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Episode 14: The Role of Family History in Family Business

In this episode of the Family Biz Show, Michael Palumbos from Family Wealth and Legacy in Rochester, New York, engages in a rich conversation with special guests Karen McNeill and Emily Bouchard about the nuances and importance of family history and storytelling in the context of family businesses and wealth management.

Karen McNeill shares her journey from academia to becoming a senior family historian, emphasizing the role of historical understanding in shaping business and family legacies. Her work focuses on digging deep into families' pasts to unearth stories that offer insights into their present and future, particularly during significant transitions like business succession or sales.

Emily Bouchard, with a background in social work and expertise in blended family dynamics, discusses the power of family storytelling and the importance of addressing and learning from past challenges. She highlights how understanding family history can influence decision-making, values, and philanthropy within family businesses and wealth enterprises.

The conversation also touches on the importance of including in-laws and non-business family members in the family narrative, acknowledging their contributions and integrating their histories to enrich the family's collective story.

Throughout the episode, the significance of having professional guidance in navigating family history, especially when dealing with sensitive or potentially traumatic past events, is emphasized. The guests share how they use storytelling and specific questioning techniques to facilitate meaningful conversations that can lead to growth, understanding, and unity within families and their enterprises.

In conclusion, this episode underscores the critical role of history and storytelling in understanding family dynamics, shaping values, and making informed decisions in family businesses and wealth management. It encourages families to engage with their past constructively, with the help of professionals like Karen and Emily, to build a more cohesive and resilient future.

Watch the entire episode!

Episode 14 Transcript


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Michael Palumbos: Well welcome everybody to the family biz show. My name is Michael Columbus with family wealth and legacy in Rochester, New York. And I just wanted to say thank you for joining us today. I have two incredible special guests with us today. Karen McNeil and Emily Bouchard



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Michael Palumbos: Welcome ladies, I appreciate you joining us today.



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Karen McNeill: Thanks Michael. Yeah. Thanks for having us. Yeah.



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Michael Palumbos: So what we typically do here. And the reason why I bring two guests on at a time. Is it just creates a really



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Michael Palumbos: Different conversation. Typically, and we just never know where one person is going to say something and it takes us in another direction. So what I want to do is just give each of you a moment if you would just tell us about your journey.



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Michael Palumbos: Where did you start and how did you end up working you know where you are today with a sense you know private capital management and working with families in the, in the manner that you do today. So Karen, if you don't mind, you know,



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Karen McNeill: Sure.



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Michael Palumbos: You're not for nothing but the senior family historian



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Karen McNeill: I am



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Michael Palumbos: That's pretty neat.



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Karen McNeill: How, yeah. Well, I'll tell you, it is not where I expected my journey to take me and



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Karen McNeill: My landing at Sn was really sort of the bringing together of two different worlds that I had been in previously first there was the academic world. I got my PhD in history at Berkeley. And I assumed that I would be a professor



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Karen McNeill: And all of my scholarship has been on this architect named Julia Morgan. Who's most famous for designing Hearst Castle and while it was



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Karen McNeill: I wasn't thinking about it this way, all the while I've worked on her. I have been thinking about how do you build a business and also how people have significant means



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Karen McNeill: Have an impact on their world. So her so Hurst is her most famous client, but her clientele was made up of the leading political intellectual business cultural



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Karen McNeill: Leaders of California. And so she was literally helping them, and especially women in this case.



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Karen McNeill: Create a built environment that addressed social, cultural, all sorts of reform opportunity and things. So that was one element. And then I got into historic preservation for years.



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Karen McNeill: And what I loved about that was the application of history to real world situations so that all the studies I would do have a property.



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Karen McNeill: Might help the owner get a variance. So they could have a business in their house or it would affect urban planning policies and decisions. And so then



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Karen McNeill: I was teaching all along. But I was looking and looking and I found this job about family historian for an ultra high net worth division of a major US Bank. And I thought, hmm.



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Karen McNeill: And as I was going through it, I was like, yes, I do research about families all the time I think about impact all the time.



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Karen McNeill: And I, as I learned more and more about it, it was just this wonderful opportunity to help families, figure out who they are, where they come from, what their values are and how they really can have a lasting enduring impact on their own families and in their communities.



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Michael Palumbos: So this was kind of an unexpected career change for you.



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Michael Palumbos: Definitely. So Emily, I know a little bit about your background we not, I want to say, was it 2009 or 2010 maybe in the near the airport in Denver you there at that the very first PPI right



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Emily Bouchard: Yeah.



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Michael Palumbos: That's okay. Planning Institute for those that haven't been on the show before I heard me talking about that Emily. So you're the managing director of leadership and legacy company, you know, consultant at



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Michael Palumbos: Ascent private capital as well. Walk us through, you know, because I know that you know your career spans, you know, many, many years.



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Michael Palumbos: Walk us through how did you, how did you get here. What was your first foray into this and how did that come together to who you are today.



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Emily Bouchard: I know it's so great. Karen and I are system where I like to say there's like no straight lines to where you and



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Emily Bouchard: I never even knew this work existed when I became a social worker. Right, so I I come to this really personally



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Emily Bouchard: very passionately about facilitating communication and families before it's too late, about the things that matter most.



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Emily Bouchard: And it was driven by a really dramatic events in my life. When my mother died very suddenly. And I was 14 and nobody in my family knew how to talk about it.



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Emily Bouchard: And there were so many unanswered questions and there were so many things I wish I'd known in terms of her wishes and what she wanted for me and



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Emily Bouchard: I had to guess at what her values or and you know it. There was so many things. It was a seminal moment in my life and



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Emily Bouchard: From that moment, I made a lot of choices about how I wanted to be in the world from that. And looking back, it's like, oh, that really sparked that so I got a degree in child development and I focused on



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Emily Bouchard: Adolescence and really tried to look at it, psychologically and sociologically and really try to understand how you make sense of the world from a teenager's perspective and is



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Emily Bouchard: Passionate about kids worked with kids in many different ways. And then I ended up working in a hospital.



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Emily Bouchard: Closely with social workers with families whose children were getting ill and what was happening within the family system and I became fascinated by family systems and how did the families talk about these things and



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Emily Bouchard: I ended up getting a social work degree to really look and see how I could help facilitate those conversations and



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Emily Bouchard: I was working. I just started my own practice and I focused on blended families. People know me in this in this sphere is a



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Emily Bouchard: expert in step family relationships and I came by it. Honestly, my, my family was my mom came from a home where I grew up a two step aunts and



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Emily Bouchard: I'm step grandfather and I was like part of my natural mill you and then when my dad remarried. I had stepped grandparents and cousins and



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Emily Bouchard: And and i have stopped mom. And so I became a step mom at one point, and I



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Emily Bouchard: I really brought a lot to bear to that relationship as well and tied to be the best step mom, I could be and I started writing about it and I started really researching it, and looking at what works in the home 24 seven versus, you know, one hour a week and a therapist.



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Emily Bouchard: And I, and I ended up



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Emily Bouchard: meeting somebody who referred me to



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Emily Bouchard: A the preparing errs of the Williams group years ago that was the 2004 and I worked with them until 2013 and as a family dynamic specialists within their team.



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Michael Palumbos: I didn't realize if you spent time there that's



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Emily Bouchard: That's me. Yeah. Yeah. And it was amazing. It was my first foray into working with really successful have families that were not so successful in their communication and how does it for them in that and



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Emily Bouchard: During that time I met people. I started to branch out and meet other people. And then I ended up working as a managing partner of a small boutique firm for a while.



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Emily Bouchard: And I went to PPI and met Paul hood and we wrote our book on the state planning for the blended family and got really passionate about what I could do to work collaboratively with



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Emily Bouchard: Other experts in the field. And then I met Kristin Armstrong, who was absent and when she was deciding to retire and step away. She reached out to me and it was like



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Emily Bouchard: My dream job. You know, it's like I never knew in a million years. I could get this job. And there was one of those things are. I didn't even know it was possible. And I'm sending it was a really nice, win, win, and I got a chance to be in a team that's totally multi disciplinary CPA historian



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Emily Bouchard: Estate Planning attorneys and also have really great specialties within tax and



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Emily Bouchard: Financial advisors and investment advisors and I'm just, I'm learning so much working with a whole team of people, as opposed to just like on my own and in my own silo. That's really a phenomenal.



