Family Business Center of Hawaii

Equipping, educating and celebrating families in business

Shidler College of Business

FBC Event

2021 Annual Retreat

Navigating The Developmental Stages of the Family Business System


Leslie Dashew
President of The Human Side of Enterprise, LLC, and Managing Partner of the Aspen Family Business Group, LLC
Leslie Dashew’s Bio

Donnel Nunes, PhD
Associate at the Aspen Family Business Group, LLC
Donnel Nunes’ Bio

All human systems go through developmental stages and it helps to reflect on the past, present and future as we approach these transitions.  Family businesses are among the most complex systems in that the family, the business, the ownership, as well as the individuals involved, all go through their own developmental stages.  At times, the interaction of these transition points creates additional stress for all those involved.

During this retreat, participants will actively participate in an exploration of the developmental
stages facing them at this time, for example:

  • Where are you in your life? Young adult? Senior leader?
  • Where is your business? Entrepreneurial, growing, maturing or at the renewal/decline
  • Is your ownership in the owner-manager stage? Intergenerational partnership? Sibling
    partnership? Dynasty stage?
  • What stage is your family? Young couple to empty nest, branches?
  • Are the core components of your business operations integrated? If not, do you have a
    plan to shore up the operating system of your business as you pilot this phase of your

Succession is an important developmental milestone for family businesses.
This is a process that takes time. It is not an event. We will explore the 7 dimensions of the
comprehensive succession process and have a case study.
Ron Vetter, Chairman and CEO of Vetter Stone in Mankato Minnesota is the 3rd generation
leader of his company. He will share some of the stories of his succession to leadership and
what led up to the successful transition.

Communication—effective communication—is required to succeed in family businesses at all stages.
And it is complex! In family businesses one must have safety, structure and skills in order to
assure thorough communication. We will share some skills, discuss how to establish safe and
open communication and develop the structures (such as family councils, boards of directors
and leadership teams) that facilitate thorough communication.

We will have a panel from SenPlex Corporation (aka Oahu Air Conditioning and Plumbing)
including Brian Sen (President), Tammy Shanklin (Chair of Family Council), Dave Shanklin (family representative on the board) and Phyllis Horner (independent member of the board).
The Panel will talk about the development of their family council and board and how those
organizations have helped foster communication in this 76-year old company.

Leslie Dashew and Donnel Nunes of the Aspen Family Business Group will help participants get their “sea legs” so they can cruise through these waters without hitting any of the submerged rocks along the way!

Program Goals

During this program, we will:

  • Share knowledge about the developmental stages of families in business so that
    participants will be able to understand the normal challenges that are faced along the
  • Enhance communication skills needed so that the “crew” can work through differing
    perspectives and collaborate effectively during these transitions
  • Describe the 7 requirements for successful succession
  • Provide opportunities for families to share lessons learned along their voyages so far

Thursday. September 16, 2021
Developmental Stages of Families in Business

1:00 PM Opening Ceremonies
1:15 Introduction
Stages of Development of Family Businesses Presentation
Stages of Development of Family Businesses Exercise
4:30 Social Activity: Virtual Tasting Experience with Peter Hessler from Pono Potions
5:30 Adjourn


Friday. September 17, 2021
Succession Planning

1:00 PM Welcome Remarks
1:15 Seven Components of The Successful Succession Planning Process Presentation
Discussion with Ron Vetter, Chairman and CEO of Vetter Stone
Preparing for Succession Presentation
4:30 Social Activity: Virtual Tasting Experience with Dylan Butterbaugh from Mānoa Chocolate
5:30 Adjourn


Saturday, September 18, 2021

9:00 AM Opening Remarks
9:15 Successful Communication in Family Business: Safety, Structure and Skills Presentation
Communication Exercise
Panel Discussion: Family Business Structures to Support Communication (Family Councils and Boards) with SenPlex Corporation leaders Brian Sen (President), Tammy Shanklin (Chair of Family Council), Dave Shanklin (family representative on the board), and Phyllis Horner (independent member of the board)
Group Exercise
Closing Remarks
12:30 PM Adjourn