Women—A Powerful Presence in Family Business

Some of the world’s oldest businesses are family businesses, and women have perennially played significant roles in them. From generation to generation women have served in one or more of these high-level capacities:

  • Business partner, playing a functional or organizational role
  • Senior advisor and business confidante to the CEO
  • The keeper of family values and chief advisor to the family’s upcoming generations.

Today women have become visible as prominent business leaders worldwide.

At the 4th Annual Global Family Business Event, coming up on September 29th, the keynote speaker will be Harshbeena Zaveri, leader of the engineering firm NRB Bearings and one of India’s most powerful business women.


*Previous speakers at this event have included:

Lena Jungell, granddaughter of Fazer Group founder Karl Jungell. Starting in 1891 as a small cafe in Helsinki, the Fazer family now owns an international bakery and confectionary company.

Ana Urea, one of the owners of The Privax Group, a conglomerate of predominantly fashion-related family businesses, now involving its second and third generations. The Privax Group is the current industry leader throughout Canada and Latin America.

Raya Strauss Ben-Dror, and her daughter, Nava Michael-Tsabari of The Strauss Group. Starting in 1938 with two cows, the company sold dairy products. The Straus Group is now a multinational family business and Israel’s largest food and beverage company.

*See past events at http://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/fieldcenter/global-family-business-event-3/


Developmental Stages of Multi-Generational Family Businesses

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hearing Lena Jungell, a fourth-generation member of The Fazer Group, speak at the Fall 2015, Global Family Business Event hosted by the Baruch College, Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship.

In her talk, Ms. Jungell presented elements essential for the growth and sustainability of a multi-generational family business. In my last two newsletters I touched on three of these: Vision, Values and Mission.

Ms. Jungell presented a fourth critical element–outlining the developmental stages of her family and its business across generations:

  • First generation: Built the business
  • Second Generation: Lived with and worked in the business
  • Third Generation: Worked in the business and established business-governance structures
  • Fourth Generation: Developed family-governance structures
  • Fifth Generation: Learned the business- and family-governance structures
  • Sixth Generation: Is already participating in the business while the fifth generation governs.

This pattern is fairly typical of family-business succession. I believe it is representative of a business that successfully evolves into a multi-generational enterprise without an initial intention to do so. Recognizing the pattern can facilitate the growth of any business family interested in multi-generational success.


Values, Vision, Mission: The Bedrock of Family Businesses – A Real-Life illustration

Last week I wrote about having attended the Fall 2015, Global Family Business Event hosted by the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College, where I heard a talk by Lena Jungell, a fourth-generation member of The Fazer Group.

An international, family-owned-and-run firm based in Finland, The Fazer Group proudly produces top-of-the-line bakery, confectionery and biscuit products as well as food and café services

Lena spoke about one of the essential components of family-business success and longevity, “The Development of an Owners’ Vision” Today I will write about two other equally important components–values and mission.

Microsoft Word - Document2To clarify what I mean by these three terms: Your vision is something you can see as a result of your efforts. Your mission identifies the action of achieving the vision. Values are those qualities, behaviors and points of view that a family holds to and deems important for the guidance of its members and its business.

In working to fulfill its mission —To Create Taste Sensations–guided by its vision–responsible business growth with a strong focus on long-term development–the Fazer Group stands firm on the bedrock of its values: Passion for the Customer; Quality Excellence, and Team Spirit. http://www.fazergroup.com/about-us/we-create-taste-sensations/

These values are the basis of all of their corporate strategy processes, ethical principles, responsible environmental standards, management systems and more. http://www.fazergroup.com/responsibility/our-responsibility/

This solid footing along with open articulation of their values is, no doubt, integral to the Fazer Group’s success as a thriving and growing sixth-generation family business looking into a prosperous future. As such, The Fazer Groups is a real-life illustration that demonstrates the long-term possibilities inherent in family businesses.

Next week I’ll write about the evolution of the Fazer-Group from its first generation into its sixth, and explore its business- and family-governance structures.


An Owners’ Vision

On October 22, I attended the Fall 2015, Global Family Business Event hosted by the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College, City University of New York. The keynote speaker was Lena Jungell, a fourth-generation member of “The Frazer Group.”She shared with us the story of her family’s business.http://www.fazer.com/our-brands/karl-fazer/finlands-most-valued-brand/.

Her talk, “The Development of an Owners’ Vision” presented a valuable model of the potential possible in family businesses. The Frazer Group has grown into an international company, now supported by and supporting six generations. One significant take-away from the talk was a picture of the strength the family derives from their collective values and the clarity of the firm’s vision—“to create taste sensations”. It’s simple, easily understood, and looks outward toward their customers and community.

Ms. Jungell added that the family-business’ vision has evolved over time through ongoing input from the owners, family members, society, and their environment. This reminds me of the statement made by Sam Johnson, former CEO of The Sam Johnson Company; that every generation has the responsibility to determine a vision for the firm under their leadership.

Next week I will write about family’s values as foundation of the owners’ vision.