Business Families Centre

Family Enterprise Discovery Day

Education tailored to your family’s unique learning goals

This one-day course provides your family with customized full-family education in a confidential setting. Specifically designed around your family’s unique learning goals, course content is tailored to key family enterprise topics pre-selected by your family. Your family will emerge with practical tools and actionable strategies to start to understand and address both individual and family opportunities and challenges.

Non-technical in nature, Family Enterprise Discovery Day is designed as a highly interactive experience. The private, confidential setting encourages open dialogue between family members to maximize the learning experience.

Course format

We understand that not all family businesses have the same learning needs, or are at the same stage of family enterprise education. That’s why we designed this private, one-day course: to empower your family, with the support of our faculty, to choose the key family enterprise topics that best meet your family’s educational goals.

Pre-course consultation

Prior to the start of the course, our faculty will work directly with your family to understand its structure, assess its learning needs and goals, and help select any two of the following topics to comprise the unique content of your family’s course: Family Enterprise Essentials, Transitions & Change, Communication & Relationship Management, Leadership, and Governance.

Flexible in-class learning

On the day of the course, our faculty will introduce family enterprise education, and then spend the duration of the day on the two topics pre-selected by your family. Each topic has customizable aspects, resulting in tailored curriculum to your family’s particular learning objectives.

Core teachings & takeaways

Your family will select any two of the following topics to create its unique course:

    • Define what a family business is, the different forms of family business ownership, and what makes it different from other forms of ownership
    • Explore how family dynamics impact business performance
    • Use family systems theory to explain the unique challenges you face as a family business
    • Apply key frameworks from the field of family enterprise to help structure your thinking and develop a common vocabulary
    • Examine how individual, family, and business life cycles impact change in the family enterprise, and identify best practices for managing that change
    • Explore the six-stages of transition in a family enterprise, as well as common challenges at each stage
    • Identify where each family member is in the transition process, and develop short- and long-term strategies to plan for upcoming transitions
    • Create individual transition timelines
    • Identify the unique communication challenges and conflicts facing family businesses
    • Discover each family member’s individual communication style and the impact it has on family dynamics and overall behavior
    • Uncover strategies and techniques for effective communication, including how to approach difficult conversations and conflict
    • Identify the complexities of leading a family firm and what leadership means at each stage of the family and the business
    • Discover how to identify and develop the succeeding generation at each lifecycle stage
    • Explore the science of leadership by examining recent discoveries from field of neuroscience
    • Describe continuing leadership opportunities and roles for the founding generation
    • Discover how governance structures can help to clarify roles, facilitate conversation, and resolve sensitive issues
    • Differentiate what governance means for the family, the owners, and the business
    • Discover what governance structures make sense (and when), and how to leverage governance to make better decisions
    • Discover your family’s “wealth profile”: how its wealth was created, current status, and options for the future
    • Navigate the opportunities and challenges of transitioning wealth in a way that reflects family values while achieving optimum outcome
    • Build wealth competency in inheritors, ensuring wealth preservation and growth over the long term


Suitable for family firms at all levels of family enterprise education, and at all stages of planning. All family members (whether active in the business or not) and non-family executives are encouraged to attend the course


inline image

Vanessa M. Strike

CIBC Professorship in Applied Business Family Studies
Assistant Professor, Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Division

Vanessa Strike is an Assistant Professor in Sauder’s Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Division, and holds the CIBC Professorship in Applied Business Family Studies.

Vanessa received her PhD in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Richard Ivey School of Business in 2009.  Prior to joining UBC, Vanessa was the founding and scientific director of the Erasmus Centre for Family Business at the Netherlands’ Rotterdam School of Management.  Her research interests include Family Business, Entrepreneurship, Governance, Comparative Ownership Structures, and CSR.  In particular, Vanessa focuses on the challenges of governance and decision-making within the family firm, and on family firm advising.

Vanessa has published in the Journal of International Business Studies, Family Business Review, and Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings.  Her recent award-winning publications include Leaving a Legacy of Transgenerational Success: The Effect of Socioemotional Wealth on CEO Career Horizons in Family Firms (Best Family Business Paper, Entrepreneurship Division - 2013 Academy of Management Annual Conference); The Most Trusted Advisor and the Subtle Advice Process in Family Firms; and Advising the Family Firm: Reviewing the Past to Build the Future (Most Cited Article in 2012 - Family Business Review). See Vanessa's research and publications here.

Image of woman with a headset talking
  • Have a question?

    Our team is happy to help.

  • Get in touch

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