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Helping Family Businesses
Prosper Across Generations®

JoAnne Norton, Ed.D.

Former Consultant

Contact JoAnne:

P. 773.604.5005



JoAnne Norton, a consultant of The Family Business Consulting Group, has been working with multi-generational family businesses for well over a decade primarily in the areas of family governance, communication, and leadership training. She is the former Vice President of Shareholder Relations for a $2.5 billion family-owned media company where she worked with 75 family owners. She now consults with family business owners throughout the United States and Canada.

She earned a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University, and she trained at the Georgetown Family Center in the Postgraduate Program in Bowen Family Systems Theory. She has also written “Bringing Bowen Theory to Family Business,” which appears in Bringing Systems Thinking to Life. In 2001, JoAnne founded the Family Business Dynamics course at California State University, Fullerton and served as the Interim Rick Muth Endowed Chair for Family Business at CSUF from 2015 to 2016.

JoAnne has been involved with the University of California, Los Angeles Steinbeck Family Business Seminar, Stanford University’s Family Business Course and the University of Southern California’s Family Business Program. In addition, she has been an instructor for Pepperdine University’s Certificate in Financial Management for the Family Office.

She is a speaker for Vistage International, which provides training to CEOs and executives, and the Global Family Business Network of the Young Presidents’ Organization. She has made presentations for the National Banking Institute, the New York Family Business Center, the Family Business Network in Cannes, France, and the Institute of Private Investors.

JoAnne grew up in a successful second-generation family business in Quincy, Illinois where she learned the complexities of maintaining harmonious relationships as well as the importance of maintaining good communication by observing her father, mother and two uncles. She lives in Rancho Mission Viejo, California with her husband Brian. 


  • Family Governance
  • Leadership Development
  • Communication & Conflict Resolution


JoAnne earned a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University and trained at the Georgetown Family Center in the Postgraduate Program in Bowen Family Systems Theory. 


  • The Ties that Bind: Facing up to the Difficult, Sometimes Brutal, Family Business Issue
  • Leadership Models for Family Business: Determining the Right Model for YOUR Business



  • Keys to the Future of Family Owners: Communicating Effectively and Inspiring Entrepreneurship
  • Strategies for Successful Relationships Between Non-Family Executives and Family Owners
  • The Best Practices of the Most Successful Family Businesses of the World
  • Aligning Family Objectives with Wealth Management Plans
  • Inspiring Next Generation Leadership: Two Keys to Success
  • The First Step in Multi-generational Wealth Management: Mission, Vision, Values
  • The Power of Peer Groups for Family Businesses

"Over the last decade, JoAnne has expertly brought her considerable knowledge of family governance to help the Hoiles family found a successful Family Council and to productively work with a non-family CEO. JoAnne has stewarded the development of fourth generation family members through workshops, internships, and management development programs to prepare for leadership positions on both Freedom’s Family Council and Board of Directors. Additionally, with JoAnne’s creative problem solving skills, the Family Council developed programs geared towards fifth generation children to introduce them to the business. JoAnne’s sensitive awareness of family dynamics has enabled all family members to feel engaged in the many difficult decisions we have had to face. Her humor, compassion, and concern for all parties involved have made her an invaluable team member."

Kathie Bassett
4th generation Family Council member
and Freedom Communications intern

“JoAnne was the Vice President of Shareholder Relations at my family's business, Freedom Communications, for several years. She was (and is) a very dedicated, very caring and very professional person and was a tremendous resource for family members. She assisted our family's Family Council with its formation, organization and leadership succession issues and assisted the Family Council's chairmen with many of the responsibilities of managing the group. In my role as Chairman of the Board of the company (2004 through the present), JoAnne was instrumental in my responsibilities in communicating with the family group and in facilitating meetings and discussions with the family (who are geographically dispersed across the country). I highly recommend her to any family-owned business seeking assistance with the "human" side of the balance sheet and in the growth and development of junior members of the family in learning their roles and responsibilities as stewards of a family's heritage.”

Thomas Bassett
4th generation member and Chairman of the Board
of Freedom Communications

8770 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste 1340W, Chicago, IL 60631
P: 773.604.5005 E: 

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