UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
News from
Asper School of Business
UM Today Network

Rod Senft gave opening remarks

Succession and family enterprise

The Asper School of Business hosts the 2023 Rod Senft Family Business Conference

June 23, 2023 — 

On June 9-10, 2023, the Asper School of Business welcomed family business leaders, advisors and academics to the 2023 Rod Senft Family Business Conference.

The two-day conference took place on the University of Manitoba campus and explored the theme: Succession Planning in Family Enterprise—Align the Family and the Business will Follow. Expert speakers discussed the intricacies of succession planning, from management to ownership, and engaged with the audience about the challenges and potential of family enterprise.

This conference is possible thanks to the support and initiative of Rod Senft [BComm(Hons)/67, LLB/70],  accomplished entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, as well as a dedicated advocate of family business.

Senft opened the conference with a reminder of how essential family businesses are to the economy in Manitoba and beyond.

“Everywhere you go in this city, you’ll find family businesses. Stand on the corner of Portage and Main, and there’s the Richardson building right there. Then, go down the street, and you’ll find True North and the Chipman family.

“Family business is the backbone of every economy with 60 to 70% of any economy driven by family business and the employment that comes with it. Creating family business with succession plans that can transition into the next generation requires knowledgeable people and dedicated advisors. This weekend is about pursuing that goal and improving that knowledge,” said Senft.

The first day of the conference featured presentations and lively discussion about the importance of succession planning within the family enterprise sector. Lisa Cefali [BComm(Hons)/89] gave a thorough overview of how complex family business can be, from developing multi-generational business strategy to achieving and assessing how well family members will fit into their roles.

Joanne Sigurdson [BComm(Hons)/77], Eric Robert (BComm(Hons)/06] and Miguel Cure participated in a panel discussion about local family businesses and the importance of peer advisory networks such as The Executive Committee (TEC) Canada. The first day concluded with accomplished financial author Evelyn Jacks sharing insights from her book Defusing the Family Business Timebomb.

The second day of the conference brought together academic presentations and panels covering a range of subjects and family business contexts. Researchers from Asper presented alongside colleagues from across the world in these hybrid sessions.

Dr. Zhenyu Wu, Asper School of Business Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Research Programs, Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and acclaimed family business scholar, presented alongside Asper PhD student Yuying Sun. Their paper explored reputational risk and firm performance.

Day 2 focused on academic approaches and research.

Asper post-doctoral researcher Dr. Zixu Zhang discussed family firm research and development with colleague Dr. Hanqing (Chevy) Fang, and Professors of Business Administration Dr. Jingnan Li and Dr. Jijun Gao considered crowdfunding performance and family involvement.

The conference explored succession planning and family enterprise broadly from both industry and academic perspectives with an emphasis on the growth of family businesses and their sustainability in a dynamic business landscape.

Dr. Bruno Silvestre, Dean of the Asper School of Business, speaks to the significance of bringing the business and research communities together at this annual event.

“The 2023 Rod Senft Family Business Conference was a great success! At the Asper School of Business, we remain dedicated to bridging the business and academic worlds, to better understand and serve the economy of Manitoba. I am so grateful for this opportunity to connect, share stories and collaborate to advance family business and business education.”

Please enjoy more event photos here.

, , , , ,

© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341