CAFE Canada


Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, Philanthropy and Wealth Transfer

W. Brett Wilson, Former CBC TV “Dragon” | Celebrated Entrepreneur | Philanthropist

W. Brett Wilson often gets asked about his secrets to success, but success can be defined in many ways. For many years, Wilson pursued business with uncompromising focus, working long hours seven days a week, but in the process, his marriage and health suffered greatly. He was rarely home as his kids were growing up, divorce was inevitable, and cancer struck at age forty-three. Wilson was forced to redefine his life to make health and relationships his first priorities. Through trial and error, he learned that these simple virtues are the foundation for real, enduring success, both in business and life. Brett will share his passion for the essence of empowerment, defining entrepreneurial success and re-establishing personal priorities. Following his presentation Brett will conduct a Q & A session with the audience with a book signing to follow. Be one of the first 200 people to register for Symposium and receive a complimentary copy of his new book Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes. View Brett's biography, click here.  Brett's presentation was made possible in part through the Family Enterprise Foundation's Family Business Speakers Series.  The foundation would like to aknowledge Ferguslea Properties Inc. for their generous donation towards this program. 

The Molson family legacy, more than just a great beer!
Lessons from one of the oldest family businesses in Canada

Andrew Molson, Chairman, RES PUBLICA Consulting Group & Gordon Pitts, Author/Journalist

Join Andrew Molson and award winning business author Gordon Pitts for an intimate fireside chat as they share their insights, experience and perspectives on family business in Canada.

A seventh-generation member of the Molson brewing family, Andrew will share some thoughts on how his family continues to stay active in business, be it brewing, hockey or consulting and will discuss the importance of community involvement, which is part of his family’s DNA and essential for overall goodwill. View Andrew and Gordon's biographies and additional details, click here.


3 Brothers, 3 Principles, The Dilawri Family, Canada's Largest Auto Dealership

Tony Dilawri, Dilawri Group of Companies 

The family business has come a long way in the 30 years since 3 brothers, Ajay, Kap and Tony started with a single Honda dealership in Saskatchewan. Privately owned and operated by the Dilawri family since 1985, the company continues to expand its footprint in Canada. Join Tony Dilawri, as he shares his unique insight and experience leading 2,500 employees, 58 franchised dealerships, 31 automotive brands with 3 brothers at the helm! View additional details, click here.


Bermingham Foundation Solutions: 119 years, 4 generations and 60 mins with CAFE!

Patrick Bermingham, Bermingham Foundation Solutions

The Value Of Long Term Planning, The Benefit Of Short Term Cash Flow

Join us for this rare opportunity to hear from a 119 year old iconic Canadian family business. Patrick Bermingham is the President and 4th generation of Bermingham to take the helm at the company. Established in 1897, Bermingham Foundation Solutions is a leading Canadian foundation contractor that is also known internationally for its expertise in complex foundation work. As well the company is a designer and manufacturer of some of the most technologically advanced foundation and piling equipment in the market. Its equipment is used on construction sites around the world. In the late 1990’s Patrick purchased the business from his father and also introduced key employees into the ownership of the business. View additional details, click here.


Set Your GPS for Success

Wayne Lee, Wayne Lee Enterprises Inc. 

Wayne Lee helps you access and harness the power of your GPS (Great Programmable Subconscious) for optimal performance at work and at home. Wayne shows you how to Fix your Focus and reveals what is possible when you program your GPS for success. Deeply engaging, always down-to-earth, Wayne delivers life-changing content and an exhilarating, one-of-a kind experience. View Wayne's biography and additional details, click here.

Maximize Your Competitive Advantage as a Family Business 

John DeHart, Nurse Next Door

John DeHart, Co-founder, Nurse Next Door will help you maximize your competitive advantage of being a family business by harnessing your core values and culture.

 Nurse Next Door has become a National brand caring for seniors and is becoming known throughout North America as a “thought leader” in the way they deliver service and build culture. Based on his personal, entrepreneurial experiences of building an international brand, John speaks on how to build vision into your organization’s culture and into your own leadership. Be warned, though, you won’t be getting a corporate, buttoned-down speaker. View John's biography and additional details, click here.


Spiders in Space: Profiles and Lessons from Great Canadian Adaptors 

Todd Hirsch, ATB Financial

In 2011, a little spider named Esmeralda made history. She was one of a pair of golden silk orb-weaver spiders, brought up to the International Space Station by NASA scientists to study how spiders will behave in zero gravity. Will they try to spin webs? Will they even be able to spin webs? Building a traditional web depends on gravity as the spider lowers herself down on her silk threads. What will happen in zero gravity?

Join Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist, ATB Financial as he takes us through an exploration of the traits of great adapters profiling Canadian entrepreneurs, businesses, educators, athletes and community leaders that have adapted to very sudden and unwanted change. You will find the stories he shares of “spiders spinning webs in space” are both inspirational and instructional. View Todd's biography and additional details, click here.


