“The next generation of business families are entrepreneurs with a vision to create a sustainable future […] FELI will provide the tools, the networking, the mentoring, and the platform to facilitate a unique education that will see future generations thrive.”
- Susan St. Amand, Gordon Family Executive in Residence in Family Enterprise
The Telfer School of Management’s Family Enterprise Legacy Institute (FELI) is proud to announce the appointment of Susan St. Amand as the inaugural Gordon Family Executive in Residence in Family Enterprise.
An entrepreneur and business owner who has worked for over 30-years with enterprising families, St. Amand deeply understands the fundamental role family businesses play across the economic landscape nationally and internationally. Being a member of an entrepreneurial family has further expanded St. Amand’s perspective. “Family enterprises seed, water, nurture, strengthen and grow entrepreneurs,” she said recently. “Their multi generational mentorship and long-term thinking can fuel innovations and fill the entrepreneurial eco-system with sustainable long-term economic stability.”
An expert in governance and current National Board Chair for Family Enterprise Canada (FEC), St. Amand will help establish FELI’s governance structures and work towards ensuring its long-term sustainability. Passionate about ensuring stability and continuity from one generation to the next, St. Amand is particularly focused on the vital role of the next generation in family enterprise. “The next generation of business families are entrepreneurs with a vision to create a sustainable future,” she said. “They are innovative and creative. It’s essential to provide a platform for the next generation of entrepreneurs to build and thrive.”
Along with her work at FEC, St. Amand has chaired more than half a dozen boards and been director on more than two-dozen, including the Ottawa Community Foundation, Ottawa International Airport Authority, CALU, the Ottawa STEP Chapter, and a private steel company. Additionally, as Founder, President and CEO of The Sirius Group Inc., St. Amand works directly with business and philanthropic families, developing and building strategic pathways and governance structures to help businesses and families succeed.
“As we build this institute, we will facilitate discussions and create awareness of the positive long-term impact family enterprises have in Canada,” St. Amand said in a recent interview. “As a country we are young and we have a diverse cultural population, with tremendous opportunities. FELI will provide the tools, the networking, the mentoring, and the platform to facilitate a unique education that will see future generations thrive.”
“We are so happy that Susan has decided to join Telfer and FELI,” said Stéphane Brutus, Dean of the Telfer School of Management. “Susan’s deep experience with Canadian family business will complement our cadre of world-class researchers, giving FELI a powerful scholarly and practical impact.”
The Executive in Residence at FELI is supported by the Ottawa-based Gordon/Potechin family. Through their experiences over four generations of operating family enterprises they are profoundly aware of the challenges entrepreneurial families face.
“It is estimated that there is a 70% failure rate in estate transitions. 70% of business families will fail at passing their legacies on to the next generation,” said Steve Gordon recently. “FELI has a unique opportunity to be a powerful and transformative model for leading change to this statistic, by educating families from the experiences of others who have struggled to overcome the challenges of leadership, transitions, legacies, conflicts, reconciliation, family team building, wealth transfer and community building.”
“Through its vision, its research, its learning and understanding, FELI can educate and bridge generations,” Gordon added. “It’s collective wisdom, knowledge and experience can provide the roadmap for avoiding the pitfalls that so many families end up in.”