Connected Conversations: Family Businesses Contribution to the U.S. Economy: A Closer Look Event Logo

Connected Conversations: Family Businesses Contribution to the U.S. Economy: A Closer Look

by Smith Family Business Initiative

Professional Homepage Events

Wed, Apr 14, 2021

12 PM – 1 PM EDT (GMT-4)

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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. 

A quarter of a century since the publication of bull's eye framework, the 2003 update to “Family Businesses Contribution to the U.S. Economy” is still one of the most cited papers when it comes to the impact of family businesses on the overall U.S. economy. In 2020, Torsten Pieper and a team of researchers decided to revise and improve the original findings of Astrachan and Shanker (2003) on the basis of more recent data. These findings measure the influence of family businesses across three categories, defined by the degree of family involvement in the businesses. As research on family businesses has developed greatly over the past decades, there was a strong likelihood that Torsten and his team could derive the update on recent data from extant empirical research. However, that assumption was disproved after an examination of the existing literature. As a consequence, this present update relies in part on empirical data collected specifically for this purpose. With support from Family Enterprise USA, this research is timely and critical in the face of a global pandemic and dramatic economic disruptions over the past 20 years.

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


Torsten Pieper's profile photo

Torsten Pieper

Associate Professor


Torsten M. Pieper is Associate Professor of Management in the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte and Visiting Professor with the Family Enterprise Center of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill.  Before joining UNC Charlotte, Pieper was an associate professor at Kennesaw State University, where he was Academic Director of the DBA Program and Research Director for the Cox Family Enterprise Center. Pieper is President of the International Family Enterprise Research Academy (IFERA), the largest network association of family business researchers in the world, and Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier title Journal of Family Business Strategy (JFBS), one of only two impact-factored journals dedicated entirely to the scientific study of family businesses (JFBS 2017 Impact Factor: 2.605).  An author of more than 20 articles and nine books on family business, he is a frequent speaker to professional and industry associations on the topics of family business cohesion, strategy and governance. He earned his two Master of Science degrees from Saarland University (Germany) and EM LYON Business School (France), and a Doctorate from EBS University of Business and Law in Oestrich-Winkel (Germany). He grew up in a multinational family business (manufacturer of building materials) and is fluent in German, French and English. 

Pat Soldano's profile photo

Pat Soldano

President and Chairman

Family Enterprise USA

Patricia M. Soldano has spent over 25 years managing family offices, providing full service, integrated family office services to many families. She developed Cymric Family Office Services into a multi-family office in 1996, and in January of 2009, she sold Cymric to GenSpring Family Offices. Ms. Soldano was the Managing Director of Western Region and then a Family Office Consultant to GenSpring before retiring December of 2017. Ms. Soldano is now a Family Business Consultant working directly with families herself.

She is a member of the Editorial Committee for Family Business for Trusts & Estates magazine and an Advisor to the Drucker Global Family Business Institute at Claremont Graduate School. She also facilitates the Women’s CEO Affinity group at CSUF; Family Business Center and is an Advisory Board member for Alzheimer’s Orange County and serves on the Audit, Compensation, and Investment committees. She was former Co-Chair of The Center for Investment and Wealth Management at UCI, on the Executive Committee and on the Advisory Board of Paul Merage School of Business at UCI.

Ms. Soldano is President and Chairman of Policy and Taxation Group, ( which she founded in 1995, after one of her “families” experienced a death of both daughter and mother and realized that no one was educating legislators about the destructive effects of the gift, estate and generation skipping tax on families, businesses and the economy. The organization encourages estate tax reform/repeal through bipartisan outreach to members of Congress with personal visits from Ms Soldano as well as assistance from Frank Luntz, Squire Patton Boggs and Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber Schreck LLP. Ms Soldano has testified before the Ways and Means Committee for the Congress of the United States on the need for estate tax repeal and speaks nationally on the need for estate tax reform.

Pat Soldano is also President and Chairman of Family Enterprise USA, ( , a not-for-profit organization, founded in 2007, that is dedicated to promoting family businesses and their economic growth in the US through national education and advocacy in Washington DC.

Ms. Soldano received her MBA from Claremont Graduate School and her BA in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton. A recognized speaker on the topic of family wealth, she has been published in Trusts & Estates magazine, Private Wealth, The Washington Post, Forbes, Wealth Manager magazine, IMCA, and other newspapers and periodicals. She has been a presenter at national conferences throughout the United States, including IMCA, AICPA, Family Office Exchange, Institute for Private Investors (IPI) Forum, FFI, Lido Consulting, and many regional family office and family business forums.

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