Is Your Family Business a Winning Team?

Date: August 6th, 2014

Time: 7:00-9:00AM

Location: Scott O’Brien Room, Mihaylo Hall

Speaker: Dr. Lori Muse

Topic: Is Your Family Business a Winning Team?

Is your family a highly functional team? Are you one cohesive unit, or are there so many moving parts that your departments work in silos? Come to our next Family Business for Breakfast workshop and learn techniques and ideas to help your family business run more like a team, and less like a group of individuals!

This event will be led by The Rick Muth Endowed Chair for Family Business, Dr. Lori Muse. While you work with other family businesses in the area, Dr. Muse will provide a fun, highly interactive, and profound journey. You will come away with excellent tools you can bring back to work to immediately improve the way your team works together, in the workplace, as well as at home.

Dr. Lori Muse is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management. She received her Ph.D. in Management from Auburn University (2002), where she also earned an M.S. in Human Resource Management and an MBA. Her dissertation is entitled, The Implications of Work-Life Benefits for Employee Work-Family Conflict and Job Attitudes and Behaviors. Her research focuses on the relationship of benefits and work-family conflicts. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Akron. She joins us after six years as a faculty member at Western Michigan University. She has several working papers and publications, including articles in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Managerial Inquiry and Family Business Review.

New Member- ISYS Solutions

ISYS Solutions, Inc., and its CareerSmart Learning Division Join Center for Family Business
Center Adds Brea-Based Nursing Care Management Company to Membership
Fullerton, Calif., July 14, 2014 – The Center for Family Business (CFB), part of CSUF Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, today announced its newest member, Brea-based ISYS Solutions, Inc, and their CareerSmart Learning Division. The premier educational resource for family businesses in Southern California, the Center is pleased to welcome the Loumakis Family to its robust network of multi-generational family business leaders.
Founded in 1988, ISYS is focused on providing vanguard medical case management services to direct-insurers, self-insured private companies, public agencies and third-party administrators who are required to manage serious workplace injuries and disabilities
“Our family understands the uniqueness of family businesses and their importance to our national economy and local communities,” ISYS President Chris Loumakis said. “Once qualified members of generation two elected to join our business, we made a proactive decision to build ISYS into a dynamic multi-generational and multi-facetted enterprise that can benefit future generations of family and employees. Our objective is to learn from similar families and businesses, and to share our knowledge and insights with others.”
ISYS is among the largest service providers within California, Nevada and Arizona. Their CareerSmart learning division is devoted to providing innovative and leading-edge online and site-based continuing education opportunities to nurses, related medical professionals, counselors, social workers and operators of senior care facilities. These services are provided nationally, except the latter, which is provided throughout California only.
“Having ISYS/CareerSmart, and the Loumakis family join the Center gives us more industry diversity, and their organizational and family strength will be a tremendous asset to our extremely diverse membership,” stated Center Director Ed Hart. “We are approaching 50 business families in our Center, and the Loumakis family is exactly the type of family that benefits from our membership and educational offerings, and vice versa. In my visits with Chris and his daughters, I have seen firsthand how this will be a mutually beneficial relationship for all involved.”
ISYS’ Nurse Case Management and CareerSmart Learning divisions are places that bring together people with big minds, big hearts, lots of spirit and good character who work wisely and cooperatively to achieve positive outcomes for their customers and clients.
ISYS ( was established in 1998 and successful from its inception. Their CareerSmart Learning division ( was started in 2009 to broaden and diversify their business.

The Center for Family Business (CFB) is an educational forum under the direction of the nationally recognized and accredited business school, Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University, Fullerton. Center members are given the opportunity to learn from experts in an academic atmosphere, integrating classroom education with best business practices. During each academic year, the Center for Family Business offers eight workshops on topics of special interest to family business owners, confidential discussion groups, and informative and entertaining events—all of which help to educate and facilitate success for family businesses. For information on joining the Center, contact Robbin Bretzing at (657) 278-4182 or visit
Mihaylo College of Business and Economics is a nationally recognized and accredited business school. It offers a full range of business courses delivered by faculty members who integrate classroom education with best business practices, technology, award-winning research, functional applications and real-world experience. The largest business college in California, Mihaylo College is among just 28 percent of business schools nationwide to be accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. Mihaylo College is included in the Princeton Review’s 2012 list of “Best 296 Business Schools,” a ranking based on each school’s students, physical environment, admissions requirements, teaching ratios and programs. It is also among the top 150 part-time MBA programs recognized by U.S. News & World Report.

