The 2019 Spring Family Business Forum, The Family Board Roadmap: How to Establish & Maintain a High-Performance Family Board, took place at Del Paso Country Club on Tuesday, April 23. A crowded room of almost 100 family business members gathered around the topic of family governance. The half-day program, coordinated by Tim Schultz of Lundberg Family Farms and Don Yee of NACD illustrated the complexity of building a family business board.
There are many aspects of governance every family business needs to consider, whether they have a board in place, or they are looking to establish one. Here are a few that were discussed:
- How to attain a high functioning board?
- When does a family business need to form a board?
- Should a board have non-family directors?
- How do you create a board that will guide your family businesses into the next generation?
- How often should board meetings be held?
- How do you keep family members engaged?
Our family business presenters discussed their successes as well as their struggles and tribulations regarding this process. It was insightful hearing the real-life stories and situations that our members have experienced, learned from and were able to share with us at the event.
The day started with a general session and then divided into two breakout sessions followed by lunch and closing general session. In the “Getting Started” breakout, the group learned the important role a board can play in facilitating transitions from one generation to the next. Some of the legal responsibilities of being a board member were discussed, as were attributes of great board members. Also addressed were the importance of having clear roles and responsibilities for the entire board of directors, the CEO and board chairman, as well as important things for the board to monitor to assure high business performance. Panelists also discussed when to consider bringing in outside board members (gasp!), and the right balance of independent and family directors.
In the “Revving Up” breakout the group focused on how to identify and select the best family and non-family independent directors for a family business board, learned about approaches to deliver performance feedback to the directors so the board can operate better, and discussed how to compensate board directors for their service.
A highlight of the program was the member-to-member openness and sharing. Hearing the first-hand stories from Bill Carriere, Carriere Family Farms, Mark Mariani, Mariani Packing Co., and Steve Fleming, River City Bank really resonated with attendees. Attendees also got to hear from Technical Advisors who offered their expertise and provided insight into best practices.
Learning from family business peers is so impactful. Up next will be the Fall Family Forum coming in October 2019, keep a look out for date and speaker announcements this summer.
If you are a member of FBC and would like copies of the PowerPoint slides from this program, please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look what attendees had to say about the Spring Family Business Forum:
“Appreciate the honesty of speakers. Lots of great take-a-ways. The ability to interact and ask questions with the speakers is so important”
“Very informative. Premature for our company, but we are able to pull from these topics and have conversations on how to improve our current course of business meetings and activities.”
“Received a lot of valuable information on starting a board and making it work.”