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Emily Bouchard: Experience to step into that and and tend to work with Karen and really get the profound impact of tapping into



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Emily Bouchard: family histories, as they're looking at their legacy and what they want to do within their family businesses, especially and



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Emily Bouchard: I just, I love this conversation she she and I just totally hit it all talking about this and and how to bring in different things she's created in terms of how to talk about values and such. So



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Michael Palumbos: Like love it. So let's meet you know before we dive into the, the, why this is so important, um, you know, I heard senior family historian and I'm like, what do you do, I mean,



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Michael Palumbos: I think I you know because of



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Michael Palumbos: 10 years 12 years of, you know, doing this work, you know, I know that. But I don't think the people listening might would want to know understand that. So what is it that a family historian does



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Karen McNeill: Well, how to break it down so you know the first thing I do with any family is I start to build out a family tree right



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Karen McNeill: And so I delve into all sorts of genealogical databases. There's so much that you can find online these days. It's pretty phenomenal.



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Karen McNeill: And so I start to fill out the family tree, but a family tree is really just data right so you can look at it and I can make some trees. Go back like 14 generations, you know, they can go way back. But even a tree that substantial you look at it and you're like, huh, wow.



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Karen McNeill: And that's it. You know, so, so it's really important to start thinking about the stories behind the people on those trees. What did they go through how did they face change and challenge and triumph.



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Karen McNeill: How and why did they move over time. How did careers change. How did education change. So you did this, you begin to get this picture of how the family got to where it is today.



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Karen McNeill: So that's one mode of exploring the family history. It's, it's more traditional it's going through the historical doc and



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Karen McNeill: Then finding them in all different places who a ton of oral history as well. And the oral history is so important for



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Karen McNeill: Both the family and the business for the business, you know, you get to interview so often the, the original generation.



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Karen McNeill: Of the business creators and you get that original institutional memory that helps to really document the culture of the business, how it began and things like that.



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Karen McNeill: And for the families, you not only get the wealth creation stories from, you know, spouse, but you get to talk to the spouse who wasn't in the business.



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Karen McNeill: Usually that's the wife, it still happens to be a gender split right it's not always true, but



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Karen McNeill: You really get a sense of what was going on behind the scenes, how the family was living through this experience of the business developing and all the dynamics that come out of that.



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Karen McNeill: And you get, you know, the stories from both sides because the kids and future generations. They're not just coming from the wealth creators side right it's it's everything. So those are a couple of ways that I go about it.



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Michael Palumbos: Awesome.



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Emily Bouchard: They can share



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Emily Bouchard: The other thing that I just was so thrilled about when I found out about good to work with Karen that she also



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Emily Bouchard: Along with her research, she



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Emily Bouchard: She created these amazing curated cards of how to get people talking about their values from the standpoint of history.



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Emily Bouchard: And they're like, beautiful cards and the pictures on them are all significant and have different meaning and



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Emily Bouchard: People get a chance to choose what speaks to them without knowing the history behind it and then when they find out it's like this whole other



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Emily Bouchard: Thing opens up for them. And it's been this really wonderful way to



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Emily Bouchard: Start to bridge conversations that maybe we're never had in the family and allows like kids to safely ask questions of the



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Emily Bouchard: You know the maybe the matriarch and patriarch that there's always been a sense of, oh, no, you can't go there and but with the cards is like a way to be able to approach it and



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Emily Bouchard: You know, find out what their biggest failure was and find out. Like what their biggest aspiration was like really a wonderful tool and resource that I was really



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Emily Bouchard: Inspired by when I got to use it. And I also share that Karen, I got to experience Karen's work personally because when I when Kobe hit



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Emily Bouchard: I found out from my aunt that I wouldn't exist if the 19 1918 1919 Spanish flu epidemic hadn't happened, and she told me the story and I was, I wrote it up. It's on LinkedIn and I



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Emily Bouchard: I sent it to Karen and I say,



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Emily Bouchard: What do you think, is there any way to find out some data about my family and she found out all this amazing stuff that we didn't know



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Emily Bouchard: And then I it sparked this great conversation between my dad and his sister, and they're both in their 80s, and it was



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Emily Bouchard: I mean, I brought up with these people. My whole life and I've never heard these conversations before and I've never, I never knew that my grandmother, you know, went to Canada, and then



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Emily Bouchard: My her brothers came from Cuba, like all kinds of things. And it's an amazing way to to open up conversations. And obviously, I'm all about that.



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Emily Bouchard: Historical Perspective. Yeah.



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Karen McNeill: Yeah, and and you know there's a thing about it to where I think one of the most common



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Karen McNeill: Quotes you'll hear from anybody, when they talk about history is like, oh, I always hated history had to memorize all those facts and dates.



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Karen McNeill: And that is the worst way right to learn history. Like if school history is is awful. The way we have our have to read those those textbooks.



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Karen McNeill: But in fact, people love history. And so often, it's actually the rising gen, who is really pushing to want to learn more about their parents and their grandparents.



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Karen McNeill: And if they haven't raised the question when I pull up stories from the 19th century earlier that were shocking in their day and



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Karen McNeill: The younger kids, they're like, what our family's not boring.



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Karen McNeill: You know, I mean that that's one thing but so often. I've seen families where, you know, you see, generation after generation clearly dealing with



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Karen McNeill: You know, mental health issues or Substance Abuse and Alcoholism and it's so much easier for these families to talk about



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Karen McNeill: Those who have passed away and they're not threatened by those people, they have empathy for those people. They want to know more, they get that



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Karen McNeill: While people make choices. They are also products of their circumstances, small and large. And so they really do begin to see how they can talk about issues that they know are going on in their family today.



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Karen McNeill: And that they get to start from kind of a fun yet poignant place. So I'm Emily's great it sort of bridging the past to the to the future, because sometimes I get stuck in the past.



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Emily Bouchard: Michael something else, if I may, that I was just thinking about, because this is so timely, um, you know, we're in a really poignant



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Emily Bouchard: Part, like this is a huge historical moment we're living through right now. And one of the things that I've gotten to experience and working with Karen and family meetings is



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Emily Bouchard: She very delicately and brilliantly will bring up pain points from history as well.



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Emily Bouchard: Any families find out that they may have been slave owners in the past. Yeah. Or maybe there was massive deforestation. That happened as a really successful Lumber Company or oil company and



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Emily Bouchard: Like huge devastation to the environment and the rising Gen. They don't want to shy away from these conversations they want to bring it forward and they want to look at how



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Emily Bouchard: What contributed to the wealth and the family and then how can we make reparations. How can we use our philanthropic means to really make things right and to take these pain points and shift it and that's been an extraordinary opening of conversation and



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Emily Bouchard: To notice that it's like we can't change what happened in the past, but boy, can we influence the future.



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Karen McNeill: Exactly and



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Emily Bouchard: That's that's been profound for me to see what can happen. I don't know if you've seen that Michael, but I'm absolutely



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Michael Palumbos: And the a couple of things that have popped into my head as you're talking is one that there was there was a, I don't know if it was in a psychology magazine or but



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Michael Palumbos: It was about the the development of a person when they know their history is different from one that doesn't know because all those unanswered questions about where did I come from and who am I



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Michael Palumbos: You know they're they're constantly spending energy and time thinking about those things rather than knowing where I came from. And then, you know, whether it was good or bad in history. And there's always both but



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Michael Palumbos: I can work on you know making reparations, or I can work on not being that family any longer. And then all the good things, you know, we are who we are. Because of you know somebody else endured through mistakes and you know it's



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Michael Palumbos: We, what do they say we learn from history, we hope, not to repeat the same mistakes and we want to grow and build and be better from those things, but without the stories we right



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Karen McNeill: That's right.



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Karen McNeill: Right. You a sense of identity is hugely important and bringing this back to families that that own businesses so often.



