Senior Advisor and Partner
Cambridge Family Enterprise Group
Helena F. McDonnell is a senior advisor and partner at Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise, a highly specialized, global advisory firm serving family enterprises. She is a fellow at Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, a leading education and research institute focused on the issues that family enterprises face. Both organizations comprise Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, a global organization founded in 1989, devoted to helping families achieve multigenerational success for their families, ownership groups, enterprises, and financial wealth.
Ms. McDonnell is an advisor to family enterprises throughout the world on strategies for the successful continuity of their enterprises. Based in the UK, she advises multigenerational family enterprises of diverse sizes, generations and industries throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. She assists family enterprises and family offices in achieving their family, ownership and business goals, with emphasis on sibling partnership and cousin consortium stage enterprises. This includes advising on issues of family, business and ownership governance, including preparing shareholder agreements; succession planning; next generation development; individual life planning and career counseling; building effective teams; entrepreneurship and new ventures; and family office design, implementation, and restructuring.
Ms. McDonnell lectures on issues unique to family enterprises at conferences, education programs and private family meetings. At Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, she teaches family governance, succession planning, and next generation development. She is a facilitator in the Future Family Enterprise: Sustaining Multigenerational Success program at the MIT Sloan School of Management, an innovative new program for multigenerational families to prepare themselves for the future. For several years, she served as a facilitator at Harvard Business School’s Families in Business program. She is co-author of two forthcoming articles: one that explores family office issues, and another that addresses the use of individual assessment tools in developing next generation members.
Earlier in her career, Ms. McDonnell was head of private banking at HSBC Bank Brazil and head of Latin America at Royal Bank of Canada. She was previously an HR director for a Brazilian family-owned business, and was an executive coach and executive recruiter for CEOs and board members for large companies.
Ms. McDonnell earned her B.S. in psychology from Universidade Paulista in Brazil, attended INSEAD’s Leadership Program, and pursued additional studies in finance, capital markets, and marketing. She is currently pursuing her M.S. in Consulting and Coaching for Change, an international program delivered jointly by HEC Paris and Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. She is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish.