FEX Symposium 2020 Workshops


*Early Bird Special Ends February 21*

Keynotes  |  Workshops  |  Presenters  |  Pricing & Details  |  Book Your Hotel  |  Register Now

Workshop quick links:

- The Impact of Brain Health on the Multi-Generational Family — Dr. Raymond Rupert
- The Why and How of Family Constitutions — Patrick O'Connor & Chris Reichert
- Evaluating the Performance of Leaders in a Family Enterprise — Rachel O'Conner & Elizabeth Watson
- How Heroes Impact our Leadership Style — David C. Bentall
- Creating Flourishing Families — Victoria Brown
- Building Resilience in Families and Family Enterprises through Storytelling — Lloyd Steier & Shauna Feth
- Learning to Run the China Shop with the Bull Still in it! — Paul Attia
- Conflict Avoidance: The Silent Killer — Suzanne St. John Smith
- The Role and Impact of Trusts on the Family Business — Elena Hoffstein & Harvey Taraday
- The Family Office: Trends and Applications for Transgenerational Wealth — Nicole Garton & Robyn Hooper
- Conversations with Kids About Money — Deena Chochinov
- Rite of Passage in the Land of Giants — Dr. Jamie Weiner & Russell Haworth

The Impact of Brain Health on the Multi-Generational Family

Presented by Dr. Raymond Rupert

This seminar will provide a framework to support and guide family members in the identification, assessment, and intervention, in dealing with the following emerging ‘brain health’ issues facing many multi-generational families:

  • Aging and mental decline;
  • Mental health and substance abuse disorders; and
  • Death and dying.

Case studies, based on real-life experiences, will be used to assist the audience in deepening their knowledge and understanding of these issues. An outline for actionable, practical strategies will be discussed to assist family members and advisors, in meeting outcomes that are meaningful and sustainable.


  • Be better prepared for dealing with these eventualities that often confront multi-generational families
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of the three topics: mental decline, addiction, death and dying

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The Why and How of Family Constitutions

Presented by Patrick O'Connor and Chris Reichert

Most enterprising families have shareholders agreements and strategic plans for their business but may not have considered formal documentation for navigating family-related issues. A Family Constitution captures the family’s mission, vision, values, and policies the entire family agrees to live by.

Using examples from family clients this workshop will explore the process, purpose and value of developing a family constitution for an enterprising family, as well as for the advisors that serve them.


  • Explore the benefit family constitutions when navigating the succession/continuity planning process
  • Share practical tips and tools to start family constitution the process
  • Explore sample constitutions and engage in collaborative discussion to depart with fresh ideas

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Evaluating the Performance of Leaders in a Family Enterprise

Presented by Rachel O'Conner and Elizabeth Watson

Evaluating the performance of top leaders is essential work for any organization. It’s how you get aligned on what is expected and close the loop to understand what was achieved. It guides not just what gets done, but also how it gets done in terms of leadership and culture.

What makes it important also makes it challenging - and never more so than in family enterprises.

When a leader is family, it adds more than one dimension of complexity to the picture. Relationships, subjectivity, conflicts of interest, and financial complications all come to the table. It’s important to get this right, for the enterprise and for the family.

In this interactive session, we’ll talk about the importance of leadership performance evaluation, and how to do this difficult work well. We’ll explore all aspects, from good process to people dynamics.


  • Understand the best practices for conducting leadership performance evaluation in a family context, and identify next steps for your situation
  • Learn why this challenging work is so important to do well, from both the enterprise and family perspectives
  • Gain insight into practices you can put in place to do this work successfully
  • A practical perspective on how to navigate family and enterprise people dynamics

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How Heroes Impact our Leadership Style

Presented by David C. Bentall

When I was a young executive, aspiring to lead our family enterprise, I was inspired by iconic leaders like Winston Churchill and Vince Lombardi (the legendary football coach of the Green Bay Packers) These men were my heroes! However, leading a family business is very different than coaching a professional football team. It also ought to be very different than fighting a world war.

Unfortunately, I brought some of Churchill and Lombardi’s approaches to my professional career in our family business. As a result, I unwittingly destroyed many relationships, and badly disrupted my own career.

In this workshop, we will explore several characteristics that family enterprise successors would be wise to cultivate if they want to successfully lead their family enterprise. At the same time we will consider who your current heroes are, and who you aspire to be like as a leader.


  • Explore how your heroes impact your leadership style
  • Build stronger relationship in your family business
  • Learn the nine character traits essential for successors in family businesses
  • Find out which historically significant leaders belong in your personal hall of fame

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Creating Flourishing Families

Presented by Victoria Brown

Families flourish when they can transcend daily challenges and visualize possibilities and solutions. Appreciative Inquiry provides an approach to transition and change that focuses on strengths rather than on weaknesses. As a process it can help build harmony and ignite a shared vision where all members feel included. A partner of Appreciative Inquiry is the practice and expression of gratitude which can improve mental and relational well-being and can transform families, businesses and professional practices.

This interactive session will include a template that will help family enterprises and advisors integrate Appreciative Inquiry into a strategic planning process.


  • Explore the impact of gratitude and positive thinking on the brain, our health and our relationships
  • Understand how gratitude is a simple, easy and effective way to shift away from conflict toward a more resourceful positive state in family enterprises
  • Experience how Appreciative Inquiry transcends every-day challenges into solutions
  • Discover how engaging multiple voices in story telling can increase engagement and ignite dreams for future

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Building Resilience in Families and Family Enterprises through Storytelling

Presented by Dr. Lloyd Steier and Shauna Feth

A distinguishing feature of family enterprises is that they have achieved, or aspire to, longevity. Resilience is often a key trait underlying the survival and success of these firms. Despite emerging research on resilience in family enterprise there is little focus on its practice and how it might be achieved. This session will focus on the practice of resilience in family firms and how it is established through storytelling and narratives. Participants will be encouraged to explore narratives relative to their own families and enterprises that preserve core values whilst preparing them for contemporary contexts.


