I’m writing this post from a park bench in London, the morning after the conclusion of the annual FFI Conference, (my fifth).
The Family Firm Institute has been around for a little over 30 years, and I feel privileged to be a part of its truly global community.
The word “community” created the most resonance while reflecting on an angle for this post-conference blog post.
Global in Scale
Here I was, a Canadian in London, checking in to the conference on Wednesday, where I meet Richard, from Australia. As we chat, Xavier from Spain arrives, so I introduce them.
How would I ever have made such a variety of connections if not for these annual trips during which I have built and nurtured this group of friendly colleagues?
From Washington in 2014, to London 2015, Miami 2016 and Chicago last year, I was back in London again.
Regular readers know that I also make an annual pilgrimage to Denver each summer for the PPI Rendez Vous, and also attend the FEX symposia closer to home.
But the global reach of FFI is unique.
Let Me Count the Countries
Over a dozen Canadians were there, most of whom I already knew. And because FFI was founded in the US and remains headquartered there, the American presence is quite significant. But its scope goes far beyond North America.
Just last night I was out throwing darts with a Venezuelan who now lives in Brazil, another Australian living in the UK, a couple of Norwegians and five American colleagues.
Others I met along the way hailed from South Africa, Denmark and Switzerland, plus too many European countries to count.
Word has it that 40 countries were represented in all.
Special mention goes out to Edvard, who told me that he and his colleagues have been using my Family Continuity BluePrint all over the Netherlands, after he saw me present it last year in Chicago.
So Much to Share
Along the way over the three days, so much great information was shared, and so many ideas were presented in the many breakout sessions.
It was a pleasure to join great friends and colleagues Natalie, Elle, and Mairi as we got to lead one session from the front of the room, as we celebrated the Practitioner’s Spectrum.
Our discussion was about the variety of styles we use as practitioners when working with clients, from Counselling and Coaching, to Facilitation and Mediation, to Mentoring and Consulting.
The Big Deal about Community
As I stated at the outset, I was thinking a lot about the aspect of community this week.
A few months ago, upon returning from Denver’s PPI conference in fact, I also wrote about that subject, in part, in Wanted: Purpose, Passion and Community.
And as I wrote there, a big part of community is that the people need to want to spend time together.
Towards the end of any of these meetings, discussion invariably moves to “so, how was this conference for you?”
My reply usually includes a favourable rating, adds a few minor complaints, and concludes with the fact that I wouldn’t want to miss it.
Between FFI, PPI, and FEX, it feels like we’re on the front edge of a wave of progress and change.
The worlds of family business and family wealth are facing important challenges, as families do the work of transitioning their assets to succeeding generations.
I love coming together with others who work in these areas, to share ways that we can all do a better job. We all want to be reliable resources for these families who are trying to do things better.
It truly does feel like we are building something together, not just for our lifetimes, but for those who will succeed us.
There are many parallels between us, and the business families we serve.
We come together regularly because we enjoy doing so, and we have a common cause we are working for, which will likely outlive us all.
Many of our family clients feel as if they are the only ones experiencing their family issues, which of course is false.
As practitioners, we can also feel a bit lonely at times.
Getting together with like-minded colleagues to share ideas and re-energize only makes sense for us as well.
Why not join us?
See you in Miami, October 23-25, 2019.