Jennifer M. Pendergast Ph.D is the inaugural John L. Ward Clinical Professor of Family Enterprise and Faculty Director, John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. In this capacity, Jennifer guides the market leading executive education and MBA programs and the research agenda for John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises. Previously she served as the U.S. leader of the Egon Zehnder’s Family Business Advisory and a senior consultant with Family Business Consulting Group.
A career consultant and educator to family businesses, Jennifer Pendergast specializes in strategic planning, family and business governance, family office structure, and facilitation. Jennifer is an experienced management consultant with an extensive background in the many strategic challenges faced by family firms serving a broad range of clients, ranging from $100m to $10+ billion in revenues and 2nd to 6th generation ownership .
With a Ph.D. in strategy, Jennifer has taught at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Georgia Tech and The Wharton Business School. Jennifer’s presentations, consultations and publications concentrate on strategic planning and business growth, developing and managing family councils and ownership groups, structuring and improving the effectiveness of boards of directors, planning for ownership and leadership succession and creating and managing family offices. Her research on corporate governance and top management leadership issues has been published in a number of academic journals, including European Management Journal and Strategic Management Journal.
She entered the field of family business having worked as a professor, as a consultant for McKinsey & Company and as an investment banker for a Wall Street firm. She has also worked in the family office of one of the largest family entities in the U.S.
Jennifer received her Ph.D. in Management from Wharton Business School and holds a B.S. in Finance from University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce and has authored numerous books and articles, two of her standout titles are: Family Business Succession: Your Roadmap to Continuity co-authored with Kelly LeCouvie and Building a Successful Family Board, which she wrote with John Ward and Stephanie Brun de Pontet.
Family businesses are uniquely complex enterprises. This program empowers current and future directors of family-owned businesses to navigate the challenges posed by those organizations while learning to design, engage and lead boards that leverage their companies’ strategic advantages.
One of the most critical times in a family enterprise’s evolution is moving from the processes, people and structures that proved successful for a controlling owner to those that support a sibling partnership. Engage with faculty from the John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises for leadership insights on governance architecture and effective decision making to support a vision that will guide multigenerational continuity.
Join peers from leading family-run organizations to learn how family governance can help sustain business continuity, family unity and commitment. Come away equipped and energized to realize your vision for the future of your family enterprise with confidence.
As an aspiring leader within family enterprise, you’ll discover how to establish your credibility and authority in the business community, among family shareholders, with the board and management team. As an established leader, you’ll explore the complexities of mentoring the next generation and of managing succession and letting-go. For all, the program can enable you to better manage the nuanced paradoxes that are characteristic of family business leadership.
Challenging, often subtle family dynamics, sensitive communications and interlinked governance structures all contribute to the complexity of family offices. Guided by renowned faculty, you will learn to navigate complex family office dynamics to more fully align stakeholders. You will develop skills to plan strategy, promote trust and communication, and address challenging issues around governance and continuity.