Date posted: May 28, 2015

Jayne Pearson
Jayne Pearson-Cohen

Plasdene Glass-Pak Pty Ltd

Industry
Wholesale supplier and distributor of rigid packaging materials; glass and plastic bottles, jars, containers, closures, cartons, flexible packaging and materials handling.

What generation is your family business?
2nd generation

How many family members in your family business?
Four. The business was founded by my father in 1987, and he remains the CEO and Managing Director today. My mum joined the business in its infancy to ‘help answer the phones’ and is still here 26 years later! Mum is the Purchasing Manager and as a supply and service distribution company, Mum is critical to our ongoing success. My sister Kacy is a Chartered Accountant and our Commercial Manager – Corporate. She grew up wanting to be ‘just like Dad’, and she is! Kacy is our trouble shooter and has responsibility for overseeing operational aspects of our 9 distribution centres. With a complementary skill-set, it’s hoped that one day Kacy and I will co-lead the business.

What is your role in the family business?
I am Marketing Manager working within our Business Development Unit (BDU). The BDU drives the Company’s global sourcing, new product development, sales & pricing, and key client project agendas. Responsible for marketing, I am also the business lead for many of the major supply partnerships.

As a family member with a vested interest in the business and a Senior Executive, I’m also involved in business strategy and corporate governance. I was schooled in turning jars upside down to identify their origin from a young age, and despite my resistance not to work in the business, I think it’s possibly in my blood!

What is a major influence for you in the family business?
My dad. My tertiary background is in media and journalism, so for what I do now, I continue to learn on the job every day, led by Dad’s example. He’s an incredibly strong business leader and a formidable negotiator, and operates with a great deal of integrity and old-fashioned hard work, which I admire greatly. He has a conservative approach to the financial management of the business, which has seen us come out the other side of financial downturns in a stronger position than before. We have a “make it happen” philosophy across the Company, the latest being the acquisition of a major competitor which has seen our business grow by 50% literally ‘overnight’. My dad (with a strong executive team behind him), made it happen!

What keeps you up at night?
Aside from a teething child and possums on the roof, as a working mum of two and wife to a shift worker, it’s continuously planning and managing the ‘juggle’ that keeps me up at night. My husband refers to my mind as a ‘super highway’ as I also find it difficult to switch off from the business. I’ll often replay situations in my mind, think of how I could have done it better, and plan the work ahead. I often strategize best after midnight.

What’s the key benefit of your FBA membership?
The incredible support from my forum group membership. The level of unconditional trust and respect everyone has for each other still amazes me. I think of the group members as firm, but unlikely friends; these people have become an essential part of my life, they know things about me that no one else does, yet besides all having family businesses in common, we would not have otherwise met. I generally walk out of every meeting with at least one pearl of wisdom. Despite the varying business sizes and types, there is incredible synergy within the group and many common issues. “Checking in” with the group can be a brain dump, or quite strategic depending on how the month has been. Generally someone has been through something similar and can offer some sound advice or solution. Our facilitator does an incredible job of getting to the source of member problems fast, to ensure the time is best utilised addressing critical issues. I see my participation in a forum group as a ‘slow burn’; invest the time now to build the support network I’ll need as a business leader into the future.

Doug Munro
Doug Munro
Munro Group HR Management

Business Services Description
Permanent & Contract Recruitment at all levels; Outsourced HR services; Family Business Advisory for people management matters, including Board placements and structuring, Family and Advisory Council development; Family Constitution development; Succession Planning from an HR perspective.

How long have you been working with family businesses?
As a 31 year old Family Business ourselves, we understand the nuances of this culture. We have worked with numerous Family Businesses, but since joining FBA and becoming an Accredited FBA Adviser in HR & People Management around seven years ago, we have had sole focus in this key sector.


What’s one of the most common mistakes you see in family businesses?
It is difficult to isolate a singular common mistake as we regularly see three that can have significant downsides:

  1. The frequently mentioned problem Baby Boomer founders have of not addressing Succession;
  2. Not taking advantage of developing and integrating non-family talent into senior management;
  3. Not being aware of the benefits provided by developing and introducing a Family Constitution.

The latter is the greatest mistake. When the Family Constitution is written by the Family, and is professionally facilitated, it becomes the ‘bible’ or guide to every aspect of the management of the sustainability of the business, the Family and its wealth growth.

When developed as a ‘live’ and continually evolving document, it provides a guide to solving most problems, particularly those based around relationship, that occur so frequently within families


What is your “uh ha” moment with your clients?
It is a wonderful feeling when a Family Business Client quotes from their newly developed and unanimously accepted Family Constitution, when successfully solving a problem that, without it, would previously have caused considerable angst.

Working with Families as an accepted Accredited Advisor, is a huge privilege and a humbling experience. Gaining their confidence, trust and reliance is the ultimate accolade. This is a position not to be taken for granted. When, from your helicopter view, you identify issues that, through your training as an Accredited Advisor, you solve and improve your Client’s situation, each identified successful result becomes an “uh ha” moment!