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Education for Professional Advisors

Advising for Continuity:
Forging New Pathways in Family Enterprise Advising

Family Enterprise dynamics are not always simple. Misaligned objectives, insufficient or ineffective communication, internal conflicts, inconsistent standards, and a myriad of other pitfalls can hinder the legacy building and succession process. For advisors, these complex spheres are often opaque, which makes it difficult to craft solutions that serve the needs of the entire family system and feel confident when working through challenging family dynamics.

The Cox Family Enterprise Center's new inter-disciplinary series, Advising for Continuity, offers tools for navigating these complexities that will make you a more effective advisor. In the three-part series, we will rattle the foundations of some of the most pervasive truths of the Family Business advising world, facilitating the formation of new perspectives and techniques for diving into family ecosystems. Our reframing of the field will offer dynamic, panoramic insights into the intricate nature of family enterprises, and the ways that you – whether you’re a banker, lawyer, accountant, insurance advisor, wealth advisor, family therapist or a trusted family insider – can guide your clients with greater perspective. Using the family as the hub, we will dive deeply into the ways that your high-level expertise can better service the families you work with.

Expert and globally renowned faculty will guide you through case studies, research, and dialogue for new knowledge that will transform the way that you work with your family enterprise clients. Each of the two-day sessions will show you how to apply a lens of continuity to the Three Critical Success Factors of any family enterprise, and rethink the roles of family dynamics, strategy and governance in the context of advising.

At the Cox Family Enterprise Center we eagerly wade into the challenges and complexities of Family Enterprises to bring you innovative strategies, new techniques, and industry-changing perspectives.

Join us and evolve your advising strategies.

Katherine Dunlevie "The AFC program has been the best training I've encountered specific to my role as a family office executive. It's the missing link in training that I've been looking for and plan to have my entire team complete it."

Katherine Dunlevie
SVP and Managing Director, Synovus Family Asset Management

  • Advising for Continuity Dates & Location

    Advising for Continuity: Forging New Pathways in Family Enterprise Advising

    Now accepting registrations

    1. Rethinking Advising Fundamentals - Oct. 2-3, 2017
    2. Managing Family Dynamics - Nov. 16-17, 2017
    3. Sustainable Strategy & Governance - Jan. 11-12, 2018

    Time: 7:30 - 4:00 PM all days

    4360 Chamblee Dunwoody Road
    Suite 320
    Atlanta, GA 30341

    Advising For Continuity Series = $4850.00 
    Individual Course = $1795.00

    Program fees include materials, continental breakfast and lunch on both days. Parking is free of charge

    Certificate of Completion
    Participants that complete the entire program will receive a Certificate of Completion from Kennesaw State University

    For More Information
    470-578-6045 or

  • Module 1: Rethinking Advising Fundamentals
    Rework the dominant perspectives around succession planning and open up new advisory pathways with a continuity lens.

    • Module 1: Rethinking Advising Fundamentals

      In the first of the three-part series, advisors will look at the fundamentals of family enterprise advising through new and innovative lenses, at times turning conventional knowledge on its head. We will begin to address the advisor’s role in the rich ecosystems that make up family enterprises and tease out the implications of different advising approaches for families by narrowing in on succession planning and continuity.

      Following an interdisciplinary introduction to family enterprise fundamentals, with the aim of challenging the conventional knowledge of the field, we will investigate the family enterprise model and new research. With this shared understanding, the course will then turn to succession planning and continuity. Using case studies and multimedia approaches, we will begin applying these perspectives as we explore the roles of advisors in family systems.

      The course will cover the big picture of family businesses, introduce continuity and explore the role of the advisor in this landscape. Systems theory and establishing Three Critical Success Factors for Continuity will frame the discussions and offer new approaches to common challenges.


      At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

      • Understand various issues inherent to conventional approaches to Family Enterprise Advising
      • Appreciate the sheer complexity of a family enterprise and clarify the role and boundaries of advisors inside this complexity
      • Hold big-picture perspectives of family systems and the complexity of family relationships
      • Understand the common suite of advisory recommendations and the wide-reaching, potentially problematic, implications for families and businesses
      • Facilitate better and broader conversations with clients that incorporate the full spectrum of their environment
      • Remain mindful as an advisor of what they can and can’t do, with established and clear boundaries
      • Know and assimilate the key traits associated with being a trusted advisor
      • Incorporate continuity as an alternate lens to succession planning and apply this long-term approach to other areas of the advising process

    Module 2: Managing Family Dynamics
    Apply new models to the wider complexity of family dynamics, a critical success factor in long-term continuity for family enterprises. 

