"Thank you so much for having me! I learned so much in that one Women in Family Business event and have already been implementing my power pose, digital detoxing, active listening, and really trying to make that personal connection with everyone I meet!"
- Katherine Gifford, Account Manager, iBec Creative


Affinity Groups

Affinity groups consist of people who share similarities and interests.  Affinity Groups meet several times throughout the year. Opportunities for networking are included in all meetings.  These Affinity Groups are open only to family-owned business members except for the Woman in Family Business which is open to all and the open Next Gen program that happens once a year.

Types of Affinity Groups:

  • CEO Central - A facilitated round-table discussion designed exclusively for family business CEO's with gross revenues above $5 million. Space is limited and registration in advance is required.  Sponsored by Mainebiz.
  • Women's Leadership Forum - A facilitated round-table discussion with fellow women in leadership roles in family business. Our goals for this forum include support, encouragement, inspiration and information. Space is limited and registration in advance is required. Sponsored by Key Private Bank.
  • Women in Family Business - Women focusing on education that is important and useful to them and includes both family business members and associate partners. Sponsored by Baker | Newman | Noyes

  • Next Generation - All generations working in a family business benefit from the information provided in these meetings. Participants learn: communications, transitions, generational management styles, balancing family and family business, and more! Sponsored by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. In addition to our open Next Generation programs we also have Peer Advisory Groups.

  • Leaders in Transition - A facilitated  group that helps those who have been running the business transition to their new lives, post working in the family-owned business.

 What are Peer Advisory Groups?
Peer advisory groups are small, confidential discussion groups of about 8-10 members that meet regularly and are
facilitated. The Executive groups are led by facilitators Maureen Costello Wedge and Anne Hussey from Guad Group.  The Senior group is led by Priscilla Hansen Mahoney of Blazing Trails Coaching.  The groups allow individuals to share experiences and learn from each other in a safe and open environment.  These groups are for those actively working in a family business or who are interested in joining the family business, are IFOB members and in non-competing businesses.  Ideally, only one member of a family will be in each peer group and non-family members are also welcome.

Members explore family business subjects of mutual interest, provide accountability and feedback, define issues of importance for each member, and discuss what to do (and not to do) in day-to-day interactions among family, owners, employees, and board members in order to make family leadership a competitive advantage.

Relevant topics developed by the groups might be around relationships and negotiation with siblings and/or cousins and parents, facing obstacles such as gaining respect of company employees, and deciding what career path is a good match for their skills.  Other topics could include long term goals and weighing the pluses and minuses of working in the family business.  All discussions are held in the strictest confidence and a confidentially agreement is signed at the start of each year.

Below is a breakdown of the groups based on levels of experience in a family business.

  • NEXT GENERATION: Senior - This group is made up of Next Generation members who are working at the mid-management responsibility level in their company i.e. department managers / area managers.
  • NEXT GENERATION: Executive (I & II) - Next generation members who are working at the top management levels within their company i.e. Vice President, President, CEO, CFO levels.  
  • NEXT GENERATION:  Executive Blend – This group is for those who have been working in the family business for a while and are now moving into an executive role i.e. a Finance Manager moving to a GM. 
If you’d like to join this peer advisory group, please contact Catherine Wygant Fossett, Executive Director at catherine@fambusiness.org or 207.798.2667.
Our  mailing address is Post Office Box 3364, Portland, Maine  04104.


Colleen McCracken & Maddy CorsonColleen McCracken and Maddy Corson, IFOB advisory board members plan a session for our Women in
Family Business Affinity Group

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