Virtual Breakfast Series

Hear from seasoned professionals with this panelist series! Five times each year, family business members and service providers share their experiences on a variety of family business-related topics. You'll get a chance to interact with families who have been through some of the same experiences as you. All sessions are hosted on Zoom and provide an opportunity for breakout discussions and a Q&A with the panelists.

The Virtual Breakfast Series is free to families with a UNI Family Business Center membership. Prospective members are welcome to one free trial session. Register for the sessions below!

“Extremely valuable for anyone involved in family businesses or improving interpersonal relationships. We are all blessed to even have these issues and nothing is truly impossible to solve.”

Chris Vernon

2024-25 details coming soon!

Past Events

Wells Blue Bunny: The Story of a Legacy Family Business / Aug. 24, 2023


Family businesses can sometimes reach a crossroads for various reasons: economic, leadership, liquidity, next-generation, or succession and family challenges. The UNI Family Business Center is focused on keeping family businesses owned and operated by Iowa families. However, we recognize things change, often times out of our control, and appreciate the learning that can happen through the lens of another family’s experiences.

Mike Wells took the stage for the kickoff Virtual Breakfast Series of 2023-34, Wells Blue Bunny: The Story of a Legacy Family Business. He discussed how Wells Blue Bunny, the second-largest ice cream manufacturer in the country, made the decision to sell to the Italian-based Ferrero Group. Looking in the review mirror can help others look at their own business families and use the lessons the Wells family has learned course of 109 years.

How a Board Can Drive Value In a Family Business / Oct. 19, 2023


Leaders of some of the most successful family businesses credit creating a Board with independent directors as one of the instrumental turning points for their family businesses. Laura Neiman, president and CEO of Neiman Brothers Company, and Dennis Kessler of Midwest Family Business Advisors, took center stage for this virtual panel. They discussed their points of view on different stages in the process of developing and managing a board of independents for their family businesses. Better performance that is a benefit of designing a board with independent directors helps families build wealth inside and outside the business, contribute to their community and causes that are important to all ages and stages of the family.

Balancing a Legacy Family Business and a Next Gen's New Venture / January 18, 2024


Family businesses are loyal to the product that they were founded on. But, when you get multiple generations down the family tree, there's not always room in the business or interest in the roles available for upcoming generations. Is it possible to branch out and create a new venture that's different than your existing legacy business? Matthew Cathy has done just that. We welcomed Matthew to the virtual stage to share his experience growing up in the famous family of Chick-fil-A and now leading his own venture, Clayton Fixture, which creates cabinets and fixtures for the restaurant industry.

Estate Planning: Early Steering to Avoid Potholes / March 28, 2024


The perfect time to tackle estate planning is before your family starts a transition of leadership. Join Steve Wells, founding partner of American Food & Vending Corporation, for the next installment of the Virtual Breakfast Series on March 28, 2024: Estate Planning: Steering Early to Avoid Pot Holes Later. We'll also host an attorney who will discuss specific strategies, changing tax laws, and how to prepare for that.

Jolly Time: 100 Years of Family and Fun / May 16, 2024


With over a century in business, American Popcorn Company, the parent of the delicious Jolly Time Pop Corn, has seen the snack industry change tremendously. Joining us for the Virtual Breakfast Series on Thursday, May 16, is Garrett K. Smith, current president and a fourth-generation member of the Smith family. Garrett will share milestones of the last 100 years, along with challenges and how their family has remained loyal to the business for five generations now.