Carnegie Mellon University
Family Business Class

Family Business at the Swartz Center

Scroll through your favorite streaming service and you’ll see that family businesses have captured our cultural imagination. Whether the Duncans, the Roys, or the Hos. And for good reason–they are relatable to many of us.

Family Businesses are also the chief form of global enterprise. Accounting for the vast majority of all businesses, there is no more significant structure of enterprise worldwide than the family business. Studies show that family firms, on average, outperform and outlast non-family businesses. They are an important way that communities build wealth. The family business also represents a uniquely complex enterprise to manage. Building on our 2021-2022 Strength in Numbers program, through which we’ve worked intensively with family businesses all all stages and scales throughout our Pittsburgh community, we have developed programming to better support our Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh area family business leaders.

Family Business Leadership Speakers Series

Family Business Speakers Series, Open to the Community

Each year, we invite Family Business Leaders to join us for a talk open to the Tepper and broader Pittsburgh community.

Speakers include family business leaders, family enterprise thinkers, as well as advisors targeting particular pain points around succession, valuation, mediating family conflict and other family business specific topics.

Family Business Leadership Series

Success and Innovation at Giant Eagle

December 1, 2022
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. EST
CMU Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, Tepper Quad, 3rd Floor, 4765 Forbes Avenue
Open to the Public. Boxed lunches will be provided.


Join Giant Eagle, Inc. Chair and CEO Laura Shapira Karet and Chairman Emeritus David Shapira for an intimate conversation about the growth and success of one of Western Pennsylvania's largest family-owned businesses.

Laura Shapira Karet
Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Giant Eagle, Inc.

An accomplished and inspiring retail leader, Laura Shapira Karet is the Chair and CEO of Giant Eagle, Inc., one of the nation’s largest multi-format food, fuel, pharmacy and convenience retailers with approximately 34,000 Team Members and $10 billion in annual sales. Karet was appointed Chief Executive Officer on January 9, 2012, and most recently was appointed Executive Chair of the Board of Directors on January 1, 2022.

Giant Eagle is one of Forbes magazine’s largest private corporations. Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle has grown to be the number one supermarket retailer in the region with more than 470 corporate and independently owned and operated supermarkets, fuel and convenience store locations throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia, western Maryland and Indiana.

David S. Shapira
Chairman Emeritus, Board of Directors, Giant Eagle, Inc.
Chairman, David S. and Karen A. Shapira Foundation

During his thirty-plus years as chairman, chief executive officer and president, David Shapira positioned Giant Eagle, Inc. as an industry leader, and grew the company from a local chain of 50 grocery stores to an organization now employing 35,000 Team Members, with more than 425 locations and approximately $9.5 billion in revenue.

Upcoming Speakers

Stephanie HickmanStephanie Hickman
President & CEO, Trice Construction Company

Tuesday, February 7, 2023
5:30 - 6:30 p.m. EST
CMU, Simmons A, Tepper Quad, 4765 Forbes Avenue

Family Business Course

Offered through Tepper School of Business

This course is geared towards students who are involved with the management of a family business, either their own or someone else’s. The course is relevant as well to those interested in family firms as prospective targets in mergers and acquisitions, as well as students interested in a career supporting family enterprises via succession planning, estate planning, or through management consulting.

Offered Annually, Mini 2

Featured Family Business Class Speakers

Stephanie Hickman

Stephanie Hickman
President & CEO
Trice Construction Company
Chicago, IL

Melissa Rackoff

Melissa Rackoff
Principal & Director of Leasing
Brause Realty
New York, NY

Dan Reese

Dan Reese
The Milkshake Factory
Ann Arbor, MI

Mark Broadhurst

Mark Broadhurst
Chief Operating Officer
Parkhurst Dining
Pittsburgh, PA

Jaclyn Faulds

Jaclyn Faulds
Houston Harbaugh
Pittsburgh, PA

Anne Chen

Anne Chen
Chief Idea Builder
Cincinnati, OH

Justin McIlhatten

Justin McElhattan
Industrial Scientific
Pittsburgh, PA

David Henry

David Henry
Houston Harbaugh
Pittsburgh, PA

Peter Rackoff

Peter Rackoff
Vice President, Operations and Strategic Partners
Andritz Metals

Advisory Groups

In Spring 2023, the Swartz Center will kick off 6-8 person advisory groups which will meet on campus once every 6 weeks. The group will meet for a brief 15-20 minute talk by Tepper Faculty in the Swartz Center. Then the advisory groups will break out into separate rooms for confidential discussions. We will create these advisories, grouping businesses at like stages of development. We will provide a new prompt each session and a faculty or an alumni moderator for each group. All groups will sign NDAs and will be held to strict confidentiality.

Interested in participating? Email to be added to the list of interested business owners.

Tepper Courses Relevant to Family Business Leaders

  • 45-819 Family Business
  • 45-807 Commercialization & Innovation Strategy
  • 45-817 Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition