In-Person Program

Building a Worldclass Board for the Family Enterprise

Samberg Conference Center
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
October 10-13, 2023

A Program on Strategic and Corporate Governance Tailored to Family Enterprises

Register Here

A Forward-Looking Board is a Powerful Tool for Owners to Steer their Family Enterprise in the Next Economy.

Industries today face an accelerating rate of disruptive change, globalization, and competition.

More than ever, family businesses need value-creating Boards that partner with family owners and senior executives to set proper ambitious goals, adapt business models, and rethink resource allocation. A partnering Board guides owners with scaling their business(es) through organic growth or acquisitions, divestitures, liquidity events, new investments, setting up a family office, or other important activities.

In addition, a strategic Board at the highest level of the enterprise helps owners set direction for the family’s entire portfolio of businesses, investments, and entities. It helps define how the family can make its most important contributions to the enterprise. It helps ensure that the family enterprise makes the bold decisions needed to endure through the next generation.

A well-constructed Board is invaluable to growing family wealth and shaping the future of a multigenerational family enterprise.

I found the Worldclass Boards Program truly inspiring, and loved every minute of it. It answered all of the questions that I had about good family business governance.

-5th generation Chairwoman of a global family business

Program Overview

The Building a Worldclass Board Program accelerates the planning and revitalization of a family enterprise’s corporate governance system—whether for an operating company, portfolio of companies, holding company, or family office.

The program explores the following themes related to how owners can maximize the value of their board(s):

  1. Governance Architecture: What are the different types of boards, and what are the right boards for your family enterprise?
  2. Role of the Board: What are the duties of a board at different stages in a family enterprise’s evolution?
  3. Board Design and Functionality: How is a board structured, composed, managed, and led?
  4. Board Performance: How is a board’s effectiveness evaluated and strengthened?
  5. Individual Impact: How do individuals more effectively contribute to the board, or prepare to serve on or lead the board?

The program strengthens the performance of directors, and expedites the preparation of future board members and board Chairs.

Topics Discussed


  • What a board provides to the owners, and what the owners need from the board to navigate the challenges of the next economy
  • Different types of boards and different roles for boards in this disruptive environment
  • How to architect the right board(s) for your family enterprise: operating companies, investment companies, impact investing entities, family office, and holding company


  • How the board reconnects with, and advances, the family enterprise’s vision for the future
  • Training the next generation to be solid board members
  • Symbiotic relationship and coordination between the Board and family governance


  • Main duties of a good board
  • Board’s responsibilities to gain economies of scope and reinforce the innovation agenda
  • Board’s role in integrating corporate strategy and talent strategy


  • How to compose an effective board, and the different composition needs of different boards
  • Independent directors: recruiting, compensation, and getting the most value from them
  • Family directors: preparation, development, and getting the most value from them


  • Evolving role of the Board Chair or Executive Chair in a disruptive environment, including lessons from a Chairman’s first-hand experience
  • Effective board agendas, and what good board meetings accomplish
  • Evaluation of the board


  • Over the course of the program, each team develops an action plan for their family enterprise’s board(s)
  • Each individual develops an action plan for his/her own professional development as a board member
  • Action plans are designed with tailored guidance from the faculty to address each board’s goals and challenges

Back to top



Program Chair: Professor Philippe Haspeslagh

Program Chair: Professor Philippe Haspeslagh

Professor and Honorary Dean Vlerick Business School

Professor Philippe Haspeslagh is Honorary Dean and Professor at the Vlerick Business School, a Belgian business school with campuses in Brussels, Gent, Leuven, Saint Petersburg and Beijing. He led the school from 2008- 2015. Until 2008 he was the Paul Desmarais Chaired Professor of Active Ownership at INSEAD where he started the International Directors Forum and directed the Advanced Management Programme.

Professor John A. Davis

Professor John A. Davis

Founder and Chairman, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise

John A. Davis is a globally recognized pioneer and authority on family enterprise, family wealth, and the family office. He is a researcher, educator, author, architect of the field’s most impactful conceptual frameworks, and advisor to leading families around the world. He leads the family enterprise programs at MIT Sloan. He is the author of Enduring Advantage: Collected Essays on Family EnterpriseNext Generation Success and Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business, a preeminent work in the family enterprise field.

Andrew Hier

Andrew Hier

Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise

Andrew Hier is an advisor to business families globally on issues related to shareholder relationships, ownership strategies, succession and next generation issues, and governance of the family, owners and business. He is a Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise where he teaches and facilitates in family business programs around the world. He is active in the Family Firm Institute, the premiere association of advisors serving families, where he co-chaired the 2014 Global Conference and in 2020 he received the prestigious Interdisciplinary Achievement Award for outstanding achievement in the advancement of interdisciplinary services to business families.

Andrew Hier

Matt Hively

Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise

Matt is an advisor to family enterprises on the strategies, portfolio models, governance models, and business models required for their successful, long-term continuity. He advises the ownership groups of family-owned enterprises around the world on issues of portfolio and investment strategy, corporate growth, corporate governance and the alignment of the owners around a shared vision, mission, values, and strategy. His primary focus is advising on portfolio strategy and transformation, including portfolio design, asset allocation, diversification, divestiture, international expansion, risk management, governance, and owners’ alignment around their future direction.


Eduardo Gentil, Senior Advisor and Partner, Cambridge Family Enterprise Group

  Eduardo Gentil

      Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise

Eduardo Gentil is a Senior Advisor and Partner at Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise where he advises business families on issues related to succession, boards of directors, family and ownership governance, financial planning, and ownership strategies. Since 2000, he has led the Brazil practice of Cambridge Advisors, and has worked globally with multigenerational families. He is a Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise where he teaches and facilitates in family business programs around the world, including at the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School.

Back to top


Samberg Conference Center

50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02142

The conference center is located in the Kendall Square neighborhood of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Kendall Square has been called "the most innovative square mile on the planet", in reference to the high concentration of entrepreneurial start-ups and quality of innovation.

Program Hotel:
Boston Marriott Cambridge
50 Broadway Cambridge, MA 02142

The Boston Marriott Cambridge is a 5-minute walk from the Samberg Conference Center. A limited hotel block at the rate of $379 per night is available for the program dates until September 19, 2023. Please book your room as soon as you register for the program so that you are guaranteed a room.
Reserve your room here.


Who Should Attend?

This program is tailored for operating companies, or portfolios of companies, controlled by family ownership groups. It is beneficial for current and future owners and board members—both family and independent—of privately-held or publicly-traded family businesses worldwide.

It is useful for teams of three or more to attend together—with at least one experienced board member—in order to get the most out of the deep discussions and forward-thinking planning that occurs during the program. Each team develops an Action Plan with specific goals and initiatives, with guidance from faculty during private meetings.

Family businesses at any stage are welcome. The course material is advantageous for those seeking to create a new board; revitalize an existing one; reconnect their board(s) to the overall vision for the enterprise; group boards together to achieve economies of scope; or add a board for the family office, investment company, impact investing foundation, or holding company.


  • Early registration discount ends June 29, 2023
    • $5,500 for the first participant, and
    • $3,500 for each additional person from the same family or company

    After June 29, 2023

    • $7,500 for the first participant, and
    • $6,500 for each additional person from the same family or company

Registration fee includes tuition, a private advisory meeting with a faculty member, materials, and most meals.

Register Here

Back to top