Sustaining the Field, The Families and The Future

“Sustainability” is an oft-heard catchphrase these days—from agriculture and energy to business practices. Sustainability has long been (and continues to be) a chief concern in the family enterprise for both owners and their advisors. The latest research on this topic comes from GenSpring’s The Sustaining the Family Enterprise Study. Researchers invited over 800+ participants resulting in a sample of 93 individuals whose combined net worth exceeds $20 billion. The longevity of those sampled was equally impressive. The study is filled with compelling statistics about family meetings, shareholder agreements, and entrepreneurial orientation.

The study also reveals the “significant role that family business advisors play in helping families to sustain the enterprise for multiple generations.” In fact, “nearly half (46%) surveyed indicated they have worked with a business advisor or consultant” and “families with one or more family members having completed an executive course or program related to family business were more inclined to identify the need to work with a family business advisor.”

This is a must read for practitioners and owners alike. Read the full article here from Kirby Rosplock, Ph.D. and Director of Research and Development at GenSpring Family Offices who along with Dianne Welsh Ph.D. (University of North Carolina Greensboro), Juan Roure and Juan Luis Segurado (both of IESE Business School, University of Navarra Spain) were lead researchers in the study.

Sustainability is also one of the core topics of the 2012 FFI Global Conference: The Field, The Families, The Future and in a much different sense is also part of the ongoing business practices of FFI. Here are a few of the ways FFI is sustaining the future:
  • The 2012 FFI conference in Brussels will be paperless featuring an interactive mobile app for attendees.
  • The FFI conference bookstore will be entirely digital with links to the FFI Amazon store to purchase books (including immediate e-book downloads) related to the topics, written by and recommended by presenters.
  • For FFI members, the 2012 annual election of board members is also paperless through an online ballot. Votenet who provides this service is also dedicated to sustainability and through ReTreeUS has planted a tree in honor of The Family Firm Institute.

About the Contributor

Kirby Rosplock, Ph.D. is Director of Research & Development at GenSpring Family Offices. A passionate advocate, speaker, writer, and innovator in family business, family office and family wealth industries, she has a unique blend of personal life experience being a 4th generation member and owner of a 130+ year old family business ( and is a co-trustee on her family’s foundation.) She earned her undergraduate degree with honors from Middlebury College, and an MBA from Marquette University, with an emphasis in private equity finance and entrepreneurship and previously had her securities licenses. Kirby received her Ph.D. in Organizational Systems from Saybrook University, where she focused on change management as it applies to affluent families. A long time FFI member, Kirby is a published author and speaks widely on topics related to family wealth and serves on the board of Family Enterprise USA. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about GenSpring Family Offices research at

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Yours in Practice,

The Practitioner

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