Strategic Designs for Learning Introduces Family-Owned Business Workshops

“Growing Up in a Successful Family Business” is Inaugural Workshop

DENVER – OCTOBER 6, 2008 – While family-owned businesses constitute a critical and growing part of the national economy, most organizational and leadership development efforts ignore the special dynamics and challenges of managing a successful family-owned firm.

To address this dearth, Strategic Designs for Learning (SDL) unveiled its Family-Owned Business Workshops. The workshop series cover a range of topics, including “Successful Parenting: Raising Children in the Family Business,” “Stewardship: The Role of Governance in Family Businesses,” “Developing Family Talent in the Family-Owned Business,” and “Team Building: Values and The Family Code of Conduct.”

In its inaugural session, “Growing Up in a Successful Family Business,” SDL familiarizes children from 5-18 with the specific privileges and responsibilities involved in being part of a family company.

The family business model is unique because it incorporates three distinct and overlapping elements – the family, the ownership structure, and the business. Children growing up within the family business can often feel pressure or shame, according to Renée Montoya Lado, president of SDL, a Denver strategic leadership development and consulting firm with extensive experience as family business consultants.

“It’s hard for children to recognize their unique position as children within a family company. They might be exposed to company events or employees, and may recognize the time it demands for their parents. But typically, parents don’t know how, or are even at odds, to prepare children for their roles now or in the future,” said Lado.

In “Growing up in a Successful Family Business,” SDL conducts separate sessions for children ages 5-8, 9-14 and 15-18, using creative activities like a penny relay race to teach very young children about wealth. A pair of children has a bucket of pennies, and a hole spills out pennies as they run across the room. They try it again after knowing about the hole, beginning to understand that they can still have fun while sometimes having to take care not to waste money.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 90 percent of American businesses are family-owned or controlled and 60 percent of all publically traded companies in the U.S. retain some level of family control. Ranging in size from two-person partnerships to Fortune 500 firms, these businesses account for half of the nation's employment and half of the GNP. The full list of family-owned business workshops is available at

About SDL

Strategic Designs For Learning (SDL) assists organizations in assessing, aligning and developing talent. Specific capabilities include leadership development, executive coaching, team development, and succession - with particular expertise in working with family-owned businesses. SDL provides a unique integration of leadership assessment, organizational development, coaching expertise, and business knowledge to effectively bridge the gap between business strategy and organizational effectiveness. More information is available at

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Media Contact: Renée Montoya Lado