Business Families Centre

Family Meetings Workshop

Strong family governance is good business

Regular family meetings are frequently cited as one of the key contributing factors to family business longevity and success. This half-day workshop will provide you and your family with practical tools to understand, introduce, or improve family meetings, which are one of the simplest, yet most effective, forms of family governance.

You will identify how to overcome common hurdles to initiating family meetings, and engage with best practices for achieving open dialogue on important issues.

Course format

The half-day Family Meetings Workshop includes three key components: education, discussion, and practice. Family governance theory is blended with applied learning activities to maximize the educational experience and provide participants with concrete takeaways. Faculty-led conversation is used to introduce core concepts, which participants then apply to real scenarios and their own family circumstances during activities and discussion.

Core teachings & takeaways

  • Define what “governance” means for the family, the business, and the owners
  • Identify and explore different types of family governance structures (family meetings, family assembly, family council)
  • Define what a family meeting is and its benefits
  • Describe the family meeting process, identifying common roadblocks and solutions
  • Analyze family meeting logistics, including the ideal frequency, duration, and location of the meetings
  • Learn how to set family meeting agendas according to the stage of the family business and family dynamics
  • Explore who to include in family meetings
  • Discover topics to discuss at your next family meeting
  • Contrast meeting leadership from family or business leadership
  • Plan for your family’s next (or first!) family meeting


This workshop is at a fundamental level and does not require previous family governance knowledge. It is particularly useful for families looking to introduce or improve family meetings.

Family members may attend individually or alongside other members of their family. The workshop is suitable for all family members, whether active in the business or not.

Enrollment is restricted to members of family firms. For programming suitable for advisors and other professionals that work with family firms, please see the BFC’s Advisor Programs.


Wendy Sage-Hayward

Wendy Sage-Hayward

Adjunct Professor

Wendy is an adjunct professor at the Sauder School of Business and has 25 years of experience working with business leaders and family firms. A leader in education and programming for business families and their advisors, she teaches at the Business Families Centre at Sauder and consults with the Family Business Consulting Group. She facilitates multi-generational conversations on firm continuity, next generation preparation and governance. A member of a 128-year-old family enterprise herself, Wendy is one of the directors of the board of her family enterprise, which has about 40 partners in the cousin consortium stage.

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    Sauder School of Business
    +1 604.822.8262
    Fax: +1 604.822.8496
    1600 - 800 Robson Street
    Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B7