Family Business Forum

The Family Business Forum was established by the Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 1992 to support family businesses. The Forum is designed to provide family businesses in the metropolitan area with a unique opportunity to learn from leading experts about proven strategies for successfully owning and operating a family business through outcome oriented educational programs and seminars.

The Forum also provides members with the opportunity to exchange ideas and share experiences. Programs are designed to foster interaction and participation by addressing issues of specific concern. The members-only environment fosters long-term relationships based on mutual trust and understanding and an ongoing dialogue about family and business issues.

2016-2017 Schedule

Estate Planning: How a Trump Presidency Will Affect Family Businesses?

Thursday, February 23, 2017, 8 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Orangerie, Florham Campus

Presented by Kevin Murphy of Lum, Drasco, & Positan, LLC, this seminar will look into what changes family businesses can expect with regards to the estate tax over the next four years.

RSVP at Free for FBF members and FDU faculty, staff, and students.  

Hearing the Voices of the Next Generation 

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 4:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Hartman Lounge, Florham Campus

What are the expectations of the Next Generation of Owners? How will their difference in vision and management-style from previous owners change the pace of their business? Moderated by Andy Bluestone of Selective Benefits Group, this seminar will investigate the hopes and fears of the next generation of owners and identify strategies to help prepare the next generation of owners who will take on a new set of challenges through a panel discussion.

RSVP at Free for FBF members and FDU faculty, staff, and students.

Leadership and Decision-Making 

Thursday, May 25, 2017, 8 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Rutherford Room, Florham Campus

Presented by Ed Ahart of Schenck, Price, Smith & King. RSVP at Free for FBF members and FDU faculty, staff, and students.

Past Seminars:

Social Media Spotlight & Holiday Social

Thursday, December 8, 2016, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Hartman Lounge, Florham Campus


Multiple Talents in the Multi-Generational Business: Taking Those Talents to the Next Level & Keeping the Family Business Innovative

Thursday, September 29, 2016 8:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Rutherford Room, Florham Campus

The Next Generation brings to the family business skills, talents and real-world experience from college and the workforce. How will both sides, the founder/lead generation and the next generation, be prepared to address this new and evolving talent? How do we take their talents to the next level to maximize the long term health and wealth of the family firm?  In a thoughtful and collaborative environment, our family business panelists will get the discussion started, and address the needs of family firms present. This dynamic seminar will help multi-generational family enterprises who are anticipating or are currently weathering succession.

RSVP to Free for FBF members and FDU faculty, staff and students. For more information and sponsorship inquiries, contact Timur Pakay at 973-443-8842 or 973-443-8887.

Rewriting the Rules, and Roles, in Family Business

Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Rutherford room, Ferguson Recreational Center, Florham Campus
Panelists: Allan Janoff, Ronni Janoff-Weinstein, Max Janoff and Hunter Janoff, the Crystal Plaza
Facilitator: Tommy Hilcken, Tommy's Toolbox

Janoff family
(Pictured, from left: Hunter Janoff, Max Janoff and Allan Janoff)

With five generations expected to be working alongside each other in the American workforce by 2020, traditional roles in long established companies are set for an unprecedented change. How will you weather the changing of roles in your own family firm? For many companies, it is happening now. Not only are family members affected, but employees and other stakeholders are as well.

What happens when it is time for you to step up to (or down from) a role that may have previously defined you? What about when roles are changed for family members or employees? At this dynamic seminar, we will confront the reversal of traditional roles in the family business, and how to effectively manage both family and non-family employees. What happens when a loyal employee (family and non-family alike) does not keep up with change? Is there such a thing as "too much" loyalty? As a business leader, how will you adapt to this inevitability of constant change in the workforce?

Rewriting the rules, and roles, in family business is not for the faint of heart! Join fellow family firms to take part in the conversation in how to manage change, and address the need to take a hard look at the old rules and new roles in your own enterprise. Hear from family business colleagues who have weathered and are weathering this change and reversal of roles.

Panelists included the distinguished Janoff family, owners of the Crystal Plaza. Allan Janoff, President and CEO, and his sister, Ronni Janoff-Weinstein, were joined by the fourth generation in the business, Max and Hunter Janoff, and shared their insights on Rewriting the Roles, and Rules, in Family Business.

