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Dr. Stephanie Brun de Pontet

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Family Business

1845 Walnut Street Suite 900

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103

United States

Company Description

Family Business magazine focuses on the family dynamics of businesses and the business components of families. Topics range from estate planning and sibling rivalries to capital and employee management. Family Business Publishing Company, a family-owned f ... more

Find other employees at this company (2,167)

Background Information


Board Member and Senior Advisor
Sunvestment Group LLC

Board Member
Kate's Club

Board Member
The High Performing Private Company

Advisory Board Member

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Inc

American Psychological Association

Board Member of the Montreal Chapter
Canadian Association of Family Enterprise



Business Administration


Web References (179 Total References)

Family Business Consultant Directory | The Family Business Consulting Group [cached]

Stephanie Brun de Pontet, Ph.D.

Sunvestment Energy Group: [cached]

Stephanie Brun de Pontet, Ph.D.

Board Member and Strategic Advisor
Stephanie joined Sunvestment Energy Group as a board member and strategic advisor to help support the company's growth and advise executives on significant business decisions. She also works as a senior consultant at The Family Business Consulting Group, where she advises clients on matters of governance, leadership development, and continuity planning.

Stephanie Brun de Pontet, ... [cached]

Stephanie Brun de Pontet, PhD

Senior Consultant, The Family Business Consulting Group
Moderator:Stephanie Brun de Pontet, PhD, Senior Consultant, The Family Business Consulting Group
Stephanie Brun de Pontet, PhD
Senior Consultant, The Family Business Consulting Group
Stephanie Brun de Pontet, Ph.D., is a senior consultant of the Family Business Consulting Group. She specializes in advising family enterprises facing important transitions. She has extensive experience working with sibling teams and developing training programs to educate next-generation family members. A recognized expert on the topic of succession, Stephanie frequently collaborates with clients on key aspects of this process, such as establishing succession plans, drafting needed policies and governance structures, and building a framework for next-generation collaborations. Her work is driven by knowledge and experience from the fields of management, entrepreneurship and psychology. In addition to her consulting work, Stephanie co-authored Building a Successful Business Board and Siblings and the Family Business, two well-regarded, practical books published by Palgrave. A regular contributor to thought leadership in the field, Stephanie is also the executive editor of the Family Business Advisor. Fluent in English and French, Stephanie has lived in Atlanta since 2005. Building on her passion for helping families, Stephanie serves on the board of Kate's Club, an Atlanta non-profit whose mission is to empower children and teens after the loss of a parent or a sibling.

Board of Directors : Kate's Club [cached]

Stephanie Brun de Pontet, Ph.D. The Family Business Consulting Group [cached]

Recap: Stephanie Brun de Pontet: Tips for Next Generation Family Members Joining the Business

