Get to know our LATAM Chapter: Renata Bernardon

January 13, 2021

This series of interviews is meant to introduce our IFERA Latam Chapter committee, devoted to advancing Family Business Research in Latin America. Renata Bernardon graduated in business from the PUCRS (2001), she has a Master in Business and Administration also from PUCRS (2004), a MBA Entrepreneurship & Family Business from, EAE, Barcelona – Spain (2007) and a Ph.D. in Business from the UNISINOS, with a period at EDHEC (France) (2018) as a visiting researcher. She has experience in the area of management, with emphasis on strategy and direction of Family Businesses. She is currently Director of Continuing Education at PUCRS, professor at undergraduate and postgraduate level of disciplines related to Family Business Management, and acting as an independent advisor on boards of directors. Licenciada en Administración de Empresas por la PUCRS (2001), Maestría en Negocios y Administración también por la PUCRS (2004), MBA en Emprendimiento y Empresa Familiar por la EAE, Barcelona, España (2007) y Doctorado en Administración por la Unisinos, con período de estudios en EDHEC (Francia) (2018) como investigadora invitada. Tiene experiencia en el área de Administración, con énfasis en Administración Estratégica y Gestión de Empresas Familiares. Actualmente es Directora de Educación Continuada de la PUCRS, profesora a nivel de pregrado y posgrado de disciplinas relacionadas con la temática de Gestión de Empresas Familiares, además de actuar como asesora independiente en juntas directivas.   How long have you been a member of IFERA? ¿Cuándo se unió como miembro a IFERA? I have been with IFERA for five years, since 2015. Desde 2015.   How many annual conferences have you attended so far? ¿A cuántas conferencias anuales asistió hasta ahora? 2019 – Bergamo – Italy 2018 – Zwolle – Netherlands 2017 – Zadar – Croatia 2016 – Bogotá – Colombia   Based on your knowledge, what would you say about researching in Brazil? Con base en sus conocimientos, ¿qué diría sobre la realización de investigaciones en Brasil? In Brazil, scientific activity presents several challenges. We know that 60% of the research produced is concentrated in 15 public universities; that is, it is still necessary to overcome aspects such as the attractiveness for the researcher’s career, since it is unattractive from an economic point of view, in addition to mechanisms for access to resources. Specifically, concerning the field of family businesses, in Brazil, this is even worse. Although there is research, they still deal with aspects related to the family and non-family business dichotomy. Few studies/researches address the family’s influence on the business and vice versa, which in my opinion is the characteristic of analysis of relevance and impact. It is also necessary to have scientific rigor and bring appropriate theoretical lenses for interpreting the data and adopting proper methodologies for understanding the family business phenomenon. En Brasil la actividad científica se enfrenta a diferentes desafíos. Sabemos que un 60% de la investigación producida se concentra en 15 (quince) universidades públicas, o sea, aún se hace necesario superar tales aspectos como la atracción hacia la carrera de investigador, una vez que resulta poco atractiva desde el punto de vista económico, además de la dificultad de mecanismos para acceder a los […]

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Career and Cause: Relevant Family Business Research

January 7, 2021

This webinar will explore the nature of relevant research and discuss how it is the key to finding meaning in one’s career as well as how to leverage it into meeting career goals. Relevance has become a very important topic of late in academia, particularly in business schools. The accrediting bodies (AACSB, EFMD, EQUIS) are taking notice and beginning to require new and creative ways to demonstrate relevance. Even the keepers of the FT 150 are struggling with the topic as evidenced by their latest survey of academicians and business schools. This session will bridge the gap and hopefully allow you to discover the ways in which your research can be helpful to the wides audience possible with the deepest impact and a career booster at the same time. SPEAKER: Joseph Astrachan DATE: January 28, 2021 TIME: 5.00 -6.00 pm (CET) REGISTRATIONS: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_BFDOZziqTKa4b9gi_XEmIg

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Recovering From the Covid-19 Pandemic: Organizational and Individual Determinants

