Interview with WIFB: Giving Voice to a Shared Struggle

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Interview with WIFB: Giving Voice to a Shared Struggle

Through their Hawai’i-based consulting firm, Business Consulting Resources (BCR), Jean Santos and Ken Gilbert have more than three decades of experience providing critical support for family businesses across a wide range of industries.

Over the last three years, Jean and Ken conducted a special research project to document the complex nature of family-owned businesses. The first year of the initiative focussed on the founding generation and the issues that impact their ability to navigate succession. The following year, they examined the successors’ perspective: how does the second generation build on what is handed to them? 

This year, Jean, Ken and Celine Casamina conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with women in leadership positions to better understand the specific challenges they overcome on their journey to family business success. 

The testimony they heard includes stories of women expertly juggling roles as mothers, sisters, partners, CEOs and managers of their family businesses. Unlike those with non-family employers, women in the family business do not have the luxury of leaving their work when the day is over. Regardless of their familial obligations, their work is often a 24/7 proposition.

For many, the journey to family business success is defined by struggle against harmful stereotyping, the compulsion to overachieve, impostor phenomenon and, often, time itself. Sharing their stories creates the awareness needed to help mitigate these obstacles for others on the path.

Recently, we sat down with Jean, Ken and Celine to discuss the myth of having it all, why we assume family businesses are better equipped to deal with gender bias and how women can empower themselves on their way to positions of leadership in the family business.

Check out the rest of the article and podcast here:

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