Round Peg Podcast

A series of thought provocative, well-curated discussions with thought leaders

*In partnership with 3Sixty Strategic Advisors
Host Ali Borhani

Episode 19 - Engineering Brighter Futures: A Family Business Perspective

Engineer, philanthropist and businesswoman, Gina Cody recounts her life trajectory as an Iranian immigrant to becoming one of Canada’s most influential women. Listen now!

Gina Parvaneh Cody takes more than a keen interest in lofty concepts of gender diversity, social inclusion, philanthropy and affordable education. As Concordia University’s first woman to earn a Ph.D. in building engineering, her story is a remarkable tale of generosity and influence. When Cody is not espousing the benefits of “smart cities” or actively encouraging young women to pursue the “wonderful” world of engineering, she reminds Canadians not to be complacent about their enviable status on the global stage. As for family enterprises, Cody believes they have a twin role to play as economic engines and caretakers of our communities. It’s a recipe for opportunity, which includes a key ingredient: giving back. In 2018, Dr. Cody made a historic $15 million gift to her alma mater’s Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science. In honour of her generosity, the faculty was renamed the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science. It is the first engineering faculty in Canada named after a woman. Cody, who immigrated to Canada from Iran in 1979, holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in building engineering from Concordia. She has more than 30 years of professional practice in the private sector as an engineer, corporate executive and principal shareholder of an engineering firm. She has provided engineering services to some of Canada’s largest Real Estate Investment Trusts, financial institutions, builders and developers.

Episode 18 - Harbingers of Hope

Humanitarian and global health activist Rachel Kiddell-Monroe delivers a post-pandemic message to family enterprises: “It’s no longer about just making money, it’s about contributions.” Listen now!

When she was a teen growing up in the UK, she considered training to be a nurse. Instead, she became a lawyer and activist who now specializes in humanitarian assistance, global health, governance, and bioethics. As for the role of family enterprises in such matters, Rachel believes the depth of values and principles within family firms can have a meaningful and practical impact on marginalized members of our communities, cities, and the wider world – especially now in our post-pandemic economy. This year could be a “turning point in the world” for us all, she asserts, in which capitalism will be “turned on its head” for the better. Family enterprises are well-positioned to start rethinking and reviewing how they do business and find more purpose. “It’s no longer about just making money, it’s about contributions.” As for Canada, there is an enormous role for family enterprises to bridge the gap that divides the haves and the have-nots. A professor of practice at the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University, Rachel Kiddell-Monroe is also executive director of SeeChange Initiative, which helps marginalized communities find empowering solutions to their healthcare needs. She is a member of Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) international board of directors. Formerly president of the board of directors of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines from 2007 to 2013, Rachel now serves as a senior policy advisor. She was recently appointed to the McGill University Health Centres Clinical Ethics Committee. During her time with MSF, she led humanitarian missions in Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. After becoming the program director of MSF Canada, she was appointed regional humanitarian affairs advisor for Latin America based in Costa Rica.  

Episode 17 - Beyond Generations

Renowned family business expert Dennis Jaffe compares and contrasts early, middle, and late generations as he uncovers the secrets of success of highly functioning family enterprises. Listen now!

Download a preview from Dennis Jaffe's book (400 KB)

Buy the complete book Borrowed from Your Grandchildren: The Evolution of 100-Year Family Enterprises on Amazon.

Dennis Jaffe is an emeritus professor of Organizational Systems and Psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco. Over his 40-year career, he has helped families overcome personal, organizational, and governance challenges that hinder the smooth generational transfer of their businesses, wealth, values, and legacies. A faculty advisor to the Cornell Johnson College of Business, Jaffe is one of the original architects of the emerging field of family enterprise consulting. As a founding member of the Family Firm Institute, he has served on their board, written frequently for Family Business Review, and was awarded the Richard Beckhard and International Awards for his contributions. Jaffe is author Borrowed from Your Grandchildren: The Evolution of 100-Year Family EnterprisesCross-Cultures: How Global Families Negotiate Change Across Generations, and Stewardship of Your Family Enterprise: Developing Responsible Leadership Across Generations. In 1984, he founded Changeworks Global, a consulting firm in San Francisco, which works with organizations for long-term change to build competitive advantage by unleashing the power of employees.

