Meghann Harker
Family Governance Committee Leader

Meghann Harker is a fifth-generation family member, spouse and mother of four. She manages the family governance for her generation of shareholders and began an educational program for the next generation of family members for her branch and the entire family. Meghann enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring with her family, and is always expanding her knowledge of family governance and life balance.

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Why is it important for family business stakeholders to seek professional development?

  • What comes to mind is how emotionally impactful the programs are. You think you’re going for safe business topics, but the emotional component was prevalent and that’s one of the best things about it. It is life-changing; on a practical level, it’s changed the course of what I do. On an emotional level, it’s added validity to where I am and what I’m doing and has helped me find my voice among my peers and management. It’s given me a lot of credibility in terms of what I’m trying to accomplish.

What have been the unique features of our programs that will help you grow as a leader?

  • Some of the best parts of these programs are the class sizes and structure. You’re all together in the classroom, but you break out into small groups. In every program I’ve taken, we’ve done that more than once. That allowed me to develop relationships you normally don’t have the opportunity to make in a larger setting. It’s really motivating and energizing, and I bring that energy back to my workplace.

What has surprised you about Kellogg’s Executive Education programs?

  • Some of the pleasant surprises are how actionable the information is. There’s a lot of theory and context provided, but when I reflect I can determine the takeaways. There are wonderful tidbits from every session. I feel like when you come here, you make the commitment to be here. You don’t want to just learn something, you want to do something.

If a peer asked you whether he/she should attend Kellogg’s family business programs, what would you tell them and why?

  • I’ve worked really hard on getting my peers to attend programs here. Some of the eye-opening things in the family business programs in particular were actually very normalizing. I felt like, “Ah, this is what I’m a part of and where I belong.” So, there’s the normalizing factor, networking and camaraderie. When I brought my cousins to the programs, they had the same feelings. That was powerful for everyone. On top of that, it’s how actionable everything is. You’re learning with a purpose, and you’ll be able to walk out the door and use this information in our context.

Tell us about your experience with your peers in the program.

  • By far and away, the best part of coming to Kellogg Exec Ed is meeting all these different people, especially in the family business programs. There’s always a need to keep some details private, but meeting and networking is easier because we have something in common immediately. When I took the Women’s Senior Leadership program, everyone was so welcoming and supportive of what every individual’s path was. In Finance for Executives, everyone thinks they don’t know enough, and because of that, you have an immediate connection.

How have these relationships progressed upon returning to work?

  • I’ve been in touch with about a dozen people. We email and connect each other with people in our family networks. I’ve also tapped into the network to ask for help, which has allowed me to learn about things other families have done. I’ve become the go-to person in my family for information because of my time here at Kellogg.

How have you and your team implemented some of these practices and changes at the office?

  • My communication style has improved, which has affected my team. I developed my own voice at the Women’s Senior Leadership program. I could reflect on who I am and what my dreams are. I have the words to use my voice with. That was really powerful. There are so many things I’ve taken away; sure, there’s theory, but the takeaways—how you communicate, how you negotiate and how you deal with conflict, right down to the practical accounting and finance teachings and how to draw significance out of all those numbers.

Enabling growth in organizations and individuals

Whether the goal is to create a standalone solution or fashion part of a complex talent development initiative, Kellogg Executive Education focuses on how individuals and organizations can transform themselves. We offer specific plans and pathways for professional growth and functional development for individuals and teams as well as broader strategies for enterprise-wide executive development efforts.

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