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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Institute for Family Entrepreneurship​

Part of Babson College’s Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship (IFE) is a hub of research and student programming dedicated to sharing knowledge and best practices regarding family entrepreneurship.

The business, investmen​t, and philanthropic activities of entrepreneurial families are significant drivers of the global economy.​ Babson Institute for Family Entrepreneurship (IFE) is dedicated to family entrepreneurial research, education, and exchange. The IFE fosters the application of Babson’s core methodology of Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® to family enterprises to develop knowledge, share best practices, and connect people.

The Institute for Family Entrepreneurship is a part of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship and the director is Associate Professor Matthew Allen. IFE provides resources and advising to students regarding courses and co-curricular activities on campus. Family entrepreneurship courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels are taught by full-time and part-time faculty, all of whom have real world family business experience. Babson students also lead graduate and undergraduate​ family business clubs.

Students looking to grow or expand the entrepreneurial activities of their family businesses may join the Butler Venture Accelerator​, which provides Babson student and alumni entrepreneurs with the workspace, expert mentors, workshops, community support, and other valuable resources they need to move their ventures forward. 

Babson faculty committed to family entrepreneurship are engaged in a variety of thought leadership and research activities to sustain, enhance, and renew the intellectual capital, public visibility, and academic reputation of the College and its faculty globally. IFE also works to support the recently created Bertarelli Foundation Chair of Family Entrepreneurship, which is dedicated to leading a multidisciplinary approach to family enterprise education.


Stories of Family Business

The Zamora Family (’98,’00,’03,’07,’12)

Advisory Council

Members of the Babson community support the Babson Institute for Family Entrepreneurship with deep experience and networks in family entrepreneurship including family businesses, family foundations, and family offices.

Linda Bourn

Linda Bourn is an executive managing director of the family enterprise risk practice at Crystal & Company and has more than 20 years of experience advising owners of closely held businesses, family offices, private family trust companies and startups on risk management.

Recently named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Private Wealth by Private Asset Management Magazine, her board roles include Babson College Board of Overseers and Attorneys for Family Held Enterprises, while her industry advisory memberships include Collaboration for Family Flourishing and Family Office Exchange.

Previously she held managing director roles at Marsh where she founded their family office practice, at Wilmington Trust in their Family Wealth Group and within a family office as a senior relationship manager.

Linda serves as an advisor to the Bourn Idea Lab, housed within Castilleja School in Palo Alto California. It w​as established in 2012 in the memory of her brother Doug, Castilleja's long-time robotics mentor, and is home of the FIRST Robotics team, and a member of the FabLab@School network.

She earned her MBA from Babson College and her Bachelor of Arts from California State University at Long Beach.​

Steve Gaklis​​​

Steve Gaklis M’97 is a PhD researcher in entrepreneurship and family business in the UK and US. Steve is also a Visiting Research Scholar at The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College. His current research interests lie at the intersection of family business and entrepreneurship. The goal of his research is to investigate organizational sponsorship in the context of new business incubation, and understand how dynastic family firms use mechanisms associated with sponsorship activities to support new business. His research also includes analysis of Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) data.

Steve has presented his academic papers at academic conferences in Dubai, (ICSB), Vancouver (Academy of Management), Glasgow (ISBE – Best Paper nomination), and Boston (BCERC). Since 2009, he has been an academic writer, lecturer, and adviser to the Babson STEP Project.

Gaklis also is a former Babson College trustee and Alumni Association president. He is presently an overseer at the College, and he sits on several advisory committees including the Advisory Committee on College Priorities (ACCP) and Coaching for Leadership and Teamwork Program (CLTP). He currently owns and operates Nursery Direct, one of the largest horticultural distribution and finance groups in the eastern U.S., and GardenUP.com, an innovative online platform which transforms landscape design, delivery, and installation from a process to a product.

Prior to spinning out Nursery Direct from his family-owned businesses, he co-owned and managed family businesses, which included several horticultural distribution centers, growing operations, retail operations, and real estate located in Canada and the northeast U.S. Olympus Partners purchased family operations in 2004.

He earned his MBA with specialization in statistics and finance from Babson College and his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Cornell University.

Daniel Gay

Daniel Gay M’09 is a principal at Kensington Capital Holdings, a single-family office based in Boston. He is responsible for sourcing and leading new investments directly into businesses and privately managed funds.

Prior to joining Kensington, he was an innovation consultant at Innosight, where he specialized in disruptive innovation strategy and corporate incubation with Fortune 500 clients within the healthcare, media, and technology industries. He serves on the Board of Overseers of Babson College. Gay earned his MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and his BS from the John M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.

Thomas F. Gilbane Jr.

Thomas F. Gilbane Jr. ’70 is the chairman and chief executive officer of Gilbane Inc., a holding company with two principal subsidiaries, Gilbane Building Company of which he is chairman, and Gilbane Development Company. Gilbane sets the strategy and goals for Gilbane Inc., and, in collaboration with the board of directors, directs the organization’s growth through acquisitions or investments.

Under his leadership, Gilbane operates with a “one company” philosophy that maximizes the organization’s resources and expertise on projects and business pursuits. Gilbane has been the driving force behind Gilbane Building Company’s expansion beyond the U.S. domestic market. Gilbane’s extensive geographic footprint now includes more than 50 U.S. and international offices, allowing efficient execution of projects cost-effectively around the world.

Gilbane joined Gilbane Building Company full time in 1970 after having worked six summers in various training assignments. He has served in most field and office positions during his tenure. He was appointed vice president/regional manager in 1976 and moved to Cleveland, Ohio, to open the company’s Midwest offices. In 1983, Gilbane was appointed executive vice president and chief operations officer of Gilbane Building Company, and returned to the corporate office in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1984. He was appointed president and chief operating officer in 1997 and chairman and chief executive officer in 2004. In 2008, Gilbane became president and chief executive officer of Gilbane Inc. and chairman and chief executive officer in 2010.

He currently serves as a director of Gilbane Inc. and all its related entities. Gilbane was recognized by The National Safety Council as one of 2014’s CEOs Who ‘Get It’, an annual recognition of leaders who demonstrate a personal commitment to world-class safety. He also was recently elected chairman of the Construction Industry Round Table board. Additionally, Gilbane is chairman of the ACE Mentor Program of America; a member of the National Academy of Construction and a Babson College trustee. His past appointments include serving as a member of the Brown University Engineering Advisory Committee; Associated General Contractors of America National/Regional Contractor’s Committee; former chairman of the Babson Finance Committee; U.S. Lacrosse Foundation and FairPoint Communications board member; and director for Fleet National Bank in Rhode Island, NYNEX in New England and New York, and In-Sight. He is the former national chairman of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society and has held numerous positions with United Way of America including vice chairman of the board and a member of both the board of directors and the executive committee.

Gilbane graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Business Advanced Management Program; Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Master of Science in civil engineering, majoring in project management; Babson College with a Bachelor of Business Administration in business management; Rhode Island School of Design, Evening Division, with a certificate in building construction; and attended Brown University for three years studying liberal arts.

Alfredo Keri

Alfredo Keri M'16 is a third generation KCP corporation family business owner, based in Venezuela and Colombia. KCP Corporation is the holding group for a hardware and home improvement goods retail and wholesale operation. Alfredo is part of the Keri-Zeppenfeldt Family Council, working with members of the third and fourth generation on family succession and governance. Most of Alfredo's professional experience has been in British American Tobacco (BAT), where he had the opportunity to manage the most important brand ("Belmont") in the tobacco industry in Venezuela. Alfredo earned his MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and has a BA in Law from Universidad Monteavila.​

Stephen Martiros

Stephen Martiros ’83, M’85 is an Entrepreneur in Residence with the Babson Institute of Family Entrepreneurship within The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship. Martiros focuses on helping the institute develop its family business network, drawing on both his experience in launching businesses and his deep understanding of the family enterprise. Martiros is the founder of Financial Building Blocks®, a software as a service knowledge platform that helps organizations provide unbiased financial education to their clients and employees.

Previously, he founded and served as CEO of Summitas, an award-winning cloud application that provides family offices and investment advisers with a secure client portal, for which he was awarded multiple patents. Martiros also served as the managing partner of CCC Alliance, where he helped build America’s largest private network of single-family offices, and led CCC Alliance to the Family Office of the Year award, presented by Institutional Investor’s Private Asset Management magazine. Martiros earned his BS and MBA from Babson College, where he serves on the Board of Overseers, and is a recipient of the College’s Snyder Award for Distinguished Service.

Evelyn Merrill

Evelyn Merrill M'15 is a fourth generation family business owner of several companies based in Seattle, WA. She recently joined her family's drugstore chain, Bartell Drugs, as their Senior Marketing Manager. Responsible for digital marketing, Evelyn is championing several large initiatives including establishing more robust customer data systems, setting up a marketing automation platform and evolving Bartell's online pharmacy experience. Evelyn is also a member of The Bartell-Barber Family Council, working with members of the third and fourth generation on family succession. Prior to working for Bartell Drugs, she worked for an advertising agency in the greater Seattle area in digital marketing and account management. Merrill earned her MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and has a BA in Psychology from Western Washington University ​

Sylvia Shepard

Sylvia Shepard is a family business consultant, a fifth generation family business owner and founder and former chair of the Smith Family Council.  She is a Family Firm Institute Fellow, an FFI certified family business advisor, serves on the Family Business Magazine Board of Advisors, and speaks regularly at family business conferences. Sylvia is also board co-chair of Dieu Donne, an arts organization serving paper pulp artists, executive director of the Jane and Tad Shepard Family Foundation and a partner at Social Venture Partners, CT, a non-profit using engaged philanthropy to address social problems in Connecticut.  Sylvia​​​​ received her BA from Smith College and an MS in Psychiatric Occupational Therapy from Columbia.  After 25 years as a college textbook editor, she discovered the field of family governance and was inspired to pursue her MBA at Babson, where she studied family entrepreneurship with Tim Habbershon.  Sylvia now serves on the board of Overseers at Babson, and the Advisory Council of Babson's Institute for Family Entrepreneurship.  

Contact Us

To learn more about the Babson Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, please contact Associate Professor Matthew Allen​.​

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“Families are the dominant form of business organization worldwide, and they play a leading role in the social and economic wealth creation of communities and countries. For almost a century, Babson College has been at the forefront of educating entrepreneurial families and conducting research and programming to help family enterprises achieve continued growth. Thanks to the generosity of the Bertarelli Foundation, we will make even greater strides developing the entrepreneurial mindsets and capabilities that enable business families to think and act more entrepreneurially in all contexts.”

– President Kerry Healey

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Family Entrepreneurship
Family Entrepreneurship
Sir Richard Branson

Babson was honored to host entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson as a guest speaker during Babson's Family Enterprising Program in July 2015.​​​