Setting Family Employees Up for Success

Wendy Sage-Hayward, The Family Business Consulting Group

Over the last twenty-five years, Wendy Sage-Hayward, The Family Business Consulting Group, has seen all of the ins and outs of families in business. From her own family’s business to the many client families which she’s had the privilege of serving, it’s clear that the central theme of the challenges and opportunities of family business is all about people.

Wendy will share compelling new knowledge about successful family businesses through a mix of models, guides and stories. Learn how to craft effective approaches to selection, onboarding and development that maximize talent investment and create a pipeline for future leadership from both family and non-family employees. View Wendy's biography and additional details, click here.

Meet Koel, Our MC

Koel Loyer, Stonegate Private Counsel

Koel Loyer, second-generation Partner and Wealth Advisor at Stonegate Private Counsel, knows family business first hand; he is a longstanding and supportive CAFE family member and the current moderator of his Personal Advisory Group. Koel helped guide the local chapter as a member of the Board of Directors of CAFE Central Ontario and has served on the CAFE Family Enterprise of the Year selection committee for the past several years. Not to mention his ‘mad skills’ as MC for local chapter events. (which is how he got roped into this gig! Lol) Learn more about Koel, click here.


Perspectives on Women in Family Business

Paul R. Coleman, Grant Thornton LLP

The face of the family business has changed. Gone are the days when leadership and management roles were reserved solely for male family members. Today, an increasing number of women are taking over the reins—resulting in an exciting shift in the state of the family enterprise and the dynamics of the family itself. This workshop will explore the impact of this shift on ownership, the business and the family from a variety of perspectives—father, daughter, sibling, advisor and wife—and will offer interesting insight for anyone involved in a family business, regardless of gender. View Paul's biography and additional details, click here.


  • Amy Gorham, Owner / Operator, Gorham Real Estate/Fredericton Rentals Ltd/ Premiere Suites Fredericton
  • Paul Higgins Jr., Co-Chief Executive Officer, Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee Inc.
  • Lauretta Enders, Vice President, Broker, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. 
  • Krista Han, Partner, Grant Thornton LLP 

Samoan Circle: Talking Sex, Death, and Money in Family Business

Karen Laprade, Lead Family Enterprise Advisors

Talking Sex, Death and Money is a dramatic title purposefully crafted to invite you to explore common issues faced by family businesses and families of wealth. Expect this workshop to offer something different from the usual guest speaker or panel discussion!

Isn’t it true that we could all be better at talking about these often private, sensitive, yet timely subjects? Isn’t it true that those who are intimately involved with these challenges whether in the present, or the past are the best people to share their perspective? Similarly, wouldn’t those directly affected, when provided the opportunity to share their expectations and concerns be in a position to explore different ideas and better understand the values that inform these subjects? View Karen's biography and additional details, click here.


Dealing with Our Differences: How Generational Perspectives Influence the Succession Planning Process

Shawn Casemore, Casemore and Co Inc. 

We’ve long known that achieving a successful transition in any family owned business relies heavily on a continuous and open dialogue. For many families, the dialogue might seem like the biggest challenge.  However, managing the varying perspectives and intentions amidst multiple generations relative to the evolution and development of the family business can prove to be an even greater challenge. This workshop will address the key roadblocks to ensuring a collaborative approach to succession that ensures both parents and children have a mutual understanding of the distinct differences amongst each generation. Join Shawn for a in-depth insight into a successful and proven approach to succession of the business and ownership. View Shawn's biography and additional details, click here.

Celebrate Entrepreneurs!

David Simpson, Business Families Centre, Ivey Business School, Western University

Our Leading family firms are those that continually renew themselves and promote and celebrate their entrepreneurial roots. The entrepreneurial founders often adjusted (discarded) their original plans and zig zagged their way from failures to revivals to survival and ultimately to business success. But in the eyes of the current generation of ownership and even an aging satisfied founder, the “WAY WE DO THINGS” can become rigid and a false mantra of the lessons of our company history. This workshop speaks to lessons in how we instill or re-ignite that entrepreneurial drive that allowed for the founder’s success while acknowledging the next generations natural fears of screwing up a legacy. Along the way Dave will share his very personal stories of family business as he and his brother Craig , both professional hockey players and seemingly compatible partners learned they did not share the same entrepreneurial views of business. View David's biography and additional details, click here.


How to Pass the Torch, Not the Pain

Shauna Feth & Donald (Don) Zinyk, Alberta Business Family Institute (ABFI)

CAFE business owners from all disciplines who seek to deepen their understanding of the succession planning process, this session is for you! We all know that succession planning is a natural process in every successful business and one that can (and should) be positive and empowering. It’s the getting there that we can help you with. Join Shauna Feth, FEA, Executive Director and Donald (Don) Zinyk, Executive Professor in Residence, Alberta Business Family Institute (ABFI), Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta as they share their unique insight into the complex and difficult challenges of family business succession planning. View Shauna and Don's biographies and additional details, click here.