    • Module 2: Managing Family Dynamics

      In the second session of the three-part Advising for Continuity series, we will take a deep dive into family dynamics, beginning with the misleadingly simple question: what is a family? Through our explorations we will reflect upon the characteristics of a trusted advisor to family enterprises and the various benefits of acquiring knowledge for the family system. Over two days, advisors will consider the intricate layers of family relationships and consider strategies for navigating these complex waters. Our focus will remain on ways that advisors can tap into the unique strengths of family enterprises while helping them resolve their unique and multifaceted challenges.

      The course will begin with a brief review of continuity and its role in family dynamics, move into some of the systems and functions of family members and other stakeholders, and explore the challenges and strengths of family relationships in business contexts. Over two days we will consider a number of cases and concepts using family relationships as the central focus. After establishing some of the major challenges that arise in these relationships, we will apply our lens of continuity and family systems theory to family dynamics, ultimately mapping out concrete ways for advisors to integrate with and uplift their family enterprise clients.


      At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

      • Approach family dynamics with an increased sense of confidence while drawing from a deeper well of strategic resources
      • Understand key family relationship dynamics, including parental, marital, sibling and cousin
      • Explore habitual approaches to family systems, and determine if those serve the best interests family businesses
      • Approach the emotional elements of family dynamics as they make business decisions with greater understanding, and have a suite of practices for navigating this landscape
      • Apply continuity to family dynamics and recognize the wide-reaching implications of this shift in perspective
      • Understand ourselves as advisors and learn how to manage ourselves in the complexities of family systems

    Module 3: Sustainable Strategy & Governance
    Put the continuity lens into practice in the contexts of strategy and governance, redefining your leadership as a Family Enterprise Advisor.

    • Module 3: Sustainable Strategy & Governance

      We know from research that good strategy and governance are two critical success factors for continuity. The final session in Advising for Continuity is designed to teach advisors about how business families build a sustainable enterprise, using strategy and governance as key pillars of their process. The session will begin with a brief overview of governance in family enterprise to set the stage for a deeper examination of the key elements that influence the effectiveness of governance in family firms. We will explore how governance evolves over time from a relatively simple founder’s governance structure to a complex cousin, multi-family governance structure. Our goal is for participants to leave with new skills and tools related to the creation and implementation of effective decision making and communication structures that support continuity and fit the distinctive need of each family enterprise. Participants will learn about various types of strategies within family firms that facilitate long-term harmony and success. This awareness will allow for higher-level engagements with family enterprise clients, laying the groundwork for multi-generational transition and growth.


      At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

      • Define legacy and how it informs the entire strategic process
      • Comprehend the fundamentally unique dynamics of governance processes in family enterprises that create accountability up and down the chain
      • Understand what it takes to create an effective continuity plan that promotes family entrepreneurship and leverages the family's strengths for success
      • Understand the impact of creating a family enterprise strategy unique to a family's desired legacy and specific business context
      • Exploring the concept of familiness as a unique source of competitive advantage and potentially a constraint
        Examine techniques for effectively integrating and implementing all levels of strategy within a family enterprise using effective governance

    General Information

    Designed for a Multi-Disciplinary Audience
    Including External Advisors, Internal Advisors and family members.

    External advisors: Advisors working with enterprising families such as investment advisors, private bankers, wealth management specialists, accountants, lawyers, insurance professionals, family therapists, coaches, family business consultants, management consultants.

    Internal advisors: Non family executives working within family businesses; Presidents, CFO's, VP Human Resources and other non family executives, managers and employees or family office executives or managers.

    Family members: Family members who manage the advisory relationships, operate in an advisory capacity to their family, such as they may chair the family council, the ownership organization or are members of the board.  It is also useful for family members who are preparing for leadership in the family enterprise.

    Structured for Practice

    Facilitated by seasoned, expert consultants to enterprising families, this program provides effective strategies that you can use to address the complex challenges associated with each client family’s unique enterprise challenges and goals. The three courses contain numerous video and written case studies to help illustrate and teach the key elements of the program. Each session is designed to be highly interactive, using multi-media and the latest process methodologies to aid learning and knowledge integration. Our goal is to ensure that the participants attending come from a variety of different disciplines that serve family enterprise including both technical and behavioral experts. The overall program is designed to facilitate a multi-professional lens on the complexity of the field of strategic advising to family enterprise.

  • Gaia Marchisio, Ph.D.
    Executive Director, Cox Family Enterprise Center
    Aronoff Professor of Family Business

    Judi Cunningham, MA, FEA
    Visiting Scholar, Cox Family Enterprise Center
    Founder of the Institute of Family Enterprise Advisors (IFEA)

    Wendy Sage-Hayward, M.A., M.Sc., FEA
    Consultant, Family Business Consulting Group

    Marjorie Blum, Ph.D.
    Visiting Scholar, Cox Family Enterprise Center

    Michael N. McGrann
    Managing Principal, The TELOS Group

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