Family Owners & Next Generation Leadership Conference Agenda


Saturday, February 15

 6:30 p.m.  — Welcome opening reception and dinner

 Reata Restaurant: Sophisticated cowboy cuisine with an equally sophisticated wine list
310 Houston Street, Sundance Square, Fort Worth, just a few short blocks from The Omni Hotel

Sunday, February 16

8:00 a.m. Registration and light breakfast

8:15 a.m. Welcome and introductions

8:30 a.m. Successors Generation Leadership Discussion
Facilitated by Zack Richner, founder and managing partner, Arrandale Ventures, and Brad Waters, publisher, Rome (New York) Sentinel
This session affords a unique opportunity for the next generation of family media owners to share their concerns, their successes and their expectations as they prepare to lead their businesses. What’s said in this session stays in this session, offering an atmosphere of candor and also of support.

8:30 a.m. Incumbent Generation Leadership Discussion
This session encourages confidential discussion exclusively for and among current family owners. The topics up for discussion are picked by the incumbent generation owners themselves, aided by a moderator who deeply understands the challenges facing family-owned newspapers as well as the strengths family ownership bring to a business.

10:45 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m. He said/ She Said/We said/They said: Recapping our morning discussions
Facilitated by our morning generational discussions moderators
Everybody gets together to give their perspectives on selected topics from the separate generation meetings.

Noon Lunch

1:00 p.m. Deciding When — or Whether — to Diversify Your Family Business
Facilitated by Mary Elworth, founder, VPoint Group, with Jeff Paladini, partner, Cerity Partners; Rex Rust, co-president, Rust Communications; Jake Seaton, founder and CEO, e-notice; and Liz White,  publisher and executive vice president, Record-Journal Media Group, Meriden, Connecticut

Inside a family, perspectives can differ on business models: The legacy model that created success across generations or new models that diversify the family business into new and perhaps unfamiliar areas. In this discussion, family owners will explain the planning and strategies for diversifying, with examples of business models both historical and more recent. They will describe case studies of successful and unsuccessful outcomes, drawing lessons from each along with practical and actionable steps families can take to follow up. Whatever your goals are for the future success of your family business, you’ll find invaluable insights from this session.

2:15 p.m. Break

2:30 p.m. Save the free press: Protecting and growing local independent journalism
With Alan Fisco, president, The Seattle Times Company
The president of the family-owned Seattle Times Company outlines the vision for a movement to create a national dialogue to protect, and in many cases, rebuild local newspaper ownership infused with the public service mandate envisioned by America’s founding fathers.  Our national free press system of local, regional newspapers remains the foundation for robust community dialogue and involvement that is the cornerstone of our democracy. Learn about this budding initiative that includes not only newspaper representation, but media and journalism academics, policy experts, free press advocates and grassroot support. During this session, Alan Fisco will update you on owner Frank Blethen’s thinking and company activities to press this initiative forward, and to solicit your feedback on both.

 3:15 p.m. Break

 3:30 p.m. Three unique newspaper companies share their stories

  • The Durango (Colorado) Herald
    Presented by Richard Ballantine, board chair, Ballantine Communications Inc.
  • Fenice Community Media Group, Cedar Park, Texas
    Presented by Brandi Chionsini, chairwoman, and Scott Coleman, president and CEO
  • Spinal Column Newsweekly Media
    Presented by Jim Stevenson, publisher/owner

5:00 p.m. Adjourn

Join us in Fort Worth Feb. 15-16 ... and then stay for the Mega-Conference!


Questions? Contact Patty Slusher at or call 847-282-9850, ext. 2.


Saturday, Feb. 15
Reception and Dinner: 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 16
Conference: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Registration Fees

$450 for first attendee
$395 for additional participants
$150 for dinner guests only

$650 for first attendee
$595 for additional participants
$150 for dinner guests only