Previous Programs

2015 previous seminars

Social Media Tech Testing Workshop

Presenter: Deirdre Breakenridge, CEO, Pure Performance Communications  -- Thursday, December 10
4:00-6:00 p.m., Hartman Lounge, Hennessy Hall/the Mansion, Florham Campus

The media landscape continues to change and your customers are consuming their news and information much Deirdre B FBFdifferently than in years past. As a result, 2016 will be a year of the Tech Tester. Business professionals will be more hands on with social media to understand what their customers need and want from them, and how to interact in their world.

Today, you must constantly challenge yourself, moving out of your comfort zone, by "Tech Testing" different technology platforms, resources, and apps. When you get acquainted with social media technology, you’re taking the time to educate yourself and then pass along the knowledge for your organization. Remember, you want to learn technology that helps to facilitate great interactions and collaboration, giving you a much better understanding of your customers.

The Tech Testing seminar was a hands-on workshop for family business owners and employees to uncover and test some of the most relevant and relied upon technology used by social media experts to:

  • Monitor and track relevant conversations
  • Find opportunities for influencer-engagement
  • Visualize and leverage relationships in social communities
  • Learn valuable customer insights
  • Measure through a dashboard
  • Be more efficient with time management

Free for FBF members, FDU faculty, staff and students. $75 for future members. For registration information, call Gabrielle Zuccaro at 973-443-8842 or e-mail her at

Press Release

Law and Order in the Family Business

Thursday, November 5, 8:00-10:30 a.m.
Rutherford Room, Ferguson Recreational Center, Florham Campus
Presenter: Edward Ahart, Partner, Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP

Despite their best intentions, many family businesses encounter chaotic situations - some fatal - brought on by a lack of Ed Ahartforesight and preparation. Time and time again, when asked "Do you have that in writing?" a family member will stare blankly, and respond "No, we never did things like that," or "No, we trusted each other."

This interactive session, featuring Ed Ahart, an attorney highly experienced in family business issues, will confront chaotic family business incidents and identify common-sense legal steps that could have been taken to avoid them. Attendees will don their legal hats and match wits with Ed as we all try to bring order out of chaos.

The session will provide a wake-up call for family businesses in all stages of development.

Edward W. Ahart chairs the Corporate Practice Group at Schenck, Price, Smith & King. He practices primarily as a business attorney, concentrating in advising businesses, business owners, directors and managers on governance and entity structural issues, along with transactions including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, finance and business contracts.  Mr. Ahart served for more than thirty years as a member of the Firm's Managment Committee, including twenty years as the Firm’s Managing Partner and Chair of its Management Committee. In 2010 he relinquished that role to assume the position of Chairman of the Firm, and has now returned to the full-time practice of law.

Mr. Ahart has extensive experience in general business counseling, structuring entities, in business governance, as well as in transactions, including the purchase, sale and financing of businesses and related commercial transactions, in addition to the structuring and restructuring, negotiating and closing of complex asset and stock sales and acquisitions. A considerable percentage of his practice is comprised of the representation of closely held and family-owned businesses, including many insurance agencies, as well as several not-for-profit companies and foundations.

Navigating Work and Family as Employers and Parents

Thursday, September 24
Presenter: Dr. Scott Behson

Scott Behson, PhD, is a professor of management at Fairleigh Dickinson University, a national expert in work and FBF Behsonfamily  issues, and was a featured speaker at the recent White House Summit on Working Families. He's the author of the forthcoming book, The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home, the first book of its kind to provide advice and encouragement for working fathers, helping them to achieve success in their careers while also being the involved, loving dads they always wanted to be.

Scott founded and runs the popular blog, "Fathers, Work, and Family," dedicated to helping working fathers and encouraging more supportive workplaces. He writes regularly for the Harvard Business Review Online, Huffington Post and the Good Men Project, and has also been published in TIME and The Wall Street Journal. He frequently appears in media, including MSNBC, NPR and Fox News. More details on Dr. Behson's book may be found at: or at at


 2012 Program Schedule

Creating Harmony in Your Family Business
Tuesday, February 20, 2012, 8:30 – 11:30 AM

Resources contributing to success and pride in the Family Business are the result of developing new skills and understanding of one’s particular climate. Using an interactive Case Study, Jeanne Weikert, of the New Life Institute, will present and discuss how conflicts in values, blurring of boundaries, and issues of control create conditions that disrupt the potential harmony in a family business. Members will leave the session with an increased understanding of the dynamics of their own unique situation and the subtle ways that a family business can impact their personal lives.

