On Oct. 15th, Jonathan L. Geiser, associate professor of business, was awarded the esteemed Certificate in Family Business Advising from the Family Firm Institute (FFI). Geiser was one of roughly 35 recipients from all over the world to receive this educational program certificate at FFI’s annual International Conference in Chicago on Oct. 14th and 15th.

This certificate is awarded to participants upon their completion of the Family Business Advising program, an educational series designed to help members hone their skills in family business advising. One of its main objectives is to increase participants' awareness and exposure to concepts and techniques necessary to optimize their effectiveness as family business advisers.

Program participants are required to attend two full-day training courses delivered by veteran FFI members and two consecutive FFI annual conferences. There, they are required to attend various seminars on family business advising, educational program development, and current topics relating to family business. Geiser and his colleagues were also assigned FFI mentors to help them complete an action plan to further develop their advisory skills. As an academic professor, Geiser decided to focus on the development of educational content for a future family business program. To execute his plan, he wrote an original case study of a family business in addition to developing and delivering a mini-series of educational seminars for local businesses entitled "Business Health Check.”

Geiser believes his participation in the FFI program will have positive benefits for the Goshen College Business Department.

“This program has helped me to better understand the strengths and special challenges (needs) of family businesses and has provided me with valuable insights and enhanced skills for assisting these families and businesses to leverage their unique strengths, overcome their challenges and achieve their objectives,” said Geiser. “I am looking forward to working together with other local resources to develop an ongoing educational program to assist and serve the businesses in our community.”

Geiser also added that he feels a special connection to family businesses because he grew up in a business-owning family.  Geiser’s grandfather started a chain of retail appliance stores and his father created a family business consultation firm. “I chose not to join the first family business (retailing appliances), but I now look forward to joining him in this new ‘family business,’” said Geiser.