Family Business Women Affinity Family Business Affinity Group 2 Family Business Affinity Group 3

Peer Affinity Group

What are Peer Affinity Groups?

Confidential groups of 6-10 family business members, in similar corporate family roles, meeting monthly to discuss matters of business, family and personal interest. The Center for Family Business's affinity groups are peer groups that meet regularly, allowing members to share experiences and learn from each other.

Affinity members have an opportunity to:

  • Share their experiences and learn from one another
  • Seek advice and help with issues they are facing
  • Provide advice and guidance to their fellow members

Affinity Groups provide:

  • A confidential, trusting environment conducive to the exchange of ideas, information and education
  • A place to seek advice and solutions to business and personal matters
  • A community of peers who fully understand the integration of business, family and personal issues for those involved in family business
  • A vehicle for family business education
  • A place where personal growth and a better understanding of self take place.

Principles of a Successful Peer Affinity Group:

  • Confidentiality: Our affinity groups are successful because each group has a shared purpose and expectations. Each member is committed to respecting the confidentiality of all members.
  • Commitment: Group members are committed to attend meetings as regularly as feasible. Members rely on one another for follow up, feedback and continuity.
  • Leadership: Our forum facilitators allow each group to explore areas of common interest, while guiding members back to selected topics when meetings drift into areas not in keeping with the group's shared agenda.
  • Currently, all forums meet once a month, 10 or 11 times a year, for approximately two hours, over lunch. Members pay a set annual fee.

Current Peer Affinity Group descriptions:

Owners/CEO's: This group consists of business owners contemplating issues such as retirement and succession planning. Members are usually preparing to leave the day to day operation of their businesses to the next generation. Often, a major concern is communicating their plans and desires to their successors while contemplating financial and lifestyle changes that will take place in retirement. Members address issues surrounding preparing the next generation for leadership roles and protecting their interests in the company business.

Next Generation: This group is preparing to assume leadership roles in their family businesses. They are committed to preparing themselves to take over from the senior generation. They face obstacles such as gaining the respect of company employees loyal to the senior generation, negotiating with siblings or cousins on ownership issues, and preparing themselves to be competent leaders. In addition, many are struggling with convincing the senior generation that they are capable of leading.

Women's Forum: This forum consists of women in key management roles in their family businesses. Many handle demanding positions within their companies, while meeting the changing needs of their families. Forum members share issues confronted by the growing number of women holding key positions in industries more traditionally dominated by men. They also struggle to balance their more traditional roles within the family with their leadership responsibilities in their businesses.

Sources: Center for Family Business, CSUF; Family Business Forum, University of New Haven ; Family Business Forum University of San Francisco

Produced by the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University, Fullerton.
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