Date posted: September 4, 2015

The 2015 National Conference was held over 3 days at the Sheraton Mirage on the Gold Coast and from the feedback received so far, was a great success. We were particularly pleased that the Australian Small Business Commissioner Mark Brennan, was available to open the Conference and to attend the entire program; many members commented positively on his commitment.

As a result of the response from last year, the Conference was shortened from three main days to two, with the addition of a half day of Master Classes for Family Businesses, Advisers and Next Generation groups. It was fascinating to hear from international keynote speaker Dr Lee Hausner who presented on the advantages but also the challenges of building a family legacy. Lee defined legacy families as those who remain productive and contributive for four to five generations past the original wealth creator – a feat for any family! The importance of family business parents fostering productivity but also having realistic expectations, was a focus of her presentation. Lee’s depth of experience gained from working with many family businesses across the globe provided insights into the importance of successful transfer of four components of family wealth including intellectual, human, financial and social capital.

The parallel sessions that ran provided an opportunity for delegates to engage with topics of particular interest to them and this year a large focus of these sessions included managing family relationships and dynamics through sessions such as For Better or For Work and Divorce Proofing the Family Business as well as a focus on communication and branding through sessions such as Managing Your Reputation – Is Your Name Safe?, Building Communication and Community and Smart Branding for Family Businesses.

On Day 2 delegates had the opportunity to visit one of two entrepreneurial family businesses during the site visits. These were McLarens Landing on South Stradbroke Island and O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards in the Gold Coast Hinterland. We heard about the operations of each business and their journey so far. Darryl Gobbett from the University of Adelaide provided an in-depth overview of Australia’s economy with large amounts of relevant data and importantly, the opportunities and lessons for family businesses to take away. To close the conference we heard from Brad Smith of Braaap Motorcycles. As a first generation family business entrepreneur his story was as relevant as it was inspiring and a perfect way to close the conference.

If you haven’t already filled out the questionnaire seeking feedback about the National Conference, we encourage you to do so as we’d love to hear your thoughts. We have had lots of positive feedback but we encourage you to be frank, it is the best way that we can make improvements for next year.

Over the next three months we have many exciting opportunities to ensure 2015 goes out with a bang, least not National Family Business Day coming up on September 19th. If you haven’t already investigated what is going on in your state, I encourage you to do so by visiting the website.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Robin Buckham
Family Business Australia