Episode 16 - Yes WE Can!

In a retrospective glimpse and look to the future, social entrepreneur and WE Charity co-founder Craig Kielburger weighs in on effective methods to eradicate child poverty and measure social impact. Listen now!

Craig Kielburger is a Canadian human rights activist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of WE, an international network of social impact charities. He is a syndicated columnist and author of more than ten books, including the international bestseller WEconomy and the New York Times bestseller Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World. A Member of the Order of Canada, Craig holds 16 honorary doctorates. His work has been featured on 60 Minutes, the Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in Time Magazine, National Geographic, and The Economist. He currently serves on the advisory board of Canada’s Leaders’ Debates Commission, an independent government agency charged with organizing debates between leaders of political parties during federal elections.


Episode 15 - The Business of Diplomacy

Former British diplomat and active business consultant Sir Graham Boyce dispenses his wisdom on the future of leadership and managing global challenges in a world beset with crises. Listen now!

Senior Advisor at Bank of America, Air Products, and DLA Piper, Sir Graham Boyce is a consultant to businesses with operations in the Middle East and North Africa. A retired British diplomat, Sir Graham served in the Diplomatic Service between 1968 and 2003 as Consul-General to Sweden, Ambassador, and Consul-General to Qatar, Ambassador to Kuwait, and Ambassador to Egypt. He is a member of the International Advisory Council, Kuwait Investment Office, a Global Ambassador for SOAS, a member of the Court of Patrons Thrombosis Research Institute, and a Trustee of the Dakhleh Oasis Trust (Egypt).

Episode 14 - Risks, Crises and Families

Lansberg ▪ Gersick & Associates’ Devin DeCiantis sets out the benefits of risk-intelligent councils in family enterprises, how they function, and how they fit into risk management programs. A timely talk in our COVID-19 environment. Listen now!

Download for more insights from Devin (69 KB)

Devin DeCiantis is a Managing Partner at Lansberg ▪ Gersick & Associates, advisers to some of the world’s largest family-owned businesses. Devin’s expertise in Family Enterprise Risk Management (FERM) programs is particularly relevant to the COVID-19 crisis currently unfolding. His work is focused on the financial, operational, and strategic aspects of family firms. An Adjunct Lecturer of Family Enterprise, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at Kellogg School of Management, Devin has worked with private and public sector leaders throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. He holds an MPP from Harvard University and a BBA from York University.

Episode 13 - Dynamic Dynasties

Renowned family enterprise expert Joseph Astrachan reveals why family businesses have the enduring capacity to remain resilient in the face of “war-like” conditions. Listen now!

Some family enterprises are older than nations. Very few people have studied them as closely as Cornell University’s Joseph Astrachan, who has examined their successes, successions, and failures for more than 30 years. Dr. Astrachan believes there are fundamental elements common to many a family enterprise: strong balance sheets; willingness to help one another, and the capability to look past individual interests for the collective good. It is why family enterprises are capable of facing the kind of disruption the world is facing today. Dr. Astrachan is Professor Emeritus, and past executive director of the Cox Family Enterprise Center at the Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University. While there, he held the Wells Fargo Eminent Scholar Chair of Family Business. He has received several awards for research and service from the family business, entrepreneurship, management, and research-oriented associations including awards form the Family Firm Institute and FBN International. Dr. Astrachan He has written extensively on family enterprise dynamics, including the acclaimed Communication and Conflict in Family Business, and Mechanisms to Assure Family Business Cohesion: Guidelines for Family Business Leaders and Their Families. He is a frequent speaker on the topic has given more than 300 speeches worldwide. He has served on 16 boards of privately-held family enterprises operating in numerous sectors. Dr. Astrachan comes from a family business background (container and tanker shipping, coal mining, and pharmaceuticals). He earned his BA, MA, M. Phil., and Ph.D. degrees at Yale University. 