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Karen McNeill: We are working with families who proceed succession on the horizon, with the family business. Now, it might be a sale of the business. It might be a Changing of the Guard, it might be a generational change in leadership.



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Karen McNeill: But the sale of the business is really important and it's important for the family to explore both the business. History



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Karen McNeill: And the family history. I was working with one family with Kristin Armstrong actually who Emily mentioned before, and



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Karen McNeill: There were four siblings. Two of the brothers around the business and the sisters trusted the brothers to make the decisions about the business.



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Karen McNeill: And they decided to sell the business and almost the day after the contracts were all signed and before the ink was even dried the logs were changed on the business.



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Karen McNeill: And the brothers couldn't get in and all of a sudden



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Karen McNeill: They couldn't get to any archives, they couldn't get to any documents and there is this huge vacuum their everyday life had been completely overturned.



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Karen McNeill: And they hadn't saved any of it they hadn't done the work to make sure that they had that history.



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Karen McNeill: That's one thing that was going on and they began to question a little bit about will if we had done that work about exploring our business and



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Karen McNeill: The principles that went into how we ran the business and some of the legacy ideas that we had around what we would like that business to be in the future might have affected who they sold the business to



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Karen McNeill: So that was one whole element of it. But now that the family was no longer



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Karen McNeill: No longer owned the business and wasn't operating the business and didn't take for granted this business as sort of the organizing principle around their meetings and their decisions and their finances.



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Karen McNeill: But instead they were a family of wealth, their family wealth enterprise, the sisters REALLY WANTED TO BE A PART ABOUT of the decision making around how



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Karen McNeill: The wealth was going to be invested. What kind of legacy. The family was going to make and there the family history was so important.



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Karen McNeill: The women they knew that stuff. And they've found their voices and expressing who the family was and the brothers were a little bit like yeah oh yeah right there were a little bit lost about it so



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Karen McNeill: So they couldn't they stumbled into doing the family history and they very much wish that they had done it beforehand, kind of like Emily was saying, you know, when her mother passed away all of a sudden the family didn't know how to have these conversations and didn't know the stories.



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Karen McNeill: That's been a fascinating thing for me as a historian in this field is, you know, I take for granted that most of the people I deal with are dead.



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Karen McNeill: You know, we're like, looking back afterwards.



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Karen McNeill: But for the families, it's so important to begin to explore this before those major milestones happen so they're grounded. They understand to collectively who they are.



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Karen McNeill: And then, and then where they're individuals to it's okay to have that balance but to really be prepared for these major milestone events.



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Karen McNeill: So it's been really fun and rewarding to figure out that part of history. That's where it's like the application of the history into real world situations you know nothing like in the moment.



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Michael Palumbos: Love it. So Emily, you and I, you know, spoken. We know we talked about family values we time and getting that communication going, how have you seen working with Karen and the history, um, you know why it becomes so important and pulling out the values from the past.



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Michael Palumbos: For, you know, shaping the the values today.



00:22:44.280 --> 00:23:01.020

Emily Bouchard: Yeah, it's um I mentioned the cards. Those have been hugely helpful and to open things up and then Karen will come into a meeting, having been, you know, this is part of the engagement that she's been given permission to do this research about the family and she'll come and she'll bring



00:23:02.190 --> 00:23:08.430

Emily Bouchard: Will be preparing in advance and we'll know like which which aspects of the history. We really want to highlight with them as in the family meeting.



00:23:09.060 --> 00:23:11.760

Emily Bouchard: And then I help facilitate the conversations



00:23:12.150 --> 00:23:18.840

Emily Bouchard: And she brings all this amazing content. And then, especially if there's some people things from the past, it's like, Okay, well, how do we



00:23:19.050 --> 00:23:24.480

Emily Bouchard: How do we really want to look at this and home this for the future. What is this really pointing to in terms of our current values.



00:23:24.900 --> 00:23:33.360

Emily Bouchard: And what we're families values before that we want to bring forward and that we also want to maybe say we're, we're done with those, you know, like where they get a chance to be a choice about it and it's



00:23:33.720 --> 00:23:44.670

Emily Bouchard: It's the facilitation of those conversations that that creates this really rich environment. And, you know, a lot of times we work with very busy very successful people and



00:23:45.720 --> 00:23:59.790

Emily Bouchard: When they take the time to set aside to have their meetings and we're doing more virtual now on we always we give a lot of spaciousness to these conversations and we set it up in advance that this isn't going to be a quick



00:24:00.840 --> 00:24:04.260

Emily Bouchard: down and dirty, like, Okay, here's the tackling next. It's a



00:24:04.650 --> 00:24:14.880

Emily Bouchard: No, we're going to really unpack this and we're going to see what's there and we're going to see what's even beneath that, and giving everybody a lot of space and everybody who's there a chance to be able to talk about it.



00:24:15.270 --> 00:24:19.830

Emily Bouchard: I'm the youngest to the oldest and we always invite him long as we like having



00:24:20.850 --> 00:24:32.850

Emily Bouchard: Whenever possible, that they can be included as well because they have such great perspective taking as well. To add to it. And then there's ways to really bring it alive if I can give an example of one family where



00:24:33.420 --> 00:24:34.290

Michael Palumbos: Love. An example.



00:24:34.320 --> 00:24:42.480

Emily Bouchard: Yeah, the, the rising Jen started to get really curious about how the money was made and how they ended up owning all of these different



00:24:43.470 --> 00:24:55.740

Emily Bouchard: Kind of more passive income properties and there's a fascinating history and story to it that. Yeah, luckily the patriarch was still alive and he told this whole story and



00:24:56.670 --> 00:25:05.010

Emily Bouchard: They loved hearing the story and we got lots of data around it, but they wanted to know these places because they the family was benefiting from



00:25:05.430 --> 00:25:14.970

Emily Bouchard: storage units and gas stations in three different states. And they decided to do a massive family bus tour and they they



00:25:15.900 --> 00:25:29.910

Emily Bouchard: The, the rising gen got on the video equipment they got trained and how to do some video historical interviewing and they captured so many amazing stories because he's like he was a real



00:25:31.080 --> 00:25:38.880

Emily Bouchard: Creative below. And so every time they would go to places. Oh yeah, I remember when we got this one, and he tell all these different stories about what happened. And where were they were and



00:25:39.240 --> 00:25:47.340

Emily Bouchard: You know, which kid was just born or what. And it just created this huge wealth of information for the family that they never had.



00:25:47.730 --> 00:25:57.300

Emily Bouchard: And it ended up being a huge gift to everybody, because he ended up dying in a plane crash. A few years later, he was a private plane pilot and he



00:25:57.690 --> 00:26:04.920

Emily Bouchard: And it they never would have had any of that if they hadn't done that and i i really love telling that story because it's like, no, don't, don't put it off. Don't wait for it.



00:26:04.950 --> 00:26:10.890

Emily Bouchard: Right, you have the means, like, really make that things happen for yourselves. And if you can't do it.



00:26:11.340 --> 00:26:18.030

Emily Bouchard: Physically right now because of covert it or you know whatever it might be happening. You can do virtual tour travel in amazing ways



00:26:18.720 --> 00:26:24.030

Emily Bouchard: But don't wait, that's the biggest thing and that is a huge benefit to the family to



00:26:24.420 --> 00:26:35.070

Emily Bouchard: Really Learn what was happening at those times here at directly from him and then look at how, what do we want to do in the future and are these things that we're going to want to sell off or do we want to keep them in perpetuity. And it really have those conversations



00:26:35.520 --> 00:26:40.740

Michael Palumbos: Right. Yeah, and love what you're saying. And it's just something popped into my head. I'll share



00:26:42.060 --> 00:26:54.810

Michael Palumbos: This doesn't necessarily, you know, we serve families of of means because they have the means to pay us and and and so, but these these conversations



00:26:55.350 --> 00:27:02.670

Michael Palumbos: Even for a family that you know doesn't have substantial wealth. They're really powerful conversations and, you know,



00:27:03.150 --> 00:27:13.290

Michael Palumbos: My family's done. All right. And I'm sitting there talking with my father in law, who's now in his 80s mid 80s and we're talking about when



00:27:13.770 --> 00:27:29.070

Michael Palumbos: You know his businesses that he ran and and some of the stories that you know that came to light through my questioning of him, and it was just out of pure because I get curious about this stuff and you know hadn't been around it for so long.



