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Mack International President Invited to Speak at the 2018 Opal Group's Family Office and Private Wealth Management Forum in Newport, Rhode Island, July 18th

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Linda C. Mack of Chicago-based Mack International recently participated as a panelist during the Opal Group's Family Office and Private Wealth Management Forum held in Newport, Rhode Island July 16-18. The session explored "Engaging the Next Generation to be Stewards of the Family Legacy."

CHICAGO (PRWEB) August 22, 2018

Linda C. Mack, founder and president of Mack International, LLC, the premier retained executive search and family office strategic management/human capital consulting firm, was invited to speak for the Opal Group's Family Office and Private Wealth Management Forum in Newport, Rhode Island July 16-18. The session explored the importance of keeping the next generation engaged in participating in a family's vision, mission, values and legacy. Panelists discussed how family offices are preparing the next generation to be stewards of a family's legacy. They also shared ideas to overcome some of the challenges faced in securing that legacy for Family Offices who were integrating a plan later in their generational life cycle. The session was moderated by April Rudin, Founder & President of The Rudin Group. Linda was joined by panelists, Lonnie Gienger, CEO, Wilkinson Family of Companies and Skip Coomber III, President, Coomber Family Estates.

The panel began by delineating the most important elements of a "family legacy." Formal definitions of "legacy" include "something handed down by a predecessor—an inheritance, a birthright, a heritage." "You can define legacy in many different ways," said Linda. "Each family has the opportunity to determine who they are, what they stand for, what they would like to leave behind and how they would like to be remembered. For some it is as simple as raising children to be good, responsible human beings. For others it is more specific… moving the needle and making a positive impact on the world, philanthropy, entrepreneurship and a myriad of other possibilities."

Some families have managed to create consistent values and philosophies that are shared and sustained over multiple generations. How does that happen? "Ideally, early and often," said Linda. "Years ago, generations gathered around the dinner table where the family business, history, and values were topics of conversation on a nightly basis. It was an intentional and constant reinforcement and process of engagement. Times have changed, but families who do it successfully create an environment where family members embrace the vision consistently over time. Instilling a sense of legacy is not accomplished in one conversation or transaction. Rather, it is a way of being… it comes from within."

Challenges arise when wealth creators have dedicated all their time to building their enterprises. That singular focus can severely limit time with family. Once their attention shifts to building their legacy—many wonder where to start and if time has indeed run out. According to Linda it is never too late to start. "It's more difficult, but always possible to start from wherever you are and move forward. Sometimes it's helpful to have a facilitator or specialist help you frame initial discussions. Don't feel like you must do it on your own. There are experts who can jump start your efforts." The panel shared a story about an elder principal whose desire to continue his legacy was met with little interest by his children who felt they were never an integral part of his life. With help from a consultant, he skipped generations and was able to inspire his grandchildren by engaging with them to develop a collective mission and vision statement. Ultimately their excitement was contagious, and their parents got involved. The process drew the family together and they were able to successfully develop a legacy that all generations embraced.

Fostering individuality and creativity while maintaining a collective family identity can be challenging. Linda explains. "You want to preserve a common culture. Certain core values like integrity and honesty are at the center, but around the edges you want to be elastic and able to be flexible and adaptable. Being rigid or prescriptive can hinder the next generation's desire to get involved. Protect the core but let them have their fingerprint on how the mission is accomplished." Sometimes, even the best efforts are met with resistance by certain family members. "In this case," said Linda, "find someone who has a relationship with that person to open the communication. It might take a third-party facilitator. It's important to understand the reasons for their resistance or opposition. Forcing the issue can further alienate them. Maybe it's just a question of being heard and understood."

The audience was particularly interested in hearing stories of how other families successfully engaged the next generation in becoming stewards. Several examples of best practices were shared. One family whose mission was philanthropy gathered the grandchildren every summer for two weeks of fun interspersed with lessons on family history and legacy. A "grandchildren foundation" was created where each child could decide where to donate their "allowance." As they got older, the allowance increased. Eventually they were required to analyze financial statements associated with their "cause" and develop and deliver a formal presentation to the family board members asking for approval and funding. Once approved, they were asked to follow up for a year to see how effective their grant had been. Reading financial statements, presentations and public speaking skills, research and due diligence were all part of exposing younger family members to the skills required to sustain the family legacy for future generations.

The panel concluded with a lively Q&A session offering different perspectives on "passing the baton." Everyone agreed that families who have managed to keep strong, healthy relationships within and between each generation work on it every day. "It's like a marriage or any other long term relationship," said Linda. "It doesn't take care of itself. But it's never too late enrich it. Start where you are, decide where you want to go with your vision and engage family members to get on board. Don't worry. There are plenty people who can help you successfully build upon what you have created."

About Mack International LLC
Mack International is the premier, boutique retained executive search and strategic management/human capital consulting firm serving national and international clients in the family office, family business enterprise and the wealth and investment management industries on national and international basis. Founded in 2002, the firm has achieved an exceptional track record of success as evidenced by its unmatched industry expertise, in-depth market knowledge and unparalleled track record of success. Founder and President, Linda C. Mack has established proprietary methodologies such as the Mack 360© and is credited for having coined the term "expert generalist" in the industry.

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