Media mogul Steve Forbes will deliver the keynote address during the Resnick-Wynn Family Business Conference in partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University on March 4 at the FGCU campus.

The conference, titled “Family Business: Thriving in an Ever-Changing World,” is geared toward owners of multigenerational businesses and offers insight and best practices from dynamic leaders who are running family businesses. In addition to Forbes, speakers include David Hoffmann, chairman of the Hoffmann Family of Companies; Shelly Stayer, co-owner and chairwoman for Johnsonville Sausage; Michael Wynn, president of Sunshine Ace Hardware and John Resnick, principal of The Resnick Group.

According to the U.S. Census, about 90% of all American companies are family-owned or controlled. Yet the survival statistics are stark. Only one-third of family-owned firms survive to the second generation and just 13% make it to the third generation.

“A family-owned business is not just about business; it’s personal,” said Forbes, who serves as chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media. “That’s why this conference couldn’t be timelier and that’s why I am honored to be a part of it.”

Forbes Media was founded by his grandfather and has 132 million global visitors every month.

Family-owned businesses have been particularly impacted during the pandemic through inflationary costs, labor shortages, shipping delays and changes in consumer behavior like online shopping. Forbes notes that family-owned businesses still have an advantage because they can “combine commercial success with a broader consciousness of community stewardship and continuity – a critical asset during this troubled era.”

“As the CEO and a fourth-generation family member of The Barron Collier Companies, I am aware of the challenges family businesses can go through to survive from generation to generation,” said Blake Gable, a steering committee member for the conference. “I am thrilled to be part of this program that sheds light on how family businesses can thrive in today’s competitive corporate environment.”

The conference series, created by Michael Wynn and John and Billie Resnick, will be similar to conferences the Resnicks conducted with The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania that included Steve Forbes and other family business icons.

“Family businesses are the economic engine of our economy,” said Billie Resnick. “John and I, along with Michael Wynn, are proud to have partnered with David and Jerri Hoffmann, Blake Gable and Shelly Stayer to support and increase the odds of survival of family businesses in Southwest Florida.”

“Sunshine Ace and other family-owned businesses face a fierce competitive environment, often competing with large corporations with very deep pockets,” Wynn said. “It’s more important than ever for family businesses to work together to share strategies and best practices to excel during challenging times like we’re facing now. Family businesses represent the lifeblood of our community.”

The Family Business Conference runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, March 4 at the Cohen Student Union, 11090 FGCU Blvd. N. in Fort Myers. Tickets are $250 each. Discounts are applied for multiple tickets or tables purchased.

Sponsorship opportunities also are available and start at $2,500. Net proceeds will support scholarships for business majors attending FGCU.

For more about The Resnick-Wynn Family Business Conference, please visit FGCU.edu/FamilyBusinessConference, call 239-745-4700 or email ResnickWynnFBC@FGCU.edu.

About Resnick-Wynn Family Business Conference in partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University

The family business conference was created by Michael Wynn and John and Billie Resnick to support the success and survival of family businesses in Southwest Florida. Wynn is leading Sunshine Ace Hardware, a Naples-based company founded in 1958 by his grandfather, Don Wynn, and the Resnicks are principals of The Resnick Group, a firm that provides estate planning and life insurance guidance to affluent family business owners throughout numerous states. The Resnicks and Wynn reached out to local business leaders Shelly Stayer, David Hoffmann and Blake Gable to form a steering committee for the programs. Stayer leads Johnsonville Sausage, a company founded by her in-laws in 1945 and previously managed by her husband, Ralph. Hoffmann’s company, which includes his wife, Jerri, and sons Greg and Geoff, specializes in commercial real estate, retail and hospitality, and now has more than 240 total operations worldwide with 6,000 employees. Gable is the CEO of Barron Collier Companies, a fourth-generation private investment, agriculture and land development company.