STEP Global Conference - Cartagena 2018

December 5, 2018


Published in General News

By Val Duffy

STEP affiliates UniAndes and Icesi co-sponsored the 2nd STEP Global Academic Conference at the UniAndes Cartagena, Colombia campus on October 18-20, 2018. Event organizers Luis Diaz Matajira (UniAndes) and Yeny Rodriguez (Icesi) (pictured left) implemented a successful conference creating cross-cultural interactions, collaborations and meaningful outputs. The UniAndes and Icesi teams welcomed 33 STEP members from 20 outstanding academic institutions representing 13 countries (Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, United States of America, and Venezuela) at the beautiful Cartagena campus. 

Since the founding of the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Project, significant progress has been made in expanding our understanding of entrepreneurship within the context of family owned enterprises. This progress is attributed to the 175+ scholars involved in STEP. This 2018 conference allowed STEP scholars to showcase their scholarly work within the realm of transgenerational entrepreneurship.

Day one kicked off with an outstanding Keynote speaker, Mr. Daniel Haime, a third generation family entrepreneur. Mr. Haime passionately discussed entrepreneurial legacy, values, innovation, purpose, and his journey of a large-scale regional development project by entrepreneurial families. The session concluded with a spectacular tour of the Serena Del Mar project. At the end of the day, STEP attendees enjoyed typical Colombian dinner at El Santimo restaurant in “old town” Cartagena. At the dinner, a special toast was given to dedicated STEP member Katsushi Yamaguchi from Waseda Univeristy, Japan, who traveled 29 hours to participate in the conference! We also want to send our gratitude to Ricardo Terrazas from Grupo AG (corporate) for his generous sponsorship of this excellent dinner. 

During the 2nd day of the event, Keynote speaker Prof. María Alejandra Vélez, UniAndes, Colombia, shared insights about how Sustainable Development Goals have given a common language to similar initiatives all around the world and the impact these initiatives have on social and economic development. 

Throughout the conference, thought leaders, senior and junior scholars worked side by side to forge new ideas and provide invaluable feedback during the program’s 6 roundtable discussions, 9 poster presentations and 2 STEP research teaching case presentations.

Ilse Matser, Windesheim Univ., presented an interactive workshop titled: "Family Constitution Practices: what can we learn from STEP cases?".

A STEP Conference Awards Dinner was held the second evening of the conference at the UniAndes campus rotunda. Recipients of the STEP Project 2018 Global Conference Awards were announced: 


Best Paper Presentation: Tatiana Manolova (Bentley Univ., USA)

Title: The influence of family business practices and national economic context on female succession in family firms

Co-Authors: Tatiana Manolova (Bentley Univ.), Candida Brush (Babson) and Linda Edlelman (Bentley Univ.)

Best Round Table: Patricia Monteferrante (IESA, Venezuela)

Title: MT heterogeneity, ault lines and EO in family firms. Does family involvement make difference?

Author: Patricia Monteferrante (IESA, Venezuela)

Best Poster Presentation: Francisca Sinn Rosende (UAI, Chile)

Title: TMT Diversity and Entrepreneurial Performance in Family Businesses

Co-Authors: Francisca Sinn (UAI, Chile), Ana Cristina Gonzalez (GVSU, USA), Yeny Rodriguez, (Icesi, Colombia)

Best Teaching Case Presentation: Thomas Gura (USFQ, Ecuador)

Title: The End of the Line for a Local Cultural Icon. Examining the multiple options for the future direction of an ongoing third generation family run restaurant in Quito, Ecuador

Author: Thomas Gura (USFQ, Ecuador)

At the dinner, Candida Brush (Babson) presented certificates of appreciation to Board Chair James Davis (Utah State Univ.) and Academic Director Matt Allen (Babson) for their outstanding service and dedication to the STEP Project as their leadership position terms will expire at the end of 2018.

Additionally, regional meetings were held at the conference to discuss the 2018 data collection, membership, research activities and other regional STEP matters. Outcomes of the regional meetings included:

  • announcement of STEP academic workshops in Vermont on May 30, 2019 (prior to FERC) and in France (November 19-21, 2018 in Nantes and May 22-23, 2019 at Audenica, Nice). All members are invited to participate! More details will follow.
  • distribution of the recent STEP Booklet Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices in Family Firms: Perspectives of Latin America (STEP Survey) to all members from Yeny Rodriguez
  • announcement of Luis Diaz Matajira’s new book based on STEP research data soon to be released called: Creacion de valor en las Empresas Familiares Colombianas. More details will follow.

The STEP Global Board members (Board Chair, James Davis, USA; Board Chair Elect, Ilse Matser, Netherlands; Isabel Botero, USA; Albert James, Canada; Dalton Sardenberg, Brazil; and Francisca Sinn Rosende, Chile held their annual face-to-face meeting during the conference luncheon.

The conference concluded with an open dialogue and collaborative workshop led by James Davis and Matt Allen. The topics ranged from the STEP Project’s many accomplishments and goals reached since its inception in 2005; looking ahead at the next STEP quantitative and qualitative data collection from 37 countries (launch October 25, 2018); and preparing for a deep dive analysis of the incoming data and fostering collaborative new research. 

The Sunday after the conference, STEP conference attendees enjoyed an optional tour of the historic and cultural mecca of beautiful, warm Cartagena! Many thanks to the UniAndes and Icesi teams for their gracious warm welcome and hospitality while in Cartagena.

Check out more photos of the event located on the STEP Flickr account.

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Accolades from the 2018 STEP Global Academic Conference in Cartagena:

“..the pace and the mix of the different forms of presentation was great. Overall, the venue was super and loved the discussion sessions (the posters and the work on the survey was super). Great conference!”

“This was an extremely well organized and focused conference and I enjoyed every moment of it. I learned a lot about current research on family business and I am excited about this research domain.”

“It was a fantastic conference.”

“…thanks to both the Babson and the UniAndes teams for the superb organization of the conference. It was a great experience. I learned a lot, met wonderful people, got interesting research ideas, and had a lot of fun. All is all, a memorable conference experience.

“The Caribbean campus of UniAndes is AMAZING!..”




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