How Do Family Businesses Choose Outside Directors?
Family businesses are interested in making the best possible decisions regarding new outside directors. And prospective directors are interested in understanding their unique role as an outsider on a family business board.
During this roundtable discussion, family business representatives shared their thoughts on the important considerations when bringing in an outside director, and we discussed the prospective director’s concerns.
Learned how to present themselves for such positions
Uncovered what motivates family business people
Developed a deeper understanding of how they might best serve on a family business board
Paul Knapp served as Moderator. Sara B. Stern, Family Business Minnesota, participated in the discussion, along with Matt Cohen, Replenex and Mike Gilbert, Empirehouse.
Paul Knapp serves as Vice President of Vomela Specialty Company where his duties include mergers and acquisitions, legal, real estate management and investment, and family business office organization and management.
He currently serves as a Director of Venture Bank, The Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors and several emerging private companies.
Paul graduated from The College of Saint Thomas (BA, Finance) and William Mitchell College of Law (JD). He regularly teaches on the subjects of investment, growing private companies, family business offices, and building better boards of directors. He has been recognized as a Twin Cities Director of the Year and a Minnesotan to Know by the Twin Cities Business Journal.
Sara B. Stern is on a quest to help owners get what they want from their family business and build lasting legacies. She is the former director of the nationally recognized Family Business Center at the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota, a seasoned coach and trained EOS Implementer. She grew up in a family business and has worked for several. Her experience makes her uniquely skilled at helping family businesses implement practical tools that help them get clear about their vision, gain traction toward that vision and be a healthy team.
Sara loves to spend time with friends and family, laugh at the ridiculous and work as hard as she plays. The best moments in her career are witnessing families work together to grow their businesses, communities and legacies.
Matt Cohen is the President and CEO of Replenex, an industrial distributor based in Eden Prairie, MN.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law, Matt spent several years practicing law in a private practice in Minneapolis and also with the Minnesota Justice Foundation. Before returning to help manage his family’s business, he earned an MBA at the Carlson School of Management.
In 2002 Matt joined the Replenex leadership team. He was responsible for overseeing the divestiture of two non-strategic business units and the integration of a strategic acquisition. Matt eventually migrated to a marketing role within the organization before becoming Replenex’ President in 2008.
Since 1999, Mike has worked in all aspects of Empirehouse, from installation to production to sales to marketing and operations. As President, Mike is known for providing TEAM solutions to complex issues and creating an environment where exceptional innovative problem solving and integrity are paramount. Mike provides leadership and strategic direction through safety, quality, design, construction, and administrative initiatives and has been instrumental in the succession planning of the Empirehouse transition from the second to the third generation.
Mike has studied Construction Management at the University of Wisconsin STOUT and Family Business at the University of St. Thomas.