Keeping Family Values Alive Across Generations
Thursday, April 5, 2012, 8:30-11:30 AM

In just one generation, a family will experience several milestones which impact what is important to them, adding another generation only increases the complexity of perspectives.   One needs to question how family values can become something more tangible; something a family can really organize themselves around, then it needs to be determined how these values get translated (or don't) in future generations. Given by Katie Dreghon-Linden, of Relative Solutions, Inc., this workshop will examine ways to develop family values and common mis-steps to avoid.

Expert Insights: Building an Effective Board of Directors/Navigating Wealth through Economic Turbulence
Thursday, May 31 2012, 8:30-11:30 AM

In an interactive program, members of our Forum sponsor firms will be on hand to provide insights and advice on these two important issues. Attendees will come away with the knowledge they need to manage an effective and productive Board, and protect their interests in this increasingly volatile economic climate.

Make Change Your Family Business Tradition
Thursday, September 13, 2012, 8:30-11:30 AM

Most family businesses were birthed from its founder’s inventive or innovative ideas about some product or service. Over time this product or service idea may grow into a whole line of offerings, a dominant market share, and a whole new business category. Then what?  How does a family continuously refresh and diversify its business? How do businesses create and support positive innovation?

Expert Insights: Going Global: What You Must Know to have a Successful Global Business
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 8:30-11:30 AM

Am I ready to work within the global marketplace? How do I target overseas markets? The United States accounts for only a fraction of the world’s economy. Today, internet advances and new Free trade agreements with US  trading partners allows business owners to take their operation live, worldwide in many innovative and productive ways. During this interactive session, representatives of our Forum Sponsor organizations will provide vital information which will give family business owners the information they need to successfully launch a presence in the global marketplace.

Cyber Security: Information Any Business Owner Should Know
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 4:00-6:00 PM

Computer and network security has become one of the top national priorities by the FBI and the President in recent years. In the past 2 years, there has been a 300% increase in cyber-attacks. This puts all of us at risk of data and identity theft. Even worse, cyber criminals have stolen millions of dollars from corporate accounts, and often the companies have no recourse. Several companies have been driven out of business because of this. Find out why this is happening, who the perpetrators are, and what you can do to protect yourself.

2004 Program

EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE: Sustaining a Successful Family Business

February 12
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence 
Featured Speaker: Jane Sullivan, Ph.D.
Management in today's workforce emphasizes the importance of effective leadership and team collaboration. Unfortunately, a recent survey of American employers found that four in ten people are unable to work cooperatively, a fact that can be especially dangerous for family-owned businesses. Emotional Intelligence addresses this deficiency by examining social-emotional behaviors, or "soft skills." Jane Sullivan will define the main concepts and measurable competencies of this theory. Attendees will be given an Emotional Intelligence Inventory that will provide a language for discussing behaviors that can contribute to their success or failure.

March 18
A Management Playbook for Family Business Clinic
Featured Speaker:  John Cioffi
This is a follow-up to the highly rated session conducted on September 18, 2003, which will offer participants the opportunity to apply Team Problem Solving to real-time problems. Step by step, the 7-point problem solving process introduced during last fall's session will be reviewed and applied to the problems that family firm members bring to the session and to a case study that highlights a common family business dilemma. Each member will be provided a copy of the process in advance of the program, so that they will be able to leave the session with effective methods to develop solutions to their own problems.

April 8
Conflict Resolution within a Family Business System
Featured Speaker: Ellen Frankenberg, Ph.D.
How do family members make the best possible decision from a business perspective, and still maintain healthy family relationships? Ellen Frankenberg facilitates a dialogue on the keys to managing conflict within a family business. Using a case study as a framework for discussion, participants will learn the skills necessary to assess the “Conflict IQ” within their family business groups, and will discuss important skills including how to manage consensus building skills through practical, negotiated agreements, as well as the art of building a management team, family forum or board of advisors that focus on shared results.

