PDFB sponsors a yearly 2-day intensive retreat and maintains an online discussion and sharing space.

PDFB is first and foremost a learning community; a safe environment in which colleagues can feel comfortable sharing tentative ideas, discussing failures, asking for feedback and genuinely exploring our practices. Because we work mostly alone with our clients, we have insufficient opportunities for such dialogues with professional colleagues. Family Firm Institute conferences and regional study groups provide learning opportunities across the disciplines and for less experienced consultants within the disciplines; but PDFB is the forum for the growing edge of knowledge and feedback within the community of seasoned family/business systems and mental health professionals.

Participation is Key

All of us participate in the retreat. We are almost all either family therapists, psychologists (organizational or clinical), or have psychiatry or social work degrees. A few are OD consultants and family systems types; and we have a few members who originate from business consulting backgrounds but are well steeped in family systems practice and thinking. We all bring significant practical experience with business-owning families. Each member, in fact, is unique; but none of us is new to this field.

Why Participate?

  • Field development. PDFB provides a synergistic learning environment that promotes knowledge, creativity, professional and personal growth, affiliation, respect and fun among participants.
  • Psychology foundation. Being involved with a group of practitioners from diverse psychologically-oriented backgrounds provides a deep and broad discussion of the psychological issues impacting on family firms while enhancing personal knowledge and contributing to the field.
  • Productive debate. PDFB provides a forum for constructive debate, productive critique, and the opportunity to develop or refine insights into theory and practice.
  • Participation. We encourage participants to prepare their thinking and goals in advance of the Retreat, to take risks with their thinking, and to actively participate in an encounter with others interested in learning.
  • Concept development. Although not a requirement of all participants, individuals have the opportunity to present their work-in-progress to the group. Final form is not required.
  • Basics assumed. The experience level of participants allows for advanced discussion without the need to review the basics.

We are accepting inquiries for the 2018 Retreat. Group size is limited to 32 participants

Ideal Participant Profile: a professional with training in psychologically-based fields, i.e., family systems, clinical psychology, psychiatry, social work, and organizational development, who has an experience range of working with 25 to 150 cases, while it is expected that the average participant will have worked with at least 25 family business cases.

Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. We share the costs and try to keep costs to a minimum for the two days, including lodging and meals. (Participants who live close to Chicago subsidize the meeting expenses to compensate for some of the out-of-towners traveling expenses.)  See the Registration page for more info about this.

If your background, experience and interests sound like a match, please consider joining us at PDFB. 
The next step is to arrange to have a brief conversation with one of the following members of the membership committee prior to registration:

  • Michael Madera          michael @ maderapartners.com
  • Marilyn Rumsey          mjrumseyok @ gmail.com
  • Gerard Donnellan       gerryd @ big-leap.com  

New participants can register after February 15th on a first-come first-served basis, subject to available space.