00:27:29.550 --> 00:27:36.690

Michael Palumbos: And my wife overheard me talking to him and said, you learn things about our family that I didn't even know



00:27:37.620 --> 00:27:46.290

Michael Palumbos: And he realized, you know, some of the things that that he did and how neat. It was the, you know, he ended up where he ended up because he was



00:27:46.590 --> 00:27:51.600

Michael Palumbos: You know i would i would say he was a scrapper he was not the greatest in school. He was not, you know,



00:27:51.960 --> 00:27:57.990

Michael Palumbos: Not, not going to be, you know, the, the doctor, the lawyer or whatnot, which a lot of his family members were



00:27:58.290 --> 00:28:10.770

Michael Palumbos: But he was an entrepreneur and he just scrape scrapped his way through and and then an opportunity came up and he was friendly. He was super friendly and everybody loved him. And so that you know opportunities presented themselves to him.



00:28:11.250 --> 00:28:17.310

Michael Palumbos: That maybe other people wouldn't have gotten because of his likability and he ended up, you know, building a



00:28:17.790 --> 00:28:22.410

Michael Palumbos: Incredible restaurant. And somebody came in, said I want to hear what you have



00:28:22.620 --> 00:28:36.180

Michael Palumbos: And they bought his restaurant and it's such a premium. It was ridiculous amounts back in the early 80s right before the stock market boom. So he took that money parlayed it in the stock market and just really interesting to see how it all came together.



00:28:36.420 --> 00:28:48.510

Michael Palumbos: And as a side note, nobody ever ran that restaurant. Again, it's like three or four owners came in afterwards. But it was him. It was that that likeability and him going to the tables that people were in the restaurant for



00:28:48.690 --> 00:28:55.680

Michael Palumbos: It wasn't the food and everything else, even though we had great food. But it's interesting family history matters to all of us.



00:28:56.280 --> 00:29:07.950

Karen McNeill: Absolutely. And so a couple of things come to mind with that. The last point that you made about how the restaurant. It never experienced the same kind of success. Again, um,



00:29:12.150 --> 00:29:13.410

Karen McNeill: I find that



00:29:13.620 --> 00:29:15.240

Michael Palumbos: If you're not happy for just a second.



00:29:15.270 --> 00:29:18.630

Michael Palumbos: Yeah, you're just your internet froze for a second. If you go back



00:29:18.690 --> 00:29:19.200

Michael Palumbos: He said,



00:29:19.500 --> 00:29:21.150

Michael Palumbos: The last part that we heard was



00:29:22.170 --> 00:29:24.180

Michael Palumbos: He was the last one successful in the restaurant.



00:29:24.810 --> 00:29:31.290

Karen McNeill: Yeah so so often, it is not really the product that is important to the business.



00:29:32.010 --> 00:29:39.360

Karen McNeill: You know, not even necessarily the location. It's the culture and it's the culture that comes down from the leadership.



00:29:39.750 --> 00:29:47.160

Karen McNeill: And it's the culture. You know how the leader treats the employees and the staff and the opportunities created



00:29:47.430 --> 00:30:00.000

Karen McNeill: So again, you know, capturing that so that it can be replicated some way or another, has been one of the motivators for some of our clients to say, you know, we really need to explore this.



00:30:00.270 --> 00:30:01.320

Karen McNeill: Is another thing.



00:30:01.500 --> 00:30:05.490

Michael Palumbos: Ya know, just, it's so neat that you're saying this stuff. And I just want to



00:30:06.030 --> 00:30:14.130

Michael Palumbos: I want to pound in that you know how important this is. We are sitting at restaurants sometimes today and somebody will come up to my wife and say,



00:30:14.550 --> 00:30:31.770

Michael Palumbos: Are you Rick look you know ritual bars daughter. Yeah, that's me. That's all I worked for your dad for summers for many, many years and that culture piece. So understanding that and being able to weave that into the future is really important. So I just wanted to reiterate that



00:30:32.400 --> 00:30:46.500

Karen McNeill: Yeah, absolutely. And then, it definitely doesn't take money to have an interesting family history. I have worked on thousands of families in my career and I have never come across a boring family.



00:30:46.860 --> 00:30:58.830

Karen McNeill: Everybody has interesting stories sometimes it takes an outsider to whether it's a in law who can, you know, get past some of the veneers that we put up



00:30:59.190 --> 00:31:08.310

Karen McNeill: Or an historian to get to some of the stories that people haven't heard about. But another thing. So I posted this on on LinkedIn. At the beginning of



00:31:09.060 --> 00:31:21.960

Karen McNeill: The pandemic and sheltering in place, knowing that this is a this is a crazy historical moment if you don't feel how historic it is then I don't, I don't know. It's hard to not feel how palpably historic this moment is



00:31:22.560 --> 00:31:30.540

Karen McNeill: And a lot of people were looking for stories about, you know, how did my family get through the pandemic of the Spanish influenza of



00:31:32.070 --> 00:31:40.020

Karen McNeill: And lots of family, certainly. Did you know 50 million people died in 1918 but lots of families didn't



00:31:40.680 --> 00:31:54.840

Karen McNeill: You can look to the past and find so many different stories about how your family is resilient has been resilient in the face of any number of changes, it could be super duper personal. It could be a sudden death in the family.



00:31:55.200 --> 00:32:01.950

Karen McNeill: You know, it could be tragic like that. It could be, like, how did we get through the depression. How did we get through World War Two.



00:32:02.190 --> 00:32:14.220

Karen McNeill: What was it like to live through the 1960s with the civil rights and black power and women's liberation and the Chicano Movement and so much social upheaval at the time.



00:32:18.270 --> 00:32:22.620

Karen McNeill: In the Vietnam War. Of course, you know, I think I'm freezing again.



00:32:25.080 --> 00:32:36.720

Karen McNeill: So, so, yeah. So, um, so they're just so many different thing. And they don't have to be hard things to it could be like how did your family celebrate in the past, you know what, traditions, what



00:32:37.020 --> 00:32:50.430

Karen McNeill: What recipes do have you passed down over the generations food is a phenomenal way for families to connect and be happy and share stories, while they're playing with those cards that



00:32:51.000 --> 00:33:05.640

Karen McNeill: Emily mentioned, you know, the cards they came out of just their 20 cards and I picked 20 questions. It could be 20 different questions, but I picked you know share a story about a woman in the family.



00:33:06.240 --> 00:33:20.820

Karen McNeill: share a story about a time when the family triumphed share a story that you think embodies a value that's important to the family share a story about failure could be any number of questions.



00:33:21.810 --> 00:33:25.710

Michael Palumbos: Love it. It's just like you said, it's to get them talking and thinking and communicating



00:33:26.370 --> 00:33:37.350

Michael Palumbos: And that's great. Um, you mentioned the, the Spanish flu in if Do either of you in, you know, because we're here at this historic time



00:33:37.770 --> 00:33:48.960

Michael Palumbos: Is, are there any stories that that you came upon going back to the Spanish flu that might be worth talking about or and if I'm putting you on the spot, and you don't have a story about it. I apologize, but



00:33:50.460 --> 00:33:52.650

Karen McNeill: I, I kind of have a Trifecta. I mean, there's



00:33:52.710 --> 00:33:54.630

Karen McNeill: There's a personal story. So my



00:33:55.680 --> 00:34:07.530

Karen McNeill: great grandfather died. Okay, so he definitely he died. I have a person in the family who died of the Spanish flu. But that's not the super interesting thing that I have found um



00:34:08.340 --> 00:34:26.940

Karen McNeill: I one of my passions is the theme of women and wealth. And so, and again this goes deep back into all of my years of being a historian, and so I was reading about the Spanish influenza and



00:34:28.320 --> 00:34:45.300

Karen McNeill: I didn't realize in the past how in my own past how important women were to fighting the Spanish flu. So the Red Cross was hugely important to combat in the Spanish flu.



