Date posted: November 30, 2016

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FBA Accredited Adviser


Erin Hillsdon
General Manager
Munro Group HR Management

Business services description
Human Resource Consulting Services, Recruitment, and Family Business Advisory.
(Board appointments, structuring, Family constitution development and Succession planning all utilising HR methodologies)


How long have you been working with family businesses?

All of my 18 years of working life has been within family businesses. My current position has seen me both working within a family business, consulting to family businesses. Since joining FBA and becoming an Accredited Adviser in HR we have had a sole focus in this key sector. Through my experiences I have developed a deep understanding and awareness of the uniqueness of Family Business Culture.

What’s one of the most common mistakes you see in family businesses?

The understanding of the importance and need for implementing HR and operational Processes and Procedures that, most importantly, are relevant to the business, current, practiced, and easy to understand.  Position Descriptions, KPIs, Performance Reviews, Employee Development Plans, in addition to risk assessment and succession planning for key positions are all essential in attracting and retaining quality staff.

What is your “uh ha” moment with your clients?

I would have to say there are often ‘uh ha’ moments from both myself and my Clients. I have learnt that to be successful working with Family businesses you need to be genuine, agile, and willing to get into the detail, and work with them in a way that is specific to them. Although often having common issues, all families are unique, as are their businesses.

Oh, and never assume something – always ask!

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Family business



Michael Fitzsimmons
Berle Transport Pty Ltd

Business Industry/Description:
Refrigerated Transport & Storage


What generation is your family business?

My Father in Law founded the business in 1979 and I joined the business as an accountant in 1999. He retired in 2010 and from that point onwards Darren (Allan’s son) and myself have managed the business.

How many family members in your business?

Two members, myself and my Brother In Law (Darren).

What is your role in the family business?

Principally my role is to count the beans. But in saying that it is important to help out at the coalface, driving forklifts, unpacking containers and occasionally driving trucks. Never ask someone to do something you are not prepared to do yourself.

Who is a major influence for you in the family business? Why?

We have a strong team and benefit from a team culture where everyone has a say.

What keeps you up at night?

Apart from worrying about how many beans I counted during the day and whether we have enough in the jar for tomorrow, driver safety plays a big part in keeping me awake at night.

What’s the key benefit of your FBA membership?
As new members we are looking at the benefits of Networking with other like minded business owners. I am confident that by getting involved in the FBA forums and meetings and sharing ideas we will find a smarter way of doing business rather than feel like we are re-inventing the wheel.