University of Vermont

School of Business Administration

2015 - The 11th Annual Family Enterprise Research Conference

The Sustainable Family and Enterprise

JUNE 4 - 7, 2015

University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA

Conference Program (updated January 6, 2015)

Confirmed Attendees (updated January 7, 2015)

June 4, 2015: STEP meetings

June 5, 2015: CAREER ACADEMY - Call for participants

Submission Deadline: February 15, 2015
Notification of Acceptance: March 15, 2015
To apply please click here.

June 6-7, 2015: Conference Presentations - Call for submissions (updated January 7, 2015)

Submission Deadline: January 31, 2015
Notification of Acceptance: March 15, 2015
To submit please click here.

FERC is dedicated to developing a community of scholars interested in conducting research to further our understanding of family firms and creating usable knowledge in this field. The 2015 conference will focus on sustainability in family business. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index defines corporate sustainability as “a business approach that creates long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks deriving from economic, environmental and social developments.” Given their strong commitment not only to current but also to future generations, the long-term principles guiding family businesses fit well with a focus on sustainability. This commitment can affect the organizations’ overall strategy, financial objectives, corporate governance, and human resource management. Considering the importance of survivability, transgenerational succession, and sustainability for family businesses, surprisingly little is known about sustainability strategies and practices of family enterprises, the focus of this conference.

This conference has three purposes in mind:

  • Explore state of the art of research on sustainability strategies and practices in family business, to understand how they influence decision making, growth, and performance.
  • Increase our understanding of international entrepreneurship and other relevant topics to build our knowledge of family enterprises.
  • Provide opportunities for practitioners, family business leaders, professional advisors, and scholars to discuss the best sustainability strategies and practices in family businesses.

With this in mind, the 2015 FERC Committee invites paper submissions on the theme “The Sustainable Family and Enterprise” and welcomes other research that can help us understand how family businesses work, the challenges they face, and the advantages and uniqueness that they bring to the economy. Accepted papers will be presented in a poster format at the conference.

Key note speakers:


  • Best Paper Awards ($4,500) sponsored by MCS Family Wealth Advisors.
  • Grand Valley State University, Family Owned Business Institute (FOBI) Research Scholars Program Awards: historically has awarded four $5,000 grants for outstanding family business research proposals. Apply here.  
  • Best Spanish Paper Award ($1,500) sponsored by Familias Empresarias Management Consulting.
  • NEW AWARD: Lifetime Influence and Impact Award presented to individuals who have provided sustained and distinguished leadership toward the growth and development of family businesses and/or family business research and scholars (deadline for nominations: Feb. 15, 2015).

Special Issues :

The conference is associated with the following special issues, whose editors will be available to meet authors:

2015 FERC Organizing team:

About Burlington:

In 2015, FERC will visit Burlington, Vermont, one of North America’s premier outdoor cities. Participants will have the opportunity to discover one of America's Best Downtowns and a Top 10 City for Outdoor Recreation. Situated within an easy drive of Montreal, Boston, and New York City, Burlington International Airport, serviced by many major airlines, offers many convenient opportunities for arriving, exploring and departing.

Burlington is noted year after year as one of the top college cities in the United States. The city is home to Champlain College, Burlington College and The University of VermontSaint Michael’s College and the Community College of Vermont are also in close proximity to Burlington.  The area is known for its art, outdoor activities, safety and as being the nation’s healthiest city (92% of people are ranked as in “good” or “great” health).

Attractions, Activities & Sites to See:

The Awards Gala Dinner will be aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III on Lake Champlain. Discover the Champlain Valley's rich history, as the Captain´s narration unfolds tales of Indian lore, the Revolutionary War, and Ethan Allen himself. Explore the depths of the shoreline as the ship cruises alongside the lake´s unique geographic formations. Savor the majestic beauty of the Adirondack and Green Mountain ranges that surround the lake. Bring your cameras – the largest recorded mass sighting of Champ, our elusive lake monster, was aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen I.

The city of Burlington is a “walking city” and has a multitude of activities to choose from just a short walk or bike ride from the University of Vermont’s main campus and the conference host site.  During your visit to Vermont, you can take a stroll down to the shores of Lake Champlain (the sixth largest freshwater lake in the United States) with a hot cup of coffee from one of the local coffee shops and capture some of the most beautiful sunsets.  You may, instead, choose to visit one of the 100+ restaurants in the downtown Burlington vicinity and enjoy a meal, check out one of the two shopping malls, or catch a movie or concert at one of the nine venues in the area.

Vermont is is well known for its vibrant and eclectic art scene.  While in Burlington, be sure to add one of these to your list of places to visit:

Birds of Vermont Museum

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

Firehouse Gallery

Robert Hull Fleming Museum

Shelburne Museum

Last modified January 07 2015 11:25 AM