A senior advisor of The Family Business Consulting Group, Amy Schuman supports family businesses seeking to maximize success and strength in both their family and their business. For over 20 years, Amy has helped hundreds of families implement the systems, structures and relationships needed to be effective stewards of their enterprises. Many clients come to Amy early in their planning process, and she works closely with family members, owners, non-family executives and trusted advisors to facilitate a big picture, long-term strategy for successful continuity. In other cases, the family, owners and/or business are facing a difficult circumstance, even a crisis. In these cases, Amy has the experience and knowledge to chart a path through the tough issues and get to a place where a more strategic, long-term and less emotional approach can be crafted and implemented.
Amy has worked with complex family businesses, large and small, across North America and abroad. She has helped families create Family Councils, Ownership Councils, Boards of Directors, Constitutions, Policies and Guidelines, Family Education, Team Building, and many other useful tools and techniques. Rather than following one set consulting approach, Amy sees each family and business as individual, and adapts her approach to the unique needs and opportunities of each client.
As a founding facilitator of the Next Generation Leadership Institute at the Chicago Loyola University Family Business Center, Amy coached young men and women to assume leadership positions in their family businesses. She also founded and facilitated Loyola’s first Peer Advisory Group for Women and taught group process and facilitation skills in Loyola’s Family Business Communication Institute.
Prior to joining our firm, Amy served as a key non-family executive at Fel-Pro, Inc., a fourth-generation automotive manufacturer. She directed Organization Development, Leadership Development and Total Quality efforts for the firm and helped develop the award-winning corporate culture that led the company to be named among the “Top 10 of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” At Fel-Pro, Amy experienced first-hand the power of family ownership values and vision creating a powerful competitive advantage for the business as well as an enduring source of strength and harmony for the family.
Amy is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Center for Family Enterprise, Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. She has presented at many family business centers across the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America, as well as presenting for YPO and WPO events, the Family Firm Institute and the Family Business Network across the globe. She is the co-author of five family business books including Human Resources in the Family Business: Maximizing the Power of Your People, Family Business as Paradox and Family Education for Business Owning Families.
Amy and her husband live in Evanston and have three adult children and two brilliant grandchildren. Amy has been active in several Chicago non-profits over the years, notably Curt’s Café and Uptown Café.
Managing Family Business Paradoxes
Designing and Implementing Governance Frameworks
Communication & Conflict Resolution
Next Generation Development
Leadership Development and Coaching
Succession & Continuity Planning
Amy has a B.A. in Psychology from Oberlin College and earned her MBA at The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is experienced in a variety of 360, communications and personal development tools, and has completed the Center for Conflict Resolution's 40 hour Performance-Based Mediation Skills Training.
The Family Business Advisor Articles:
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Human Resources in the Family Business: Maximizing the Power of Your People
This book will help HR managers and founders/owners develop a formal process within the company and also provide insights from family firms on how to manage sensitive topics ranging from family member compensation; family member appraisal, etc., and serves as a guide to HR managers struggling to get a "seat at the table" in family firms.
A Woman's Place: The Crucial Roles of Women in Family Business
Through stories and interviews the authors explore the changing role women play in today's family business, looking at how to encourage and support women family members, to the challenges women face in finding the right balance between work and life, to the role spouses play in couples that work together.
Family Business as Paradox
Rather than having to choose between the family and the business, the authors argue that if family-owned businesses can consciously manage and over time, perhaps, synthesize these contradictions, the Family Enterprise will have a long-term strategic and competitive advantage and the family will remain committed to continuity.
Nurturing the Talent to Nurture the Legacy: Career Development in the Family Business
Career development is often neglected in family firms, yet it is essential to the continuous process of building leadership capacity for the future. A well-planned and effective career-development process enables individuals meet the strategic challenges of the future. This guide enables family businesses to shed their "sink or swim" attitudes and foster the development of highly skilled leaders for succeeding generations of success.
Family Education For Business-Owning Families: Strengthening Bonds by Learning Together
One of the key factors in maintaining the legacy of your family business is a good program of family education. Inevitably, wise business-owning families see the necessity of launching some form of education for family members. It establishes an interest and a connection with the business among members of the younger generations.
How HR Practices Can Set Family Employees Up for Success
Mastering Family Business Paradox
HR Practices: Building Policies from our Values
Mastering the Family Business Paradox
Family Business Succession: The Final Test of Greatness
Management Succession for Non-Family Dealer Groups
Making a Family Business Work
How to Manage Performance Accountability Among Family
Introducing Children into the Family Business
Helping Family Business Prosper Across Generations
Governing the Family Enterprise Faculty
Human Resources in the Family Business
Women in Family Business
"Amy Schuman has done a terrific job in our leadership development workshop. Her in-depth experience with business owning families made it a true family business workshop and not just a leadership presentation. She gave each family member tailor-made feedback. I personally got tremendous benefit regarding the transition process in our own family business."
Martine van Eck
3rd generation member of the Van Eck Group, Netherlands
Chairman Next Generation Committee, FBN Netherlands
"Amy, thanks for all of your efforts! You’re the perfect person for our family, and we greatly appreciate all of your efforts!"
“We recognize your critically important contribution, bringing us the framework and facilitating the work.”
“Amy, you have done a huge thing for us! We’d never be able to work through it without your talent and insight. A big thanks!”
"You have a tremendous talent for working with people in a candid, engaging, and safe manner, and your efforts are truly appreciated.”
"Amy is a tremendous speaker. Her presentations are clear and concise. People feel connected and realize the value added for time spent attending her programs and feel they have immediate take-home- 'can use now' information."
Chuck Udell, Dean
University Aftermarket and Automotive Warehouse
"Amy Schuman's presentation showed an in-depth understanding of the complex issues which successors--and successes--are facing in family businesses. Her delivery style was clear and well structured with a large degree of sensitivity."
Family Business Network
"I've worked with hundreds of chairpeople in the past and Amy is by far one of the best that I've worked with. She is very knowledgeable and helpful to the program director with coordinating the presenters and by introducing them. Amy is wonderful and pleasant to work with."
Institute for International Research