By Golie Alemi
UCLA Anderson School of Management and the Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies presented the inaugural Steinbeck Family Business Seminar, a program aimed towards owners and managers of family-owned and other closely held businesses.
The two-day program focused on the dynamics of family and closely held businesses, including financial goals, effective corporate governance, engaging the next generation of leadership, managing for healthy family and employee relationships and more. The seminar content was presented through Anderson-faculty-led lectures, case studies and workshops, as well as engaging panel discussions with industry experts, including representatives from City National Bank, Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP, KPMG and Mercer.
Participants of the seminar came from a range of industries, including software engineering, aerospace, real estate, manufacturing and automotive. Although there was a broad spectrum of industries represented, the students immediately connected through their shared challenges and goals for their respective businesses.
Current MBA student Faizaan Ghauri (’15) took this opportunity to supplement his studies and attend the seminar with his father, Najeeb. “This was a very candid two days. We didn’t just broach sensitivities of family business relationships, we took them head on and developed a framework to manage both family and employee dynamics,” Faizaan said. “Attending the seminar with my dad certainly helped us set a roadmap for what each of us wants to accomplish in the coming years.”
Several alumni also returned to Anderson to participate in the seminar, including Stephen Ackroyd (’94), CEO of Touch Adventures, a software engineering company that focuses on enterprise mobile apps and cloud services. “I found the family business seminar to be very practical,” Ackroyd said. “The family sitting next to me had a business very similar to mine, yet theirs was 1,200 people and publically traded. Having real family businesses present themselves as cases was very enlightening and engaging.”
Senior Associate Dean and Professor Alfred E. Osborne said the goal for this program was to help individuals navigate through the complexities of family businesses and “transform [your] business to be healthier and more prosperous.”
Due to the great success and high demand for the program, the Price Center plans to extend the seminar into a series. For more information, please visit their website or email The Price Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.