May 20
Defining Corporate Culture for Competitive Advantage
Featured Speaker:  Barbara Gannon
At Sargento Foods, a prospering family business, they believe that past successes and future vision are closely linked to their principle values, or what they call the “Sargento Corporate Culture.” To Sargento, this culture is an intangible strength that attracts talented employees and keeps them there. Learn how a defined corporate culture can infuse enthusiasm and create a unique loyalty to you company and to each other.

September 23
The Founder’s Dilemma: Transitioning Ownership and Management to the Next Generation
Featured Speaker: Kurt Hochfeld, CPA
Why is it that less than 30 percent of family businesses last into the second generation and, of these, only 10 percent make it to the third generation? In this thought-provoking program, attendees will explore a broad range of issues confronting families and management as ownership is transferred to the next generation, and will learn important steps that every family-owned business should take to ensure a successful transition.

November 11
Getting from Point A to Point B:
Here’s what the Experts Think 
Featured Speakers: Professionals from our Sponsor Companies
Presented by experts from the Forum's own sponsor organizations, this workshop identifies issues that should be considered in the growth of all family businesses. To complement scenarios and case studies presented, members will be able to ask questions of and receive guidance from the panelists in the areas of finance, law, tax and estate planning that will help them achieve their business goals and objectives.

December 1
Family Business Forum Holiday Party
Join us for this festive, year-end social gathering of Forum members, their families and University representatives. It is truly a time to relax and enjoy each others company!

2003 Program

MANAGING TOGETHER: Building Winning Family Business Teams

January 30
Get On My Case: Participatory exercises in entrepreneurial skills and challenges within the Family Business
Featured Speaker: Leonard Green
Entrepreneurship and successful family businesses go hand in hand. This challenging session is patterned after Leonard Green’s award winning course and his personal experiences in working with his three children in seven family businesses. We will form two teams and compete to solve family business challenges through an interactive case study. This session will be a good learning experience with high energy and lots of fun.

March 13
Keeping Everyone Involved . . .and Informed
Featured Speaker: Phil Clemens
What are the different roles in your family business and why  is it critical to keep everyone involved and aware of who’s who and who’s what?  Phil Clemens facilitates this dialogue on the key to keeping people involved. Should you keep spouses and children informed or involved?  Why are the most dangerous shareholders those who are kept involved when they don’t want to be involved?  How do you handle a case of jealousy? What do you do with family members who want to get involved in the business when they have no business getting involved and how do you “un” involve someone?  Tackle these issues and share helpful tips.

May 8
Crash-Proofing Your Business
Featured Speaker:  Ethné Swartz, Ph.D
Family businesses tend to spend their time on the business and the family. Many feel they do not have the time to plan for a disaster or other disruption to their business. However, whether, and how well your company will recover from such an event, is often determined by how prepared your company is before the event occurs. This session will deal with how your business can best undertake continuity planning and ensure you are prepared to survive a calamity. Dr. Swartz will present a simple framework for understanding the issue of preparedness which members can use as the basis of a simple continuity action plan.

September 18
A Management Playbook for Family Business
Featured Speaker: John Cioffi
Business families, as well as work groups, are teams. Examine team characteristics and stages of formation to maximize effectiveness. Using a workshop format, participants form teams and are “coached” through the application of team problem solving principles. Learn how to address obstacles and increase performance through leadership direction, communication, interpersonal skills and conflict management. Use a 7-step problem solving process. Integrate ‘total quality/personal quality’ principles into daily operations.

October 23
Business Killers
Featured Speakers: Forum Sponsors
Hear about and discuss how to avoid the mistakes that can destroy your business and your future. Presented by experts from the Forum’s own sponsor organizations, this workshop identifies six critical issues that should be considered to protect the business and the family’s financial future. A combination of video dramatization of typical situations - “that’ll never happen to me,” “my business IS my retirement,” and “you can’t beat Uncle Sam”- followed by a discussion of possible outcomes and solutions. You’ll evaluate your business killers risks using a Risk Barometer and take away solid recommendations for ways to guard your investment in the future - the family business.

November 13
Using Inquiry and Storytelling to Optimize Your Company’s Strategy
Featured Speaker: T. Waldmann-Williams, Ph.D.
Find out how a family business can optimize the untold thinking and greatness of their employees by asking the right questions. Stories and questions create an organization’s culture and strategy. Individuals have a wealth of untapped and unused competencies. Using an experiential approach, attendees will learn methods for team building, identifying individual competencies, strategic thinking, and inquiry to recognize and release that potential.

