FAMILYBUSINESS The Best Summer Ever, Every Summer
Family-Owned Camp Readies for Next Generation
The “Purest Pint” Outstanding Women in Family Business Honored
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16 The Best Summer Ever, Every Summer Family-Owned Camp Readies for Next Generation
You Decided to Sell Your Family Business – Now What?
Outstanding Women Awards
Open up a world of possibilities
Local women honored for their contributions
15 At A Glance 20 The “Purest Pint”
Mass. couple gives scoop on purchase of Batch Ice Cream
You Decided to Sell Your Family Business – Now What? By Eric Gyllenborg
ongratulations! You have decided to sell your family business. This is one of the most difficult, and sometimes gut wrenching decisions a family can make. Hopefully, the decision has come about because you have decided to harvest wealth from the company that you poured so much sweat equity into. However, you may also be selling because of negative market conditions, disharmony within the ERIC GYLLENBORG family management team, or maybe financial needs are forcing the sale. In any event, this article will be helpful by providing you with the specific action items that you need to know in order to move from the decision to sell to enjoying the fruit of your labors post-sale. Let’s jump right in. There is a lot of work ahead of you, but if you implement the sale properly, you will see the hardest part of this process was making the decision to sell the family business. Many families agonize over selling the family business, either because the company has become synonymous with the family, or because the family’s life has revolved around running the company for decades.
Nonetheless, in ruminating over the decision to sell a family business, a family may miss the peak valuation of the company or try to sell when buyers are not available. However, looking forward, selling the family business permits the family members to pursue other opportunities such as diversifying investment portfolios or being active in the philanthropic world. Initial Owners’ Meeting One of the first things to be accomplished is to sit down with all of the owners of the company and decide what the family’s goals are with respect to the sale. Decisions such as sale price, structure (asset sale versus stock sale), length of earn-out periods (if any), and whether or not family members have a desire to continue to work at the company post-sale. Typically, a buyer will insist a common deal term in which family members who are synonymous with the company stay on for at least three years post-sale. Regardless, everyone needs to be on the same page before moving forward with implementing the sale decision because doing so will increase the odds for an efficient sale. Avoiding awkward “I thought we were going to do this” moments is crucial and sitting the owners down before the formal sale process
begins helps to avoid such moments. Further, you will need to ensure that all majority shareholders are also aware of the details of the sale to avoid delays in the middle of negotiations with a potential buyer. In essence, an informal letter of intent is needed within the family so there is no confusion when the train leaves the station with respect to the larger goals related to the sale of the company. Next, you will need to decide the best timing for this sale. Are there seasonality considerations that affect the sale of business? Are there more buyers in the market during different times of the year? Can the company’s managers and owners oversee a sale of business during the busiest time of the year for the company’s operations? It is important to appoint a lead representative so that the company as a whole is able to negotiate under one voice with a potential buyer. Senior Management Meeting Outside of family members, owners need to meet with the critical non-family employees that comprise the senior management. These employees are integral to the smooth pre-sale operations and, if required by a buyer as part of the deal terms, their con-
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tinued operation of the company post-sale. Ensuring that the senior management is on board with the concept of selling is important before negotiations with a buyer commence. If a buyer insists that senior management stay on board, it may be for a period of up to three years post-sale; however, such management should also be prepared for a buyer that wishes to completely replace management. No matter the outcome of the deal terms, the principal takeaway from this meeting is to confirm that critical employees at the company are on the same page with the family members in all possible scenarios. Identify Outside Advisors The next action item is to identify and secure professional advisors that will guide the owners through the sale, answer all questions, and fully prepare for all potential pitfalls throughout the sale of the company. These advisors consist of the usual suspects: lawyers, accountants, appraisers, investment bankers and wealth advisors. Keep in mind that those you have relied on in the past to assist you with owning and
“Harvesting your wealth from the business post-sale will give the family a new opportunity to focus on investing in themselves and their future generations. ” operating the company to date may not have the necessary skills required to guide you through the actual sale of the company. It is important to speak with peers that have sold a business recently and discuss the pros and cons of who they worked with. On your own, meet with multiple prospective advisors and identify those that have the experience and demeanor that you trust and think you will enjoy working with. Overall, your goal is to establish an experienced team of advisors that have experience structuring the sale of a family business but will also set your family up for success post-sale. Selling the family’s business will come with many challenges and hard work. However, if you perform the groundwork early, make decisions as a family unit, and
surround yourself with the right people, selling will be an enjoyable experience. Harvesting your wealth from the business post-sale will give the family a new opportunity to focus on investing in themselves and their future generations. Post-sale, there are many new adventures a family can pursue without the draining day-to-day rituals required when managing a business. Beginning this process may seem daunting, but the world of possibilities that open for your family and your employees after the closing is completed will more than compensate for the work put into selling. ■ ERIC GYLLENBORG IS A DIRECTOR AT BOSTON LAW FIRM, RACKEMANN, SAWYER & BREWSTER. HE HELPS CLIENTS STRUCTURE, NEGOTIATE AND DOCUMENT FORMATIONS, MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS, ASSET SALES AND DISSOLUTIONS AND OTHER COMPLEX BUSINESS NEEDS. 5
Outstanding Women D E D I C AT E D T O N E W E N G L A N D
F A M I LY B U S I N E S S E S
Winners were honored at an event April 5.
Executive Director, Co-Owner
Needham Children’s Center, First Generation
Patricia Day of the Needham Children’s Center was honored for her dedication to the needs of over 150 families in Needham, many of whom are the second generation to attend the center. Along with her oldest daughter, Susanne, and her youngest daughter Carolyn, Patricia has helped make the center a true family business.
What is your favorite part about working for a family business? Working with a wonderful productive and creative staff and knowing that my family members are among them. We live in a very global society right now, but I’m fortunate that I can take my grandchildren to swimming, piano or hockey. And that I could do that with my own children too. Child care is a changing field and it’s not easy. You have to keep current, know the laws and regulations, always think safety first and always be mindful that your job is to help the children in your care have a joy for learning and provide a framework and a challenging and nurturing curriculum to do just that.
If you are the first generation/founder, what inspired you to start your own business – and to include your family in it? I started Needham Children’s Center in the fall of 1980. As some might recall, there was a financial crunch in the late ’70s. Heating oil was sky high, long lines at the gas pumps, and times were tough for a lot of young families. Many moms were still stay at home and child care in our area was mostly nursery. My friends and other women in the town wanted to get part-time jobs, go back to school or work full time to help support their families. I was the person with the elementary background who had been on a child care board of directors while my child attended day care so I could go back to college. I secured space to rent at a local church and I wrote the first lease, which guaranteed that I would pay their oil bill, $500 a month. Needham Children’s Center was licensed 20 preschoolers and four toddlers – four toddlers because my second child was a toddler and I needed her to attend. NCC was full right away, and another local church asked if I would pay their heating bill for space. We expanded as our families expanded. Soon we needed afterschool and an infant program. We are now seeing third generation children at NCC. That toddler from 1980, my daughter Susanne, runs NCC now, along with my business partner, Carole Sullivan, and my youngest daughter, Carolyn, is the assistant director. 6
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you handle it? There have been a few over the years. I think the one to reflect on is whether we should have continued to expand. We started in the same time as the bigger chains, but when we had the opportunity to grow, we choose to grow the internal part of NCC. We spent our time and energy creating better working environments for our staff and a career path if that was what they wanted. We provided child care for staff, health benefits and profit sharing. We remain hands on and available to families and staff and our corporate office is the same as always … except with better desks and carpet. When a parent comes in and has lost a job, we were there to make a plan. During the recent financial slump, we kept all our families and we added a low cost 9 a.m.-3 p.m. program to help families. I like that decisions can be made in house and not have to go through rolls of red tape. I think the families and staff have benefited from this kind of management. What advice would you give to the next generation of women in family business?
Child care is a demanding business. You have to keep current and know the research. Like any business you have to pay your dues and if you are going to be administrative you have to have a firm grasp of all aspects; financial, legal, as well as the day to day with children. You have a big staff and a lot of children and families that are counting on you to listen to them and make good decisions on their behalf. And, you have a responsibility to the corporation to keep it healthy and current. Make sure the pluses outweigh the minuses and understand that in order to be credible with other staff, you have to have it right. There are no shortcuts. I think that my job
now is to document the last 38 years and present my interpretation of a healthy family run business and then allow the next generation to thrive. When I hear the song “We Are Family,” I … think of the movie “The Bird Cage.” Such a funny Nathan Lane/Robin Williams movie. At the end they all go out of the disco, disguised, and the song is “We are Family.” The thought is that even though the family or community is diverse and doesn’t think the same way about lots of things, when it counts they are there for each other.
Everything is easier when you have someone to share it with – someone who’ll be beside you, no matter what and... that is family!
Peabody Properties Proudly Congratulates Karen Fish-Will & Melissa Fish-Crane 2018 Outstanding Women of Family Business Award Recipients We applaud the accomplishments of all 2018 Women of Family Business Award Recipients! We put the HOME in housing.
Pamela Donnaruma Publisher/Editor
Pamela Donnaruma of the North End Post-Gazette was recognized for continuing to carry on the paper since its creation in 1896 – which her Italian-immigrant grandfather began. Donnaruma has stayed true to her Italian heritage and serving the Italian American community in Boston. How did you come to join the family business? I had been around the newspaper all of my life, since I was a child, as my grandfather and my parents had devoted their lives to it. As my parents got older I knew that I would eventually take over. When that time came, I was ready. What is your favorite part about working for a family business? I have tremendous pride in being able to continue the commitment of my grandfather, James, and my parents, Caesar and Phyllis, to champion causes that define solutions to problems. The Post-Gazette aims to exemplify fairness, with both optimism and a point of view. Although it considers itself to be “The Voice of Boston’s Italian People,” it is a newspaper that is read and enjoyed by people of all ethnicities across the country.
Natalie Fernsebner Wine Buyer/Owner Natalie Fernsebner of Atlas Liquors, a third generation of the White family, was honored for her determination to improve the Atlas brand and provide the knowledgeable, personal service customers need. Along with supporting numerous community nonprofits, Fernsebner takes challenges in stride and does it with grace, generosity, innovation and grit. What is your favorite part about working for a family business? I love that my brothers and I always take care of one another and that we share the same work ethic. We all feel a responsibility to the generations that came before us to continue and to succeed. Our industry doesn’t remotely resemble the one my grandfather became involved with after Prohibition, and in many ways we’ve needed to totally redefine how we operate, but not who we are. We still have the same core values. I also love that as a family business, we tend to attract families to come work for us. We have multiple generations of families unrelated to our own who have joined our team. It’s really the ultimate compliment when one of our employees asks us to bring on one of their relatives. So it isn’t just my brothers and me – it’s really the whole Atlas Family. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you handle it? The expansion of licenses. Just a few years ago, the maximum number of licenses an owner could own was three. That has expanded over the past several years and will eventually stop at nine. The license expansion was a welcome sign to box stores and huge chains to come into Massachusetts. We were once considered an “independent” state, meaning families like mine could thrive because we were competing against similar stores. We’re kind of like the corner hardware store vs. Home Depot. It’s the Walmart effect, too, where HUGE stores enter our market and go out at or below cost to attract customers. They can operate at a loss until they put the independents out of business. Once we’re gone, they raise their prices. Consumers get duped into believ8
Post-Gazette, Third Generation What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you handle it? I started in the business as a young woman. I am happy to see that things have changed significantly over the last 30 years. In the early days, it was very difficult as a young woman to be taken seriously in the newspaper business. I have worked hard to publish a paper that reflects the values of my family and is a quality product every single week. It was an awesome responsibility, but I believe that the consistency of the paper over the last 30 years has enabled me to succeed and prove that a woman at the helm can steer the ship in the right direction. What advice would you give to the next generation of women in family business? I give thanks to my parents for their guidance. They did more than just teach me the ropes. They set an example for me to follow. I would advise women in a family business to listen carefully to those family members around her and embrace the standards of those who came before her who built the business into the success it is today. When I hear the song “We Are Family,” I … am grateful for my heritage and for the opportunity to continue to bring pride to the Donnaruma family name.
Atlas Liquors, Inc., Third Generation ing that they have greater choices and better prices, only until there’s nowhere to shop but a huge, impersonal box where they can’t get any quality help and the prices are no great shake. Sadly, Boston is beginning to resemble cities around the country where everything is a mall or a box store. We’ve renovated one of our stores, chipped away at our profit margins, and have tried to expand our selection to include items you can’t find at the box stores and supermarkets. What advice would you give to the next generation of women in family business? To get involved with the local governments in the cities or towns in which you operate. To continue to educate yourself so you can represent yourself and your family business with confidence. To take advantage of any opportunity to grow through networking, industry educational opportunities, and industry events. I’d encourage them to find a way to keep family and business separate (if possible!) and to develop a bulletproof succession plan. When I hear the song “We Are Family,” I … remember being at my mother-in-law’s conference at Disney World with my husband, two kids, and closest friends, Tammy and Jeannette. It was the last night of the conference and we were at a cocktail reception at the bar by the pool. That song came on and we broke out dancing (three generations!) Before we knew it, the whole place was up on their feet. My mother-in-law was GLOWING! We went as her guests and she was being honored. I also think of my family as it relates to business … we all know that you aren’t supposed to run your business allowing family issues to get in the way of decisionmaking. And I don’t know if we’ve made it three generations because we are a family first and a business second? I think we could be better at the business part if we didn’t care as we do about one another. But at the end of the day, we are a family and I’d choose my family over my business!
Karen Fish-Will & Melissa Fish-Crane Principal & CEO
Principal & COO
Karen Fish-Will and Melissa Fish-Crane of Peabody Properties were recognized together for their guidance of the property management firm into a new phase of smart growth. Carrying on the tradition of their father, the late Edward A. Fish, the sisters are guided by their core values - fiscal responsibility, integrity, stability and humility – to make a difference in the lives of the people who live in their communities. How did you come to join the family business? We feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work in the family property management business from a very young age. Many of our summer and winter high school vacations (while most of our friends were not working) were spent working at Peabody Properties – every job from bus driver to lifeguard and everything in between. Then, fresh upon graduating from college, we began our lifelong family business careers. What is your favorite part about working for a family business? How we have grown our business is really our greatest pride. Together, as sisters and co-owners, we have carefully guided the company into a new phase of smart growth, originally started by our father, the late Edward A. Fish, who launched Peabody Properties in 1976. Our dad was considered one of the “founding fathers” of the affordable housing industry and it is so important to us to carry on the family legacy with a mission-driven value to deliver exemplary service, supporting the company’s core values of F-I-S-H: Fiscal responsibility, Integrity, Stability and Humility. These guiding principles are what we expect from our employees and they are really the foundation of how we conduct business on a daily basis. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you handle it?
Peabody Properties, Fourth Generation
Determining when to embrace change and when to stay the course. Carefully guiding the company into a new phase of smart growth. Establishing the right strategic objectives for future growth and stability. Not to be bigger, but to be the best! Because we live in an era of constant change; change has become our new normal. Preparing for and embracing this change by investing time and energy into our company’s strategic plan is the best way to meet these business challenges head-on. What advice would you give to the next generation of women in family business? Have passion for the work that you do. Be persistent, willing to go beyond where others may stop; create a culture of commitment and purpose. Promote from within and invest in your people. Encourage learning with a commitment to training and, most importantly, keep an open mind and be flexible. One of the ways to engage the next generation is to continue to grow the business. When everything is working smoothly and firmly set in place, you can become inefficient if you don’t find a way to challenge yourself, expand your thinking and explore new opportunities. You shouldn’t overlook the competitive advantage that growing up in a family business offers. While many business owners have to start from ground zero with no measure of success and limited contacts, the rewards of building upon a family business can be many. Remember, everything is easier when you have someone to share it with – someone who will be beside you no matter what – and that is family. When I hear the song “We Are Family,” I … it is my sister, my partner, my-coworker that immediately comes to mind, as well as the amazing families we both go home to every night. If it wasn’t for our dad, we would not be where we are today. Family – whether work family or home family – is the foundation of our success.
Managing Partner, Senior Wealth Management Advisor Laurie Ingwersen of The Harvest Group Wealth Management, LLC was honored for her ability to balance being a family business owner, mother, mentor and philanthropist. Along with helping launch The Harvest Group, Ingwersen helps advance the firm’s mission to help clients achieve financial health and help other advisors – especially other women - make the move from wirehouses to independence. How did you come to join the family business? In high school I filled in for my father’s assistant, who was on maternity leave. I loved the atmosphere, the clients and working with my father who has been an amazing mentor and cheerleader for me my whole career. What is your favorite part about working for a family business? A couple of the best parts of working with family is the comfort level and honesty that you can expect from family. From the beginning, when you are learning and growing, having a parent encourage you builds your confidence and allows you to share your thoughts and ideas in a comfortable setting that you cannot get from a boss you don’t know. You can also expect to give and get opinions with sincere honesty that you won’t get from a non-family member. I think the greatest benefit of working in a family business is the flexibility of raising your family. How much easier is it to call your parent to cover for you when your child is home sick from school than calling a boss who probably doesn’t really care? I’ve been able to excel at both being a business partner and a mother because of working with family.
The Harvest Group, Second Generation What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you handle it? Our biggest challenge and success was going independent in 2016. Leaving a large broker/dealer and starting our own firm was a complicated and lengthy process. We prepared for this transition over a two-year period, and while it was a huge undertaking, it has been our greatest success. We divided our responsibilities to who was best suited, that way avoiding having one person feel they had more responsibility than another. It helps that we spend a lot of time together outside the office so we were able to hold short strategy sessions for issues that would arise. At the end of the day we are family and we all want the best for each other and that motivation helped drive a successful outcome. What advice would you give to the next generation of women in family business? Sometimes your family can make assumptions about what you want for your future. They may think you are content in a less challenging position or that you may not want a larger role on your team. Make sure you communicate and don’t let preconceived ideas from your past shape your future in the business. People change and grow with life; it is important that you are allowed to do that with your career. When I hear the song “We Are Family,” I … Want to start singing!
Congratulations, Laurie! Outstanding Woman of Family Business 2018 As a multigenerational family team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS™, The Harvest Group is dedicated to working with families and individuals to help them achieve their financial objectives.
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Hubbard-Hall Inc., Sixth Generation
Molly Kellogg of Hubbard-Hall Inc., a sixth generation, was recognized for her work continuing the legacy of her family and for growing the business both nationally and internationally with a focus on proprietary specialty chemicals formulated and manufactured by Hubbard-Hall.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you handle it? Succession is always a big challenge in a family business, and I give tremendous credit to my father and my cousin for managing it as flawlessly as possible.
If you’re second generation or later, how did you come to join the family business? I worked outside the business for about five years after college and joined when the company added a division in Massachusetts.
What advice would you give to the next generation of women in family business? I think I would give the same advice to the next generation, male or female: Make your own mark, be humble and find a great mentor/coach.
What is your favorite part about working for a family business? Building a sustainable business that has a meaningful impact on the lives of our employees and the communities they live in.
Trudy Lawler President
When I hear the song “We Are Family,” I …feel like dancing!
AP Michaud Insurance Agency Inc., Second Generation
Trudy Lawler of A.P. Michaud Insurance Agency Inc. was honored for her work in growing A.P. Michaud since purchasing the business from her father in 1979. Lawler is known for being a knowledgeable agent, a fair and understanding employer and a strong, independent woman. If you’re the second generation or later, how did you come to join the family business? I worked for my father, who started the business, with the work-study program when I was in high school. I would work full time in the summer, and then when I graduated from high school I started working for him full time.
Over the course of my years in the business, I have come across many challenges, but the most challenging of all has been growing the agency in an ever-changing, competitive market. With Internet-based insurance companies vying for the same customers as we are, the challenge is in being able to reach them with a more limited marketing budget and setting ourselves apart as a better option. We’ve overcome this by building trust in our community by being involved locally with charitable organizations, the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International, and other local activities.
What is your favorite part about working for a family business? I love working with my daughters every day, and I’m so happy that they have decided to join our family business as well.
What advice would you give to the next generation of women in family business? My advice would be to appreciate the groundwork that prior generations have laid out for you, and not to lose sight of the mission of the family members who founded your business in the beginning.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you handle it?
When I hear the song “We Are Family,” I … Think about high school dances!
Holly Markham Founder and President Holly Markham of European Home was recognized for her ability to encourage her employees to design and innovate while being passionate about the environment. Running the business alongside her husband, Markham has also found time to be active in the local CEO development organization, mentoring other small business owners in the community. If you are the first generation/founder, what inspired you to start your own business – and to include your family in it? While traveling in Europe as a sales manager when I was in the field of high-tech, I always noticed the beautiful quality of everyday objects. When I was starting a family, I knew I wanted more flexibility with a job. I thought starting a business would provide me with extra income and flexible hours. European Home currently sells gas fireplaces but we had a few incarnations. It took me a few years to find out what people will buy and what the market needs. I was fortunate to be able to have a few years to work in a part time manner. From 1999–2002 my company limped along. I had tried importing small home goods and then tried larger items including recycled plastic used for counter tops and vanities. I worked on the business in the evenings and when my kids were napping. By 2003, I had noticed the European fireplaces and thanks to the Internet, I was able to be in touch easily with a few English companies who were happy to off-load their U.S. leads to me. I could see there was a need in the market for more contemporary fireplaces. I found the European fireplaces breathtaking in design so it was easy to keep going. My husband joined me in 2006 and it was really due to a practical reason of splitting up running the business with taking care of our two children. We were able to both work and still raise the kids with one parent at home during the day. What is your favorite part about working for a family business? I appreciate the flexibility. While the work seems unending, at least I know that is due to me and too many ideas. If I want things
European Home, First Generation to improve and change, I just have to look at myself. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you handle it? The 2008 recession was a scary time. We had recently gotten a larger office and suddenly our sales were off by almost 40 percent. A number of the dealers who carried our products had gone out of business. Banks were not lending money, people were not building, which meant many fewer fireplaces were being sold. We managed to get through this time by changing offices again to reduce our overhead. We had an hourly employee whose hours were reduced and my husband and I took a paycheck when we could. I cut little things too, like the stamp machine. By 2010, things were looking much better and by 2012, we were growing and hiring. What advice would you give to the next generation of women in family business? Every part of the business is important – marketing helps the sales come in, operations gets the orders moving, sales brings the money to accounting and accounting is paying the bills. Everything is important, so you have to have good processes in all areas. If you are doing it all yourself, document your steps and when new people come, make sure they are improving, not just following along. Having people who can do the work and provide you with reports so that things are measurable is important. If it is not measurable, it is just anecdotal. It is hard for employees to reach a target when there is nothing to aim for. Dive into accounting and don’t stop – you must consistently be sure accounts are being reconciled and bills are posted properly. If not, the reports won’t be accurate. You must also look at your reports regularly – don’t wait till tax time! Knowing your numbers helps you with pricing the products. When I hear the song “We Are Family,” I … feel like dancing.
Jennifer Sturm President Jenn Sturm of JT Sturm Corporation was honored for being a young, female owner in an old school, male run industry. Carrying on her father’s legacy, she takes a fresh, state-of-the-art approach to best serve clients, keeping their people and equipment safer. If you’re the second generation or later, how did you come to join the family business? I purchased the company from my father in 2016. What is your favorite part about working for a family business? The best part about working where I do is that I get to work with my father, my mother, my fiancée, two of my future sisters-in-law, and one of my best friends. I literally have a built-in support system that has been extremely helpful because they have my best interest in mind, and can be (and are!) very honest with me because that closeness is there. Removing that sometimes awkward “boss” stigma helps, because I know I am getting real, honest assistance without the nervousness that they cannot speak to me openly. I’m also very fortunate because my success is directly shared with my family, whom I love and care about so much. My family is my life! What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you handle it? My biggest challenge is two-fold. I am a young woman in a male-
Hilary Troia President Hilary Troia of Office Gallery International was recognized for her talents of building relationships and adapting to change. Working alongside her husband, Troia has added personnel and developed a marketing campaign aimed at new industries. She has also implemented new technology and expanded the company’s consulting and design services. What inspired you to start your own business – and to include your family in it? My husband Michael and I have worked at Office Gallery for many years. The previous owners were a husband and wife team who retired in 2016. We then purchased the business from them. Michael and I have a long history of working together. It started at Jordan Marsh over 25 years ago! When I first joined Office Gallery in 2004, Michael had already been part of the team for 10 years. The Wlukas (the previous owners) had plans to retire and wanted Michael and I to take the reins. All plans were halted when the recession hit in ’09. Seven years later, the time finally came. We had been dreaming of having our own business and of how we would take Office Gallery to the next level during those seven years. We hit the ground running and are having a blast. What is your favorite part about working for a family business? Working together is my favorite part. We really like one another. That alone is hard to find in a business partner, let alone a life partner. Also, our skill sets complement each other, making roles and responsibilities easy to define. We have very strong communication and listening skills that keep us on track and out of conflict. We often say to each
JT Sturm Corporation, Second Generation dominated industry who purchased this company from her father. I know that my demands have to be much more straightforward, and I do not have the luxury of wavering in certain areas of the business, because the perception is different. There is stress that I cannot change, so to handle that, I have made sure to make my expectations clear, and be a reliable boss. When I am available, I am 100 percent available. But when I need time, I let everyone know, and I use that time. Also, I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing team! My team was hand-picked by myself, and we all get along so well. The work is stressful enough, so the atmosphere at work has to be supportive and fun! I judge myself very strongly on the atmosphere and believe that by keeping it nurturing and open is part of our collective success! What advice would you give to the next generation of women in family business? Trust yourself! It’s amazing how much unsolicited advice you will receive as a business owner, not to mention as a woman. While most time the advice is intended to be helpful, you need to remember that you have made it this far because you have an understanding of the business. Always be open to advice but know when and what to take, and do not doubt yourself when it is time to make the call! When I hear the song “We Are Family,” I …Start tapping my feet and sing along!
Office Gallery International, First Generation other, “I’m playing store today!” because work is that much fun together. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you handle it? The transition of ownership was extremely challenging. After purchase negotiations, the work started. My daily mantra was “everything takes two hours to process and costs $1,000.” It was pretty painful and caused a great deal of anxiety. The only way to get through it was to focus on the future knowing the transition was short-lived and we had a great business model to build on. What advice would you give to the next generation of women in family business? Listen. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. We’ve all heard the expression “you have one mouth and two ears for a reason.” Michael and I really listen to each other. We are very thoughtful with our responses and make all business decisions together. We are partners in business and partners in life. It’s not perfect all the time but we’re able to shift and correct to get back on track fairly quickly. When I hear the song “We Are Family,” I … turn the station! All kidding aside, I can’t think of a better way to top off our careers. We joke quite a bit about the many jobs that we’ve both had and how we need a flow chart to explain the paths we’ve taken. But that “long and winding road” has lead us to a business that is perfectly suited for our talents and our passions. I am incredibly grateful to be working with Michael and to share this journey together. 13
Nikki Walsh President
PK Walsh Hair Solutions for Women, Second Generation
Nikki Walsh of PK Walsh Company was honored for her commitment to providing women with both medical and non-medical hair loss with non-surgical hair replacement options. Carrying on her mother’s work, Nikki has not only improved technology at the salon, but has also raised over $25,000 for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
always brought. Plus I get to make women feel beautiful all day long. It’s gift I’ve been given.
If you’re the second generation or later, how did you come to join the family business? I finally stopped asking and then my mom made me an offer.
What advice would you give to the next generation of women in family business? Listen. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Ask for help. Even better, create an advisory board of unbelievably savvy business women in the fields you need the most help.
What is your favorite part about working for a family business? I have loved working with my mom for over 25 years. We each bring something to the company that truly compliments each other. She’s recently partly retired so I miss the fun she
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you handle it? The biggest challenge I have faced is how to plan for the unexpected and finding the right staff.
When I hear the song “We Are Family,” I …Want to grab my family, get on the dance floor and start singing. No Walsh can resist this song.
CONGRATULATIONS to all recipients of the 2018 Outstanding Women Awards.
www.eliadvisors.com | (617) 535-7568 Family Controlled Businesses | Women Led Businesses | Closely Held Businesses 14
At A Glance
Tips for Dealing with Millennials in Family Business By Tom Libbrecht for How Cool Brands Stay Hot
Joeri Van den Bergh (co-author of How Cool Brands Stay Hot) showed us that family businesses have promising times ahead: Gen Y is a consumer-aware, optimistic generation which uses the digital efficiency to work at a high and challenging pace. They easily spot competitors and disruptive market trends which impact their offline and online business model. As they are ambitiously aiming for the top, they face challenges along the road. Research shows their greatest fears are leadership, business strategy and a lack of technical knowledge. Being extremely connected, they can use their network and technology skills to deal with it. However, baby boomers are not eager to say goodbye to their beloved power and the corresponding status. Furthermore, strong individual empowerment and co-creation is required to keep on pushing the young stimulation junkies in their growth. Three recommendations supporting a fluent hand-over to Millennials: Create variation to increase their enthusiasm. No need for multitasking, but do try to give them stimulating (short-term) perspectives within their path towards their next role. Be transparent about succession. It lowers tensions and ensures a higher chance for interest. At this point, 1 out of 3 youngsters is still not aware when and how hand-over will happen. Open up to refreshing and innovative ideas. It will create trust and can bring new opportunities for family businesses by turning blind spots into new strengths. The generation gap ahead will bring challenging times for all. Fortunately, Millennials are in for mentoring and coaching. They also see mom and dad as their role models, which helps in respecting the family business values. Freedom will come with gratitude. Family Business Expert Shares Secret to Success By Forbes Staff
Raméz A. Baassiri announced the publication of Interrupted Entrepreneurship: Embracing Change in the Family Business. In Interrupted Entrepreneurship, multigenerational family business owner Raméz A. Baassiri provides insight into the array of hurdles every family business has faced in the past, and could face in the future. The lessons come not only from his own family business experience, but are drawn from historical and current case studies of dozens of other noted family entrepreneurial ventures. Diving into the causes and sources behind interruptions, the author’s research illustrates how many businesses over time have not only adapted to weather storms, but learned to thrive.
Throughout the book, Baassiri gives readers a glimpse into history from which they will derive practical lessons, viewpoints that span age, gender, and geography, and inspiration for navigating the evolving landscape of their company’s future. He reminds entrepreneurs that though interruptions are uncontrollable, you can choose how to confront and deal with those interruptions— and do so in a beneficial way that will guide family companies into lasting success. The book is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.
What Daughters Learn When Mom is the Boss By Carrie Hall via Entrepreneur
As an EY global survey of the world's largest family businesses, Women in leadership: The family business advantage showed, the presence of women in family-business leadership roles makes it easier for all of the company's women - family and non-family alike - to see themselves as leaders. The study, conducted by an independent research institute, surveyed 525 of the world's largest family businesses across multiple industries. The responses represented 25 of the largest family businesses in each of the top 21 global markets. More recent data, to be released from EY's Global Family Business Survey 2018, showed that 60 percent of the world's largest family businesses were considering having a woman as their next CEO. In addition, 82 percent of these companies already had women in their C-Suites. Those that did averaged a leadership roster of nearly six women in these roles, up 20 percent in the just three years since EY's earlier survey. Clearly, then, companies are increasing their numbers of women in leadership roles. The experiences of the following three leaders support these findings that show family businesses excel at advancing women. ■ 15
The Best Summer Ever, Every Summer Family-Owned Camp Readies for Next Generation
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE HOCHKEPPEL
By Mike Flaim
ew experiences are as formative or as treasured for a child as the summer vacation. Some throw themselves fully into the spirit of the season by spending the minimal amount of time with a roof over their heads, while other kids need to be conscious that the skin on their hands doesn’t eventually meld with the plastic of a videogame controller. For those who want to wring every drop out of their sacred sabbatical, there is Cape Cod Sea Camps in Brewster, Massachusetts. Located next to the stunning Nickerson State Park, CCSC has been helping youth form lasting memories of idyllic summers spent on the Cape since 1922. Begun by Robert J. Delahanty (affectionately known as “Captain Del”) and his wife, Emma Berry Delahanty, CCSC was founded on the principle that camping is a uniquely transformative experience for a child, and one that educates in ways other institutions cannot. On CCSC’s social media pages, adults who’ve waved goodbye to Camp Monomoy and Wono - the boys and girls camp, respectively - decades ago still warmly recall their time spent there, sharing the memories that have accompanied them well into adulthood. Many alumni credit their summer there as more impactful to their development than any other childhood experience.
All set to embark on their 97th camping season, Executive Director Nancy Garran and Resident Camp Director Dave Peterson, a husband-and-wife team who met at camp, took time out of their bustling pre-season schedule to reflect on their history, what led to their strong reputation and discuss how they’re preparing to hand over the reins to the fourth generation.
By virtue of the location alone, CCSC would probably attract a fair share of campers every year with minimal outlay. They feature an oceanfront, lakefront, and freshwater pool, which is unique among camps. However, it’s not enough to simply rest on the merit of attractive real estate. “Something that’s very important in camp culture is connections; how well you make connections with the kids and their families is critical for your future. Having made the connections over three generations – and in fact we have campers who are fifth-generation – it’s really important for us to maintain them,” said Peterson. Continued on page 18 17
Continued from page 17
Cape Cod Sea Camps began in 1922 by Robert J. Delahanty (affectionally known as Captain Del) and his wife, Emma Berry Delahanty. Their daughter, Berry Delahanty Richardson, took over the camp and then handed the reins to her niece, Nancy Garran.
They do this by hosting alumni get-togethers in cities around the world. “We offer alumni reunions around the world each year. Many are in the United States, but we also have meetups in London, Singapore and France this year.The alumni tell their stories from years past and realize a lot hasn’t changed, and that’s important to them. And yet from a facility standpoint, they’re impressed when they come back for a visit and see things like our new art center, boat house, 42 kW solar array, and more,” Peterson said. The opportunity to make those connections in the first place is well-served by the volume of activities that the camp offers, which ensures that there’s something that will interest guests. Their sailing program, for example, features three fleets of boats, and if that thought makes one seasick, they have a host of other activities to fill a day; woodworking, tennis, archery, performance arts, creative writing, dance, photography, etc. “Society has changed dramatically, which has impacted what our customers expect from a camp,” said Garran. “Parents have a completely different expectation of what their children should receive from this kind of experience than parents did in the 1950s. Today’s world is certainly much more complex, and fami18
lies are driven to make sure their children are entertained and occupied 24/7, and that they also get specific skills out of their experience.”
Regulations Don’t Take Summers Off
Keeping children and their parents happy may seem like an all-encompassing task, but it pales in comparison to some of the camp’s other hurdles. “When you’re running a business like this with as many people as we have, there are huge challenges – human resources, the legal side of things and the regulatory aspect take up a lot of our time. Dealing with a homesick camper is easy compared to all that,” Peterson stated. “Starting in the 1970s, for example, one of the biggest challenges we faced was regulation. There were 30 camps on Cape Cod in the 70s, and when a new set of building codes came in, half of them weren’t able to accommodate them. Regulations from the board of health followed that, which were also challenging, and now there are more regulations to contend with. Plus, as a small business, you need to be an expert on things like employment law, which changes every year … and also insurance.” Juggling all that effectively is a herculean duty, and the third
generation of camp leadership recognizes the fact that to really be successful, you need to build great teams.
Burst Your Bubble
Naturally that entails looking beyond the family, and that’s something Garran has excelled at. “I think it’s critical for any business to explore the way other businesses work. … Camping is a very people-oriented business, and I enjoy the fact that we can be much more sensitive and empathetic to both our employees as well as to our customers because of the kind of business we’re in – a people business. I rely heavily on outside directors and businesses to help us think of all the different ways to address or solve an issue,” she said. To that point, Peterson provides a bit of context: “When Nancy’s grandparents started the camp, it was pretty much their operation. In 95 years, times have changed – our programs have grown dramatically, as well as regulations and oversight. It’s very important to us to have a lot of outside expertise on staff to help us stay on the leading edge of the industry. I think it’s critical to have someone outside the family looking at the business. … We’re lucky because we have great advisors that have helped us through estate planning, succession and the general business side of things. Nancy has put together a great team, and that’s something else that’s very important – sole proprietors tend to make all the decisions themselves, but by putting teams together you end up making better decisions down the road. I think Nancy has been unique in that, where the last two generations – her grandparents and her
aunt – were sole proprietors, and Nancy has taken on a different model.” This diversity of thought is woven throughout the upper echelons of the company. “Our board of directors is a combination of family and outside members. Our leadership staff is likewise a combination of family and non-family members who are dedicated to our philosophy and our goals. … a huge part of our success is the people we’ve been able to attract and retain,” Peterson said.
A Hundred-Year Plan
As CCSC approaches its centennial, it’s anticipating what the future of their industry, their business and their family will look like. “Now that it’s almost 100 years of existence, we’re really embarking on a new strategy. Part of that of course is the transition from the third generation to the fourth, but the focus overall is how to thrive in the next 100 years,” Garran says. On this point, Dave and Nancy explain that they’ve hired a consultant for this leadership change. “We want to have an objective person obtain and process that information so that we, as owners, can start to make decisions about what the future looks like.” “It’s very much like a family atmosphere for us, for staff and for campers; coming back here, year after year, seeing the same people – it’s wonderful,” said Peterson. ■ MIKE FLAIM IS A FREELANCE WRITER BASED IN PROVIDENCE, RI. HE CAN BE REACHED AT MIKEJFLAIM@GMAIL.COM 19
The “Purest Pint” Mass. couple gives scoop on purchase of Batch Ice Cream
“If you can’t have fun selling ice cream, you can’t have fun,” – Dave LeRiche
By Kaitlyn Keegan
hortly after Dave and Deb LeRiche said “I do” at the altar, they also said “I do” to buying a business together. The LeRiches, the new owners of Batch Ice Cream, have stepped into the world of family business and have also brought along their “Batch Bunch” with them. Batch Ice Cream sets itself apart by being an “all-natural, no weird stuff or gums” tasty treat. It’s the kind of ice cream you would make if you made it at home. “People want to eat healthier, real food. Here’s a product that has that and of all things – it’s ice cream,” Dave said. Deb, a registered nurse working at Baystate Medical in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Dave, a 30-year veteran of the food distribution and sales industry, purchased the business May 4 from former owners Susie Parish and Veronica Janssens - only three weeks after getting married. The Fun in Ice Cream Dave has worked his entire career in the food industry. From driving trucks at Pepsi and Frito-Lay to calling on accounts and leading teams at Snyder’s of Hanover and Truco Enterprises, purchasing a food company felt like the perfect next step. 20
“If you can’t have fun selling ice cream, you can’t have fun,” Dave said. “Through the years whether working with Pepsi or Frito-Lay or Truco, I had fun products to sell.” So when a broker brought up the opportunity to buy Batch, an all-natural ice cream company, the couple jumped at the chance. “Ice cream, I would say, is right at the top of the list for being fun,” Dave added. Dave said it was a natural choice to have Deb work on this venture with him, saying “There’s no better partner I could have than my bride.” Although Dave has the industry background, he said Deb brings more to the table than she’s willing to admit. “She’s pretty humble about what she brings to the table because Deb will make sure the quality, all-natural piece will be kept wholesome,” Dave said. “Flavors will be on trend and kept in line with real food and flavors people want.” “I’m more of the fine-toothed comb in certain areas,” Deb said. “We are learning our new business and our roles together.” Working Side by Side Working so closely together while being newlyweds has
Deb and Dave LeRiche, center, married only a few weeks before buying the business.
been a challenge in itself, but a challenge the couple said they have been excited about. “We’re falling naturally into our roles,” Deb said. “She has my back, I have her back and we’re both looking out for the best interest in things,” Dave said. “It’s hard sometimes because you get so involved. Deb will nudge me and say ‘hey you’ve got to eat something’ or ‘get some rest and go to bed.’” Buying the business has been a life changer for Dave and Deb. For Deb, it has been an incredible change as she has continued to work three days a week, 12-hour days at the hospital. But as Batch develops, she will step back from being a nurse and do more with the company. It has been finding that balance that the couple said has been the more difficult thing so far. “There’s so many life events that continue to happen. We haven’t sent out our [wedding] thank you cards yet!” Dave said. “It’s everyday life you still have to take care of and make sure we’re setting time for each other while attacking the business which has been consuming.” As time goes on and the couple figures out running the business, they hope the craziness will settle into a routine. “There’s no routine right now, zero,” Dave said. “We try to never step on each other’s toes and not duplicate our efforts.” Bringing the Family Along Everything about the LeRiches has been about family – even from the moment Dave and Deb first met. Deb was introduced to Dave by Dave’s daughter two years ago and the two tied the knot in April. At the wedding, Deb said the former owners of Batch sent ice cream to the wedding. All of the couple’s family and
friends got a chance to try it and Dave and Deb were able to announce they were buying the business. With a combined family of five children and two grandchildren, Dave and Deb said buying the business has been a family venture. They have not been in short supply of taste testers! “We send information to the Batch Bunch for feedback,” Dave said, explaining the couple’s five children and their significant others have come to be known as the Batch Bunch. “They are brutally honest and we wouldn’t want them any other way.” Getting the family involved in the ice cream isn’t the only way the Batch Bunch will help. Beside supporting fair trade and local ingredients, the two will be supporting the community, Dave said. “It’s not just about the business, but to truly do something that will be beneficial.” The couple wants the entire family to understand the value of giving back. “One of the visions we have is on a weekend we bring the whole family together and do something as a family to give back to the community in whatever manner that is,” Dave said. “We can spend time together, but also do something to help others.” The Batch Bunch will not be the only family to help. “We would like to not only bring on our kids, but whoever we work with,” Dave said. “They become part of our extended family.” Looking Toward the Future One of the couple’s largest goals for the brand is to go national and spread the deliciousness of Batch across the country. Continued on page 22 21
Top left, Deb and Dave LeRiche celebrate with some Batch ice cream. Bottom right, the couple’s granddaughter dives into a pint. Continued from page 21
“We know we will and we can,” Dave said. “We will find local manufacturing in the areas that we go to so we’re local wherever we’re at.” But before going national, Batch needs to spread through the Northeast. “There’s so much untapped territory,” Dave said. “There are opportunities in food service and restaurants and we are not in any convenience stores.” Currently, Batch is in 200 different stores throughout Massachusetts and the surrounding area. In some chains, Dave said, the product is limited to a handful of stores rather than the entire chain. Therefore, the two would like to see Batch expand to all of the stores. Another goal the couple would like to reach soon is to add more flavors to the original ten. The original ten flavors include chocolate, mocha chip, green tea, ginger, salted caramel, cinnamon with chocolate bits, vanilla bean, brown sugar with bourbon and pecan, caramelized banana 22
with walnuts, and dark chocolate with Mexican chili and almonds. “The minute you mention ice cream, everyone has the flavor they want,” Deb said. Two of the couple’s favorites that are available in stores include salted caramel and dark chocolate with Mexican chili and almonds. “It’s delicious, you get a little bit of heat, not too hot and not too spicy,” Deb said. Along with the goals for the business’s growth, Dave and Deb said they hope to keep Batch in the family for years to come. “It’s interesting how they have all gravitated toward an aspect of [the business],” Dave said. “As we plan to launch new flavors, they want to be on the forefront to try them out and get the word out.” As the brand continues to grow, Dave and Deb said people can look forward to seeing that classic, clean “purest pint” of Batch Ice Cream in a store near them. ■ KAITLYN KEEGAN IS THE MANAGING EDITOR FOR AMERICAN BUSINESS MEDIA. SHE CAN BE REACHED AT KKEEGAN@AMBIZMEDIA.COM.
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