May 2017 Print

President's Report

We are in full swing – actively making improvements and striving to create a unique and special member experience for you. We have some excited news to announce!

  • The Family Forum in La Jolla was a huge success. One member said “I attended the Family Forum in La Jolla and thought it was an invaluable experience. My favorite part was just hearing everyone's stories and experiences.  It was a fantastic experience and I look forward to the next one.” So, please register for the next Family Forum in NYC – Sept 28-29 - “Building Resiliency in Family and Business” -
  • Last week, we announced several enhancements to the FBN website, namely a member only area, private member database, job postings, and resource library to name a few. This will help members stay connected and updated, and find pertinent information. Please log in, check it out and update your member profile.

  • A HUGE thank you goes out to Debbie Brown, Board Chairman, Laird Norton Company, and Caroline Baily from the E & J Gallo family, two founding board members who recently completed their board terms. They both played integral role in FBN’s current success.

  • We are pleased to announce that Michael Buckley, retired Vice President of Business Development for Dot Foods, has joined its Board of Directors in addition to Richard Seaman, retired CEO and current Board Chairman of Seaman Corporation.

  • We recently hired Jennifer Muntz as our first Executive Director of FBN-NA, allowing me to step aside and provide more focused, strategic support to the organization.

  • La Jolla! We are returning to La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, California next year!! Put the date in your calendar now – March 1-2, 2018.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the H.G Fenton family and the Avoya Travel family for making a fun and memorable our social event in La Jolla! I think I can speak for everyone when I say “Thank you and we appreciate your generosity!”

Another “thank you” goes out to Sasser Family Holdings for participating in our internship program. This program is a great way for younger family members to gain outside work experience and valuable insights with the “family-part” of the business where they aren’t emotionally connected. The host benefits by gaining a useful resource, setting an example to your own NxG’s and seeing your family and company through a fresh set of eyes. Click here for more information:

As always, it is a pleasure to serve as President of FBN. I welcome your input and feedback, so please feel free to contact me at 773.289.1504, ext. 700 or email me at

Andrew Keyt
Family Business Network North America

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Family Business News

A recent survey was conducted by Family Enterprise USA (FEUSA). They are a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public and creating an environment where private family business is valued and strengthened. The purpose of the annual survey is to find out what’s on the mind of family business owners to effectively update lawmakers on the facts and priorities of family businesses.

Here are the major findings:

  • 83% of business owners who responded are confident about their ability to increase revenue each year, despite their concerns about government regulations and taxes.

  • The intention to hire more employees increased in 2017, bringing it to 73% of respondents who plan to hire new employees in 2017.

  • Business owners report it’s harder to run a business today than it was in the past. 78% attributed it to external factors – economic environment, regulations, taxes, etc. 22% indicated internal factors such as conflict, succession, strategic direction, etc.

  • Top concerns are reducing income taxes, regulations, capital gains tax, reducing or eliminating estate taxes, simplifying the tax code and reducing national debt.

When asked “What would you like Law makers to know about the impact of estate taxes on your business?”, here are the responses:

  • “The uncertainty of future estate/gift/GSTT tax rules, rates and thresholds requires significant time and cost (consultants) and wasted efforts to educate and re-educate family members taking away from business activities (development of new products and services) and finding, training and hiring qualified people in the immediate and surrounding communities.”

• “If estate taxes were totally repealed, the positive impact would be that I would spend the savings and the savings in time spent, on new projects to improve the business.”

• “Estate taxes hamper succession and reduce our chances for surviving this generation. Option is to sell out and that basically kills a productive, independent business.”

• “Changes the current look at opportunities because we MUST maintain a certain amount of extra liquidity. Will force us to downsize our business, sell assets and reduce staff when deaths occur.”

• “Estate taxes stifle growth and development, as well as impact succession possibilities that could allow a business to successfully transition ownership from generation to generation, and serve communities in perpetuity.”

• “It reduces our ability to invest in the company, to grow and employ people.”

• “It diverts attention from growing the business and adding more jobs.”

• “The uncertainty of potentially having a big bill to pay at an uncertain time causes us to maintain more liquid assets when our business is largely real assets.”

• “It impacts our ability to grow the business and add new jobs. It also creates uncertainty, and, for us, much of the money ends up being paid to consultants such as attorneys and CPAs versus creating jobs for hard working Americans.”

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Featured Blog

Family Gravity Study Seeks Participants

Tell us about your family’s gravity!

We would like you to take part in a research study with next generation members in family business. Families are like solar systems, with one central planet around which other planets gravitate.  

The main purpose of this research is to capture how next generation members define and characterise their family’s gravity, how gravity impacts the family business system, and which values and attitudes toward succession prevail. Additionally, we ask you some questions on the structure of your family business to get a deeper understanding on the interaction of structure, gravity and succession.

The survey is designed by Egon Zehnder in collaboration with FBN-I and should not exceed 15 minutes. Be assured your data will be treated absolutely confidential and the results will be analysed on an aggregated level only, without revealing any names or companies.

Please click on the link below to access the survey:  LINK TO SURVEY

The questionnaire will be active until 7 May 2017. Please note that if you interrupt the survey, you have to restart at the beginning.  Thank you very much for your support!

Dominique Otten-Pappas                                           Maya Faerch
Academic Expert                                                         President
FBN-I NxG Leadership Team                                      FBN-I Nxg Leadership Team

To best view the questionnaire, please activate Java Script and use Internet Explorer 9 and higher, Safari, Firefox 40 and higher or Chrome 45 and higher.  For questions inregards to the survey or technical problems, please contact the executing market research company, (r)evolution research .

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Calendar of Events

Upcoming Regional Events

Building Resiliency in Family and Business
September 28-29, 2017
The Westin Hotel - New York

Learn More

Upcoming Global Events

FBN 28th Global Summit
November 8-11, 2017
Gran Canaria, Spain

Learn More


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FBN At A Glance

FBN-NA is the North American chapter of an esteemed, non-profit, international learning community for families with medium to large sized businesses.  We provide an intimate, confidential, and solicitation-free setting where families share experiences and learn from each other; By Families, For Families, Across Generations. 

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