FOX Family Enterprise Thinking Workshop - June 26-27, 2018

There are many complexities that come with being a family enterprise. What starts out as a family business gradually evolves into multiple businesses, major real estate holdings, multi-generational ownership structures and investment portfolios, along with visibility in the community and in your philanthropy. Successful families need a thoughtful way to plan for, organize and oversee these complex family activities, all of which are a part of the Family Enterprise.

The FOX Family Enterprise Thinking Workshop will show you and your family how to design a long-term plan for your Family Enterprise. The workshop will give you the tools you need to implement a vision and a plan for your family’s future together. Attendees will learn about developing a framework for their own family enterprise plan, a process for outlining critical action steps, and the key questions every enterprise must consider.

This workshop is for board members, family leaders, and family office executives who can sense that their family has grown bigger than the business, and needs to design an architecture plan for managing all of the disparate parts of the family enterprise. We encourage you to attend the workshop as a leadership team to establish a roadmap for your family’s future.

Watch: What to Expect at the Workshop



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  • About
  • Agenda
  • Speakers
  • Testimonials
  • Accommodations

REFUND POLICY: For event registrations, refunds of payments will be offered if the cancellation is made in writing to Family Office Exchange at five (5) or more business days prior to the start of the event.

Day 1 - Tuesday, June 26, 2018
This workshop will run from 9:00am - 4:30pm on Tuesday, and 9:00am - 4:00pm on Wednesday.  There will be breaks between each module.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and there will be a reception and dinner at 6:00pm at the end of the first day for networking among families, hosted at Smith & Wollensky,  318 N. State Street.
Module 1

Confirm Family Commitment to Togetherness and Areas of Affinity

What makes your family unique? Where is the energy in the family? What are the synergies in working together? All of these questions are important to consider as you contemplate the challenges and benefits of working together for the long-term. Sharing ownership means sharing control, and sharing control means sharing risk. Having frank conversations about the benefits of staying together, and the work involved in doing so, is critical to securing the collective family’s commitment to the family enterprise and a future together. It helps to begin with an understanding of the past as a prologue to the future.

Content to be Covered:

  • Discuss Family Views on Togetherness
  • Recognize Generational Patterns in Families
  • Analyze the Family’s Prior History
  • Understand Values and Guiding Principles
  • Identify Patterns and Polarities that Define Families
  • Address Attitudes toward Change and Transitions
Module 2

Form a Clear Vision for the Family’s Future

“Every generation is a first generation.” With each transition of leadership, it is important to review the purpose of the enterprise and the vision for where you are going together. Understanding the world’s driving forces and mapping the family’s collective views on risks and opportunities are ways to engage the family in productive dialogue about the future. Scenario planning provides a safe means for considering alternate paths for the future and gaining consensus around the best way forward. Crafting the desired future vision from many possible future scenarios will give the family confidence and clarity about their future direction.

Content to be Covered:

  • Evaluate Shared Risks and Opportunities
  • Identify Driving Forces and Key Uncertainties
  • Using Scenario Planning to Identify Possibilities
  • Agree on the Shared Vision for the Future
  • Define Key Strategies and Action Steps to Implement the Vision
Module 3

Develop Family Enterprise Thinking

Families with an enterprise mindset recognize the complexity of all that they own together and understand the importance of managing its business, financial, human and social capital in a thoughtful and intentional way for the good of all owners. In this session, FOX will show you how to develop a Family Enterprise Framework that supports the vision. This process will help you organize your thinking and your resources to build a framework for the future.

Content to be Covered:

  • Develop a Clear Profile of the Enterprise
  • Understand How the Enterprise Supports the Vision
  • Recognize Family Opportunities and Risks
  • Set Guiding Principles for the Enterprise
  • Design Essential Structures to Support the Enterprise
  • Build Strategic Relations with Key Advisors
Day 2 - Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Module 4

Develop Enterprise Goals and Strategies

Just as you engage in strategic planning for the family business, so must you engage in planning for the family enterprise. Developing a family enterprise strategy means considering the goals of the business, the goals for family unity and engagement, and the family’s commitments to community and  philanthropy. Looking at the financial assets in an integrated manner with the input of the family, the family office (if one exists), and the trusted advisor team is an important part of the process. The family must articulate the  enterprise goals in a substantive manner, and work together to define how success will be measured.

Content to be Covered:

  • Develop an Integrated Strategy That Matters to Owners
  • Consolidate Family Goals into an Enterprise View
  • Analyze Timeline and Trigger Events
  • Do Periodic Scenario Planning to Revisit and Refine the Enterprise Strategy
Module 5

Understand the Importance of Governance

Effective governance involves the development of a system (principles, policies, practices) that fosters trust, balances power, and helps family members work together to further their collective goals in a productive manner. Each layer of governance (e.g., Family Assembly, Family Enterprise Board, Family Committee) has unique roles, responsibilities and criteria for involvement. Good governance provides a means to navigate the inevitable transitions every family enterprise encounters.

