Women In Family Business – a Woman’s Role

By Patricia Annino, J.D., Thomas Davidow, Ed.D. & Cynthia Adams Harrison, Ed.D., LICSW

Family owned businesses in America continue to thrive today. With their creativity, continuity and contribution to their communities, they have made themselves an essential aspect of the U.S. economy, now and in the future.

The good news for women in family owned businesses is that their roles continue to grow in importance. Today’s wife, mother, widow, second wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister and sister-in-law can expect to play a key part in the succession and continuity of the family owned business. But there is a caveat for women as well: While the number of women involved with the family business in this country is staggering, the resources tailored to them are scarce.

Women have always played important roles in family owned businesses-from keeping the home intact (allowing their spouses to devote the time necessary to build businesses) to Chief (formal or informal) Business Advisors, to co-founders, to CEO/President.

As women’s roles continue to evolve, they also bring with them special challenges and concerns: Wives worry when their husbands, unable to face change or their mortality, won’t step down and let their children run the business. Mothers worry that their children aren’t being treated fairly or that appointing one of them as successor will disrupt sibling harmony. Widows aren’t sure whether to keep the business or sell it. Stepmothers feel like outsiders in their blended families, with very limited influence over their stepchildren and too little financial security. Daughters and sisters want their fathers’ approval and to be given as much responsibility and as many opportunities in the business as their brothers, without sacrificing the flexibility to raise a family. And daughters-in-law and sisters-in-law want their in-laws to treat them with respect, not like second class citizens.

Women face many challenges in their roles within the family business.  We hope we have brought awareness to some of the pitfalls so you will go the next steps in taking care of yourselves and your families.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently announced the release of an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  Annino’s book is an exhortation, resource and trusted companion for women in all facets of life.  To purchase the book visit:  http://amzn.to/hOHuEV or for more about Annino, visit: www.patriciaannino.com



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