two children.
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The Family Business Consulting Group is pleased to announce the addition of two of its seasoned experts to the top position of principal in 2016: Dana Telford and Michael Fassler.
“Both have fantastic family business acumen, academic and career pedigrees,” said Drew Mendoza, managing principal of the firm. “Their contributions to the field not only as advisors, but also speakers and writers, are superb. Most importantly, both have shown tremendous leadership in our company and great respect for our vision and values. Every client I have spoken with has provided outstanding reviews of their work with the family and the business.”
Dana joined the firm in 2011 and has advised hundreds of business families from many business sectors in a variety of sizes on six continents and in more than 18 different countries. His former and current clients include leaders from Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest, a royal family and two of the largest privately held businesses in the world. Dana earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.
“Dana brings wonderful experience as a consultant and an excellent mind to the continuing development of The Family Business Consulting Group,” shared Craig Aronoff, co-founder, principal and chair of the board. “He represents the ‘next generation’ of ownership which will assure the continuity of our firm and the achievement of our commitment to remain an independent firm providing unconflicted service to our family business clients across generations.”
Mike has been serving family businesses since 1984, across industries and internationally. Since joining our team in 2013, most of his work is focused on family businesses owned by sibling teams and cousin teams with an emphasis on helping clients balance the tension of family and business as their families and businesses grow. He is a certified and active member of the Family Firm Institute and earned his BBA in Finance from the University of Notre Dame and graduate degree from Michigan State University
According to Craig, “Mike is an outstanding addition to our ownership team with decades of experience and a great understanding of practice of professional advisory services and building our capacity to better serve our clients. We look forward to having his voice in our decisions concerning the continuous growth and improvement of The Family Business Consulting Group.”
Established in 1994, The Family Business Consulting Group’s ownership group today includes Craig Aronoff, Drew Mendoza, Christopher Eckrich, Stephen McClure, Amy Schuman, David Lansky, Joe Schmieder, Greg Greenleaf, Dana Telford and Michael Fassler.
Our intention is similar to that of many of the family businesses we serve: to perpetuate The Family Business Consulting Group across generations by constantly identifying and attracting outstanding professionals and continuously facilitating their improvement while reinvesting in our organization, methods and intellectual capital.
Welcome to your new leadership roles, Dana and Mike!
The Family Business Consulting Group is pleased to announce the addition of Nicole Bettinger as its newest consultant specializing in communication, conflict resolution and training next-generation family business owners. Her experience includes facilitating family meetings, educating families and aligning ownership.
“Nicole is a wonderful example of what we seek in next generation family business specialists,” said Managing Principal Drew Mendoza. “She brings solid business and family communication instincts, broad experience, career commitment to the field and great care for the families she serves.”
Prior to joining the firm, she served as as the operations manager for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Family Business Center. Her work in programming helped the Center support family businesses through a variety of services including discussion forums, training programs and educational resources. Nicole also facilitated peer group meetings focused on the training of next generation family business leaders.
She has a personal passion and understanding of family business as her family owned a grocery store for 95 years before converting into a community operated co-operative.
Nicole’s education includes a BA in History and International Studies from UW-Madison and an MBA from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She is a recent graduate of the Family Firm Institute Certificate program in Family Business Advising and is pursuing the Advanced Certificate in Family Business Advising. Nicole also has completed coursework in group facilitation and mediation through DePaul University.
The Family Business Consulting Group welcomes Justin Craig, Ph.D. as a consultant to our team. His areas of advisory expertise include issue-selling by next-generation family members, business and family governance, and the use of strategy measurement and management tools, such as the Balanced Scorecard, in family firms.
He is also a Clinical Professor of Family Enterprises and Co-Director of the Center for Family Enterprises at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Justin’s research focuses on the strategy, function, management and performance of multi-generational family enterprises and those who lead and steward them. He is especially interested in the behavioral aspects of the family and, increasingly, the business family-influenced drivers of socio-economic impact. Before Kellogg, he held faculty positions at Northeastern University in Boston, Bond University in Australia (where he co-directed the globally renowned Australian Centre for Family Business) and Oregon State University.
Today he works closely with family business leaders and advisors, and has trained and presented to members of family firms from most business sectors (technology, consumer goods, manufacturing, retail and many others) and countries worldwide, including the United States, Columbia, Mexico, England, Ireland, Finland, South Africa, China, South Korea, Pakistan, India, Dubai, New Zealand and his home country Australia.
Justin completed undergraduate degrees in Business and Psychology (with Honors) at Griffith University, a Master’s degree in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Behavioral Science at Bond University.
Senior FBCG consultant Stephanie Brun de Pontet was a recent podcast guest on Business Confidential Now with host Hanna Hasl-Kelchner.
The show explored how a family business can grow and prosper and successfully transfer from one generation to the next while at the same time avoiding blow-ups and other situations that make for really awkward family get togethers.
Interview highlights include:
The most common first generation family business challenges.
Which should come first, business or family?
Why it’s important to manage a family member’s sense of entitlement.
Distinguishing the rights and duties of family business owners who don’t work in the business from those that do.
Why pay objectivity is more important than pay parity among family working in the family business.
The quintessential family business succession challenge.
Why next generation leaders must be empowered to adjust leadership styles.
FBCG is pleased to welcome Joshua Nacht, Ph.D. as the newest consultant to our 25-member team. He brings a complementary mix of skills, attributes and experience to his new role.
“I was inspired to become a family-business consultant after working with John Ward as both a client and student,” says Joshua. “I have a diverse set of life experiences and skills that allow me to integrate various perspectives and capabilities to work with business-families. I have been looking at FBCG for years, and the opportunity to join this elite (but not elitist) group is a tremendous honor.”
Joshua works with families to help promote dialogue and idea advancement by integrating diverse perspectives. He utilizes a systems-based approach to work with the complexity and opportunity present in family businesses. Joshua facilitates effective group process, and works to leverage polarities as a way to maximize organizational functioning.
He has spoken at numerous family-enterprise conferences on a range of issues including having multiple roles, incorporating married-ins, and creating generational cohorts. Joshua is also a co-author of several articles pertaining to actionable family business concepts and an active collaborator to idea development in the field.
He serves on the Board of Directors of Bird Technologies as a married-in, third-generation family member. In addition, he is a second-generation owner of a real estate development and management company in Edwards, Colorado.
Joshua earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology in 2007 and worked for five years as a professional counselor with individuals, groups and families. In 2015, he earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Systems at Saybrook University with a focus on family-enterprise. Joshua’s dissertation research, “The Role of the Family Champion,” investigated leadership within the ownership group of business families.
Joshua and his wife Alison have two children, and are part of a thriving small-town community where they are founding members of a cooperative school. He enjoys cooking, nature excursions, and is an avid skier and cyclist in his native Colorado.
According to Joshua, “Being able to work with a world-class group of people is very exciting to me because I can learn and grow with the best.”