  • Understand resilience as an important trait and tool of successful family enterprises
  • Introduction to storytelling and narratives as a valuable tool for developing individuals and organizational resilience
  • Explore existing strategies, both implicit and explicit, for developing narratives
  • Develop themes and narratives relative to the past, present and sustained future

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Learning to Run the China Shop with the Bull Still in it!

Presented by Paul Attia

After practicing law for nearly 10 years, Paul walked away from a successful career as a Criminal Prosecutor to help run his family's business: Attia Quarries, started by his immigrant father. The landing was not a soft one. However, the biggest challenge was not the transition from the courts to the quarries - rather - the challenges came in learning to work with his dedicated and determined entrepreneurial father.

Having learned to manage the bull in his own family's china shop, Paul will draw upon his own experience in family business and unpack how difficult it was to serve the business and his family - and to do so while is father was still actively involved in the business.


  • Understand that though every family is unique, with a unique set of dynamics, there are common themes in the difficulties each family faces
  • Identify that each family system includes various personality types that may be advantageous in one regard, but extremely difficult to manage in the context of family dynamics
  • Learn key principles and practical ways to better manage these difficult dynamics and challenging characteristics — to learn how to Run the China Shop with the Bull Still in It

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Conflict Avoidance: The Silent Killer

Presented by Suzanne St. John Smith

This interactive workshop will raise awareness that conflict avoidance is the number one destroyer of relationships, both personally and professionally. And, within the context of business families, it can result in the downfall of family businesses faster than almost anything else. Communication is the foundation of any relationship, when it's not healthy, particularly due to conflict avoidance, it renders relationships vulnerable to unresolved issues.


  • Understand the different facets of conflict avoidance and identify what the behaviors look like
  • Explore why conflict avoidance is so destructive
  • Learn why the brain plays such an important role in this coping mechanism
  • Steps that can be taken to move away from this coping behavior and learn healthier conflict management tools

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The Role and Impact of Trusts on the Family Business

Presented by Elena Hoffstein and Harvey Taraday

This session will explore the various ways in which business families can consider using a trust as a tool for transition and a vehicle for holding family wealth. Setting up trusts is usually seen as a technical initiative, but it is equally important to think through purpose, meaning and intent when utilizing Trusts as a planning tool. We will explore the value of having transparent family conversations to discuss the purposes of trusts, how to navigate the relationship between trustee and the beneficiaries, and how these discussions can inform the decision-making process. This is a powerful opportunity to connect the beneficiaries and trustees to the purposes of the trust in the family's wealth creation and preservation.


  • Explore principles that can be used at the point of creation and ongoing administration of a trust
  • Understand best practices that can be used by the creators of the trust and the trustees along with creating relational (vs. technical) practices tools and tips
  • Appreciate the purpose and meaning of a trust's and its impact on the estate planning landscape

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The Family Office: Trends and Applications for Transgenerational Wealth

Presented by Nicole Garton and Robyn Hooper

Family offices are a fast growing and evolving phenomenon in Canada to facilitate transgenerational wealth. At its essence, a family office is a means by which a family coordinates its financial affairs. The need or wish for a family office is usually driven either by a requirement for coordination of the liquid portion of wealth or by a significant increase in family liquidity and the desire to retain some degree of coordination over the management of wealth. A family office is a means for a family to maintain control over the way they preserve and grow their wealth while at the same time being a focal point of contact for the family and their numerous advisors. Participants will learn about the various family office structures available and how they may assist families and their advisors to address complexity and enhance complete family wealth.


  • Understand the current landscape of family offices and wealth in Canada
  • Introduction to the various forms of family offices and services available to families
  • Explore various family office options to address complex family requirements
  • Learn about the evolution of this fast growing field and opportunities for families and their advisors in the future

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Conversations with Kids About Money

Presented by Deena Chochinov

As parents we can be intimidated, fearful, shy or just uncomfortable talking about money with our children. This is particularly true when the succession of a business and financial assets are part of the conversation. Money can be a powerful currency that defines our sense of worth, confidence and purpose, and it has the power to change our lives for better or worse. In this session we will explore the family stories, myths and research behind this tender and taboo topic of wealth and inheritance, as well as our own assumptions and biases that might get in the way of our conversations.


  • Explore the meaning of money in your family and individually
  • Learn tools and tips on how to start talking about money in your family or with your family business clients
  • Recognize the benefits of having those breakthrough conversations and the consequences of not!

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Rite of Passage in the Land of Giants

Presented by Dr. Jamie Weiner and Russell Haworth

Born into a world of giants, emerging adults in family enterprises can struggle as they grow up in the “shadow” of their parents and grandparents. Over the past two years, Russell Haworth and Dr. Jamie Weiner have spoken with some of these rising generation members, in Canada and around the world, as they shared stories about their journey towards establishing individual identities and defining personal worthiness on their own terms.

Experience the world and words of these young leaders and their challenge to become “giants” on their own terms. In this workshop Russell and Jamie will explore the key concepts that contribute to mastering this journey and the mishaps and missteps along the way.


  • Understand the unique challenges of growing up in the shadow of one’s elders
  • Examine the concept of “worthiness” and how to create the right space for successful, meaningful self-discovery and self-actualization
  • Explore how understanding the ‘Land of Giants’ can lead to a new paradigm

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