After years of working with family businesses, what have we learned?


Among other things, everyone wants to be heard.

And sometimes, it pays to simply have someone who can listen to everyone.

That’s one of the main reasons we exist – to unravel the complexities of legacy planning, and help your family talk to each other and navigate change like never before.

We help give clarity, confidence and actionable plans to nearly every kind of family business and foundation you can imagine, for over 30 years.

What will you get from working with us? Game-changing approaches to legacy planning, thanks to our corporate background and experience as a second-generation business owner.

We understand your dynamic better than most, and we have innovative ideas to take both your business and family forward.


Succession Planning

You don’t just leave a legacy. You have to plan it.

There are a number of key elements to succession planning in a small business:

Asking what’s next, who’s next, and when ‘next’ happens are a good start. It’s also about who’s on board with these decisions, and who might not be pulling their weight. Or, a potential ownership transfer upon an unexpected passing.

There are a number of typically-recognized steps to succession planning:

  • Identifying key positions
  • Identifying who will succeed them
  • Determining when these people will be ready
  • Determining developmental needs of successors
  • Ensuring your ongoing commitment

These mainly refer to “passing-the-torch” situations. As advisors, we go beyond that and overlay our knowledge of all types of small-to-medium-sized businesses to tackle unique situations.

Those may be as “easy” as devising standard processes to follow in the absence of leadership, or during leadership transitions. Or as difficult as having hard conversations with family members who might not be receiving the position they desired.

Plus, there could be additional considerations if the business anticipates a transfer of ownership.

Luckily, we have experience in all of these, and can help your business succeed during its next steps.


Family Business Continuity

Sometimes it’s “what if”. Sometimes, it’s “when”.

Is everything going to plan? Or is there a plan?

Statistics show that only 34% of family businesses have a well-defined succession plan. And while it may be difficult to have hard conversations about the future, it may be even more stressful if the unexpected happens.

I hold planning and strategy sessions that help in aligning families & businesses on the mission, principles and purpose of their organizations. In the event of succession, these values often serve as a “North Star”, and provide a lasting foundation for future efforts.

What prepared me for this?

When my father suddenly died in February 2011, I became the Executor of his estate, Power of Attorney for my mother and Managing General Partner for the family commercial real estate business in Tennessee, which was still reeling from the 2008 recession.

Nothing could have prepared me for this experience. Except maybe a coach who knew exactly what I was facing.

We’ll help you think about the future, and develop a custom plan that considers a number of outcomes, as well as actions to take when the unexpected (or expected) happens.



Giving is the goal.  But how do we get there?

It’s easy to give. What’s not easy? To give well. And please all parties involved.

My first order of business is to navigate the how, what and why of giving – and how to improve charitable outcomes. Then, I figure out how to help you give thoughtfully for the greatest impact.

Regardless of how you set up your philanthropy, I can advise in all matters as well as best practices for:

  • Devising and implementing strategies for giving
  • Supporting and facilitating discussions among families
  • Identify giving opportunities and carrying out plans
  • Evaluating the impact of donor grants
  • Identify other aligned funders or learning partners
  • Coordinating with investment advisors and financial planning experts

At the end of the day, I help donors use their philanthropic dollars more effectively – and find more joy and satisfaction from their giving.


Leadership Transition

Passing the torch. And not passing the buck.

Change isn’t easy. But it can be handled with the right plan.

Whether it’s the passing of a foundation’s principal donor, the retirement of a founder, or any other roadblock, setback or unexpected event, a leadership transition can be difficult for a foundation.

  • When devising a plan for succession or transition, there are many questions to ask:
  • Which staffers are competent enough to handle additional responsibilities?
  • What are the most important logistics to consider in the change?
  • How can board members facilitate this change most effectively?
  • What are our continued expectations as an organization?
  • What’s the leadership profile of our new leader?
  • And who is on our shortlist to lead our organization moving forward?

Overall, we find it’s crucial to educate stakeholders, uphold and support organization goals, and create a culture that is ready for the change!


We all have blind spots.

I know I do! That’s why I have an executive coach myself. I’ll work with you to uncover yours, plus help draw up a roadmap for your continued success.

Together, we’ll put the people, processes and systems in place to help you succeed both professionally and personally.

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