Business Families Centre

The Tale of the Cocktail

Come Back to the Classroom

A new series of interactive educational seminars exclusively for members of family enterprises presented by the Business Families Centre.

The Tale of the Cocktail

The Tale of the Cocktail

Featuring The De Kuyper Family Business

UBC Sauder Business Families Centre launched its Back to the Classroom series with its first event, ‘Tale of the Cocktail’ on March 22, 2016 at the intimate Reflections lounge in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia.

Members of family enterprise were hosted by Dr. Vanessa Strike, CIBC Professor in Applied Business Families Studies to an evening of interactive learning and engaging conversation with special guest, Marc de Kuyper, CEO of Royal Dutch Distillers. Royal Dutch Distillers is one of the oldest and most innovative family firms in the world, having survived 11 generations through Napoleonic occupation and two world wars while growing to become the world’s largest producer of cocktail liqueurs today.

Darren Dahl, Senior Associate Dean of UBC’s Sauder School of Business, kicked off the evening, welcoming guests and expressing gratitude to BMO Financial Group’s generous support of the programming of the Business Families Centre.

With iclickers in one hand, and de Kuyper cocktails in the other, Dr. Strike led guests through the compelling story and case study of the 300 year-old family firm that she wrote in collaboration with Marc; inviting them to share their thoughts along the way. This unconventional classroom case study explored succession planning and multi-generational perspectives, common challenges in the family business space. Key messages on the succession process from the Netherland’s 9th oldest family firm are “stay true to yourself along the way and ensure expectations are clearly communicated on both sides.”

In true family fashion, Marc was joined by his wife, Viviane, and they both graciously opened themselves to questions from Dr. Strike and guests during a fireside chat in the rooftop lounge. Sharing their stories of business and family success and struggle, they offered insight and inspiration on the longevity of the family firm. The de Kuypers’ Royal Dutch Distillery is a member of the Henokiens Society due to its incredible longevity as a family business—membership to the Henokiens Association is exclusive to family firms with a minimum period of existence of 200 years with a mere 46 members worldwide.

The evening was rounded off with a special cocktail round. Marc presented guests with his own celery-based gin creation to enjoy. With more chances to discuss universal family business issues and personal stories with Dr. Strike, Marc and Viviane, drinks and hors d’oeuvres were served.

Image of woman with a headset talking
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