Loving and Surviving Your Family and Your Family Business

Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 8:00-10:30 a.m.
Rutherford Room, Ferguson Recreational Center, Florham Campus
Panelists: Walter Morris and Joanne Morris, The Morris Animal Inn
Howard Gogel and Jason Gogel, My Limo
Facilitator: Edward Ahart, Partner, Schenck, Price, Smith & King

Joanne MorrisFamily firms face unique challenges, from weathering succession successfully, to facing economic turbulence and evolving market trends, all while staying true to family and company traditions. These entrepreneurial challenges are often accompanied by insightful stories passed down through the generations.

A distinguished and seasoned multi-generational panel of speakers will share their trials and triumphs of owning and operating family businesses in New Jersey. Interested family enterprises are invited to attend the seminar to hear the stories and lessons learned from two of the region's most successful family enterprises.

Panelists include Walter Morris, President of the Morris Animal Inn (Morristown) and daughter, Joanne Morris, Vice President, along with Howard Gogel, President & CEO of My Limo (East Hanover) and nephew, Jason Gogel, Affiliate Manager. The panel will be facilitated by Edward Ahart, Partner at Schenck, Price, Smith & King (Florham Park).

RSVP by 2/22 to or 973-443-8842. Cost: Free for FBF members and FDU faculty, staff and students. $75 for future members.

Related Program: New Jersey Family Business of the Year Award

2016 Sponsors

We graciously thank Norbert Gaelen and his family for their generous contribution to the Institute's Family Business Forum, and we are pleased to announce that the Rothman Norbert Gaelen LOGOForum was renamed between 2010 and 2015, "The O.Berk Company Family Business Forum." The Gaelen family's special commitment has enabled the Institute to grow services and help more family firms succeed locally, regionally and globally.

Over the course of four generations as a family-owned and operated business, the O.Berk Company has worked tirelessly to maintain their tradition of outstanding customer satisfaction. Combined with a vision for future growth and innovation, the 104-year old O.Berk Company continues to be a leading, full-service supplier of glass and plastic containers and closures nationwide.

OBerk Sponsors Logos


Why a Forum only for family firms?

Family businesses face unique challenges. In addition to all of the fundamental issues involved in operating a business, families in business must address a number of other important concerns, including:

  • Developing visions for the family and business that are mutually compatible
  • Selecting and preparing successors
  • Planning for estate taxes and ownership transfer
  • Developing fair and effective compensation strategies for family members as well as non-family employees
  • Developing and implementing governance structures
  • Fostering open and productive communication
  • Creating productive roles for family members who are not active in the business
  • Managing conflict within the family and business
  • Attracting and retaining non-family managers and employees

What to Expect from a Forum Seminar

A typical Family Business Forum seminar consists of from 30 to 50 attendees – representing two or three generations - with family and non-family members - from various types and sizes of businesses. Representatives from sponsoring organizations are also present at seminars to offer their expertise when appropriate. Seminars vary in content and format. Some feature family business experts while others include panels of members and sponsors.

Rothman ipad

Expert advice at your fingertips. Check out our innovative Family Business Playbook and App for your tablet or Smartphone. Call or email us for details.

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FBF Members socializing at a seminar

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Amy Schuman presents, "Mastering Family Business Polarities"

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FBF Members and guests at a Forum session

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Dynamic FBF seminars provide practical tools for family firms.

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Deb DiGregorio presents on Social Media

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FBF Members enjoying the Annual Holiday Social

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A holiday toast

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(Left to Right) Norbert Gaelen, Leo Rogers, and late FDU President J. Michael Adams at the Rothman Institute's 20th Anniversary celebration.

“Economic freedom is the foundation for individual success and prosperity. This freedom is evident in the entrepreneurial small business sector, which creates most of the new jobs and a large share of the innovations in the American economy. When government takes small businesses into consideration in developing regulations, it saves time and money for the nation’s most productive sector.”

Dr. Winslow Sargeant, Chief Counsel, U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, on the President's Small Business Agenda and Executive Order 13272

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Lenfell Hall warmly greets guests with festive decor at annual Holiday Social.