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School of Business to Host Yearlong Series of Events

The School of Business at St. John Fisher College will launch a yearlong series of events tailored to meeting the needs of family-owned firms in the Rochester region.

The initiative kicked off during the inaugural Family Business Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 18, and will feature webinars, workshops, and peer group meetings with the goal of providing resources and information on issues including tax law, succession planning, and governance, among other topics.

The 2018-2019 series of events include:

Webinar: How Will Flow-Through Entities Navigate the New Tax Law?

Noon to 1:15 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018
This webinar will highlight the significant changes made in the new tax law that effect flow-through entities (including S corps and partnerships) and individuals. We will highlight the potential 199A 20 percent deduction allowed for pass-through entities, including the limitations that could apply to specified service businesses, in addition to wage and property limitations for taxpayers that exceed the income threshold. The discussion will also include potential planning strategies that flow-through entities should be evaluating for year-end tax planning. The webinar also includes a question-and-answer session.

Lynn Mucenski Keck ’00, CPA
St. John Fisher College Family Business Fellow
Chair, Department of Accounting and Finance, Associate Professor, School of Business
Manager, Professional Excellence Division, The Bonadio Group

Sponsored by: The Bonadio Group

Peer Groups Kick-Off

January 2019

Family business peer groups are one of the hallmarks of the nation’s most successful family business centers. St. John Fisher College is proud to begin offering such forums for family business owners to meet and have confidential discussions and development opportunities with others who understand the special opportunities and challenges of family firms.

Features of the Forum:

  • Peer groups will be formed based on affinity groups.
  • They will be comprised of 12-15 non-competitive peers.
  • Each group will review norms including confidentiality, monthly meeting dates, location, and facilitation techniques.
  • Monthly sessions will include confidential sharing and content custom developed as requested by the peer group and provided by expert presenters.

Peer Group Examples include:

  • Now Generation: senior leaders of the family business, CEOs, presidents, VPs
  • Legacy: leaders transitioning/transitioned out of the business
  • Non-Family Managers: leaders who are not family members
  • Advisors: accounting, finance, law, and counseling professionals
  • Next Generation Leadership Forum: This is a year-long program for next generation members (ages mid-20s to 40s) working in a family firm who are on track for leadership positions in the company.

In addition to the monthly, confidential peer forums, members will participate in a variety of professional development activities including leadership and team member assessments.

Facilitators and Curriculum Coordinators:
Derek Vanderlinde, MBA
St. John Fisher College Family Business Fellow
Visiting Assistant Professor of Practice, Management 

Carol Wittmeyer, Ed.D.
St. John Fisher College Family Business Fellow
Visiting Associate Professor

Other facilitators will be invited based on interest in each affinity group.

Conference: Managing Planned and Unplanned Transitions

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, 2019
A program for family businesses by family businesses, this day-long event will include sessions where owners will share their stories, participants can engage in networking opportunities, and expert advisors will describe current trends and best practices relevant to preparing for transitions in family firms. Sessions will help participants learn more about governance (for the business and the family) in family firms and develop priorities for their transition planning.

Sessions include:

Selling a Fifth-Generation Innovative Enterprise with a Proud Family Legacy (to another Fifth-Generation Family Firm)
The story of the Lang Family’s decision to sell Ainsworth Pet Nutrition Company to J.M. Smucker
A year ago, the Lang family announced their decision to sell their pet nutrition firm in Meadville, Pennsylvania, to the J.M. Smucker Company for $1.9 billion. Why and how the decision was made and implemented as well as the roles of the underlying family and business governance structures will be shared by two family members working in the firm from the fourth and fifth generations, including Doug Lang, G4, who held executive leadership positions at the pet nutrition company, and served as a shareholder, board member, and former vice president of sales and marketing. His son, Taylor Lang, G5 and a key account manager of the firm, will also share his experience. They will also tell the ongoing story of the “what after.”

Valuation Strategies: Proactive Strategies for Planned and Unplanned Transitions
It’s best to plan for enterprise valuation before a triggering event occurs. Business evaluation is best done as part of a thoughtful succession planning strategy so that family business owners’ visions for the future of the family-owned company that they helped build can be realized.

This session will include an overview of the valuation process, which is an important strategy to help family business owners realize their financial and long-term goals and protect their firms during planned and unplanned transitions. Case studies will be included such as selling a company, ESOP planning, transitioning a firm to the next generation, and preparing for the 4Ds (death, disability, divorce, or disaster). Buy-sell agreements, relevance of valuation to business and family governance, and owner conflict issues will also be discussed.

Hugh Lambert, CPA/ABV
St. John Fisher College Family Business Fellow
Visiting Assistant Professor of Practice

Sponsored by: Empire Valuation Consultants, LLC

Transitioning to “Extended Family”: ESOPS for Family Firms
The ESOP topic will be introduced by national expert Rob Brown, Esq. Leaders from family businesses whose succession plans were based on ESOPs will discuss the rationale, process, and outcome of their decisions.

Afternoon Governance Sessions
Taught by Fisher Family Business Fellows and veteran family business leaders, these sessions will include discussions on why governance is important, how to get started and include samples and case studies. Participants will work with accountability partners on implementation plans.

  • Introduction to Family Governance
    This session will cover the elements of effective family governance to help families build their capacity to thrive through transitions. Topics will include how to develop family meetings, decision-making, and effective communication techniques. Strategies to develop leaders in the family governance, business management, and ownership will be included.
  • Introduction to Business Governance
    Many family firms in our region do not have governing boards. This session includes information on how effective boards can be especially useful in helping family firms negotiate transitions and support next generation leaders. Strategies to help firms get started and develop board members will be included.

Webinar: Assessing Fraud Risks in Family Firms

Noon to 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7, 2019
This webinar will highlight the risk of fraud in family firms including the typical fraud scenario and a review of necessary controls.  Cybersecurity fraud prevention strategies will also be addressed. Includes a question and answer session.

Moderated by:
Kristen Clark ’86, CPA
Partner, The Bonadio Group

Carl Cadregari, CISA, CCSFP
Executive VP, IT/IS Enterprise Risk Management Practice Lead, The Bonadio Group

Sponsored by: The Bonadio Group

Family Business Tour & Social

June (Date/Time TBD)
Join us for a fun-filled tour of a local family firm. A reception will follow the tour.

High School Family Business Camp

June (Date/Time TBD)
This day-long program will be held on the St. John Fisher College campus for high school juniors and seniors. Participants will share presentations on their companies and will discuss their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of being in a business-owning family. Students will also explore opportunities for continued networking and educational programs.

For more information about the events, call the Office of the Dean of the School of Business at (585) 385-8446.