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October 2, 2019

Returning family business leader shares vision for the future

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Stephanie Larscheid enjoyed being executive director of the Prairie Family Business Association enough that when the opportunity came to return, she seized it.

Larscheid, who led the association from 2015 until early 2018 before returning to her native Iowa, returned to the job last month.

We sat down with her to learn more about her goals for helping family businesses in the future.

What inspired you to want to return to the Prairie Family Business Association?

It is great to be back working with family businesses each day! Working with family businesses is rewarding and fulfilling work. I enjoy serving as a trusted resource to families who are going through transitions and planning for their future. It’s been enjoyable to see what has transpired for these families over the last year and to reconnect with our members.

You began your new role in late August. What have been some of your first priorities?

In the first few weeks back at Prairie Family Business, I have spent time with our staff, members and sponsors. Our staff includes Rebecca Zabel, business development manager, and Suzy Turnquist, office manager. I’ve been reaching out to members and engaging with them about what is happening at their business. This time of yearm we are working on programming for 2020, so it is helpful to have conversations with members and sponsors to determine what their needs are. In my conversations, I’ve been able to assess what trends we are seeing with families. This helps us identify how Prairie Family Business can add value for our members’ businesses in the year ahead and in the future.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Prairie Family Business Association, what should they know about it?

Prairie Family Business Association is the premier resource for family businesses to grow, engage, transition and prosper. We provide family businesses with the tools to succeed through high-quality education and collaboration. Family businesses are provided a platform to achieve harmony and longevity.

We are proud to support approximately 200 members, helping family businesses survive and thrive in their second and third generations and beyond. We recognize family businesses are vital to our local economies and are honored to help them succeed today and plan for the future.

For 28 years, Prairie Family Business has been serving family businesses in the region. The association is a key outreach center of the USD Beacom School of Business. USD Beacom Dean Venky Venkatachalam and Associate Dean De Vee Dykstra collaborate with PFBA staff on strategy and vision for the association. The PFBA advisory board meets regularly to provide insight and direction on strategy and programs.

Looking ahead, what’s your big picture vision for the organization? How would you like to see it continue to develop?

The Prairie Family Business advisory board met recently in Bismarck, N.D., in conjunction with the Family Business Forum that the association hosts annually in North Dakota. This allowed us the opportunity to assess our programs, strategize and plan for the future. Many of our members are implementing an operating system for their business that aids with day-to-day management, succession planning, innovation and growth. We plan to present programming in the year ahead focused around operating systems. Through our webinars that are broadcast throughout the region, we plan to showcase six families in the year ahead who have lessons learned to share with fellow members. Often, members learn best from peer family business owners and leaders, including what to do and what not to do related to succession planning and transition.

The year ahead for Prairie Family Business will include the 28th annual family business conference in Sioux Falls on April 28 and 29. The keynote and family business success story will be announced soon. A family business retreat will be held in August 2020. Initial planning has begun for board education for boards of directors and advisory boards. We are excited about the programs and opportunities we can offer families and advisers as we strive to continue enhancing value for our membership.

Affinity peer groups continue to be among the highest value program we offer members. There are 14 groups active throughout the region. Groups are centered on three separate generations, including next generation, transition and senior leading generation. These confidential groups offer a professional facilitator and the opportunity for members to talk through business and family opportunities and challenges. Feedback remains high from membership about the experiences within these groups. We continue to add affinity peer groups as requested by members.

Do you find businesses are still discovering the association? What kind of business is the right fit for membership? And do you have to be a family business?

We find that businesses usually hear about the association through our staff, fellow members and sponsors. We serve a wide range of businesses, including those with less than 10 employees to those with more than 1,000 employees. Our members are from a variety of industries, and their locations are in the five states we serve, including South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.

The Prairie Family Business advisory board has been intentional about being accessible to all sizes and types of family businesses. Membership in the organization is affordable. Basic membership rates are less than $950 annually and are based on the number of full-time employees. Both family businesses and those who advise or serve family businesses are welcomed into membership.

Our staff at Prairie Family Business works hard to provide service and value to families and advisers. We are your resource network for family business success.

If businesses want to learn more about joining the association, what should they do?

Our staff is happy to visit with any and all family businesses and family business advisers. You are welcome to visit, call our office at 605-274-9530 or email us at to learn more.