00:34:45.810 --> 00:34:55.110

Karen McNeill: Women who were teachers, you're going to hear so many echoes of what's happening right now women still make up 75% of the K through 12 teachers. Right.



00:34:55.680 --> 00:35:05.670

Karen McNeill: And they did. They're probably closer to 100% in 1918 the schools shut down and women immediately retrained



00:35:06.060 --> 00:35:18.570

Karen McNeill: To be contact racers, they would go door to door to figure out which households had the flu and they would write it down and they were doing this through the Red Cross, which was founded by women, and mostly



00:35:19.260 --> 00:35:33.510

Karen McNeill: populated by women. The Red Cross was recruiting thousands and thousands of women to be nurses World War One was ending the Spanish flu was going and suffrage was



00:35:33.960 --> 00:35:45.450

Karen McNeill: In the air right so then at the end of 19 in August 1919 the women had just done an enormous amount of work and nursing and raising money and



00:35:45.750 --> 00:35:57.270

Karen McNeill: Creating clothes for the war and then they've been on the front lines fighting the Spanish flu in so many different ways. So, and then they'd had the suffrage movement going so that finally convinced



00:35:57.810 --> 00:36:08.730

Karen McNeill: Congress to pass the 19th amendment, which was ratified in August of 1920 and we're celebrating the centennial of that now. So you have these three things coming together.



00:36:09.120 --> 00:36:16.440

Karen McNeill: And. And the other thing is that the women. So you had the teachers who were becoming nurses. But the other thing is that



00:36:16.830 --> 00:36:25.710

Karen McNeill: Cars were co opted to help to combat the Spanish flu to go around and go to the different houses to do the census taking well



00:36:26.070 --> 00:36:34.170

Karen McNeill: 1918 is still pretty early for a significant car ownership and so it was the wealthy families. The women of the wealthy.



00:36:34.770 --> 00:36:50.430

Karen McNeill: Families who were driving. They were just like lending their cars. They were driving there behind the wheel taking people around to do this work. So I found that kind of stuff, super fascinating and is Emily, you have a great story to know



00:36:51.840 --> 00:36:55.320

Emily Bouchard: If it wasn't. I wouldn't be here because I'm totally serious I



00:36:56.070 --> 00:37:04.020

Emily Bouchard: My grandmother's father died in the epidemic or pandemic and they lived in a little tiny



00:37:05.580 --> 00:37:19.680

Emily Bouchard: Shuttle, a little town and Russia. It's called right Russia at the time she would always say, oh, it's pulling one year would be Lithuania, the next year it was changed, but it was Russia when they were there. And, um, and she



00:37:21.180 --> 00:37:38.970

Emily Bouchard: Her brothers left they immigrated to the United States. And then they encouraged her and her mother to come and her father never would have left. He was a prominent in the community and because he passed away. She and her mother made their way to the United States through Canada and



00:37:40.260 --> 00:37:52.830

Emily Bouchard: She had one cousin who had lived across the street and that that cousin went to Palestine and all the other family members remained in that town and the telus completely wiped out it's actually



00:37:53.370 --> 00:38:10.020

Emily Bouchard: It doesn't even exist anymore. And there's a huge mass grave there and between the Russian Revolution and the, the German occupation, when they came through and they just burned and they just destroyed. Everybody was gone and killed him. And last, and



00:38:11.070 --> 00:38:21.030

Emily Bouchard: It was an extraordinary thing to hear that because my great grandfather had died and my grandmother and her mother had left where I'm here. I Exist, otherwise our family line would have



00:38:21.540 --> 00:38:28.440

Emily Bouchard: I mean, I guess for brothers may have still gone but I certainly wouldn't know. So it was pretty astonishing to recognize that. Wow.



00:38:29.280 --> 00:38:40.140

Emily Bouchard: We have no idea what can come out of a pandemic, you know, there's loss and a lot of devastation and then there's like can also be, you know, extraordinary resilience, like what Karen was saying lead to other thing. Yeah.



00:38:41.010 --> 00:38:41.460




00:38:42.720 --> 00:39:01.710

Michael Palumbos: liked reading the Vanderbilt story. And in the book that I read it in had the family tree there and it was you know it's neat. You know, I, one of the things that we're doing with the family that you know we talked about earlier that I that I service. We're putting together a family tree.



00:39:02.790 --> 00:39:18.450

Michael Palumbos: One of the, the neat aspects of that is that we're also adding you know the in laws, you know, where did they come from, because oftentimes the family of origin, you know, is the family that we all talk about



00:39:19.020 --> 00:39:27.450

Michael Palumbos: You know, we go to Columbus family vacation. Well, there's a lot of people that married into the Columbus family for us to have that vacation and you know put everybody together.



00:39:27.750 --> 00:39:36.900

Michael Palumbos: And so we're, you know, we're trying to be cognizant of make having that conversation to open things up, you know, where did you come from, where are your grandparents from



00:39:37.920 --> 00:39:41.160

Michael Palumbos: And you know a lot of people don't realize, you know, but you know



00:39:41.670 --> 00:39:54.990

Michael Palumbos: When you looked at that. I remember looking at, you know, Gloria Vanderbilt was on that Vanderbilt piece and Anderson Cooper, you know, and then looking at those stories. Then when you start tracing, some of the things that were going on for that family.



00:39:56.580 --> 00:40:02.160

Michael Palumbos: Just made you realize you know that, like you said, Everybody has an interesting family.



00:40:03.420 --> 00:40:10.200

Michael Palumbos: And yes, they were Vanderbilt, but there wasn't something, you know, some of the things we're not so different than you know the rest of us.



00:40:10.950 --> 00:40:25.080

Karen McNeill: Right. I think that you know 95% of what we do is the same how we experience every day so much of it is the same. But what I really like to hear is that you are



00:40:25.650 --> 00:40:39.780

Karen McNeill: Focusing on the married ends because, of course, the married ends all too often right there. The female lines. Right. And that's particularly important for us to think about in our industry because



00:40:40.560 --> 00:40:51.870

Karen McNeill: The younger the women, the more interested. They are in understanding the family wealth, making decisions around the family wealth starting their own businesses and there are so many



00:40:52.860 --> 00:41:03.630

Karen McNeill: metrics that show us that women are becoming entrepreneurs faster at a faster rate than men. Right now they're very successful when they have the opportunity to



00:41:04.170 --> 00:41:17.970

Karen McNeill: Be entrepreneurs or make investments and so to to privilege. The, the Women's voice in their stories is really important in the fourth families. We work with and the rising Jen's



00:41:19.170 --> 00:41:25.260

Emily Bouchard: Yeah, and I'll add to that that one of my favorite events that I got to be part of and helped put on was



00:41:26.190 --> 00:41:37.650

Emily Bouchard: It. We called it her story. Instead of history and it was really inviting multigenerational women from different families to come together and learn about storytelling.



00:41:38.190 --> 00:41:48.390

Emily Bouchard: And on see everybody has a story to tell everybody has different memories about what may have happened in the past and giving them a chance to play with some



00:41:49.110 --> 00:42:01.410

Emily Bouchard: Ways to tell stories, effectively, and then to encourage them to do storytelling within the family and then having like the younger ones interview the older and then the older interview the younger as well and how they see it. What they remember and



00:42:02.430 --> 00:42:12.540

Emily Bouchard: And it was super well attended and the women got so much out of it. They it's like they didn't want it to end. You know you have a great event when it's like a finishes and everybody's still lingering and then we'll talk to each other.



00:42:13.770 --> 00:42:23.280

Emily Bouchard: And we used a story in it to get this thing started. And I thought it'd be fun to share it just briefly here because it's, it's an apocryphal story, but it's very



00:42:24.180 --> 00:42:33.630

Emily Bouchard: Telling in terms of what can happen and families so it were a young granddaughter, maybe seven or eight goes up to her mom and she sees her mom.