December 7, 2020

Companies around the world have been shaken by the outbreak of Covid-19. Yet, there seems to be a wide heterogeneity in the response of firms to the pandemic. What shapes the ability of companies to overcome pandemics and other external shocks? Using archival and survey data from a variety of institutional contexts, I will discuss the role of governance and leadership at the firm level, as well as the role of individual traits related to entrepreneurs’ human capital and psychology. Empirical evidence suggests that family-controlled firms are better equipped than non-family firms to overcome a pandemic. Individual factors, too, play a significant role: optimistic beliefs, in parallel with risk tolerance and education, are positively associated with the ability to undertake corporate actions to face the pandemic. Collectively, these results provide novel evidence on the ability to ride out of catastrophic events. SPEAKER: Mario Daniele Amore, SDA Bocconi DATE: December 10, 2020 TIME: 6.00 – 7.00 PM, CET Watch the webinar:

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Preserving a family business and looking after the environment: Café Monteverde, Honduras

November 27, 2020

Currently, around the world, around two billion cups of coffee are consumed every day. Most of the coffees that we enjoy are produced by families in countries with a long tradition of coffee production. Some of these families have dedicated over generations to produce high quality coffee and successful businesses. This article relates to a unique coffee producing family business in Honduras, Central America. Cafe Monteverde is a family business established in 1985. It was started by Omar Osorio with the planting of the first coffee land plots of the Catuaí variety* on the La Porra farm on the Sierra de Montecillos, a mountainous stretch in the central coffee region in Honduras – home to some of the best coffees produced for export in the country. Currently the La Porra farm is owned and managed by two generations of the Osorio family. The Osorio family produces, harvests and roasts coffee for local and international markets. The La Porra farm comprises approximately 30 hectares and is located between 1,365 to 1,411 meters above sea level. The average temperature in these altitudes helps to produce a unique environment that influences the quality of coffee harvested. Such geographical location is important as precipitation in the farm ensures that water is available throughout a year, which eliminates the risk of water deficit that could be detrimental for quality of coffee beans produced. For more than a decade the farm’s coffee harvest was sold to local exporters. Yet in 1996, family members identified that the Honduran consumer did not have the opportunity to obtain and enjoy high quality coffees. Thus, they set out to develop a coffee aimed at local consumers who were beginning to demand coffees with high quality attributes. Since 1996 the demand for Café Monteverde has experienced an average yearly increase between 15 to 20% in sales. The family attributes such success to the promotion made by consumers locally but also internationally. Café Monteverde does not invest in marketing yet constantly receives messages from the United States asking how they can get their products in their homes and stores. Certifications, the environment and the social impact of a coffee producing family The La Porra Farm is certified under the Rainforest Alliance seal, an international certification that benchmarks Café Monteverde against a standard that combines social and environmental principles. For the Osorio family, having café Monteverde certified matters as it signals that the farm not only meets their family desire for environmental stewardship but also that working conditions in terms of wages, personal and social security of labourers complies with international expectations. Gabriela Osorio, member of the second generation of the Osorio family, expressed “When you buy our coffee you are supporting an initiative of fair treatment with the workers who are employed in the farm. On average our employees receive a salary that is 46% higher than that normally paid in the farms of the region or in the coffee sector.” Moreover, the farm is managed based on the application of traditional and novel agronomic practices, introduced by Omar Osorio and uphold by the second generation. One of the key goals of […]

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Beyond Convention: Rethinking Qualitative Research in Family Business

November 16, 2020

Qualitative research embraces a range of paradigmatic lenses, methods, means of inference and theorizing styles. Despite its promising diversity, Family Business (FB) scholarship has mainly followed the convention of inductive exploration. While conventions are important for legitimizing academic discourses, they are also meant to be problematized so as to help FB researchers capture changing phenomena and drive the field forward. The purpose of this seminar is to question the disciplinary convention and offer alternatives on qualitative research in FB scholarship. DATE: November 26, 2020 TIME: 4.00 PM (CET) Watch the webinar:    

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GET to KNOW our LATAM Chapter

