The origins of the Centre for Family Business began with discussions between Milo Shantz, Peter Hallman and John Fast, the first Executive Director of the Centre at a restaurant in St. Jacobs in 1997. Milo voiced his concern for all local family businesses with regard to succession planning. Are these family businesses ready? Who or what organizations were available to provide guidance and advice?
This group then thought about engaging a family business expert to address a gathering of local family business owner/operators. The message was distributed through the Mennonite churches to find out if there would be any interest.
This first meeting was held at Conrad Grebel University College. John Ward was the guest speaker. He provided an excellent and timely presentation. After the speaker, John Fast asked for a show of hands to indicate how many people might be interested in forming some type of organization to deal with family business issues.
From these very humble beginnings, the Centre for Family Business has grown to approximately 65 family business members today. The Centre continues to provide relevant educational programs as well as opportunities to network with other family businesses. Member achievements and milestones are honoured annually at the year-end Gala.
The Board of the Centre for Family Business continues work diligently to fulfill its mission of Supporting, Educating and Energizing family businesses.