00:42:33.960 --> 00:42:40.860

Emily Bouchard: Getting ready to put a roast in the oven and she cuts off the end of the row straight and she puts it in the piano, and she puts me up in the little girl says



00:42:41.100 --> 00:42:46.800

Emily Bouchard: Why do you cut the end of the roast off. She says, oh, my mother always did that. And so she goes and she asked her grandmother



00:42:47.580 --> 00:43:00.630

Emily Bouchard: Why do you cut the end of the road, stop, and she says up. Oh my gosh. When we were with our part of it was so small and my oven was so tiny. I only can fit this tiny little pan. I can never fit a whole roast and



00:43:03.690 --> 00:43:09.420

Emily Bouchard: Oh, after these questions can be really useful because you can pass down things that well.



00:43:09.810 --> 00:43:19.680

Emily Bouchard: Made sense to my mom's I must make sense to me. But actually doesn't make sense to do it anymore. And it's just a good reminder that if I asked you the questions and connecting with family around



00:43:20.040 --> 00:43:32.910

Emily Bouchard: You know, not just the story. But what was happening then. And why do you think that later was you really get to find out what's, what do we want to bring forward and what what makes sense. And what might be one of modify now that we're in modern times. So



00:43:34.350 --> 00:43:43.680

Karen McNeill: Isn't that fascinating to Emily how in that story. It's just two generations ago when that family lived in really tiny corners and had to make sacrifices



00:43:44.040 --> 00:43:51.690

Karen McNeill: That two generations later they couldn't even imagine. And in that intervening generation it already became like



00:43:52.110 --> 00:44:01.410

Karen McNeill: an afterthought. You know, so, um, but to be able to bring that perspective is is so important. And that's a funny story to, you know,



00:44:02.190 --> 00:44:14.250

Karen McNeill: In your history event reminded me of really poignant and empowering moment that we experienced at a women's retreat that we hosted a few years ago.



00:44:14.760 --> 00:44:31.440

Karen McNeill: And it was so it was just women and we had an icebreaker where I went and did some digging into all of the attendees histories family histories and I really try to focus on the maternal lines.



00:44:31.800 --> 00:44:41.880

Karen McNeill: Of their families and come up with some object some picture that represented their family based on something that I found



00:44:42.270 --> 00:44:48.750

Karen McNeill: And then the people had to try. They had to ask questions of each other and try to figure out what picture belong to him.



00:44:49.590 --> 00:45:03.390

Karen McNeill: And so this one person. I didn't find much on her her mother's family, but I did find something about her father, and it was like just the simple picture of a potato, but



00:45:04.470 --> 00:45:21.660

Karen McNeill: Her sister in law said to me, You changed my sister's life through this event. And it's because she had married in to the business owning family and her husband had run the business.



00:45:22.170 --> 00:45:30.480

Karen McNeill: And throughout her adult life. She was known as the wife of right and he died suddenly



00:45:31.290 --> 00:45:39.150

Karen McNeill: And all of a sudden she had all of this wealth, all of these decisions to make, and she was a strong intelligent



00:45:39.540 --> 00:45:47.880

Karen McNeill: Productive woman. She worked. It's not there wasn't anything like that going on. But all of a sudden now she was the widow of or



00:45:48.330 --> 00:45:53.460

Karen McNeill: The wife of right and she was still in that state for years and kind of paralyzed in it.



00:45:53.850 --> 00:46:09.150

Karen McNeill: Well just through this simple exercise that enabled her to talk about her father again. She literally found her voice. And going forward, was much more comfortable talking about



00:46:09.750 --> 00:46:21.810

Karen McNeill: Her perspective on the decisions that should be made and being able to express her pride in her family story, which of course she had passed on to her kids and, you know,



00:46:22.470 --> 00:46:33.180

Karen McNeill: Maybe passive ways maybe implicit ways or direct, but it was it was a really powerful moment just focusing allowing her to focus on her story literally empowered her



00:46:34.380 --> 00:46:48.330

Michael Palumbos: Love it. It's, it's so important to to be cognizant and mindful of other people's story and and it makes a difference. And when you do the other part that comes from that is, you know, it's that the



00:46:48.900 --> 00:46:56.820

Michael Palumbos: The rule of reciprocity when we're mindful of other people's stories, then they'll, you know, they're more mindful of ours, and we want



00:46:57.210 --> 00:47:03.090

Michael Palumbos: Whether it's the husband or the wife. We want them to be mindful of that story because we want to share it with the joint children.



00:47:03.540 --> 00:47:15.690

Michael Palumbos: And we want both sides matter. So speaking of children when you're talking the stories in the history and these, you know, the things that are happening how young, do you start sharing



00:47:16.740 --> 00:47:18.090

Michael Palumbos: You know with with children.



00:47:19.560 --> 00:47:29.910

Karen McNeill: Well, we have worked with kids as young as about four years old, you start really kind of big and abstract



00:47:30.990 --> 00:47:32.580

Karen McNeill: What closely what



00:47:32.940 --> 00:47:36.030

Michael Palumbos: I'm going to jump right in, what kind of things would you say to a four year old.



00:47:37.200 --> 00:47:38.130

Karen McNeill: Oh, like



00:47:39.180 --> 00:47:52.860

Karen McNeill: What do you know about grandma's. What's your name, my talk about food. What's your favorite recipe. What's your favorite thing that grandma makes or or your mom makes and make it around like happy occasions, what, what



00:47:53.400 --> 00:48:01.830

Karen McNeill: Do you, what does your family do at the holidays. How do you celebrate and maybe be a little bit more specific. If you celebrate Christmas.



00:48:02.130 --> 00:48:14.400

Karen McNeill: You know, do you have a favorite ornament for the tree or you know whatever holiday you have tried to be specific. But, you know, don't say like, what values. Does your family have because



00:48:15.330 --> 00:48:30.060

Karen McNeill: I don't know. Um, but trying to get keywords and then we had beat them four year olds making lovely family flags. They think big and abstract and colorful and joyous and it's lovely. But usually it's more like middle school.



00:48:30.600 --> 00:48:32.760

Michael Palumbos: Yeah, yeah, I love it.



00:48:33.780 --> 00:48:34.500

Michael Palumbos: Um,



00:48:35.160 --> 00:48:45.060

Michael Palumbos: In terms of Emily, you have been such a collaborative person through out your career. And obviously, Karen, you are as well, but Emily, if you could just



00:48:45.450 --> 00:48:57.810

Michael Palumbos: Talk about some ways that families can collaborate with all of their advisors when they're talking about family history and dynamics and governance and all these things that are, you know,



00:48:58.050 --> 00:48:59.220

Michael Palumbos: Sometimes, you know,



00:48:59.580 --> 00:49:04.410

Michael Palumbos: heavy topics. But how do we how do we bring that together and you know



00:49:05.640 --> 00:49:09.450

Michael Palumbos: When we're talking with our advisors. What, why is that important. How do we do it.



00:49:11.070 --> 00:49:15.870

Emily Bouchard: Oh my gosh. Couple things come to mind right off the top of my head, which is



00:49:16.590 --> 00:49:30.630

Emily Bouchard: And I think I'll just tie it in with the history component, we're talking about here, which is contextualizing so when an advisor is in their particular lane and they're looking at it strictly from like a tax standpoint or



00:49:32.010 --> 00:49:33.810

Emily Bouchard: Protective standpoint or



00:49:34.890 --> 00:49:38.640

Emily Bouchard: It's such a wonderful thing to bring forward. I'm



00:49:39.750 --> 00:49:45.390

Emily Bouchard: Looking at it from the perspective taking of, you know, who is this going to impact short term and long term.



00:49:45.960 --> 00:49:54.300

Emily Bouchard: And if, if we take that route. What, like they have if we don't take that route. What would likely happen and really opening up that contextualizing



00:49:54.600 --> 00:50:04.530

Emily Bouchard: And then I love bringing in the history piece and asking, you know, key members of the family when decisions have been made in the past. How have they gone, you know,



00:50:05.040 --> 00:50:14.280

Emily Bouchard: Was contextual I think happening or was it more like we've decided to do this, we're telling you we're imposing on you take care of it you know and and how did that work out, you know, and



00:50:14.730 --> 00:50:26.430

Emily Bouchard: Are there some resentment from the past that we need to take care of before we move forward into the future. So I really do like doing the contextualizing and one of the things that I really love about our work.



