Women

One of my four granddaughters had her fifth birthday party recently, and as I watched the cousins play together, I realized that one day one of them may become CEO of our family business. When my grandfather was running our family flour company in Kansas City, women were not expected — and definitely not encouraged — to enter the business. Granted, I had a brother and two male cousins, so succession was somewhat guaranteed. Things have certainly changed with respect to women in business since then.

$10.00

In a book of family business cartoons published in 1990, women are depicted as nagging wives, wealthy widows, marriageable daughters and “Ms. Buxum,” the secretary. We’ve come a long way, baby.

$10.00

Perseverance is the key to success for women whose family businesses operate in male-dominated industries.

Barbara Moran-Goodrich was told she would never run her family’s automotive business because she was a woman. Her father told her this several times, in fact.

$10.00

Wolfgang Puck, Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsey may be rock stars in the cooking world, but all foodies owe a debt of gratitude to Frieda Rapoport Caplan. A pioneer in the produce industry, Frieda almost singlehandedly introduced Americans to once-exotic, now commonplace produce items like kiwifruit and spaghetti squash. Had it not been for her, many U.S. consumers would never have tasted shiitake mushrooms, Belgian endives or passionfruit sorbets.

$10.00
Print / Download

Global companies—public, private and family-owned—compete with everyone everywhere for everything. Good directors can help companies acquire a competitive advantage in the global marketplace. If a company does only what worked in the past, its directors will wake up one day and find that they have been left behind.

$10.00
Print / Download

The New Year customarily brings resolutions and renewed optimism for the coming months. The highlight of my 2014 is the expansion of our family. Both our daughters-in-law have announced pending births—one this month and another around Mothers’ Day. What a tremendous blessing this is! One daughter-in-law has revealed that a little girl is on the way. Gender, of course, is not important to me as long as the babies are healthy. And certainly with respect to working in our family business, gender will not be an impediment for this next generation.

$10.00
Print / Download

Creepy-crawlies, long spindly legs, winged critters, furry tails. Close encounters with insects, rodents and nuisance wildlife were only one of the challenges my sister and I learned to master when we entered our father’s pest-control business.

Our father, Bernard Stegman, founded Arrow Exterminating in Lynbrook, N.Y., in 1947. Today, Arrow is a full-service pest management company that employs approximately 100 people. Our company serves the New York metropolitan area and all of Long Island.

$10.00
Print / Download

When Genma Stringer Holmes founded her pest-control company in Hermitage, Tenn., she couldn’t afford to buy a truck for her fledgling enterprise. Instead, she hauled around her exterminating equipment in a nine-year-old Lincoln Town Car and served her customers at night so they couldn’t see what she was driving.

$10.00
Print / Download

Eleven years ago I worked with a family business that included four sisters and a sister-in-law. The women seemed lost as we discussed the family business, their roles and responsibilities as owners, and the likelihood that they would need to be active owners in the near future. The sisters did not work in the family business, but they visited the office regularly and grew up with the business as their dad developed it. Despite this familiarity, they knew little about their business, or even how to participate constructively in a business meeting.

$10.00
Print / Download

Talk about immediate payoff.

When Monica Peck joined her family's business, Hare Auto of Noblesville, Ind., two years ago, one of her first projects was to overhaul the dealership's website and create an Internet sales department. Soon after she completed the assignment, a customer sent an e-mail complimenting the dealership on the ease of buying from the website.

$10.00
Print / Download