December 10
Family Business Forum Holiday Cocktail Party
This festive, year-end social gathering of Forum members, their families and University officials is a time to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

2002 Program


January 17 
Succession Planning Workshop
Featured Speaker: Paul Karofsky
Succession in the family business is an issue that inevitably must be dealt with. It is the responsibility of both generations, and it is never too early to prepare for it. Paul Karofsky will lead us through a Leadership Succession workshop in which members can apply general guidelines to their situations.

February 7 
Tax Tips for your Family Business
Featured Speakers: Dave Ludgin, Don Scotto
How do the new tax rules that are taking effect apply to you and your business?  In the midst of tax season, find out how you and your business can maximize your tax liability. Experts from our Family Business Forum sponsors' organization will facilitate the discussion. Dave Ludgin will address legal aspects and Don Scotto will address financial ramifications.

March 21 
Leadership at Work and at Home
Speaker: Dr. Neil N. Koenig
In the final analysis, Dr. Neil N. Koenig believes there is no difference between leadership at home and leadership at  work when it comes down to the basic human hunger for leadership. Who are the leaders of your family? Are those in leadership positions in your family's business clear about their most important responsibilities? Neil N. Koenig, Ph.D., will address these questions and facilitate discussions.

May 9 Mothers in the Family Business
Facilitator:  Dr. Jane Sullivan and a Panel of Mothers from Forum Member Firms
Whether she is the CEO, works in the business,or stays at home, Mom is an integral part of the family business dynamics. Dr. Jane Sullivan will lead a discussion of the various expectations placed on Mothers and potentially conflicting demands in fulfilling the roles of wife, Mother, business professional and being an individual.

June 13 
How to Develop Your Family Business Policy Guide
Speaker: Dr. Christopher J. Eckrich
How do you prepare for future problems and concerns that arise in every family business? One way is to anticipate the issues that typically confront family businesses and to develop family and business policies to guide decisions. This presentation includes such topics as creating an environment conducive to making effective decisions; identifying areas in which policies are essential; deciding what processes will be used and in the best interests of the family and the business.

September 12 
Family Values and Inherited Wealth: Preparing the Next Generation 
Speaker: Sharon P. Krone
Values are what set the family business apart from other businesses. The infusion of positive family values into a professionally managed business is the most powerful medium for multi-generational success. This presentation focuses on making family values explicit in the family and the business through managerial and family processes. Sharon Krone will also share her insights and experiences in preparing family member - both children and adults - to inherit family wealth.

November 7 
Intra-/Intergenerational Issues Dialogue
Facilitators: Leo J. Rogers, Jr. and Dr. Tom Kaplan
Back by popular demand. This session presents an opportunity to share and exchange points of view on issues that have surfaced in peer groups over the past year. Owners/founders can learn what's on the minds of the successor generations, and vice versa, in a constructive environment. Issues put forth for discussion will retain the confidentiality and integrity of the peer groups but will foster open communications.

2001 Program


February 1 
The Extended Family
Featured Speaker: Dr. Jane Sullivan
Spouses play a very active role in some of our family businesses. In others, they don’t play an active role at all. But all play a role even if largely invisible, and all are affected by the business relationship. When younger generations marry, the family becomes an extended family and family business relationships multiply and become more complicated. Dr. Jane Sullivan leads a discussion of these issues to begin our New Year. The dinner meeting is designed for married and single members of family businesses, and non-family members and their spouses.

March 8
Bonus Session: The Value of Mentoring and Networking for the Younger Generation in the Family Business
Speaker: Eric Monsen, VP Monsen Engineering
This session is a combined meeting of successor generation peer groups. All younger generation members are welcome to attend.

March 22
How to Make Your Family Business a Great Place to Work
Featured Speaker: Amy Schuman
Using an outstanding fourth-generation family business as a model Amy Schuman will develop for us the characteristics of great workplaces. She will help us understand the financial and business results of “Positive People Practices”, and provide a road map and tools to develop a simple action plan your business can use to become a Great Workplace. Amy will be joined by a “live witness” member of the model company.

April 12
Bonus Session: E-Business for the Family Business
Speakers: Martin Brown, PWC; William J. Heller, Esq, McCarter& English
E-Business offers the potential opportunities and threats for your company and market. This session will help you evaluate how e-business can benefit your family business.

