2:15 p.m. Pacific standard time

Achieving innovation, growth and sustainability: strategies of entrepreneurial family business

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Session recap

Investor communication strategies to maximize IPO valuation

Practical advice, from their family to yours

How do family businesses achieve sustainability across generations? Panelists from successful long-lasting family businesses divulged their hard-won lessons in the “Achieving innovation, growth and sustainability: strategies of entrepreneurial family business” session.

Topics revolved around bolstering family unity and reducing conflict in the face of explosive growth, market disruption and succession worries.

“When you’re a parent and you’re the boss, it’s tough for your children to recognize the difference,” said Senator Francis X. Kelly of Kelly & Associates Insurance Group, Inc. So when board meetings with his four sons began to resemble contentious family dinners, he hired a faith-based business consultant, who helped them institute a “respect initiative.”

Carolyn Richardson Hursh of James Richardson & Sons, Limited shared, “My great-great-grandfather’s motto was: ‘We want to be the sort of business organization in which people can place their trust.’ We still live by those words today.” To keep the entire family dedicated to this legacy, they have instituted yearly family conferences, annual meetings, training initiatives for younger generations and frequent communication about the business.

That strategy appealed to John Tracy of Dot Foods, Inc., who added a family council, a family foundation and an outside board to the list. “Those things forced us into communication vehicles, forced us into sharing mistakes and recognizing mistakes in a less hostile environment and really getting out in front of issues,” he said.

According to moderator Joseph H. Astrachan, Ph.D., of Kennesaw State University, the school’s research backs up the efficacy of encouraging family unity to reduce conflict: “Families that have figured out how to talk to one another can solve their differences much better than families that have really heavy structures on top of what they’re doing.”



Joseph H. Astrachan, Ph.D. speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Joseph H. Astrachan, Ph.D. 
Wells Fargo Eminent Scholar Chair of Family Business, Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship, Center at the Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University





Senator Francis X. Kelly speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Senator Francis X. Kelly
Kelly & Associates Insurance Group, Inc.


Carolyn Richardson Hursh speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Carolyn Richardson Hursh
James Richardson & Sons, Limited


John Tracy speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

John Tracy
Dot Foods, Inc.