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All in the Family Business: Multi-Generation Family Members Discuss Growing the Family Business

Nov 4, 2019

At this session of the 2019 Private Wealth & Family Office Summit, Lisë Stewart, principal-in-charge of EisnerAmper’s Center for Family Business, spoke with members of the Doyle family, who run a fourth-generation family business. The discussion focused on how the Doyle family keep both their business and their family thriving. John G. Doyle, Jr. is president and CEO of Doyle Security Systems, Inc. John has four children, two of which currently work in the family business:  Jack Doyle and Alexandra Justis. Jack is director of business development at the company and Alexandra is an executive administrator and marketing specialist.

John learned early on that communication is critical to success. As a result, he believes in complete transparency. He engages his family and his team early and often. He also feels that outside consultants help to strengthen the business. An outside consultant gives everyone, family or not, the opportunity to speak freely and confidentially.

Family meetings continue to be a priority. He and his wife Lauren started family meetings when the children were young. The meetings provided an atmosphere for the children to learn about business operations and what would be expected of them if they chose to come into the family business. The Doyles developed a family constitution that sets a strong foundation for stewardship and governance. The goal always is to preserve family harmony. Keeping the family strong keeps the business strong.

One of the family rules for the children is to work elsewhere prior to joining Doyle Security. Both Jack and Alexandra had several years of experience outside the family business. As for the family meetings; as teenagers, the meetings were just meetings. Now as adults and employees, Jack and Alexandra realize the importance of the meetings and how much those meeting have prepared them for their roles.

The Doyles recognize and embrace the work that needs to be done to preserve the family, grow the business and create a family legacy. Family business can be difficult; the key for the Doyle family is frequent, open and honest communication.

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JoAnne Geylin

JoAnne Geylin has experience advising clients in the areas of individual, trust and small business income tax planning and compliance.

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