Family Enterprise Boards

Navigating unique governance challenges

The director plays a pivotal role in effectively guiding family owned businesses. This program from leading family business experts goes in-depth on the issues that affect current and emerging board members, such as managing the board’s strategic, fiduciary and communication functions.

Through interactive lectures with leading Kellogg faculty, in-depth case studies and panels with experienced family and independent directors, participants will emerge with a well-rounded skill set to effectively manage the essential functions of aligning the board’s work with the values and long-term growth of family-owned businesses.

Groups are encouraged but NOT REQUIRED. No more than 5 participants per family enterprise are permitted to attend at one time. Requests for groups of more than five in a single session must be approved by the program’s Academic Director. Please direct your inquiry to the John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises at


VIDEO: Learn more from Academic Director Jennifer Pendergast.


VIDEO: Academic Director Matt Allen discusses Family Enterprise Boards.

Family Enterprise Blended Programs

The Family Enterprise suite of programs are a blend of three different learning modes designed to maximize both convenience and impact:

  • Pre-Program: Establish bonds before your learning begins, aided by a custom participant-profile book, live virtual sessions and a diagnostic tool.
  • Live Virtual Component: Virtual half-day sessions on Kellogg’s state-of-the-art interactive platform will establish a foundation for the rest of the program. You’ll be introduced to the core concepts of the program and equipped for the meaningful, productive and transformative in-person experience to come.
  • Program Diagnostic: At the end of the live virtual foundation models, each family group will take a diagnostic that identifies family governance priorities. The diagnostic will guide selection of a meaningful family project to apply the concepts from class to address a governance priority for the family.
  • Family consultation and project: A three-week period between the live virtual and in-person program modules gives you the time to identify and work on your family project, engaging other family stakeholders in the work as needed. You will have access to a family consultation to gain faculty input on the challenges your family is facing
  • In-Person: An immersive experience where you are encouraged to unplug from work in a university living-learning environment at the James L. Allen Center. Forge deep connections to a global network of peers and engage with faculty formally and informally. Program sessions, meals and supplemental and social activities are face-to-face, giving you the opportunity to focus completely on learning and growth.

Our blended format, scheduled over multiple weeks, allows more time for deeper reflection and exploration. It also gives you the opportunity to share learnings with family members who haven’t enrolled in the program, include them in your consultation, put concepts into practice and spend more individual time working on the group project.

Participants in earlier blended programs have told us the format was excellent for those who attended with more than one person, while others appreciated the opportunity to reflect and absorb afforded by time spent at home and a slower pace. We’re proud of the improvements we’ve made to our offerings, and we’re sure you’ll agree.

Family Enterprise Suite

Address the unique challenges of running a family business

Who Should Attend

  • Current family and non-family board directors, trustees and chairs of family-controlled firms
  • Family members developing themselves for future roles as board members in their enterprise
  • Family and non-family executives who interact with or who will soon be appointed to the board

Download Past Participant Profile

Key Benefits

  • Define the board's role in understanding family business strategy
  • Explore the differences in board decisions for a family enterprise
  • Understand the unique challenges of selecting family and non-family directors
  • Learn to effectively link the board with the family

Program Content

  • Role of the Board in understanding family business strategy
  • What is different about a Board decision for a family enterprise
  • Selecting family for Board roles
  • Linking the Board with the family
  • Board room etiquette and effectiveness
  • Different models of the Board’s role in governance
  • Board best practices in family enterprises


Matt Allen - Co-Academic Director; John L. Ward Clinical Professor in Family Enterprise and Executive Director of the John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises

Jennifer Pendergast - Co-Academic Director; Adjunct Professor of John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises and Adjunct Professor of Kellogg Executive Education

Devin DeCiantis - Adjunct Lecturer in the Center for Family Enterprises

Timothy Feddersen - Wendell Hobbs Professor of Managerial Politics; Professor of Managerial; Economics & Decision Sciences; Chair of Personnel Committee

Mitchell A. Petersen - Glen Vasel Professor of Finance; Director of the Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital

Edward Zajac - James F. Bere Professor of Management & Organizations

What Participants Say

“The family enterprise boards course is a wonderful 4 days of learning from great teachers and your colleagues in the classroom. A time to think and reflect of a subject extremely important to all family business.”
Chairman of the Board, Carvajal S.A.

“I highly recommend this course for all family directors and potential family directors to get exposure to best professors and learn directly from other family business all along the continuum of generations, competitions, ownership structures and size.”
Shareholder, Board Member, Bemis Manufacturing Company

“This program has covered a great variety of items and issues that family business deal with. The interaction with the other students was an experience that wouldn't have been possibly otherwise, and the classes were very thought provoking. I don't know how anyone could leave without a list of items to take home to work on with their family, board, and business.”
Potential Board Member, Family Council, International Dehydrated Foods, Inc.

Featured Videos

Academic Director Matt Allen discusses who should attend.

Academic Director Matt Allen discusses why you should chose Kellogg.

2024 Session

October 22 - November 8, 2024

Start: October 22 at 8:00 AM

End: November 8 at 12:15 PM

Format: Blended

All times are in CT.

Live Virtual Day: Half-day session
October 22

In-Person Days
November 4-8 on Evanston campus

This Approval Program is limited to individuals with specific business experience. All applications will be subject to review and approval from the program’s Academic Director.


Fee includes lodging and most meals

2025 Session

October 27 - November 7, 2025

Start: October 27 at 8:00 AM

End: November 7 at 11:45 AM

Format: Blended

All times are in CT.

Live Virtual Day:
October 27

In-Person Days
November 3-7 at Wieboldt Hall on Chicago Campus

This Approval Program is limited to individuals with specific business experience. All applications will be subject to review and approval from the program’s Academic Director.


Fee includes lodging and most meals

Kellogg School of Management

James L. Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208