Next-generation family business leaders: This event is for you
Next-generation leaders in family businesses will find enormous value at a two-day event in September.
Prairie Family Business Association will hold its annual Next Generation Retreat on Sept. 11 and 12 at the Buffalo Ridge Resort & Business Center.
This event is geared for those who will be transitioning into a leadership or ownership role in their family business. It’s a chance to gather with peers to invest in leadership development and to develop a network of fellow family business leaders from across the region.
Here’s who should consider attending:
- Next-generation family business leaders working in the business.
- Next-generation family business leaders not working in the business but who may have ownership now or in the future.
- Spouses of family business involved in leadership or ownership in the family business.
- Those considering working for the family business in the future.
The event proved invaluable for Darcy Burner-Christenson, who attended with her two brothers to talk about planning for the future of their Sioux City business, Triview Quality Communications.
She agreed to share how the retreat went for them and what others can gain from it.
First, tell us about your family business. What do you do and how did it begin?
We install business phone systems and security cameras. We have been in business for 27 years, and it all started when my dad was starting to get moved around when working for AT&T. Having three kids between the ages of 8 and 16 and moving from Minnesota to Iowa was hard, and then they wanted to move him again in another year. He told them “No, I will not do that to my family again!” The company really liked him and the work he did for them. They actually gave him the paperwork and helped him to get set up as a subcontractor for them, and so it all began.
As the second generation, how are you and your brothers involved in the business?
The plan was never to have his wife, Diane, or the kids in the business — as I say this I giggle and think of the saying “We plan and God laughs” — but that is what happened. Mom quit her nursing career to help out, and the two worked side-by-side ever since. They built it up and put in countless hours and money to make it the successful business it is now. We kids, one by one, ended up working here. Prairie Family Business Association and the Next Gen Retreat helped get us prepared for ownership. We each have about 15 percent ownership now.
What made you decide to attend the Next Generation Retreat? What were you hoping to gain from it?
It is hard for us to take time away from work, and if we do take time off, our first choice wouldn’t be to spend more time together. So I am glad Mom spearheaded this, signed us up and booked it all while listening to us telling her the reasons it wasn’t the best timing for us kids.
How did the event work? What were your days like?
The event was amazing! Every day we got to deep dive into the inside/guts of the business, and it helped us to see past the day-to-day operations. It also forced us to learn what the other siblings truly thought of their expected roles and what they wanted out of the business. Another bonus is we got to meet other second-generation family business members who already went through similar issues to what we were facing, and we gained some great relationships with them.
What was the biggest surprise you encountered there?
I was surprised how much fun we had and how we were in an environment that pulled things out of us that we might not have said to each other or realized about each other. At the end of the retreat, we were all really close to being on the same page.
What would you say to other families considering attending?
Do it! I can’t wait to sign us up again because it was so valuable for our company culture. It helped us to have the discussions and to implement tasks to set forth a successful transition.
How have you taken what you learned and continued to apply it in your business?
We learned how to understand the financials better and have monthly meetings to go over the numbers. It also helped us to better understand each other’s personalities and how to best approach each other to solve a problem.