Upcoming Workshops

Mark Your Calendars Now!
Upcoming Workshops for the Center for Family Business

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 4:30 – 7:00 PM CSUF Mihaylo Hall (Dinner at 5:00 PM)
“Pass the Business, Please! – How to Transition the Family Company to the Next Generation”
Lois Lang, Evolve Partner Group

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 7:30 – 10:00 AM CSUF Mihaylo Hall (Breakfast at 7:45 AM)
“Successful Transitions Panel – Three Companies Who Have Done it Well”
Panel discussion with Cascade Pump, Hill Brothers Chemical, and Teacher Created Materials

Thursday, October 23, 2014 12:00 – 2:00 PM Irvine Marriott
Dean’s Annual Economic Forecast & Luncheon

Wednesday, November 18, 2014 4:30 – 7:00 PM Ayres Hotel, Costa Mesa (Dinner at 5:00 PM)
“It’s All About The People”
Garry Ridge, CEO WD-40

Wednesday, December 10 – Center for Family Business Holiday Party – Time and Location TBD
2015 Calendar to be published shortly…but hold the following dates and times:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 4:30 – 7:00 PM CSUF Mihaylo Hall
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 7:30 – 10:00 AM CSUF Mihaylo Hall
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM Ayres Hotel, Costa Mesa
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 4:30 – 7:00 PM CSUF Mihaylo Hall
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 7:30 – 10:00 AM CSUF Mihaylo Hall

We look forward to seeing you at all of our workshops, and hope you will invite other family businesses you may know, as well!

…from the Hart

The Future is in Great Hands – Young Leaders Groups Preparing for The Future,
While Making a Lasting Impact Today!

In June, I attended the annual Family Business Directors Alliance conference in Pennsylvania, hosted by Wilkes University in Scranton, PA. 25 of my counterparts and I met for three days at the Woodloch Pines Resort to discuss our best workshops, speakers, and other special events and programs that we all run. The big take away from this meeting, for me, was the amount of time Family Business Centers, including ours, around the USA and Canada are spending on developing the next generation of family business leaders, and the success of Peer Affinity Groups in each of the Centers.
I came away feeling really good about the progress that we have made here at the Center for Family Business. The future success of any business is in the hands of leaders that are being developed today. With the addition of two new Young Leaders Peer Affinity Groups in 2013, over 20 of our family business member companies are represented and focusing on topics and strategies to strengthen their individual families and companies for years to come.
These groups meet on a rotating basis over lunch, once a month, and the feedback from the members has been extremely positive. Led by experienced executives and facilitators each of these two groups has reported back that they are attacking challenges that they face in their current day-to-day operations, as well as preparing for opportunities and issues they may face in the future.
Here are a few comments from members of our Young Leaders groups:
“Joining the Young Leaders Affinity Group was the best decision I made in terms of getting the most out of my membership with the Center for Family Business. I came to quickly realize that my issues are not unique to my family business. To have a group of peers (who I now consider my friends) who can relate to my situation and give me sound advice is priceless.” – Mayumi Martinez, HOSA Technology
“Being part of the Peer Affinity Group has brought great perspectives to me regarding my family business. We meet in a trusting & supportive atmosphere where we can all share our challenges, experiences and goals. The investment is well worth it to be part of the Peer Affinity Group and the Center for Family Business. – Linh Nguyen, Advance Beauty College
“I have really enjoyed getting to know everyone in my Peer Affinity Group. It is a safe environment where we can share business issues that are not only relevant to just Family Business issues, but business in general. I rely on my group as an informal advisory board who hold me accountable and give me invaluable insight. I would highly recommend joining a group for any Young Leaders out there.” – Jenny Dinnen, MacKenzie Corporation
If you would like to learn more about joining an existing Peer Affinity Group (Young Leaders, CEO, or Women’s Group), please contact the Center at 657-278-4182, or New groups are forming now, and we would love to have you involved in one of these dynamic peer groups!

Family Business Dynamics Course: MGMT 335

Family Business Dynamics: MGMT 335

Graduate with the skills to successfully manage your own family business by taking MGMT 335

For More Information Please Contact Dr. Muse at:

2014 Fall Semester

Mondays 4-6:45 pm

With Dr. Lori Muse, Endowed Chair for the Center for Family Business and 2012 MCBE Outstanding Faculty Member!

Lori with Student Grad


  • Active learning design.
  • Students will interact with and learn from successful family business owners throughout Orange County.
  • Topics of business planning, succession planning, ownership, estate planning, compensation, family meetings, mission statements, conflict resolution, use of outside consultants and Boards of Directors.

Student Testimonials:

“I really enjoyed hearing from all the guest speakers. It gave us an accurate perspective of a family business. I also really enjoyed our field trip to GBS Linens. More courses should offer being in a real world example environment.”