Episode 12 - The Accidental Entrepreneur

Peace by Chocolate founder Tareq Hadhad weaves a narrative of family enterprise grit amid his rise from Syrian refugee status to celebrated Canadian entrepreneur and activist. Listen now!

Tareq Hadhad is general manager of Peace by Chocolate in Antigonish, N.S. He was cited as a Syrian refugee success by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the UN Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in 2016. He studied medicine at Damascus University and proceeded to join the medical relief efforts for Syrian refugees with UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Health Organization when he arrived in Lebanon in 2013 as a refugee himself. Passionate about the peace and youth entrepreneurship, and just after arriving in Canada, he and his family started Peace by Chocolate to sponsor peacebuilding projects and support the local economy by offering jobs. The company later turned into a phenomenon that has inspired people around the world and was mentioned at the UN Summit as a remarkable example of the contributions of the newcomers in their communities. The Hadhads had shipped “specialty treats” across the Middle East for more than two decades, but were then forced to live in a refugee camp in Lebanon for three years after bombing destroyed much of Damascus, including the family chocolate factory. Their story has become emblematic of refugee resettlement efforts. The family have not only rebuilt their lives but have taken their products and story to the UN, the US House of Representatives, and all the way to the International Space Agency. 

Episode 11 - All in All: Mulliez Family Triumphs

Association Familiale Mulliez founder Antoine Mayaud extols the virtues of love and patience in the spectacular success of his family enterprise and foremost power in the French economy. Listen now!

Antoine Mayaud served as a board member of the Association Familiale Mulliez (AFM) from 1994 to 2010. In 1995, he initiated Affectio Societatis (affection + business), a project inspired by the metaphor of two horses plowing a furrow; both must advance at the same speed. If they don’t, one of two scenarios occurs: (1) the business is successful, but the family will tear itself apart; and (2) the family will remain civil but let performance collapse. In 2000, he took full-time charge of family counseling and Affectio Societatis. That same year, he led the launch of CreaAFM (Creadev from 2002), AFM’s first investment company. France’s Mulliez family, whose 740 family shareholders control more than 20 different consumer enterprises, are arguably one of the most successful entrepreneurial families the world has ever seen. Over time the Mulliez family has nurtured an inimitable business model in which rising generations receive an in-house education and incentives to become and remain owners who can contribute in both conventional and unconventional ways. This is reflected in Affectio Societatis, a ground-breaking Mulliez family pact that has essentially locked in family ownership and managed the expansion of companies owned by the family. Today AFM controls a diverse constellation of brands. Hundreds of “associate” family members manage an international network that includes supermarkets, sporting goods stores, restaurants, and many other well-known brands. For decades, the enterprising group has taken family learning to extraordinary lengths. 

Special Holiday Episode - Perfect Fits: The Best of Round Peg 2019

We’ve distilled the very best bits of 2019’s Round Peg podcasts. Sit back and savor the highlights in our special review of the world’s brightest minds. Listen now!

From the life and times of ale icons to tales of mentoring with serial entrepreneurs, our 2019 Round Peg roundup zeros in on the quandaries of eastern families doing business in the west, western mavericks finding their fortune in the Middle East, and more. We’ve selected the cream of the crop in a compelling 44-minute package.

Episode 10 - Refugees, Migrants and Us

Canadian Senator Ratna Omidvar walks listeners through the impact refugees and migrants have on economies and why civil society should rethink its attitudes. Listen now!

Ratna Omidvar is a recognized voice on migration, diversity, and inclusion. She came to Canada from Iran in 1981 and her own experiences of displacement, integration, and citizen engagement are the foundation of her work. In 2016 she was appointed to the Senate of Canada as an independent Senator representing Ontario. She is a councilor on the World Refugee Council, a director at the Samara Centre for Democracy, chair emerita for the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, and, formerly, a visiting professor at Ryerson University. Ms. Omidvar is co-author of Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada, an Open Book Toronto best book of 2015, and one of the Toronto Star's top five good reads from Word on the Street. She was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, with both honors recognizing her work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada. In 2014 she received the Cross of the Order of Merit of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations. 

