Connected Conversations: Family Rifts – Impact, Understanding and Healing

by Smith Family Business Initiative

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Wed, Mar 10, 2021

12 PM – 1 PM EST (GMT-5)

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Join the Smith Family Business Initiative as we host “Connected Conversations”, a monthly webinar series that explores topics relevant to family business owners, members, advisors, students, and alumni. We invite you to join us as we navigate the current uncertainty in our global economy, and its impacts on family businesses.

Family estrangement is an ailment that effects many, and perhaps all families at some point. In family business, in addition to family relationships at risk, the entire business may also be susceptible. Karl Pillemer’s most recent work, Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them, has received considerable attention and press. Based on 300 in-depth interviews with 1,800 individuals, Professor Pillemer’s book captures the “eloquence of ordinary people facing family challenges that threaten their identity, health and well-being, relying on sources never before available, including a unique combination of rich, in-depth interviews, data from large-scale surveys and conversations with leading family therapists.” Our conversation with Karl will explore successful strategies from people who have found ways to repair rifts or live peacefully with the consequences when nothing can be done - and the first to offer hope to broken families (and businesses) which need it the most.

Dr. Karl Pillemer is the Hazel E. Reed Professor in the Department of Human Development, Professor of Gerontology in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Outreach in the College of Human Ecology. Pillemer also directs the Cornell Legacy Project ( and is author of the book 30 Lessons for Living ( His major interests center on human development over the life course, with a special emphasis on family and social relationships in middle age and beyond. He has a strong theoretical and empirical interest in life course transitions and the effects they have on family relationships. A major program of research is on intergenerational relations in later life, with a focus on determinants and consequences of the quality of adult child - older parent relationships. Dr. Pillemer has conducteda large-scale study of this issue, with funding from the National Institute on Aging, which focuses on within-family differences in parent-child relations in later life and on ambivalence in intergenerational relations among adults. He is currently examining the causes and consequences of estrangement in families. A second major program of research focuses on the nature and dynamics of family caregiving for impaired older people, which he has been carrying out over the past two decades with funding from the National Institutes of Health and other sources. A third area is in long-term care for the elderly, with a focus on the relationships between family members of residents with staff in long-term care facilities. Fourth, Dr. Pillemer has a long-term program of research on conflict and abuse in families of the aged, including several related studies of the domestic and institutional abuse of older persons. Finally, he is actively involved in intervention research and in policy analysis related to aging and health care, with an emphasis on evidence-based methods of developing a competent, caring long-term care workforce. His extension and outreach work involves translational research, exploring ways to speed the transfer of findings from basic research into scientifically tested interventions.

You will receive a confirmation email upon registration with the Zoom coordinates. If you did not receive this communication, please reach out to Hannah Barends at

Please submit questions you would like panelists to address in advance of the webinar to Hannah Barends at


Karl Pillemer's profile photo

Karl Pillemer

Hazel E. Reed Professor in the Department of Human Development, Professor of Gerontology in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Outreach in the College of Human Ecology.

Cornell University

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Smith Family Business Initiative | Website | View More Events
Co-hosted with: MBAI, MBAII, EMBA Metro

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