October 30, 2020

Ricardo Aparicio Castillo This series of interviews is meant to introduce our IFERA Latam Chapter committee, devoted to the advancement of Family Business Research in Latin America Ricardo Aparicio Castillo is head and professor of the Organization Behavior and Business-Family departments at IPADE. He is also director of the “Centro de Investigación para Familias de Empresarios | BBVA” of IPADE since 2009. He is a consultant in Family Businesses, Human Behavior and Organizational Culture; a visiting professor at INALDE Business School, Colombia and ISE Business School, Brazil; a member of the International Family Research Academy (IFERA) and a member of the Council of the LATAM Chapter. He is coordinator of the book ” Ser y Hacer de las Familias Empresarias ” and author of four of its chapters. He is also author of various cases and technical notes on Family Businesses and Human Behaviour. Es director y profesor de las áreas de Factor Humano y Empresa-Familia del IPADE. Es también director del Centro de Investigación para Familias de Empresarios | BBVA del IPADE desde 2009. Es además consultor en Empresas Familiares, Comportamiento Humano y Cultura Organizacional. Profesor invitado en INALDE Business School, Colombia e ISE Business School, Brasil. Miembro del International Family Research Academy (IFERA) y Miembro del Consejo del Capítulo de LATAM. Coordinador del libro “Ser y Hacer de las Familias Empresarias” y autor en cuatro de sus capítulos. México, LID. Autor de diversos casos y notas técnicas sobre Empresas Familiares y Factor Humano. How long have you been a member of IFERA? ¿Cuándo se unió como miembro a IFERA? I have been with IFERA for 7 years, since 2013. Desde 2013. How many annual conferences have you attended so far? ¿A cuántas conferencias anuales asistió hasta ahora • St Gallen, 2013 • Mexico, 2015 (Regional Forum) I was the Regional Forum Host Chair. I had the opportunity and privilege to organize the regional forum, in collaboration with Sanjay Goel and Ranjan Karri. It was a very interesting experience that allowed me to meet many IFERA members and contribute to spread different investigations carried out in Mexico and Latin America. We had the privilege of having three fellow members participating on that occasion: Miguel Ángel Gallo, Guillermo Perkins and Salvatore Tomaselli. Tuve la oportunidad y el privilegio de organizar el foro regional, en colaboración con Sanjay Goel y Ranjan Karri. Fue una experiencia muy interesante que me permitió conocer a muchos miembros de IFERA y contribuir para dar a conocer distintas investigaciones llevadas a cabo en México y Latinoamérica. Tuvimos el privilegio de contar en esa ocasión con la participación de tres fellow members: Miguel Ángel Gallo, Guillermo Perkins y Salvatore Tomaselli. • Bogota, 2016 • Zwolle, 2018 • Bergamo, 2019 Based on your knowledge, what would you say about conducting research in México? Con base en sus conocimientos, ¿qué diría sobre la realización de investigaciones en México? We have many opportunities to apply theories already developed and see how these phenomena behave in Mexico. We also need to build databases to be able to develop basic research. Tenemos muchas oportunidades para aplicar teorías ya desarrolladas y ver como […]

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FB in times of crisis: Gimnasio Fontana, Colombia

September 25, 2020

As part of the IFERA series on “Family Businesses in Times of Crisis”, we are pleased to share with you the interview of María Piedad López-Vergara, Assistant Professor and Director of INALDE Family Business Research Center at INALDE Business School, Colombia, with Natalia Zuleta, second generation member and Marketing and Innovation Director of Gimnasio Fontana  ENGLISH AND SPANISH LANGUAGE Gimnasio Fontana is a private school in Bogotá, Colombia. It has been thirty-six years in the educational market in which it is known for having developed its own pedagogical model. It was founded by two educators, Amparo Triana and Dario Zuleta who actually perform leadership positions in the school together with their daughters Catalina and Natalia. The school has managed to consolidate a learning system based upon three main pillars: creativity, sustainability, and happiness known as “What if?Ò Creative thinking” and it has been recently awarded as “Great Place to Study in Latin America”. Gimnasio Fontana is also renowned for its unique campus and premises designed by one of the most awarded Colombian arquitect and it is listed as cultural heritage of Colombia. The school is the first neutral carbon accredited institution in Colombia as well as a pioneer in implementing circular economy. Currently the second generation is working on the implementation of What if?Ò as a learning system outside the school aiming for the public and private educational sector.  The school is accredited by Council of International Schools.  The COVID-19 pandemic had a ripple effect on the world economies and societies. How have the family and the business been particularly impacted? Gimnasio Fontana has faced many challenges in this new context.  I think that we have discovered new ways of doing things. In a certain way we were already going through an innovation process for our last grades in order to offer a more flexible curriculum that fostered entrepreneurship and that is more connected with our seniors’ interests in the fields of creativity and sustainability. This particular reality of Covid 19 has accelerated the process. At the same time, we had to reorganize teams, strengthen technological platforms and be more conscious of the teachers’ role as facilitators.  Financially, it has also been very challenging because many families have lost their jobs, and this had an impact on fees’ payment collection. We have reviewed our financial and investment strategy for the next years, as education will suffer radical transformations due to radical societal developments and a change of focus and priorities is required. In regard to our family, I think that this situation has been a great opportunity to highlight and put into practice our values such as unity, creativity, perseverance and love. Uncertainty has allowed us to recognize that these values are our real foundations and that we are able to put them into practice in challenging moments. Having worked on our compass, defining our mission and vision as a business family, has facilitated the decision-making processes thanks to a more strategic vision.  How did these changes translate into initiatives (or strategies)?  We have structured our pedagogical model in a more systemic and rigorous way. We have also worked on […]

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FB in Times of Crisis: Jacto Group, Brazil

August 28, 2020

As part of the IFERA series on “Family Businesses in Times of Crisis”, we are pleased to share with you the interview of Rania Labaki, associate professor and director of EDHEC Family Business Centre, with Alessandra Nishimura, third generation member of the shareholders council and head of family governance of Jacto Group. With a history that started in 1948 in Brazil, Jacto is currently present in more than 100 countries. Its activities cover logistics, health care, industrial cleaning, polymer processing, manufacturing high-technology agricultural equipment and machinery, portable manual and battery-operated equipment, and innovative solutions for precision agriculture.   The COVID-19 pandemic had a ripple effect on the world economies and societies. How has the family business been particularly impacted? In Brazil, our businesses have first shot down in March for around two weeks. As we operate in the “essentials” industries, such as food, logistics and health, our businesses re-opened while facing the challenge of ensuring safety conditions for our employees. We operate in different States in Brazil and in other countries such as Argentina and Thailand and we have commercial offices in the US and Mexico. So, when the Covid-19 hit we had to think both locally and globally. We had to adapt the measures depending on the evolution of the pandemic in each location. At the same time, while we know of some industries hugely impacted by the crisis, our health and Agri businesses were impacted to a lesser extent and in some cases flourished with an increasing demand. So, our focus was really to decrease the impact of the crisis as much as possible on our employees. In addition, a past economic crisis taught us the advantages of being debt-free: “We don’t take money to grow; we grow with what we have”. This certainly makes it easier for us to go through the current crisis. On the family side, we have also learned about the importance of a united family. This crisis reiterated that and had a positive impact on the frequency and quality of interactions among and across generations. How did these changes translate into initiatives or strategies? Dealing with the unknown is the hardest thing. Usually, we take decisions based on information that is reliable. We first investigated how companies in other countries were handling the crisis. As shareholders, we have put together a crisis committee that met on a weekly basis, then bi-monthly. Our priority was to provide support to employees and to ensure their safety rather than the continuity of the activities. We started even to consider these questions prior to the lockdown. During the two weeks in lockdown, we created many videos and manual guides and banners for the factories to share information that we trust. These included explanations on the steps to follow starting from the time the employee leaves home until reaching the workplace and the behaviors to follow at work. All the material was translated in the country’s language and disseminated through our social media platforms. We also did polls to check whether our employees would feel safe to come to work, by measuring their emotional level. If they were […]

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FB in times of crisis: EKKI Group, India

August 11, 2020

As part of the IFERA series on “Family Businesses in Times of Crisis”, we are pleased to share with you the interview of Rania Labaki, Associate Professor and Director of the EDHEC Family Business Centre, with Kanishka Arumugam, co-CEO of EKKI Pumps, Deccan Pumps Pvt Ltd, and second generation member of EKKI Group. With a humble start four decades ago, a few members of the Arumugam family, themselves agriculturists, manufactured Agri pumps that virtually boosted the green revolution in India. Today, the family business stands as one of India’s leading providers of advanced pump and water technologies for agricultural, building services, industrial and public utilities markets, and has a global presence in more than 20 countries.   The COVID-19 pandemic had a ripple effect on the world economies and societies. How has the family business been particularly impacted ? When the government imposed the lock-down last March, people in India were clearly not prepared for the scale of the shutdown. Many of them do not live close to their workplace and could not move back to their hometowns given the short notice. They mostly rely on daily or weekly wages for their living, which went missing overnight, creating subsistence issues. Although our factories had to shut down, our primary focus was our employees for whom we particularly care. We provided accommodation and food while continuing to pay salaries. As part of the culture and the specificity of the healthcare system in India, people tend to save money for difficult times, making them withstand for a little while. The government lifted the lock-down in April with restrictions as the survival of the population and economy was at stake. Our factories started to operate again while taking all necessary safety measures. Still, activities were impacted due to disruptions in the supply chain, but we had a sound bottom line with a debt-free balance sheet. Our conservative financing strategy allowed us to deal with the situation more serenely. On the family side, my parents moved back to our family farm. Interestingly, I was happy to see my father finally taking his first break since he started the business in 1981.   How did these changes translate into initiatives or strategies? This crisis allowed us to engage in new strategic directions, to accelerate the implementation of existing ones and to optimize our organizational structure. First, we took the last few months to think and pivot further our business model towards a sustainable water technology company. Fresh water is the basis of life on our planet, a basic human right, a critical factor in the health of our global environment, and a vital part of the business operations in a wide range of industries. But this resource is fragile and prone to crises. According to the United Nations, 4 billion people—more than half of the world’s population—suffer from water scarcity every year. The diversity of freshwater species has declined more than 80% since 1970. And in 2018, businesses worldwide reported $38.5 billion in financial losses related to water scarcity or pollution. In India, we have significant water pollution issues and around 10% of electricity is […]

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FB in Times of Crisis: Groupe Simone Pérèle, France

August 4, 2020

As part of the IFERA series on “Family Businesses in Times of Crisis”, we are pleased to share with you the interview of Rania Labaki, Associate Professor and Director of the EDHEC Family Business Centre, with Mathieu Grodner, third generation member and CEO of Groupe Simone Pérèle. His grandmother, a pioneer and visionary, started her first atelier in Paris back in 1948. Today, Simone Pérèle is an international group that designs and manufactures apparel and fine lingerie serving customers worldwide.  The COVID-19 pandemic had a ripple effect on the world economies and societies. How have the family and the business been particularly impacted? Our businesses stopped operating as soon as the lock-down was promulgated. That was unprecedented. Our businesses were not prepared for such a violent cease of activities. Our employees showed an exemplary behavior though as they adapted fast to the situation and were committed in line with the interests of the business, in a context where their personal situation was somehow complicated. The business carries strong values with meaning, such as sustainability, authenticity and respect; all rooted in our history back to the founder, my grandmother. Those values represent our DNA and are the pillars to which employees can relate in times of crisis. There are of course some differences among people in the pace of adaptation depending on the generation they belong to, but overall, the adaptation to the crisis was natural. This crisis could also be a test for any family in business. What appeared clearly in our case is that we could count on a strong family cohesion. Our unity was not only a facade but a socle with strong foundations. The education and governance work we have done over generations has paid-off. How did these changes translate into initiatives (or strategies)? Our main priority has been to ensure the safety of our teams. Depending on the nature of their work, the employees were either allowed to work from home or had to work part time to accommodate the new situation. As we operate in different countries, we had to manage these adjustments while accounting for the different stages of the pandemic and the confinement restrictions. Our other priority has been to ensure the financial health of the company. Given that the production activity and our shops were shut down, we wanted to avoid cash-flows difficulties. The family business is 100% owned by family shareholders who are very committed to the Simone Pérèle project and its sustainability. They renewed their commitment and their trust by providing exceptional financial support during this period. Our communications became more regular in order to reassure and inform them about the strategic challenges we were encountering. We also relied on the support of our other partners and used the state-guaranteed loans that the French government has encouraged to help businesses during the pandemic. Family businesses are known for their values of social responsibility, acting as ambassadors of the territories in which they are rooted. How did these manifest themselves in your country? Simone Pérèle is a French or even a Parisian company with a close relationship with its territory. That […]

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