Workshop Explores Marrying into the Family Business

September 19, 2022

This fall, the School of Business at St. John Fisher University will host a morning presentation exploring the topic of successfully bringing in-laws into the family business. The program is part of the University’s Family Business Initiative.

Robert Denning and Maxwell Herbst ’19

The session will run from 8 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Country Club of Rochester (2935 East Ave, Rochester). The event invites guests from multigenerational firms to attend to promote further discussion on family business conversations.

“One of the biggest opportunities family businesses can consider, particularly during this difficult hiring period, is the human capital of family members and how they can contribute, potentially, to the running of the business,” said Dr. Carol Wittmeyer, interim dean of the School of Business. “At our event, two in-laws of family businesses will tell their stories of acclimation and will share the challenges and opportunities that come along with the experience.”

Guest speakers Robert Denning, fourth-generation, president and CEO at Perry’s Ice Cream, and Maxwell Herbst ’19, third-generation, financial analyst at Leonard’s Express, will provide an overview of their family firms and interview each other about their experiences entering a family business as an in-law.

Topics will include what to expect when your family does not have a business and you marry into one that does; understanding the importance of family values and how they can impact business governance; learning how to define the in-law-to-family working relationship; identifying and prioritizing opportunities to strengthen your family business by considering family relationships, and more.

“The intention of the session is to share with participants how they can consider developing healthy relationships and opportunities for family members not currently involved in the business,” said Wittmeyer.

Tickets to the workshop are $75. Online registration is now open and closes on Thursday, Oct, 6, 2022. For more information, email Wittmeyer at, or call the Office of the Dean of the School of Business at (585) 385-8446.