Leaders in Family Enterprise: In Practice and Theory - Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg

by Smith Family Business Initiative


Wed, 18 Apr 2018

5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Add to Calendar

Sage Hall B10

114 East Avenue, Ithaca, NY 11482, United States

View Map




Why family business?
  • Research suggests that nearly 80-90% of all business globally are family or privately owned. As logic might follow, a vast majority of Johnson and Cornell students will find themselves working in, for or with a family owned business.
  • As family business continues to emerge as a field of study, there is a need to understand where application and theory meet or divert. Business owners and leaders will reveal what is currently reality, while esteemed researchers and academics will share what the current thinking is to support the owner’s experience.
  • The overlap of family, business and ownership leads to many unique qualities for family firms. These qualities can be the source of market advantage or frequent conflict. Why do certain family businesses succeed while others fail?
This course aims to:
  • Increase your awareness of the significance, diversity, and complexity of family enterprises.
  • Introduce students to founders and leaders of successful family enterprises across multiple industries.
  • Showcase academics who are furthering the understanding of family enterprise.
  • Highlight strategies and approaches to business succession, strategy, governance and family wealth planning.
  • Engage students in active discussion, dialog and interview techniques. 

Share with friends


Sage Hall B10

114 East Avenue, Ithaca, NY 11482, United States


Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg

Co-President & Co-Owner

Valerie Wilson Travel

Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg joined Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc. in February 1991. Over 20 years later, as Co-President and Co-Owner, her focus is on the overall strategy of the family owned business which is ranked #30 by Travel Weekly and #22 by Business Travel News. Jennifer manages business development, sales, operational, administrative and technology functions at one of the largest women-owned and family-managed travel consulting businesses in the U.S. She continues to grow all business sectors from corporate travel to meetings, groups and incentives, to the expansion of fulfillment and strategic marketing alliances. However, her true passion is to sell.

Her many philanthropic commitments include community involvement with The Reformed Church of Bronxville, as well as being a member of the Women’s Forum and Education Fund. Jennifer’s passion for the Make-A-Wish organization and focus on rising travel wish costs is a priority to her. She is on the Board of Directors of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York and Western New York Chapter, a member of the Governance Committee, and the Wish Granting Committee. Jennifer was recognized as the honoree for the 2012 Gala and helped to establish a newly created “Travel Wish Bank” with the assistance of the travel community, clients and friends to help offset the increasing cash cost of travel wishes.

Jennifer graduated from Haverford College with a B.A. in History and a minor in Political Science, and in 2004, received her Executive MBA from the Owner/President Management (OPM) Program at Harvard Business School. She is also the reunion chairperson for her HBS class.

She has diverse interests, from being an avid golfer, collecting antique English silver, to traveling worldwide both for business and pleasure. She lives in Bronxville, New York with her husband and teenage son.

Hosted By

Smith Family Business Initiative
Co-hosted with: Admissions & Financial Aid Office, MBAI, MBAII, Family Business Club, Cornell Tech MBA Program, One-Year MBA Program, Smith Family Business Initiative (OWNER), Cornell-Tsinghua MBA Program, EMBA Metro NY First-Year, EMBA Metro NY Second-Year

Contact the organizers