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Cornell Professor on How to Prepare the Next Generation for Leadership in Family Businesses - Pat Soldano

Cornell University’s Daniel Van Der Vliet Details Lessons Learned with Next Generation Leaders in Latest ‘Voice of Family Business’ Podcast


Daniel Van Der Vliet of Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell University’s S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management Discusses Guiding the Next Generation of Family Business Leaders with Host Pat Soldano of Family Enterprise USA


Next generation leadership challenges are similar around the world when it comes to transitioning family businesses , according to Cornell University’s Daniel Van Der Vliet, the John and Dyan Smith Executive Director Family Business at the university’s S.C Johnson Graduate School of Management.

In a newly released podcast from the “The Voice of Family Business on Capitol Hill,” by Family Enterprise USA, Van Der Vliet discusses with podcast host Pat Soldano the growing interest in family business management practices in academia, and how basic intra-family communication is a critical first step for the next generation.

Soldano, President of Family Enterprise USA and its sister organization Policy and Taxation Group , both based here, spoke with Van Der Vliet recently from his Cornell office in Ithaca, New York.

In the podcast, Soldano and Van Der Vliet discuss how Cornell guides young family business leaders on approaching the uncomfortable first conversations with parents, or relatives, about their role in the business.

“I am always surprised to hear from my students how very little they know about their family business,” says Van Der Viet. “Many have never had the conversation about their potential role in the company, so the first step is to open that door of communication,” he says.

Van Der Vliet discusses his recent travels to India and details the similarities and differences with family businesses in the U.S. and there, where he estimates 90 percent of the business are family-owned.

“In India, the same succession issues are at play, but other factors complicate things,” he says. “Families are extremely close knit, often living under the same roof, but cultural rules dictate next generation roles in the business.” The Cornell director cites the limited role of women in business in India as one example.

“Will the next generation step up?” asks Soldano, during the podcast. “The topic of succession planning is always at the top of the list in discussion I meet with family businesses around the country. The question is always: ‘Do we have the next generation of leadership ready to take over?’” she says. “It’s heartening to see family business centers and academia finally helping in this transition to new leaders and beginning to create coursework that will take family business into the future.”

This latest episode in the podcast series, is now airing on Spotify, and other major podcast platforms, such as Apple iTunes and TuneIn.

Sign-Up For New Podcast: “Voice of Family Business on Capitol Hill” with host Pat Soldano.

Join our growing family of podcast listeners by clicking on the links below to our new podcast, “The Voice of Family Business on Capitol ,” where each episode delves into the major issues facing family businesses and family business centers today. Subscribe by clicking on these links, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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The need for fact-based reporting of issues important to multi generational businesses and protecting a lifetime of savings has never been greater. Now more than ever, multi generational businesses and family businesses are under fire. That’s why Family Enterprise USA is passionately working to increase the awareness of issues important to generationally-owned family businesses built on hard work, while continuing to strengthen our presence on Capitol Hill. The issues we fight for or against with Congress in Washington DC include high income tax rates , possible elimination of valuation discounts, increase in capital gains tax , enactment of a wealth tax , and the continued burden of the gift tax , estate tax and generation skipping tax .

Family Enterprise USA promotes family business and job creation, growth, and sustainability by advocating for family businesses , their lifetime of savings, and the issues they face running their businesses every day. Some of the issues we fight for or against with Congress in Washington DC are high Income tax rates, possible elimination of valuation discounts, increase in capital gains tax , enactment of a wealth tax , and the continued burden of the gift, estate taxes and generation skipping taxes . Family Enterprise USA represents and celebrates all sizes and industries of family businesses and multi-generational employers.

Family Enterprise USA (FEUSA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Family foundations can donate.

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Family Enterprise USA is the organization that represents all family businesses on a national level in DC; it is not unique to any industry. Family Enterprise USA is different from other organizations because it represents and advocates for the families of family businesses and the issues, they face running their businesses every day. Our sole mission and purpose is to promote family businesses and their job growth in America. We also support the work of Family Business Centers across the country. We hope your family will choose to be a member of Family Enterprise USA.