Family Business Center and HI-FLOAT

Developing the Family Business Legacy with UofL

The Family Business Center partnered with UofL Professional Development to create a unique leadership development certificate program to help next generation leaders in family businesses like HI-FLOAT transform from a company into a legacy.

A Leadership Development Partnership

Family businesses are a vibrant and critical part of our economy. According to the Family Business Review, 85% of businesses are family-owned. Of these businesses, 30% are passed down to second-generation and another 12% are successful in the third generation. It’s clear that in order for family businesses to succeed in the long run, they need to think about (and plan for) the future. That’s where the Family Business Center comes in.

The Family Business Center at the University of Louisville helps family businesses in the region navigate the complexities of generational transition, strategy and growth. The center provides its 89 members with access to educational forums, advising services, and roundtables on a variety of topics.

Director Kathleen Hoye saw a need for a more intensive approach when it came to helping the next generation transition into leadership roles, so she partnered with University of Louisville Professional Development to create a customized certificate program.

Kathleen Hoye

“I think family businesses should make this leadership program a requirement for anyone who wants to assume a leadership position in the company.”

- Kathleen Hoye

Family Business Center Director



“It was a natural fit for us to partner with the Family Business Center,” UofL Professional Development Director Robbie Chitwood stated. “Being a part of one university, we are charged with serving the community. We help organizations solve challenges through learning and development. Our collaboration began with identification of the unique learning needs of family business leaders. From there, we customized our proven leadership development program to address the specific needs of working within family business. As a result, the Leading Within a Family Business certificate program created a peer network and equipped graduates with skills to lead effectively in family-owned organizations.”

Practical Tools for the Family Business

Over the course of six months, the Leading Within a Family Business certificate program brought together 18 participants from a wide variety of industries. Two of these participants were Keith Burchette and his sister Andrea Kash, co-owners of HI-FLOAT. Started by their parents, HI-FLOAT produces an internationally distributed product that extends the floating life of latex balloons.

“Each class offered something unique that I can apply to both my career and my personal life,” explained participant Keith, “I really enjoyed the time spent on the Enneagram. We were provided an Enneagram reference chart to take back to our offices. I work with people all over the world, and at times communication and understanding of each other’s core values come into play. Navigating these moments is key to our success and this program offered that key.”

Topics covered in the program included “Understanding Self in the Context of Family,” “Leadership in the Family Business Workplace,” and “Business Acumen and Strategy.” UofL instructors led each session and gave participants practical tools they could put to work immediately.

Andrea stated that as a result of the program, “I’m more focused on understanding the people I work with at HI-FLOAT. I can utilize the tools learned in the program to determine what motivates people, and what is getting in the way of progress.”

Keith Burchett

“I felt the overwhelming amount of respect each participant displayed for one another throughout the classes. This, in turn, allowed classmates the safety to openly share both struggles and solutions in their own business throughout the class.”

- Keith Burchett

Co-owner of HI-FLOAT



Participants were able to share how they struggled with, or dealt with the unique situations that arise in a family business. “The instructors were great, but I also gained so much from interacting with the other participants,” Andrea said.

“We share the same trials and tribulations that come along with being involved in a family business,” Keith added. “I felt the overwhelming amount of respect each participant displayed for one another throughout the classes. This, in turn, allowed classmates the safety to openly share both struggles and solutions in their own business throughout the class.”

Hifloat Cohort-based Learning

Not Just a Company – A Legacy

Participants worked with an accountability partner, often a parent, in their business to make sure what they were learning in class was being successfully applied at work.

Among the many differences they saw in participants as a result of the program, the accountability partners reported seeing a greater appreciation for the importance of culture and communication, participants with a higher business maturity, and a shift in focus to the long-term perspective and future of their company.

“Parents commented that their children are now not only taking the business more seriously, but that they were approaching it more professionally,” Kathleen said. “They understand that it’s not just a job, it’s a legacy. The responsibility is more profound than they realized going into it.”

Next generation family business leaders that completed the Leading Within a Family Business certificate program are now prepared to carry their organizations into the future with confidence. They are equipped to face the unique challenges of a family business because of their involvement with Family Business Center, the leadership expertise offered by UofL Professional Development, and the knowledge gleaned from their peers. The program was so successful that the teams are now planning future sessions.

Andrea Kash

“Hearing from other family businesses has helped us become more focused on our future and the proactive steps we can take to protect our family’s legacy.”

- Andrea Kash

Co-owner of HI-FLOAT



“I think family businesses should make this leadership program a requirement for anyone who wants to assume a leadership position in the company,” Kathleen added. “The team at UofL Professional Development was great in making sure not only that learning took place, but that the program was successfully delivered as well.”

As Andrea stated, the impact for her organization’s future is clear, “Hearing from other family businesses has helped us become more focused on our future and the proactive steps we can take to protect our family’s legacy.”

Would your organization’s members benefit from a customized leadership development program?

Whether you belong to a member-based business organization or are a company leader interested in developing employees to ensure future success, we can help. Contact us online or call 502.852.4620 to learn more about leadership development programs at UofL.

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