Family Business Owner Series: Building an Effective Board and the Role of Outsiders

This half day meeting helps family leaders of business owning families explore the process of building a strong family business, family office or philanthropic board, and the steps families should consider when introducing non-family board members.


  • About
  • Agenda
  • Speakers
  • Accommodations

This half day session, co-led by Family Office Exchange and Schiff Hardin LLP, is directed towards business owning families that are looking to formalize their family business, family office, or family foundation board, with a view of including non-family board members. Attendees of this session will be able to develop their own process for building and evaluating an effective board. 

Key Questions The Sessions Will Answer:

  • What does it mean to take a family enterprise view?
  • Why is the use of outside board members important to the growth and future of the business?
  • What is the process for establishing a formal board?
  • How do I evaluate and understand my family's governance needs?
  • What is the difference between an advisory board and a fiduciary board?
  • How will we determine the appropriate skill-sets and qualifications for our family and non-family board members?
  • What is the recommended process for identifying and selecting board members?
  • How will our family determine the roles and responsibilities of our board members?
  • After selecting board members, what are the important factors to consider to ease the transition?

There is no fee to attend; however registration is limited to 3 per family and qualified guests.

Building an Effective Board and the Role of Outsiders is the second of three installments in the Family Business Owner Series: Preparing Families for Multi-Generational Success offered by Family Office Exchange. 

Tuesday, October 8

Agenda Overview

8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

  • Networking breakfast
  • Taking the Enterprise View
  • The Process of Establishing an External Board
  • Working Lunch and Panel Discussion with Family Business Leaders
  • Adjournment

 = attendees may be eligible for up to 2 credits

Mariann Mihailidis, Managing Director, Councils

Mariann oversees the FOX member councils, which are private networks of close peers working together to advance their professional development and to solve the unique challenges they face in their management of private wealth. She has extensive experience in the accounting and legal fields. As a practicing tax and estate planning attorney, she develops strategies in wealth transfer issues, taxes, and corporate structures.

Karen Neal, Managing Director

Karen works with family groups and wealth advisors to bring processes and solutions to the challenges of preserving family wealth, including refining of business strategy to address transitions and changing needs of the family and firm. Her work with families has included development of family enterprise strategy, operational assessment of the family office, selection of wealth advisors, and wealth management industry education. She is a frequent speaker on the topic of family office best practices.

Sarah Kerr Severson, Schiff Hardin LLP

Sarah Kerr Severson has significant experience in estate, trust, and guardianship litigation and administration, business succession planning, special needs planning, wealth transfer planning, and charitable foundation and exempt organization litigation and administration. Her clients include family groups and individuals, business entities and corporate fiduciaries.She works with clients to develop comprehensive estate plans, business succession plans and charitable planning techniques. Ms. Severson develops plans which maximize and protect wealth while minimizing transfer taxes, and which implement her clients' familial, philanthropic and other non-tax objectives.

Matthew Galo, Schiff Hardin LLP

Matt Galo counsels private companies and their founders, investors and management teams in all aspects of their corporate activities, including formation and governance issues, capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, business counseling and negotiations, management issues, restructurings and transition. He serves as leader of our firm’s Private Companies practice group. In addition, Mr. Galo represents bank holding companies and other financial institutions in their mergers and acquisitions, including FDIC-assisted acquisitions of failed banks, as well as regulatory, corporate and governance matters. Mr. Galo has broad experience in business combinations involving mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private offerings, private equity and venture capital investment, recapitalizations and other transactions.

Robert Pluth, Jr., Schiff Hardin LLP

Robert R. Pluth Jr. represents taxpayers in connection with various federal and state income tax controversies, including complex tax accounting matters, tax shelters and transnational disputes. Along with partners in our White Collar Crime and Corporate Compliance Group, Mr. Pluth represents taxpayers under criminal investigation regarding tax-sensitive activities. In addition, he implements customized tax, succession planning and estate planning strategies to enable business owners and other wealthy individuals achieve their long-term planning goals. His practice places special emphasis on business and tax planning for businesses organized as limited liability companies (LLCs), joint ventures, partnerships, S corporations and other privately held business and investment entities

Family Office Exchange has NOT reserved hotel accommodations for attendees of the Family Business Owner Series: Building an Effective Board and the Role of Outsiders.  Please note that attendees are responsible for making their own hotel arrangements. Please check back soon for recommended nearby hotels. 

Recommended Hotels with Negotiated Corporate Rates

Atlantic Marriott Suites Midtown
35 14th Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

Nightly Rate
$179/night plus applicable taxes
Mention Atlanta Legal Rate at time of booking to receive the discounted rate

Four Seasons
75 14th Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

Nightly Rate
$265/night for Superior guest room plus applicable taxes
Mention Schiff Hardin Rate at time of booking to receive discounted rate

W Atlanta - Midtown
188 14th Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30361

Nightly Rate
Contact the hotel directly for nightly rates