“Thank you for making this class come to life through multiple of guest speakers.”

“Always prepared, friendly, informative, knowledgeable, and approachable.”

“Professor Muse made us think critically about the challenges family business’ face. We had a lot of guest speakers that helped us with the course.”

“I really enjoyed the field trip since it gave the class a chance to really understand a family business.”

“Professor Muse made the class interesting and challenging.”

“Professor Muse is a great professor. I would recommend this course and the professor to other students.”

“Dr. Muse is amazing. This class is about real experience and makes even those who do not have a family business to want to understand them.”

Best Advice to a Family Business? Seek Outside Advice!

“In the multitude of counselors (Advisors) there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

There is safety in numbers. We have all heard this before. However, it is not entirely true. The safety comes from being with the right people, those who can lift us up, teach us, guide us, and lead us. When we trust the people around us, and they trust us, that is where the safety is found.

In your family business, you have had success because you know your business, your customers, your industry, and you have established values and procedures that work for you and your customers.

However, there comes a time for each of us when we realize that we do not know everything, and that we determine that reaching out to others will be the best way to gain the knowledge and expertise that we lack. We seek trusted advisors in all aspects of our lives, so why wouldn’t we do the same in the area that creates our livelihood?

Over 70% of businesses in the United States are family owned and operated. Of these family businesses, close to 75% do not successfully pass from the founding generation to the next. The percentages are even more alarming as we look at companies successfully making it to generation 3, and beyond.

One reason why family businesses do not successfully pass from one generation to the next is that there simply are not members of the next generation, for whatever reason, who are available or interested in running the business. Sometimes, the lack of expertise or industry knowledge prevents the existing leadership to have confidence in the next generation, as well.

In just about all cases, it is suggested that family businesses consider finding resources outside of the family to assist in the leadership of the company. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should bring in a non-family CEO, but you should always be willing and open to bringing in someone from the outside to work in key positions where the family may not have the right education and experience.

The most successful family businesses in the world have a lot in common, but one thing you will find consistent in every world class family business is that they know that they do not know everything, and that there is experience out there beyond their family that can make a tremendous impact on the business.

There are organizations, consultants, associations, and service providers who specialize in working with family-owned enterprises, who have years of experience in working with the best family companies in the world. These trusted advisors can be found at your bank, CPA firm, law firm, Vistage, Family Business Centers like ours at Cal State Fullerton, The Family Business Consulting Group, etc. They can even be found in other companies, who have walked miles in your shoes, and understand the decisions and conflicts that you face today.

Again the safety that can be found in working with people, and experts, you can trust could be the turning point for your family, and your business.

Another major point to consider is when to reach outside of your family for expertise on a day-to-day basis in your company. In all likelihood, your family does not have all of the experience necessary to take your company to the next level.

“The turning point in our business”, states Anna’s Linens founder and CEO Alan Gladstone, “was when we realized that we did not know everything there was to know about our industry, about retail, and about our marketplace. About 10 years ago, we began bringing in experts in retail, and in the geographic areas where we do business.” Anna’s Linens, a wildly successful family business headquartered in Costa Mesa, CA, has 312 stores scattered around the United States, including stores in Puerto Rico. “When we came to the conclusion that there was more expertise outside of our family, and began to tap into that knowledge, we grew faster and healthier than at any time in our company’s 36 year history.”

Anna’s Linens was the 2007 Orange County Family Business of the Year, just 3 years after turning to experts outside of their family.

Giving up any control in your company is very tough. However, one of the greatest strengths of any leader is humility. Being able to not only see where needs are not being met by the current family leadership, but then stepping outside of the family to find the talent needed to take your company to the next level, is a great demonstration of this humility.

In addition to bringing in outside experts to work in the company, as Gladstone has done with Anna’s Linens, the most successful family companies in the world also reach out to experts to sit on their advisory boards, as consultants, or as previously mentioned, they join with other family businesses in organizations such as Vistage, their local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary, or find a university or organization with a Center for Family Business, where owners of family companies come together to share ideas, issues, and consult with one another.

The bottom line is to recognize that you do not know everything there is to know about your industry, and that there are experts, even in other industries, who have a wealth of knowledge who can be a great resource to you. For years, I have worked with companies in a variety of industries, and time after time, I hear stories from leaders of family organizations tell me that the best ideas they have received to make the biggest impact on their company came from someone not only outside of their company, but from a completely different industry, as well.

Remember, there is safety in numbers, as long as the numbers consist of people we trust, and who trust us.

For assistance in finding trusted resources, whether it is to set up an advisory board, join a peer group, or meet with other family businesses, feel free to reach out to me at 657-278-4182,, or visit us at

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