00:50:27.480 --> 00:50:35.670

Emily Bouchard: With families and all of the advisors is when we're working with a family business if they want to do. Let's say I'm historical timeline of the family business.



00:50:35.970 --> 00:50:42.720

Emily Bouchard: We want to have it be really interactive and the thing I love about Karen is she will bring in what was happening in that time in history.



00:50:43.710 --> 00:50:53.520

Emily Bouchard: When this thing happened for the business and it also helps to bridge when they're looking at big company, you know, it's like they're not maybe owning the business in the same way anymore.



00:50:53.820 --> 00:51:01.140

Emily Bouchard: Maybe it has a liquidity event completely or if you help change the reins. It's a great time to look at. All right. This is a huge moment in history for us.



00:51:01.440 --> 00:51:07.290

Emily Bouchard: What are we going, what's the next part of our timeline going to look like. And especially if they're having that philanthropic conversation.



00:51:07.890 --> 00:51:17.370

Emily Bouchard: And I love that you spoke with Debra and Bruce of Michael have such a great resource to offer in terms of how you can talk about philanthropy and that's a big part of our work.



00:51:17.760 --> 00:51:22.530

Emily Bouchard: Is Oh wow, what do we want to bring forward that we see was really beneficial for us.



00:51:22.830 --> 00:51:32.400

Emily Bouchard: On in terms of how we work together, work with our advisors and then what do we want to make sure our advisors are aware of as we're going to look at how we want to give back and fill in philanthropic Lee and also



00:51:32.790 --> 00:51:36.900

Emily Bouchard: You know the tax mitigation is great, but what does this mean for us in terms of



00:51:37.440 --> 00:51:48.240

Emily Bouchard: Oh my gosh. That would be responsible for a private foundation. But what if we want to be anonymous and how do we, you know, oh and anonymity is really important value. Look at what we did in the past because of that or



00:51:48.960 --> 00:51:55.560

Emily Bouchard: Boy, in the past, we had the business. So we really needed it to be with the business name and any given that we did to be tied to us because



00:51:55.800 --> 00:52:03.690

Emily Bouchard: It was extremely strategic now without the business. How do we want to move with it. So what's our family's identity with it so it's



00:52:04.170 --> 00:52:12.810

Emily Bouchard: bringing forward those questions and really empowering advisors to be willing to ask the questions and really think about it like short term, long term and all the different people involved.



00:52:14.160 --> 00:52:14.580




00:52:17.190 --> 00:52:28.410

Michael Palumbos: Karen when you're talking with families and I know it's probably always different. But, you know, and you talked about some of those questions before, but do you have, you know,



00:52:29.400 --> 00:52:40.920

Michael Palumbos: Three of you know, three different questions that you just love asking and hearing people talk about or is it just you know so many different questions every family is different kind of thing.



00:52:42.600 --> 00:52:43.290

Karen McNeill: Well,



00:52:45.000 --> 00:52:57.210

Karen McNeill: You know, I often start with just basic ones. What is your favorite story, you know, what is your favorite family vacation. I generally start with



00:52:58.110 --> 00:53:07.290

Karen McNeill: happy moments to you know get the family comfortable with me. Get them comfortable talking about the past, get a sense of their personalities, so



00:53:08.460 --> 00:53:17.880

Karen McNeill: Talk about, you know, again, like a fun family vacation is great best family holiday favorite recipes kind of those themes that I've, I've talked about before.



00:53:18.870 --> 00:53:30.870

Karen McNeill: And then if I've been working with the family, a little bit longer. One thing, actually no. This is actually a simple. So one of the the themes that we



00:53:31.380 --> 00:53:41.370

Karen McNeill: Work with families on a lot is governance, right, whether the family owned business and family wealth enterprise but governance and that's a weird word



00:53:42.210 --> 00:53:46.440

Karen McNeill: You know, is a strange word. And it's like, What are you talking about



00:53:47.040 --> 00:53:59.460

Karen McNeill: And so then I often will come to the family and contextualize it like Emily was talking about before. So I take them through their family history to show them how



00:54:00.210 --> 00:54:12.240

Karen McNeill: Their family has operated within pre existing structures governance structures that allowed them to get from A to B and changed over time, and sometimes bring out



00:54:12.750 --> 00:54:20.460

Karen McNeill: Amazing factoids that they didn't know. And all of a sudden, they're like, oh, I understand why we're doing this if we have a really strong.



00:54:20.700 --> 00:54:29.460

Karen McNeill: Architecture for understanding how we make decisions and had change of regime or whatever, then we can spend the time and it's going to be hard, and all of that.



00:54:29.820 --> 00:54:41.430

Karen McNeill: So, um, so that's one thing I do love to have. It's great to have a context to bring the history to so that the family understands why we're listening to this story.



00:54:41.880 --> 00:54:52.560

Karen McNeill: Stories are great, but understanding why we're listening to them is really important because you can hear it. And if there's no context, then it'll go out the other.



00:54:52.860 --> 00:55:06.840

Karen McNeill: The other ears so so that's really important is just having that the pretext for being there in the first place. And then these cards. It's just these 20 questions very simple women in your family man and your family triumph.



00:55:08.280 --> 00:55:26.730

Karen McNeill: Failure recipe or what tradition. Do you want to pass down. What are you curious about is their story in your family that you have heard all of your life that wants to know more about or maybe you want to know if it's actually true, which it may or may not be so stuff like that.



00:55:27.510 --> 00:55:29.340

Michael Palumbos: Awesome. Appreciate it.



00:55:30.780 --> 00:55:31.500

Michael Palumbos: Emily.



00:55:31.860 --> 00:55:48.030

Emily Bouchard: Sorry, I'm just you there. I, I wanted to add that one of my first families. I got to work with Karen on was really profound because when people go through the cars. They can choose the question that they want. It's not like it's not like a game of chance where you're like, pick a card MasterCard



00:55:48.480 --> 00:55:55.050

Emily Bouchard: Right, yeah. I'm one of the adult rising Jen really wanted to know about.



00:55:56.130 --> 00:56:03.390

Emily Bouchard: A time that they remembered that their father had had a failure, and they had vague memories from their childhood of when they were really struggling as a family.



00:56:03.870 --> 00:56:09.540

Emily Bouchard: And they wanted to know more about it. And I like that. Karen's like oh yeah your biggest triumph and to failure that it's like



00:56:10.080 --> 00:56:15.660

Emily Bouchard: Not a good thing. So, it asked all the time, but because there was a facilitator in the room because you know



00:56:16.110 --> 00:56:25.110

Emily Bouchard: He was able to ask it, and the dad was very forthcoming and the mom sure what it was like for her. And all of these memories started popping up that they hadn't talked about



00:56:25.560 --> 00:56:32.760

Emily Bouchard: In probably 30 years and it was a really significant time for them and they now find themselves in a position where



00:56:33.510 --> 00:56:42.540

Emily Bouchard: They accumulated more wealth than they ever thought they would ever they had no idea that they had this level of wealth and it was we're really helping them navigate through that because it's



00:56:43.080 --> 00:56:49.080

Emily Bouchard: It's so different than where they had been right they their trajectory was quite something. And



00:56:50.010 --> 00:56:58.350

Emily Bouchard: Having those cars and having the ability to talk about that was ended up being extraordinary for them and then they really got a chance to look at what are the values they wanted to bring



00:56:58.680 --> 00:57:12.330

Emily Bouchard: Going forward with their giving and the third starting a foundation. And it all started from that history deck. So I just, I think it's really an amazing thing to give people a chance to have facilitated conversations around



00:57:13.530 --> 00:57:29.490

Emily Bouchard: Stress loss failure mistakes because that's where the learning happens. Now we're on the learning planet. You can only learn by making mistakes and we only talk about the trial. We don't talk about what were the mistakes that goddess. There were losing so much valuable information.



