News Briefs

September 1999

Responsibilities of Ownership

With the joys of owning your own company and being your own boss, come the responsibilities that often weigh heavily on the shoulders of the owning family.

Thanks to the able coordination of Steve Frassetto of McCarty, Curry, Wydeven, Peeters & Haak our September 14 program will provide multiple opportunities to get answers to some of your ownership questions, to clear up fuzzy knowledge, and to better ensure the longevity of the family business.

The program will begin with a brief introductory case entitled, Ignorance Isnāt Bliss. This will set the stage for four expert breakout sessions: Securing Your Estate, Show Me the Money, Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Benefit Buck, and I, John Doe, Being of Sound Mind and Body, Gave It All Away. A pair of sponsors who are experts in the topic area will facilitate each breakout session. You will have the opportunity to attend three sessions of your choice.

Since each breakout session will vary based upon the composition of each group, you will want to have multiple people in attendance to guarantee you gather as much strategic information as possible.


The Forum is pleased to have guests in attendance at our breakfast or afternoon programs. By attending a program as a guest, a prospective family business member has the opportunity to experience the Forum program and networking at very little risk.

This year prospective members may attend any one of the following programs as our guests:

A prospective family business member is limited to one program as a guest.

There are two ways that a family business can attend as our guest.

Using a Board Effectively to Improve Performance

Over the past year, we received requests for a program that would focus on issues related to family business boards. Issues of particular interest include:

Our speaker on October 20 for this requested program is Bill Bassett, president of Bassett Mechanical, chairman of three Boards, and member of the Forum. Bill will discuss these issues as he shares knowledge and experience gained from working with three very different Boards and will entertain questions.

Following Billās presentation, group discussions will continue to focus on issues related to establishing and maintaining effective Boards.

Member News

We would like to share your company news, too.  If you have news to share, please send it to Sue Schierstedt.

Generational Issues

You have heard the adage -- you canāt understand a personās perspective until you have walked a mile in his/her shoes. Well, that holds true for understanding how generational perspectives impact the success or failure of a family business. Every generation has different goals, needs, experiences, and communication styles. Unless each takes the time and makes an effort to walk in the otherās shoes, the businessā success will be very uncertain.

Paul Karofsky, executive director of the Northeastern University Center for Family Business and business owner, is our presenter for our November 10th workshop, Generational Perspectives. Paul was the first national presenter to the Forum back in the Fall of 1996. During that workshop, he proved himself to be an astute expert on the inner dynamics of a family that owns a business. He surprised us with a case study ending that we couldnāt believe and then introduced the real person, his brother, and drove home his point. Most of our members remember this workshop as one of the outstanding Forum workshops and have encouraged us to invite Paul back.

Throughout the day, Paul will provide real experiences and test cases for us to mull over and work through. You will want to bring all the generations of your family so everyone can grow from the experience. Your business may depend upon it.

Peer Groups

Peer groups -- senior generation, successor generation and non-family managers -- will hold their first Fall meetings over lunch after the September 14.  If you are interested in participating in one of these groups, be sure to reserve this date and time on your calendar.

These groups provide an opportunity for members to extend the workshop/program discussion in specifics, to bounce ideas off each other to help with problem solving, and to build camaraderie among peers. Each group establishes its own meeting place and agenda.

To register for one of these groups, please indicate your interest on the September program registration form or call Sue Schierstedt.

Peer groups are most effective when their members commit to attendance at all the meetings so that rapport is built and maintained and there is continuity in the discussion.

Throughout the program year, the peer groups will meet following the regularly scheduled programs. If you intend to become part of a group, please reserve these dates and times on your calendars.

Peer Group

Meeting Dates

September 14, 1999 11:00 a.m.
October 20 6:00 p.m.
November 10 3:00 p.m.
January 27, 2000 10:00 a.m.
April 11 3:00 p.m.

Membership Drive

Our Each One Bring One drive continues.  We want to include as many family businesses in our Forum as desire to learn more about  how to keep their family businesses successful.  The more membes, the better the networking, and the greater the learning for everyone.  If you know a family business owner that would benefit from participation in the Forum, call Sue Schierstedt with the contact information.

Sharing the Wealth

When you have a good year, you want to share the wealth. Right? Well, we would like you to share with all the Forum members when you have a good year, celebrate a special achievement, or just want to be generous.

To maintain membership fees and ensure that we operate right around breakeven, we are asking you to sponsor or co-sponsor part or all of a program. In return, we will thank you profusely, publicize your sponsorship in the News Briefs and the meeting announcements, and make sure everyone is aware of your support.

We have established four different sponsorship levels ranging from $500 to $3,500. If you would be willing to co-sponsor or sponsor a program, please contact Susan Schierstedt at 424-2257. Thank you.

Book Review

Sustaining the Family Business: An Insiderās Guide to Managing Across Generations, Marshall B. Paisner, 1999, Perseus Books, Reading, MA.

Marshall Paisner built and led ScrubaDub Auto Wash Centers, Inc., an award-winning enterprise, for over thirty years and recently passed it on to his sons. Paisner believes family business is "the wellspring of innovation, and a source of ongoing joy, accomplishment, and values, not only for family members, but for the employees, customers, and the communities they serve."

Paisner did extensive research to present this "comprehensive and practical guide to successfully managing all aspects of the family business ö for today and tomorrow, including:

Paisner writes in an easy to read style that makes you feel you have known him for years. He includes a wealth of information garnered from his research with other family business owners. This book is for all of you who continually search for more information upon which to build your culture, values, strategies, and policies.

This book is now available in our resource center.

Program Calendar

Date/Time Topic/Event Presenter
Sept. 14, 7-11 a.m. Responsibilities of Ownership Sponsors
Oct. 20, 3:30-6 p.m. Using a Board Effectively Bill Bassett
president, Bassett Mechanical
Nov 10, 7 a.m. ö 3 p.m. Generational Perspectives Paul Karofsky
executive director, Northeastern University's Center for Family Business
Jan. 27, 2000 7-10 a.m. Styles and Patterns of Communication Catherine Lindsay & Pat Nichols
UW Oshkosh
Mar. 10-18 Creating & Preserving A Family Tradition1 (Cervinia Italy) Italian educator, family business professionals and family business owners; Forum sponsors
Apr 11, 7 a.m. ö 3 p.m. Which Comes First the Family or the Business? John L. Ward
Loyola University Graduate School of Management; The Family Business Consulting Group
May 8, 5 - 9 p.m A Family Heritage Paul Hoffman
president, Hoffman Corporation


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Vol. 3 No. 2 New Briefs
© 1999 Wisconsin Family Business Forum
Editor: Susan Schierstedt
(920) 424-2257
800 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh, WI 54901