Plenary/Parallel Sessions

Yesterday's knowledge, today's ambition

With the enormous variation in the people that attend conference, we appreciate that what is important to one person may not be important to another, so we have created a robust schedule with breakout sessions, that allows you to build your own conference experience.

Plenary/Parallel Sessions


Appetite for Legacy

Whole Kids is an Australian-owned organic food company created by Monica Meldrum and her husband James in 2005. As the first food business in Australia to become certified as a ‘B Corporation’ Whole Kids is committed to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

Monica is widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading female entrepreneurs receiving many awards for her innovation, leadership and strong commitment to creating change for the future. Her accolades include Australian Women’s Small Business Champion (2022), Conscious Company’s World-Changing Women (2020), Remodista Women2Watch in Business Disruption (2020), and Westpac Top 100 Women of Influence (2016) just to name a few.

Inspired by personal experience, hear Monica’s insights into how Whole Kids goes a lot deeper than just a food business and the ways she has shaped the family business to create a positive and lasting legacy that will be felt for generations to come.

The Challenges of Legacy

Dealing with the loss of the patriarch in a family is difficult enough but dealing with the unexpected loss of the owning patriarch in a family business adds extra complexity, especially in relation to business decisions that arise during and after such a powerful emotional event.

This session will discuss the challenges in maintaining the family business legacy in the case of Faber-Castell following the tragic loss of 8th generation Count Anton Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell in 2016.

Faber-Castell was founded in 1761 by Caspar Faber and has developed from a small-scale handicraft beginning to a company with international standing. It has been owned and managed by direct descendants of the company founder for nine generations, making it one of the world’s oldest family-owned companies. The brother of Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell, Count Andreas von Faber-Castell, was based in Australia and was Director of the Asia Pacific region.

In this session we will hear from Natalie Grace, daughter of Count Andreas von Faber-Castell as she shares the evolution of the family business and her perspectives on the changes to the ownership structure after Count Anton’s death and challenges of maintaining the family business legacy following his untimely passing.

How to adapt to tougher Customers

Australia’s manufacturing and production sector is home to many successful family-owned businesses that deal with a myriad of complexities every day. Many are discovering pressure on their profit because of tougher and tougher negotiations with their corporate clients.

When a key client aggressively negotiates pricing, family businesses often feel powerless and feel like they are facing a dilemma. They can’t afford to lose the business, but they can’t afford to satisfy the buyer’s request either. Confrontation will poison the water, but compromise will destroy their margin.

With 25 years of strong track record in blue chip FMCG Companies (Kellogg’s, Mars, Martini), followed by 10 years assisting Australian family businesses to grow businesses profitably in tough retail environments, Jean-Yves Heude will share his insights in successful negotiation in buying or selling for any industry.

The presentation will then follow with a panel discussion with Jean-Yves and two-family businesses including 6th generation Anthony Paech, Beerenberg who will share how they have learnt the art of negotiating through mentoring and who have successfully grown their businesses by changing their Sales Negotiation program.

From a family business to a family brand

Branding is essential because not only is it the link that connects the company to the customer and vice versa, but if nurtured correctly can become a powerful tool for driving business.

Independently owned branding and design agency Hulsbosch has not only worked with and created some of Australia’s most recognisable brands, including Woolworths, Qantas, Eftpos, and Virgin Australia, to name a few, but as a family business, they understand that leveraging family ownership is a unique opportunity presented to family businesses when formulating their branding strategy.

Hear from second generation family member and company director, Jaid Hulsbosch and Carolyn Pitt, strategy director as they explore how they create Australia’s most famous and iconic brands.

Illustrated using case studies they will discuss the fundamentals for developing an effective brand strategy and visual identity, and when – and how – family members sharing the same attitude and values towards the business can create a competitive advantage.

Intellectual Property: Protecting Your Family Business Legacy

Whilst succession planning plays a major role in securing the future of family businesses, protecting their intellectual property can often be just as important, yet is something that is regularly overlooked – often with devastating consequences.

As the success of a business grows and strengthens, so does the brand and the various elements that customers and business associates align with the recognition and experience of that brand. It takes years to develop a business and brand recognition – but only a moment to lose if it’s not protected.

In 2022, after two years of proceedings, Australian manufacturer of timber-look aluminium building products and family business, DECO Australia, was successful in its Federal Court action against Chinese company Aliwood Pty Ltd. The case involved the alleged infringement by Aliwood of DECO’s certified Innovation Patent for DecoClad, DECO’s solid aluminium wall cladding.

In this session DECO Australia’s Director Ross Doonan will share how their family business came under threat of losing their unique designs that the business has invested time, resources and money into developing in order to meet the needs of their customers. He will explain how DECO protects these innovative designs through Patents and Design Registrations and their fight to protect their innovations from those who seek to play outside of the rules.

DECO Australia is an innovative leader in product design within Australia’s manufacturing and construction industries and is dedicated to both protecting intellectual property and strengthening the Australian manufacturing industry. Their victory in the Patent Infringement Case showcases the importance of intellectual property to Australian businesses, Australian manufacturing, Australian jobs and the legacy of Australian family businesses.


The Kelly Story: Family Business to Business Family

Kelly Engineering was started by Peter Kelly over 30 years ago as an extra enterprise to support the family farm financially. Since then the business has enjoyed strong growth – both in Australia and its exports to all corners of the globe.

Peter’s ingenious invention, the diamond harrow, is a tillage device that rebuilds soils, preserves moisture and improves the profitability of farms sustainably and holistically. Peter’s son Shane could see the diamond harrow’s potential and wanted to dedicate the full resources of the business to see how far this idea could be taken.

These growth ambitions meant that Kelly Engineering had to change from thinking and acting like a small, regional company to a large, globally-focused company.

Hear from second-generation husband and wife, Shane and Jo Kelly who will discuss their approaches to innovation and the growth process and the prevalent challenges within the family regarding differences and comfort levels around risk.

They will also share their insights into the benefits of bringing into the family-run operation non-family managers as part of the succession process and investors as part of the growth cycle and the family business’s core values to ensure that the legacy they leave is a positive one for their children, grandchildren and their future generations.

Unpacking the keys to successful sibling relationships in a business family

Working with family can be a rewarding experience, but there are many challenges of family dynamics when running and operating a closely held, family-run business.

As challenging as parent/child relationships can be, likewise is the challenge for siblings to operate as co-owners.

Siblings may always have each other’s backs and know how to work well together whilst others may wonder what are the keys to successful sibling relationships.

In this session, we will hear from sisters, Pippa, Sascha and Zoe Detmold from the Detmold Group on families working together. They will share some sibling entrepreneurial success stories as well as explore how they are preparing themselves to be the owners of the business.

This session will also look into the key powers that come with ownership and how business families can exercise these privileges in ways that will sustain rather than destroy the family and the business.

Established in 1948, the Detmold Group are global innovators in sustainable paper and board packaging solutions supplying some of the world’s largest and most iconic food and retail brands.


More speaker announcements soon.

*Program subject to change