00:57:29.790 --> 00:57:41.280

Michael Palumbos: Yeah, totally agree. So Karen, I guess the question that Emily and I have for you is when are you going to package those cards up and put the instruction manual in there to share with the rest of the rest of us advisors.



00:57:41.460 --> 00:57:43.500

Michael Palumbos: That don't have you available to work with.



00:57:43.980 --> 00:57:46.560

Karen McNeill: I guess we'll have to talk to us bank about that one.



00:57:48.870 --> 00:58:04.440

Emily Bouchard: You know there's there's wonderful there's books with like 1000 questions or there's, you know, questions for kit. There's so many resources out there and, you know, I would just recommend advisors, you know, you've heard questions, we recommend the main thing is



00:58:05.910 --> 00:58:16.080

Emily Bouchard: You want you don't want to open up Pandora's box. If you don't know how to handle the conversation right just don't know what can happen is it's not such an easy thing is like, let's just talk about failures.



00:58:16.950 --> 00:58:29.310

Emily Bouchard: And you really want to set the context and the right way and the listening and the right way and build that trust for it but you know you can like Karen said you can choose really lovely things to start with. And, you know,



00:58:30.570 --> 00:58:35.100

Emily Bouchard: It can be very simple to just get people telling their stories with each other and



00:58:35.520 --> 00:58:46.650

Michael Palumbos: I love it. Yeah, and go back to I want to reiterate that Emily. We just had a conversation with a family. The other day where we were going to ask the young kids to



00:58:47.400 --> 00:58:54.930

Michael Palumbos: Do a skit utilizing one of the adults and it would have been a little you know the adult would have to be okay. Being a little foolish.



00:58:55.350 --> 00:59:14.400

Michael Palumbos: And and silly for the kids for the benefit of the kids and the reaction that we received was very, very powerful, strong negative reaction to that idea and thank goodness we had a facilitator there because had I been the one that pose that



00:59:15.480 --> 00:59:17.820

Michael Palumbos: I probably could have handled that. But I mean, you know,



00:59:18.240 --> 00:59:23.310

Michael Palumbos: I can see a lot of advisors who have not had this kind of work and been in this work before



00:59:23.550 --> 00:59:37.350

Michael Palumbos: Would have been shell struck and not know what to do with that. And you can't leave somebody like that because no matter if you like the doctor say first do no harm. Right. And that's when we're going into these situations, we need to be prepared for, you know,



00:59:38.370 --> 00:59:53.010

Michael Palumbos: Whatever we don't know how strong somebody might react to something, but for the very most part 98% of what we, you know, these things are all positive and wonderful. But sometimes there is some, you know, deep seated things



00:59:53.460 --> 00:59:58.830

Karen McNeill: And you just made a point like that, that I want to reiterate, is that, um,



01:00:00.300 --> 01:00:15.750

Karen McNeill: Anybody can help explore the family history, but it really does help to have a professional do it, especially when it comes to some of those tougher stories in a family's history because



01:00:16.500 --> 01:00:26.670

Karen McNeill: I kind of jokingly said before that the younger generations are like, wow, you know, we're not a boring family when you come up when you dig up a skeleton, as we call them right



01:00:27.840 --> 01:00:37.230

Karen McNeill: But some of those stories can be like really serious. I'm really tough and



01:00:41.070 --> 01:00:51.690

Karen McNeill: If you're going to present that story to the family. It's not that useful to do it for shock and awe, there should be a reason behind it so so that's one thing.



01:00:52.440 --> 01:01:08.580

Karen McNeill: One reason to recently that that I had a family that was their ancestors centuries ago were involved in massacre of Native Americans and the family was just devastated to learn this.



01:01:08.940 --> 01:01:18.150

Karen McNeill: But I didn't tell it to them for the shock and awe of value, there were reasons behind it, you know, change over time. Your family is appalled by this



01:01:18.420 --> 01:01:31.440

Karen McNeill: That means your family has grown and changed, and that is something to be celebrated. There's also the understanding you your ancestors made decisions that had an impact on people, you're



01:01:32.040 --> 01:01:46.110

Karen McNeill: In a position to make really important decisions that have an impact on a lot of people. So think through those decisions. You can bring it around to themes like that and then the. The other thing is if you're going to bring up



01:01:46.710 --> 01:01:54.120

Karen McNeill: Some story from the cost that could be really serious potentially traumatic or something like that. Know what you're talking about.



01:01:54.510 --> 01:01:55.350

Karen McNeill: And not just



01:01:55.380 --> 01:02:06.690

Karen McNeill: The exact facts of what happened or is as exact as you can be, of what happened in that specific incident, but the broader context of the times.



01:02:07.440 --> 01:02:19.920

Karen McNeill: Because you don't want to hit people with a bludgeon and and you need to be able to speak with nuance and and expertise to for these stories to have a meaningful impact on on the family.



01:02:20.730 --> 01:02:28.410

Emily Bouchard: And I'm just going to add that I'm really grateful, we're having this conversation right now because this is such a significant time in history.



01:02:28.770 --> 01:02:41.130

Emily Bouchard: And there's some revisionist history that's happening. And there's some major reactivity that's happening because of people that have been revered that had practices that are completely intolerable now and



01:02:42.180 --> 01:02:50.550

Emily Bouchard: The ability to talk about difficult things in a family is essential if you want to have successful governance.



01:02:51.000 --> 01:03:02.520

Emily Bouchard: And being able to talk about potentially volatile reactive conversation from a place of the contextualizing granting legitimacy to everybody's perspective.



01:03:03.090 --> 01:03:08.070

Emily Bouchard: And really directing it towards, who are we and what do we want to create going forward.



01:03:08.910 --> 01:03:21.150

Emily Bouchard: Family needs to family businesses need this family's needs this country needs it. Right. It's like I look at it as like a microcosm of the macrocosm. The world needs and anything that we can do to really empower people



01:03:21.600 --> 01:03:32.940

Emily Bouchard: To look their history in the eye, not shy away from it and then look at how to use it as a transformative experience in terms of who do we want to be going forward is extraordinarily important.



01:03:33.600 --> 01:03:39.540

Emily Bouchard: And the other thing I'll add that I love about Karen's work is in some instances we don't just talk to the family.



01:03:39.930 --> 01:03:51.390

Emily Bouchard: We talked to keep people in the family business. We talked to best friends of the the matriarch or patriarch, we get context around their lives that nobody knows about.



01:03:51.810 --> 01:04:03.900

Emily Bouchard: And we are able to feature that as well. And I think that that's an important thing to offer at the end is that there's a lot of resources out there to really bring a much greater richer story to light for the family.



01:04:04.860 --> 01:04:05.460

Michael Palumbos: Love it.



01:04:06.630 --> 01:04:16.080

Michael Palumbos: We are past the hour. I really have enjoyed this. I think that I could do another three hours with the two of you talking about these things because I can just find it so fascinating.



01:04:16.500 --> 01:04:29.700

Michael Palumbos: Um, what I'd like to do is if you know if somebody was listening to this right now and wanted to reach out and contact you do you are you on LinkedIn. Are you in email how, what's the best way to get to do that.



01:04:31.230 --> 01:04:32.010

Emily Bouchard: Well, yeah.



01:04:32.100 --> 01:04:49.440

Emily Bouchard: Yeah, and Karen's got some great resources on LinkedIn. She's put up some great articles, especially for this time that I highly recommend looking at, Karen. I'm on LinkedIn. I'm on it as well. And then we get, you know, you can find us through a scent private capital management through us.



01:04:50.760 --> 01:04:59.040

Michael Palumbos: Beautiful. Well thank you both so much for joining me today and I hope everybody has gotten as much out of this as I have



01:04:59.940 --> 01:05:16.530

Michael Palumbos: Again, my name is Michael Columbus with family wealth and legacy and make sure you subscribe to this podcast and watch out for some incredible guests coming up in future episodes. Thank you, everyone, and have an incredible day



01:05:17.550 --> 01:05:20.100

Michael Palumbos: Thank you. Thank you both.



01:05:20.220 --> 01:05:20.760

Karen McNeill: Take care.



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Michael Palumbos is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Family Wealth & Legacy, LLC is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.