Carnegie Mellon University

Industry Leaders Discuss Navigating Family Business Challenges in Speaker Series

Sheila Davis
  • Associate Director of Media Relations
  • 412-268-8652

The Tepper School of Business and the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University are proud to announce the 2023-24 lineup for the UBS Family Business Leadership Speakers Series, sponsored by The Shantz Mantione Group at UBS. Now in its second year, this series showcases a diverse panel of family business leaders, spanning industries, geographies, and generations.

The speaker series is free and open to the public. Those who attend can expect engaging discussions, networking opportunities, and the chance to connect with like-minded individuals passionate about the world of family businesses.

The series was developed as a part of the Family Business Initiative at the Tepper School, to provide valuable insights and strategies for navigating the unique challenges faced by family enterprises. The initiative also includes a community-based family business peer advisory program and a graduate-level course in family business at the Tepper School. 

Here is the lineup for the 2023-24 Leadership Speakers Series: 

  1. Ed Stack, Executive Chairman, Dick's Sporting Goods
    Talk Title: “It’s How We Play the Game: How DICK’S Built Its Business From a Small Bait and Tackle Shop to America’s Largest Sporting Goods Retailer”
    Date: November 29, 2023
    Time: 5:30 p.m.
    Place: Simmons A, Tepper School of Business
    2. George Tong, MSIA '90, CEO, Gemini Foods
    Date: February 7, 2024
    Time: 12:30 p.m.
    Place: Swartz Center, Tepper School of Business
    3. Helen Hanna Casey, CEO, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services
    Date: March 13, 2024
    Time: 12:30 p.m.
    Place: Swartz Center, Tepper School of Business

The Leadership Speakers Series offers an opportunity for the Tepper School’s students, faculty, and the broader Pittsburgh community, to gain insights into the world of family businesses from accomplished professionals. Speakers will delve into a wide range of topics, including succession planning, business valuation, mediating family conflicts, and other issues specific to family businesses.

“Family businesses constitute an integral part of our entrepreneurial ecosystem here at Tepper and Carnegie Mellon,” said Meredith Meyer Grelli, Assistant Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Tepper School. 

“Family businesses account for the majority of global businesses and family is the nucleus that funds and founds most new companies. I’ve worked with hundreds of family businesses through our global student and regional populations. These family firms span industries, countries and vary in scale. Yet, I’ve found the generational commonalities and challenges quite striking. Our leadership series brings in owners and executives from exceptionally scaled family firms, but the conversations will be relatable to all involved in family firms.”  

Greg Merrill, a private wealth advisor with The Shantz Mantione Group at UBS, who has deep experience in working with entrepreneurs and business owners to address their unique financial needs before, during and after a transition, believes in the power of this program. 

“I knew from the moment I learned of the vision Meredith Meyer Grelli and the rest of her team at Carnegie Mellon University had for the Family Business Initiative, that this was going to be something that business owners would find valuable and has the potential to make a positive impact for the entire business owner community,” said Merrill.   

Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, Dean of the Tepper School, expressed her enthusiastic support for the Leadership Speakers Series, emphasizing its vital role in bridging the gap between academia and real-world business experiences. 

Dave Mawhinney, Executive Director of the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship and Associate Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Tepper School, has been an advocate for the Family Business Initiative, recognizing this speaker series can nurture and support family business leaders.

For more information about the Leadership Speakers Series and to RSVP for any of the upcoming events, please visit the event’s website.