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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Agency, Altruism, and Governance in Family firms: Looking back and looking forward

September 16, 2020

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of publication of Agency and Altruism in Family Firms, an article that sparked ongoing theoretical interest, and substantial debate, about the governance of family firms. In this session, I will share some history and perspective about both that article, as well as the evolution of theory and research that that occurred over the past two decades since its publication. Directions for future research will also be addressed. Part of the 2020 IFERA Research Development Program. Date: September 24, 2020 Time: 6.00 PM CET WATCH IT NOW: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/play/OoR-aBJoLsTpslSSq3Y-8iJq_xQCjOY8AL1MEP2u5cIIZ2qMcNFW3jsmTvrTJhY-VFDH6yz4I6GsFfrl.nHV4CL-Pu-r8SKCy?continueMode=true

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