Perspectives in Family Enterprise Governance: The Business’ Board of Directors

Matt Fullbrook, Clarkson Centre for Board Effectiveness (CCBE) & Kathy Bright, Institute of Family Enterprise Advisors (IFEA)

Thoughtful research on corporate governance focuses almost exclusively on widely-held, publicly-listed corporations, and often treats family firms as second-class citizens. The Clarkson Centre for Board Effectiveness (CCBE) at the Rotman School of Management recently found that Canadian family firms had dramatically outperformed the TSX Index over the 20-year period from 1993 to 2012. If family firm performance is so strong, perhaps we need to re-think our perspectives on family firm governance. Building on CCBE’s latest research, our panel will engage senior family business leaders and advisors in a discussion of what makes family firm governance unique, and what we can do to empower our boards, managers and advisors to continue to continue to be leaders in the Canadian marketplace. View Matt and Kathy's biographies and additional details, click here.


  • Peter Johnson, Shaw Communications
  • Margaret-Jean Mannix, Mancal Group
  • Bill Bone, Mancal Group


Preparing Heirs for Assets (not the other way around!)

Kathy Reich & Nicky Scott, Canadian Family Futures Inc. & XPonential™ Inc.

Many advisors focus on preparing assets for heirs. In doing so, often the planning gets caught up in elaborate structures designed to be tax efficient or legally defensible – without considering the people that these assets will go to. In our work with families, we are asked all the time about how to prepare inheritors for their inheritance. Most often, second or third generation children often have grown up in a life of privilege, and may not have developed the skills and financial acumen necessary to carry on successful wealth stewardship. View Kathy and Nicky's biographies and additional details, click here.

Mastering Conflict:  How to Transform the Inherent Enemies of Communication

Trudy Pelletier, Simply More Inc.

Trudy Pelletier, Simply More Inc., enables business families to grow and succeed by connecting family members to what is really important to them, opening the lines of communication and improve listening levels. Trudy creates a conversational environment such that conflict can be reduced and; even leveraged while increasing understanding and collaboration - by skillfully talking through tough issues. 

Trudy’s interactive presentation style challenges her audience to think differently and discover new perspectives and opportunities. View Trudy's biography and additional details, click here.

Leading Extraordinary Teams: Building on Family Foundations

Kathy McLaughlin, Kathy McLaughlin & Associates

Kathy McLaughlin, FEA, PCC, Kathy McLaughlin & Associates, will cover best practices in attracting, retaining, developing and coaching great talent within a family enterprise; considerations in bringing in non-family executives; practices to build team cohesion; building a coaching culture; performance management and conflict management within teams; tip sheet and models for high impact coaching, difficult conversations. View Kathy's biography and additional details, click here.

How to Choose and Work with Your Advisors

Judi Cunningham, Family Business Advisor & Wendy Sage-Hayward, The Family Business Consulting Group

Note: This session is for family businesses only, come on your own or as a family!

A family business is a treasure to its owners. Owners and managers want their business to be handled carefully and thoughtfully. The success and sustainability of a family business may depend on the professionals families choose to advise them on matters of importance such as law, finance, governance, family relations and succession. This workshop focuses on how family firms can effectively select and tap into quality advice and service from their professional advisors. View Judi and Wendy's biographies and additional details, click here.

Painting a Clear Picture of Long Term Family Success

Beverly J. Johnson & Perry B. Muhlbier, KPMG Enterprise

Note: This session is for family businesses only, come on your own or as a family! Space is limited.

It’s a painting session!! Yes a painting session with real paint, real paint brushes and real canvasses. It's all about your ability to paint a clear picture.

Long term family business success is the ability to sustain economic success (growth and profitability) while maintaining family harmony. The former is far too often achieved at the expense of the latter. So ... how does a family business ensure they are effectively pursuing both of these lofty objectives? View Beverly and Perry's biographies and additional details, click here.


Taking the Next Steps in Securing Your Family's Future

Arthur C. Salzer, Northland Wealth Management

Join Arthur C. Salzer, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Northland Wealth Management, for a facilitated discussion with CAFE Families and learn how to generate ideas to encourage your family to take the next steps! Address questions like: Should you hire an “expert generalist” aka quarterback to put all of your plans in place for the family and the business? Or, do you continue to work with your current advisors in order to meet the family’s needs and objectives? Should you create your own single family office, or work with a multi-family office?  What are the challenges and hurdles that come from either choice? What is a family bank? How is it used and do you need one? To view Arthur's biography, click here

Attention FEA Designates - Learn and Earn!

IFEA will grant 1 Continuing Education (CE) credit for each educational hour at the CAFE 2016 Family Business Symposium. Attend Symposium and earn up to 7 CE credits to enhance your skills and knowledge to provide better service to your family business clients.