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NextGen Peer Group

NextGen is a facilitated peer group designed to equip the next generation in a family business for leadership.

Who should join?

The next generation of family business leaders who:

  • Work in the family business
  • Are interested in future leadership as owners, board members, and/or executives
  • Are in mid-level management of businesses which are (or are willing to become) members of FBA
  • Want to share with and learn from their peers, and some of the best family business leaders West Michigan can offer, in a safe, confidential, friendly, and structured setting.

Please Note: Networking primarily for lead generation is not a program goal.

Program Structure

Six to nine people in each group. A group will meet 10–12 times per year for three hours with a trained volunteer facilitator. No siblings or competitors will be in the same group. Group members will be assigned to groups by the Group Coordinator. A high level of confidentiality is required from all involved, including each group member, facilitator, and all FBA staff. A company's size and other factors may also be considered in creating groups. Facilitators will have had small group facilitation training and experience.

Typical meeting agendas:

  • Quick update from each member
  • Presentation by a business leader or outside expert on self-selected topics, or discussion on a relevant reading topic.
  • "Issue of the Day" from the current experience of one or more group members. The purpose of these discussions is to provide an opportunity to learn from each other's experiences and help each other think through major issues. Initially, these will often be a facility tour and explanation of the business of one of the members.

For more information, please contact Ellie Frey Zagel, Director, FBA at 616-771-0574 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Tim Schad

Co-Chair & CEO, Nucraft Furniture
Family Business Alliance Board Member
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Rachel Mraz

Co-Chair & VP & Wealth Management Advisor, The DeVries, Freeburg & Mraz Group
Family Business Alliance Board Member
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Praise for NextGen Peer Group

"The Family Business Alliance has been an integral part of my personal and professional success as a businessperson. The relevance of the content presented at each FBA event and the next generation peer group meetings have truly shaped my career.  As a result, my knowledge, drive, and skills have been improved as a next generation business leader. Yet the most portable benefit for me has been the authentic and lasting relationships I've had the pleasure of developing in the next generation peer group setting.  I have learned from, encourage, and grown with my fellow peer group members each and every meeting."

"Participating in the NextGen Peer Group has accelerated growth in every aspect of my business leadership.  It provides a forum that promotes growth in knowledge, strategic thinking, accountability for myself and my peers, communication, critical thinking, and so many other key components of effective leadership within a family business (or any business!).  And most importantly, I now have a network of peers in similar situations with deep roots of trust that allow us to discuss absolutely anything that needs to be shared, from family dynamics within the business to challenging personal situations, some of which have nothing to do with the business.  The value that I receive from participating in this group is immeasurable."