Press Release

Governance focus of family business seminar on May 2

BRUNSWICK, Maine — An important step in creating a successful enterprise is establishing a board of advisors or directors. If it’s family, then often the need is to create an owners’ council. Getting everyone on board, and on the same page, is another matter.

 Many tools and strategies needed to discuss those issues will be laid out during a Thursday, May 2, seminar, “Reaching Your Greatest Potential Through Governance – First Steps,” at the Cumberland Club in Portland.

 Presented by the Institute for Family-Owned Business, A. Michael Burnell and Jane Hilburt-Davis, widely recognized in the field of family business governance, will lead discussions from 1 to 5 p.m.

 This event is open to Institute members ($75) and future members ($125).

 Mike Burnell will share his experiences on more than 25 boards of directors, either as a fiduciary or in advisory capacities. His focus is board composition, operation and value to owners and managers. He has taught at the University of Southern Maine, Northeastern University and University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and lectured at many of the prestigious graduate business schools. He currently is co-managing director of Board Pros LLC.

 Jane Hilburt-Davis helps family enterprises start, and later develop, effective governance, either as a family council or owners’ council. Hilburt-Davis is president of Key Resources, a Boston-based consulting firm from which she has authored print articles and case studies. She also trains, mentors and coaches family business advisers, and co-authored the book “Consulting to Family Businesses.”

“This program will be case-based, with practical examples of what works and what doesn’t,” according to Gina Weathersby, executive director of the Institute. Answers will be sought, Weathersby continues, to the questions: How do we get started? What are some of the unique challenges in building the board? In building the family council? Who should be a board member? How do we look for directors? How does a family council manage conflict?

“We strive to make programming enlightening, informative, educational, motivating, and fun,” says Weathersby. “This seminar satisfies those goals.”

Discussions and work groups follow the sessions led by Burnell and Hilburt-Davis.

Registrations are taken through the website,

The Institute is a comprehensive resource for family-owned business, serving owners, execu­tives, and employees through a range of continuing education programs, networking opportunities, and consult­ing services. Weathersby says the Institute is committed to “supporting, strengthening and empowering family-owned businesses throughout Maine.”

The Institute’s programming continues, with its signature annual event, the Maine Family Business Awards, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday, May 13, at the Marriott at Sable Oaks, South Portland. Keynote speaker is Richard Stephenson, founder and board chairman of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a family-owned business.

That’s followed by “Summerfest,” a gala with music, auction and more hosted by Yankee Marina & Boatyard in Yarmouth from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15.

For more information, contact or 207-798-2667.

Corporate sponsorships are available for all programs and events.


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