Content to be Covered:

  • Understand the Benefits of a Formal Governance System
  • Develop a Decision-making Process that is Trusted
  • Design Governance Structures to Grow with the Family
  • Develop Clear Levels of Authority and Accountability for Boards
  • Develop Performance Metrics to Monitor Progress
Module 6

Foster Family Learning About the Enterprise

Most families want their wealth to be a source of satisfaction for their children and grandchildren. Developing a culture of learning and investing in a systematic approach to delivering age-appropriate financial education and leadership training is the best way to prepare family members to be responsible owners of wealth and life-long contributors to the family enterprise.

Content to be Covered:

  • Engage the Family in Defining Learning Priorities for Each Generation
  • Understand Personal Leadership Skills and Interests
  • Develop an Owner Education Program for All Ages
  • Identify Family Leadership Roles and Responsibilities
  • Identify a Leadership Selection Process Using Independent Advisors
  • Structure a Process to Ensure a Smooth Transition
Wrap Up

Developing Key Action Steps for your Enterprise

Using worksheets, we will help you develop a plan for moving your enterpirse to the next level from wherever you are today.  We will discuss roadblocks and action steps that can help move the family forward and how to gain family commitment for the process.




Sara Hamilton, Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Founder and CEO of Family Office Exchange, Sara is a recognized visionary in the private wealth community. While a trust officer at Harris Bank in Chicago in the late 1980s, Sara witnessed the emergence of family wealth management as an industry. Hundreds of U.S. families became centi-millionaires overnight through leveraged buyouts that spawned private financial offices commonly called family offices, to manage family assets and educate wealth owners. Sara was the first professional to recognize family offices as a complex and unique market segment in wealth management.

Sara founded Family Office Exchange (FOX) in 1989 as a peer network for family office executives. Within 10 years, FOX could see that families needed help with their enterprise vision, managing financial transitions and educating family members on responsible ownership. As a result, FOX expanded the member network to include educational workshops and strategy consulting for family enterprises, and a network for making direct investments in operating companies was added in 2010.

Today, Sara provides strategic direction for FOX and leads the development of new programs and services supporting family enterprises, family office executives and wealth advisory firms in more than 20 countries. FOX has built a unique team of professionals serving multi-generational families, led by 15 technical experts who are supported by a dedicated team of 30 additional employees based in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Madrid.

Sara is the co-author of Family Legacy and Leadership: Preserving True Family Wealth in Challenging Times, and serves on the executive education faculty of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where she is an adjunct faculty member for their Private Wealth Management course, offered twice per year in Chicago. She is on the founding boards for the International Private Directors Association in Chicago and the Foundation for Gender Equality in New York.

Jane Flanagan, Managing Director

As a Managing Director with Family Office Exchange (FOX), Jane serves as Second Chair for the Owner Operator and Financial Executive Councils and works as a developer, writer and editor of FOX white papers and Guides.

Jane has been with the firm since 1993, and has served in a number of roles providing value to FOX members, including Director of Family Office Research, Director of Membership, and as a Senior Consultant to family offices and financial institutions on the wealth management process and family office operations.

Jane managed the firm’s annual Family Office Benchmarking™ research studies for several years and co-authored many FOX publications including: The FOX Guide to the Professional Family Office, 50 Best Practices for an Enduring Family Enterprise, and Financial Reporting in the Family Office. She is a member of the 100-Year Families Research Team led by Dennis Jaffe and contributor to Good Fortune: Building a Hundred Year Family Enterprise. She develops content for FOX learning events, including the FOX Family Office Design Workshop and the FOX Family Enterprise Workshop and serves as a content resource for the Membership and Consulting Teams at FOX.

Prior to her tenure with FOX, Jane was a Relationship Manager on the global custody Foundation and Endowment Team at The Northern Trust Company. She received a B.A. in Political Science from St. Norbert College.


Feedback from attendees of last year's FOX Family Enterprise Workshop:

"The workshop provides straightforward steps to getting the conversation going to establish vision, goals and then governance."

"It helped me think about what is included in the family enterprise and think about why we want to be together."

"Really enjoy meeting other people who come from similar learn what they see, like and need."

"Great opportunity to learn a lot of information in a short amount of time."

"Love the small group (not a large conference)."

"Great Workshop, informative and challenging."

The Workshop will take place at:

Gleacher Center
450 Cityfront Plaza Drive
Chicago, IL 60611



See below for some suggested options.

Hotel rates are current as of June 20, 2018.

Viceroy Chicago 
Rates starting at $619
1.3 miles from The Gleacher Center
1118 N. State

Virgin Hotel Chicago
Rates starting at $779
.5 Miles from the Gleacher Center
203 N Wabash

Hotel Lincoln
Rates starting at $529
3.2 Miles from the Gleacher Center
(Not walkable) 1816 N. Clark