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  • FALL CONFERENCE SESSION 1: Facilitator's Guide to Conducting Effective Family Meetings

FALL CONFERENCE SESSION 1: Facilitator's Guide to Conducting Effective Family Meetings

  • Thursday, October 01, 2020
  • 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Zoom (Details provided the day prior to the program)


Registration is closed

In the normal course of family business, family members and their trusted advisors often find it difficult to decipher what is going on when tensions rise in various meetings.  Discussions can go off track and emotions run high without a clear understanding of what needs are being expressed. 

Well-planned and regularly scheduled family meetings provide a space for family members to discuss the family-related aspects of being in business together such as: the impact of family dynamics on business performance; family member employment policy; the family challenges in generational succession; or how to support family well-being in the context of growing the business. Without a place to have these conversations, family issues “leak” into other meetings and can undermine important ownership and management discussions, to everyone’s frustration. Trusted advisors can help their clients understand the value of investing in creating effective family meetings and help to facilitate them.

In this 90 minute workshop advisors will:

  • Explore the appropriate place and purpose of family meetings in the context of family business governance.
  • Learn how to help their clients prepare for and run an effective family meeting.
  • Increase their ability to identify what makes family meetings effective and what throws them off course.
  • Understand how trust among family members plays an essential role in successful family meetings and what they can do to help trust grow.
  • Discuss a list of valuable family meeting topics they might facilitate.
  • Learn the “Road Tested Rules” of creating effective family meetings developed by the presenters over many years facilitating family meetings in enterprises ranging from mom-and-pop shops to the top of the Forbes 400 and everything in between.


Don Opatrny, LMFT, Family Business Advisor/Owner Lovins Group, LLC

Don founded the Lovins Group with Alan Lovins in 2008 and continues today as Co-Owner and President. Don’s unique approach to family business consulting blends his own firsthand family business experience together with useful techniques gathered in years of practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He has a passion for finding what works in the context of each family's unique circumstances. He is committed to co-discovering the steps clients are able to take in order to get "unstuck" and to bring them closer to realizing their own visions of success.

Don Opatrny has successfully facilitated hundreds of family meetings over the past 10 years—ranging from multi-generation destination retreats to purposeful sibling dinner meetings, and from guided intimate discussions on difficult topics to fun-filled learning adventures mixing multiple family branches.

Don‘s work spans a wide spectrum of families—from the top of the Forbes 400 list to mom and pop shops and from first generation entrepreneurs to a seventh generation massive group of family shareholders.

Don’s intention is to inspire, support, challenge and empower business owning families to take their own action steps and to have meaningful discussions with one another on the topics that matter most to them. Don works closely with clients to create customized consulting processes which allow them to meet current objectives in both their family and business. In the process, clients develop the life-long relationship skills they need to manage effectively after the engagement is complete. Don considers calls from clients sharing their excitement of having created their own solutions to new challenges as the touchstone of a good consultancy.

Keith Michaelson, Family Business Advisor/Owner Lovins Group, LLC

As a family business advisor and owner in The Lovins Group, Keith helps families navigate the challenges of major transitions in business ownership and leadership. With his help, families approach and discuss the difficult issues that have been creating tension and conflict in the family and holding back progress in the business. Recent assignments have included helping the founders of a national retail business transition leadership to the second generation; working with four second generation siblings to sort out differing agendas around governance, family compensation and employment policies; and helping two generations resolve conflicts emerging from the sharply different visions they held for the future of their legacy family business.

Keith became a partner in The Lovins Group after 25 years of experience working with leaders and leadership teams in major corporations and non-profit organizations, including The World Bank, The American Institute of Physics, Eversource (Northeast Utilities), Con Edison, General Electric, Citigroup and USA Today. He has a passion for helping organizations perform to their highest potential and a unique ability to help business leaders integrate their own personal growth with improvement in organizational performance. He has served as an executive coach to senior leaders in the utility, publishing and financial services industries.

Keith’s education includes an MBA from the Yale School of Management, an M.A. in executive coaching from Middlesex University in London and an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fairfield University. Keith is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.


AFHE Members:  $60 per webinar session, or $200 for the entire Fall Conference webinar series (5 webinars).

Non-Members:  $80 per webinar session or $260 for the entire Fall Conference webinar series (5 webinars).


The course is pending approval for CLE credits in Georgia, Illinois and Ohio.

Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises

AFHE Headquarters

P.O. Box 518
Mount Laurel, NJ, 08054
Phone: 201-591-AFHE (2343)
Fax: 856-727-9504

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