Governing Family Enterprises

New insights and skills for all involved in the family business

Explore the specialized knowledge and skills unique to governing a complex family enterprise effectively. In a collaborative, supportive environment alongside representatives of other enterprising families facing similar issues, you and your family owners, board members and executives can tackle together the complex issues of continuity and governance.

Guided by a faculty of experts in family business practice, seasoned advisors and leaders of best-in-class family enterprises, you will learn to differentiate the roles and responsibilities of owners, family members (whether involved in management or not), independent directors and executives. As you work through real-world studies with peers from other respected families, you will develop new governance and leadership mindsets and gain confidence in your ability to apply them in practice. You will also see how a common vision can unite family owners in a long-term commitment to continuity.

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

Kellogg Executive
Leadership Institute


VIDEO: Learn more from Academic Director Jennifer Pendergast

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: 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 two-week period between the live virtual and in-person program modules that allow you 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 learning environment. 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.

Who Should Attend

  • Family and non-family directors, CEOs, board chairs and trustees of family-controlled firms. The enterprise must be 3rd generation or beyond, with a significant number of family owners and minimum annual revenue of US$100m with a preference for $500m or above (1st and 2nd generation enterprises should check out our Forming Family Enterprise Governance program)
  • Family members involved in governing their family councils, family office or their family foundations
  • Family shareholders

Download Past Participant Profile

Key Benefits

  • Define the roles and responsibilities of owners, directors, board chairs, the executive team and the family council
  • Improve your board’s effectiveness
  • Learn about critical governance policies needed to sustain the relationship between the enterprise and the family
  • Learn how a common vision can unite family owners in a long-term commitment to continuity
  • Learn how governance can be used to gain trust among family owners, directors and top management
  • Leverage governance as a key competitive advantage of family business

Program Content

The program will focus on the roles of the board chair, independent directors, family council leadership, and non-family top management. Successful and innovative models of organizational design will be shared.

Governance Challenges Facing the Family Business

  • Develop a theory of family business governance
  • Explore how shareholder families evolve
  • Design an appropriate, optimal governance structure for your enterprise
  • Learn how governance structures and policies interact to elicit constructive shareholder engagement and organizational effectiveness
  • Acquire skills needed to lead effectively the processes of governance
  • Confront the contradictions and paradoxes of governance

Defining Roles and Responsibilities

  • Understand the roles of owners and the responsibilities of family councils, boards and executive management
  • Learn how best to make a team out of your Board, your family council and of other governance committees
  • Differentiate ruling from governing
  • Manage the extended family
  • Enhance shareholder loyalty, voice and commitment

Board Development and Evaluation

  • Improve board decision making
  • Build high-functioning board and family council teams
  • Maximize board and family leadership effectiveness
  • Learn how boards can add distinct value


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

Ivan Lansberg - Adjunct Professor, John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises Executive Education Programs

Loran Nordgren - Professor of Management and Organizations

Leigh Thompson - J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolution & Organizations; Professor of Management & Organizations

What Participants Say

“The program is very well structured and organized. It offers many new ideas about family governance structures. The quality of the faculty is excellent. It is a great opportunity to share and exchange points of view with other family companies.”
Chairman, Agrolimen, Spain

“Your program was the most meaningful and beneficial experience I have ever had - and not just in the realm of family business, either. From the breadth and depth of the material covered, to the outstanding group of participants involved, to the structure of the program that maximized the efficiency of every second we were there, it was simply fantastic!”
Shareholder, Pella Corporation, U.S.A.

“I want to express my strong feelings of satisfaction for the high quality of the seminar on Family Business we just attended. Even our highest expectations were exceeded.”
Board Vice-President, Grupo Gerdau, Brazil

Family Enterprise Suite

Address the unique challenges of running a family business

2024 Sessions

October 1-11, 2024

Start: October 1 at 8:00 AM

End: October 11 at 1:30 PM

Format: Blended

All times are in CT. Live virtual consist of half-day sessions.

Live Virtual Days
Tuesday, October 1

In-Person Days
October 7-11 on Evanston campus.

Click here for Executive Education's COVID-19 health and safety protocols


Fee includes lodging and most meals

Kellogg School of Management

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