ByFamily Business RadioonMarch 22, 2012
Stephanie Brun de Pontet On Thursday, March 22, 2012, family business consultant Stephanie Brun de Pontet joined Family Business Radio host Dwayne Samples to offer tips to next generation family members preparing to enter the family enterprise.
As a senior associate of The Family Business Consulting Group, Inc., Stephanie often helps family enterprises through important transitions, such as the on-boarding on new family member employees. She has experience working with sibling teams, establishing governing structures for growing enterprises, and developing training programs to educate next generation family members. The 20 advisors of The Family Business Consulting Group, a Chicago-based firm, help families in business unify their values and goals while guiding them in the development of structure around the different systems of ownership, management and family. They work with family businesses and families who have shared wealth in the U.S. and internationally.
Stephanie came to work with family businesses after spending time both in the corporate world and as an entrepreneur. She grew up as part of a family business-though her immediate family did not work in the business daily-and she married into a family business. She became passionate about the world of family enterprises and added a PhD in psychology to her business degree so she could work better with both the business structures and the family dynamics unique to family-held firms.
As Stephanie shared with Family Business Radio listeners, she based her comments on an article she co-wrote with colleague Carol J. Ryan. Published by The Family Business Advisor®, a Family Business Consulting Group, Inc.® Publication, the article is entitled "Should I call you DAD? And other perils of working for your family business...."
Stephanie says that entering the family's business is a paradox, with the good things about working with family also leading to challenges and pitfalls. Like many of the questions that arise when a new family member arrives in the business, the issue of how to address other family members at work is "it depends," according to Stephanie. The important thing, she says, is for the family to think through the issues, have conversations, and plan for the best ways to handle situations.
Stephanie pointed out that all employees mess up sometimes, but with family members, other people remember those gaffes longer.
To handle living under the weight of coworker and family scrutiny, Stephanie says that employees have to set higher standards for themselves. It's also important for the parents to set clear expectations. She says parents shouldn't make working in the business too difficult, but give the newcomers an opportunity to succeed. If they mess up now, employees will remember a long time, and it will be more difficult for them to succeed in a leadership position later.
Another means of offsetting the hard scrutiny is to have the coming-of-age family member work two to five years in another company before joining the family business. Stephanie says this is one of the few recommendations her firm makes universally, and she says many family businesses actually require the young family members to prove themselves by earning a promotion at another business before joining the family enterprise.
Stephanie has observed in many next generation family members, particularly those ages 25 and under, the concept of privacy and confidentiality has developed differently than in generations that didn't grow up with the openness of social media. Yet family member employees are learning more than their counterparts as they are preparing to become owners of the business. They have to be careful about what information they reveal. Also, if they happen to make disparaging remarks about their supervisors, other employees or family members, those remarks carry more weight than similar comments made by non-family members. Going out to Friday happy hour with fellow employees carries a different burden than it does for non-family members.
Stephanie says the key here is to be deliberate. Think ahead about the situations that may arise-questions, remarks about the family and wealth, potential romantic relationships with employees-and consider how those will be handled. Stephanie says the family member needs to think "three steps ahead" about how anything he or she says will be received. She admits this is a lot for someone of any age to handle, but particularly for young family members.
She shared a story from one family business in which the family wanted to help a young member avoid some of the pitfalls of being a new employee with the family name. He went to work in a store outside of his community, under an assumed name. While he did avoid some of the scrutiny he might have encountered early on, the solution was not perfect. He still faced the same issues when he returned to work in the home office under his given name. He also faces the concern about revealing the deception later, when he assumes a leadership role in the company and his former coworkers realize what occurred.
However, Stephanie says that founders, next generation members and other employees alike need to remember that the business is growing and changing. Second generation family members most likely need different skill sets than the founders to keep the company going. Rather than trying to be just like the founders, they need to apply their unique personalities and leadership qualities in a different way. Parents need to understand that different skills are needed as the company changes, and children need to understand that doing things in a new way is not disrespectful to their parents.
As an example, Stephanie explained that company founders are generally entrepreneurial. They're outgoing by nature and have excellent sales capabilities, qualities that were needed in the early days of the business. She says the parents may be concerned that the next generation members are not as gregarious. However, she often points out to them that as the company has grown, it needs more structures and systems.
Stephanie says that many founders build their businesses based on family values that employees share. From an early age, family members need to be taught how important the employees are to the business; working members should always speak positively of employees so younger family members learn to respect and appreciate them. When next generation family members come of age, they're more likely to be humble, appreciative of employees and ready to pull their own weight as they enter the business.
Stephanie discussed two extreme cases of family members relating to employees. In the first, family members might try too hard to fit in with employees. Stephanie says this is probably a case of the family member being unsure of him- or herself and not quite ready to be part of the business. Yes, everybody is watching, but family members should still have the confidence to be themselves. This might be a situation where the family member should work outside the company first to gain confidence, feel they've earned a place in the company and become truly ready to work and collaborate.
At the other end of the spectrum are family members whose attitudes scream, "Do you know who I am? These are people who are driven by entitlement, and Stephanie says this attitude is the single most toxic poison for a family business. Sometimes, the symptoms are more subtle. Stephanie gave the example of a young third generation family member who had recently had a child. The family had accommodated her by allowing her to set her own schedule, but she still was consistently late to work. Her non-family member supervisor had to watch her carefully and couldn't rely on her to be there for the schedule she had set for herself. She then complained to her grandmother-the wife of the company founder-that she should be allowed to come in whenever it suited her best, as long as she got the work done. Her actions not only put her supervisor in a difficult situation, but also demonstrated that she doesn't have a full understanding of her responsibility. While technically she could complete the work at odd hours, the family leaders want her to understand the responsibility that comes with her position in the family. Stephanie says that situations like this are part of a difficult journey, but provide life lessons that will serve the family member well in and outside of the business.
She also used the story to illustrate the importance of carefully choosing supervisors for family members. Ideally, she says, family members will be supervised by non-family members. If that's not possible, they should not be supervised by siblings or parents (let parents be mentors, not bosses, she says).
Realizing that other employees and even people in the community expe

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