May 3 
Intra-/Intergenerational Issues Dialogue
Facilitators: Leo J. Rogers, Jr. and Dr. Tom Kaplan
This session presents an opportunity to share and exchange points of view of issues that have surfaced in the peer groups over the years. Owners/founders can learn what’s on the minds of the successor generations, and vice versa, in a constructive environment. Issues put forth for discussion will retain the confidentiality and integrity of peer groups but will foster open communications.

June 13
Second Generation Meetings- A Testimonial
Featured Speakers: John J. Sekora and Family
With no clear-cut individual successor, John J. Sekora formed the Artisan Administration Committee (ACC) to make a smooth transition from the first generation to the second. For the past two years five family members, who work at Artisan Tile & Marble Company of New Jersey, Inc. have met weekly or biweekly during business hours at the office. John J. Sekora acts as the moderator. Hear a first hand testimonial about the ACC by members of the Sekora family.

September 13
Succession Planning Workshop
Featured Speaker: Paul Karofsky
Succession in the family business is an issue that inevitably must be dealt with. It is the responsibility of both generations, and it is never too early to prepare for it. Paul Karofsky will lead us through a Leadership Succession workshop in which members can apply general guidelines to their situations. This session will conclude with a panel discussion of professionals, led by Paul, on issues involving Ownership Succession.

November 8
Performance Evaluation and Compensation
Presenters: Paul Dorf and Forum Sponsors
A major challenge for family business is to determine where they are going in the future, and how to get there with the right people. this session will cover such topics as attracting and retaining good employees, the hidden cost of turnover, measuring performance and arriving at proper compensation packages. This session will also deal with family-member compensation practices.

2000 Program


According to a recent survey conducted by Family Business magazine, Autumn 1999, the top concerns of 339 representative business owners are the competitive environment, technology, attracting and retaining human resources, and co-leadership.

The Rothman Institute's Family Business Forum has chosen 'Focus on the Future' as its theme for the year 2000, which will present noted experts from around the country to address these foremost topics facing family businesses.

The first session, on January 27, introduces the theme. Dr. Nancy Upton will address the competitive environment in the next decade, and the concern families have about achieving consensus on values and missions. Dr. Upton holds the Ben Williams Chair in Entrepreneurship at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she founded the Institute for Family Business in 1988. The author of Transferring Family Business Management, she is also a noted lecturer. One aspect of developing competition is the use of technology.

On March 9, Charles Levin will give an overview of the dramatic growth and development of the Internet and e-commerce, and provide a tour of some successful e-commerce sites. Two Forum member companies, L.P. Music and Widmer Time Recorder, who are involved in e-commerce initiatives, will provide case studies. Participants are invited to come armed with their web site address, questions and ideas for their own e-commerce projects. Charles Levin is founder and president of Pathfinder Consulting Group LLC, in Annandale, New Jersey, a business consulting firm specializing in quality improvement and developing business on the Internet.

May 4 Recognizing the importance of human resources, whether family or non-family, Deborah Lubar of Lincoln, Vermont, will address interpersonal skills, especially the importance of listening. In a breakfast workshop, Ms. Lubar, a skilled performer, will mix lecture, discussion and active audience participation geared toward learning to hear the real message within and  beneath the words being spoken. As family businesses confront the changing environment, they need to be aware of changing life cycles in their families and in their businesses. These are potentially very different.

On June 15, Dr. Bonnie Brown, president of Transition Dynamics, Inc. in Eugene, Oregon, will help Forum members identify and build skills and competencies to match these evolving cycles. The changing environment affects the fundamental working relationships. The marriage of family and business can create a powerful force, yet many families in business find themselves, at some point, in crisis over issues of performance, fairness, love or money.

On September 14, Dr. Tom Kaplan, an assistant professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at FDU's Rothman Institute, and faculty advisor to the Family Business Forum, will explore how to prevent some of the most common and significant family business crises. The Family Business survey indicated a trend toward leadership by sibling or cousin partnerships, or teams of family and non-family executives. The workplace is changing and so is the nature of working relationships.

On November 2, Dr. Fredda Herz Brown, managing partner and senior consultant with The Metropolitan Group, a family business consulting company in Leonia, New Jersey, will assist Forum members in thinking about what is needed to give in order to get what is wanted from work and family relationships.