Episode 9 - The Naked Diplomat

Former British diplomat Tom Fletcher discusses the transformative possibilities of digital technology on diplomacy and how we can marshal it to confront national threats. Listen now!

Tom Fletcher is a former British diplomat, writer and campaigner. From 2011 to 2015, he was the UK’s Ambassador to Lebanon. He is now a visiting professor at NYU and author of The Naked Diplomat. When he left Beirut, and the UK’s Foreign Office in 2015, Fletcher wrote a farewell blog to Lebanon. Having emphasized that “digital will change diplomacy” he suggested that someone write a book about how digital will also change power by asking: “How we can marshal it to confront the threats to our existence.” Naked Diplomacy sets out three themes: The first two draw on Fletcher’s experiences in the Foreign Office and a detailed overview of international diplomacy. It ends by listing the essential qualities of a good diplomat: tact, curiosity, courage, and the ability to win friends. Diplomacy, Fletcher says, is too important to be left to diplomats and he calls on us “citizen diplomats” to engage with it, to wield power. Arab News described Fletcher as the “anti-diplomat” – not because he sees no value in diplomacy, but in his steadfast refusal to live up to the stereotype expected of the ambassadorial profession. In 2017, he published a report on the future of the UN on how technology can help the organization. Drawing on contributions from young people, tech gurus, civil society, governments, and business, it sets out 20 concrete ideas that can help the UN ready itself for the digital age. Fletcher was recently ranked the fourth most influential international personality in the Middle East. 

Episode 8 - More Technology, Less Leadership

EastWest Institute's Kawa Hassan sets out why the Middle East will remain relevant in the coming years despite the rise of renewable forms of energy and shortcomings in world leadership. Listen now!

Kawa Hassan is vice-president of EastWest Institute’s Middle East and North Africa Program in Brussels where he leads diplomacy initiatives focused on trust-building, conflict prevention, and conflict resolution. Author and editor of numerous publications, Hassan is a frequent media commentator on Iraq, Syria, Kurdish politics and Middle East affairs. He has served on NATO missions and as a member of the Atlantic Council’s Task Force Report on the Future of Iraq. Prior to joining EastWest Institute, Hassan was a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut and a knowledge officer at Hivos in the Hague. He holds a Master of Science in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam and studied English and German at Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. 


Episode 7 - The Entrepreneur-Mentor

Serial entrepreneur Tony Bury sings the praises of mentoring and explains why entrepreneurs must choose their own projects, all while drawing links between both in our engaging podcast. Listen now! 

Having established 18 start-ups, including 3sixty Capital, which provides capital investment advice for sustainable ventures, Tony Bury is a serial entrepreneur. He is the founder and funder of Mowgli Foundation, a UK-based award-winning mentoring organization that works with international and local governments, financial institutions, philanthropists, and corporations to provide mentoring programs that empower entrepreneurs, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. Bury believes that the best way to empower entrepreneurs, address unemployment, and alleviate poverty is to start at the foundation of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. That involves holistic mentoring with a focus on both the personal and professional aspects of entrepreneurs’ development so as to create a better-prepared and more capable entrepreneur who can grow. Since 2008, Mowgli Foundation has delivered more than 85 mentoring programs and matched some 780 entrepreneurs with trained mentors, and facilitated their 12-month one-to-one mentoring relationships in 14 countries. Since 2010, Tony has been involved in education as both a governor and donor at Prior Park Schools in Bath, England.  

Episode 6 - IQ? How about LQ? 

Ali Borhani makes a case for family enterprises to develop their LQ, or learning quotient, to better cope with a kaleidoscope of variables in economies beset with disruption. Listen now!

As the pace of change accelerates in our world so does the pace of disruption. Are today’s family enterprises equipped to manage more unknowns? Climate change, Brexit, pandemics, supply chain disruption – the non-linear effects of global dynamics are as far-reaching as they are numerous, argues Ali Borhani. As variables multiply, the act of prediction – metaphorically speaking – will no longer be through binoculars but through kaleidoscopes. How will tomorrow’s family enterprises adopt? How can next gens manage more change in more sectors more often? Borhani offers listeners food for thought as to how families might deal with entirely new metrics.

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