Albers School of Business and Economics
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center

Family Business Institute

  • Seattle University's Family Institute was established to help support family and closely-held businesses, a very important segment of our national economy. The Institute is comprised of three key components: Executive, Next Generation, and Emerging Business Roundtables, Family Business Classes, and Family Business Research.

    Roundtable Program

    The various Roundtables are a venue where family/closely-held business leaders meet with their respective peer groups on a regular basis to discuss strategic and tactical issues facing their companies.  There are currently three roundtables:  Executive Roundtables (current CEOs/leaders); Next Generation Roundtables (new/upcoming leaders), and Emerging Business (new/earlier stage companies). 

    Our belief in the importance of goal setting and accountability for goal achievement is applied to each Roundtable. Members can expect to leave each meeting with clearly-stated goals and to report on goal achievement at the following meeting. In addition to providing a valuable forum for generating ideas, the Roundtable serves as a venue for discussing problems and issues that members may not feel comfortable discussing with their own internal leadership team and/or family member.

    In addition, members focus on a professional development concept presented by a guest speaker or the facilitator. Members develop ideas on how to apply the discussion of the concept to their own situation. Beyond the practical need to search for best practices and/or solve very real business problems, the Roundtables also serve as a valuable forum for peer to peer networking.

    For more detailed information on Seattle University Roundtables, see below and if interested in learning more, please contact Sue Oliver, Director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at (206) 220-8534.

    Family Business-Related Research

    Dr. Holly Slay is currently on the faculty of the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University.  She received her PhD in Organizational Behavior from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business in 2006. Her current research seeks to the emotional and identity dynamics associated with family business succession. To this end, she has interviewed the prominent players in six family businesses to better understand their successions processes and how they measure success. The research uses a case study methodology and semi-structured interviews to provide for in-depth analysis of each company as well as analysis of the similarities and differences between companies. The preliminary study offers interesting insights for families and practitioners who support families. However, the ultimate goal of the research is to include more family businesses over a longer period of time and build and/or extend existing research on family business succession.

    Family Business Management Courses

    Seattle University currently offers a popular Family Owned Business class for students. 

    Please explore the above links to learn more about the Family Business Institute's many offerings and opportunities.