The FBA Family Is Growing

January 23, 2023

New Leader Spurring Membership Increase At Family Business Association

Family Business Association Executive Director Barb Quinn

VICTORIA – As the new Executive Director of the Family Business Association Vancouver Island, Barb Quinn has a straightforward mandate: Grow the family.

Quinn, who started her contract with the organization August 1, has been doing just that.

“We have got so many new members since: The Root Cellar, Bilston Creek Farm, Galaxy Motors, Barclay’s Fine Jewellers, Nanaimo Counselling, Angus One Staffing Room & Miniature World and Page’s Resort Group,” she states. “We’re sitting right now at 172 members, representing 77 firms and companies. We’re getting traction, which is great.”

A certified Board Director and long-time Human Resources consultant, Quinn will continue her consulting work through 22C Partners Inc. with family businesses, foundations and boards while with the FBA. It’s a career that has taken her throughout the world, and the former Chatelaine magazine career columnist returned back to Victoria in 2015.

“I fell in love,” she says, recalling her decision to return to Vancouver Island. “I lived here before for many, many years. I’ve been globetrotting , doing consulting in Abu Dhabi, Europe and all over the states. I was spending most of my time on planes.”

Quinn joined the FBA during Covid, and says “I saw its potential, and just didn’t feel it was living up to its potential. Given the fact that I was working with families, I felt it wasn’t what it could be. This was exactly what I was looking for, and I thought it could benefit from my skills.”

One of the most valuable aspects of the FBA, which charges an annual membership fee of $699, are their PAAG, Peer Assistance And Guidance groups. These private, confidential peer advisory groups give participants unique and valuable input from other owners and managers of family businesses who share their real-life experiences.

“Participants are carefully matched up, so that there aren‘t members of the same family involved,” she notes. “I want participants in that group to be able to talk about working with their fathers or mothers, and make sure those thoughts are respected, and they are.”

PAAG groups meet once a month for three hours and some participants in Greater Victoria have been involved for decades.

“The environment is totally the cone of silence, with strict confidentiality when people are talking about real issues and dilemmas,” she adds. “These groups are completely unique and deal with the business dynamics of a family company. I sat in on one of the groups, but from all my years working within board rooms, the level of candor and real conversation was something I wish other organizations could talk about.”

Quinn states that the FBA is the only association in B.C. specifically devoted and committed to helping family businesses succeed and thrive. Networking obviously happens through the meetings and PAAG groups, but they also focus on business succession plans, since rates for family businesses is typically low.

“ “One of the top issues for business owners is transition, and we have some people who can really help with this. Some are fourth generation business owners, who can share experiences that you can’t really get out of a book.”

FBA also have advisor members, including lawyers, financial advisors, accountants, and Human Resource advisors available to assist.

“There are no people who are kinder or more empathetic and genuinely want to help each other than family-based businesses,” she says. “Goodness is hard-wired into family business.

By Mark MacDonald

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