Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley

Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley

Praise from Presenters

Presenting to the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley is a Win/Win where the speaker gets as much as they give

Ira Bryck is a true impresario. He has made the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley a hotbed for research on and insight into a neglected corner of the economy. And like all impresarios, he puts on a great show. For me, speaking at one of the Center's dinners was a delight. The audience was forward-looking, good-humored, and public-spirited -- all qualities Ira himself demonstrates and all reasons it's worth the time of anyone with ideas to share to pay a visit.

- Daniel Pink, best selling author and speaker, To Sell is Human, Drive, Free Agent Nation, A Whole New Mind, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

Ira, you are that most rare of all executives: a persistent, charming nudge who gets what and whom he wants by sheer persistence and figuring out exactly what to offer to lower resistance to fawning compliance. If we could bottle Ira, there would not only be peace in the Middle East, but they’d be his presenters at one of his classy seminars.

Working with family businesses has several rewards, one of which is most important: if theylike what they hear, they can act on it immediately without worrying about what Wall Street might think. Ira Bryck's program is full of avid listeners and action takers. It wastes no time on idle chatter and seeks useful new ideas. I certainly felt like my messages on innovation and change were received with enthusiasm and interest. And, as an aside, coming to teach in the fall also gives you a chance to see the magnificent colors of Massachusetts. Great organization. Great audience. Great time.

—Joel Barker, futurist, filmmaker, author of Five Regions of the Future

Dear Ira, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your organization for the "care and feeding" provided as session speaker at your excellent dinner meeting on 12/13/06. From the moment I arrived at the airport until you put me on the train in Amherst, I felt like Martha Washington said, the first time she appeared as the President's wife in Philadelphia, "they treated me as if I were a great somebody."

I do over 150 presentations each year and such traveling about the country makes me pretty thin skinned regarding the comfort the client provides the lonely wandering minstrel. You and your staff more than met the standard. The audience was most receptive, the sound system worked without flaw and I ate well throughout my stay.

I hope I may be able to return in the not too distant future.

PS: Perhaps next time I could bring Alexander Hamilton and Thom Jefferson and let them duke it out?

—William A Sommerfield AKA "America’s George Washington,"
Creative Director, American Historical Theatre, Philadelphia, PA

official Washington of Mount Vernon, emeritus

(pictured here with Jim Getty, official Lincoln, emeritus, of Gettysburg)

Ira! Thanks so much for this. You are the consummate host: generous and thoughtful. Thank you for including Scott and me in your antics. You’re a true visionary and a gem of a person! Good luck with the next dinners. If you think any of them could benefit from improvised examples of their work, you know where to find us! (here is the session)

-Kelsey Flynn, writer, performer, optimist

Ira Bryck's leadership and passion for learning attracts a friendly and diverse group of business professionals. I had a GREAT time speaking to the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley on December 6 on the topic of Communications and Presentations that influence, persuade, engage and entertain. I explained why a skill works and demonstrated its application to sales, conference presentations and difficult business conversations. Ira's organization and communications were top-shelf - from the initial invitation to speak, to his post-presentation testimonial. The venue, accommodations and speaker support were wonderful extras that added to a very satisfying speaker experience. The attendees' positive evaluations were icing on the cake! Thank you for the opportunity to promote clarity, confidence and connection in speakers worldwide.

- Eileen Sinett, Speaking that Connects

Of the many business groups and conferences at which I've spoken across New England, the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley has been the best. The event was meticulously organized, the attendees were full of energy, and Ira's passion for learning and growth permeated the atmosphere. Speaking to this group was truly a pleasure in every way, and I hope to return as an attendee for future events. Ira--thank you!

- Nate Wolfson, Certified EOS Implementer & Business Coach, Cultivate Traction

Ira Bryck's down-to-earth warmth, creativity and sheer smarts has consistently attracted innovation and cutting-edge knowledge to the family business community of Western Massachusetts. If you speak here, bring your best stuff and stay on your toes - Under Ira's leadership, the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley's savvy members respond enthusiastically to breakthrough ideas and application to real life, while deploring humdrum and pretense. They're justifiably picky because they are accustomed to hearing some of the best speakers in the WORLD. This is a culture that has been intentionally led by a master promoter (Ira) who insists on substance over glitz. I found Ira to be welcoming and warm, yet rigorously dedicated to excellence. I know what you're thinking: warmth and rigor is a hard combo to deliver on, but I'm telling you, this guy brings the real goods while connecting exquisitely with his diverse members. If you doubt this, sit in on one of his packed dinner programs. I have savored and remembered the vitality in the room as one of the finest experiences of audience engagement I've had.

- John Engels, President, Leadership Coaching, Inc., Rochester NY

Ira, I found your preparation to be spot on. The organization and timing of the event was great. You created an open and welcoming atmosphere that ran very professionally. Thank you.

- Matthew F. Moriarty, Captain, Holyoke Police Department

Ira runs a superb array of programs at the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley. He possesses a deep understanding of the ways that family-run firms tick -- both in terms of what they do uniquely well and in terms of the special challenges that they face. His strategic advice is first-rate. His empathy is unfailing. And he knows exactly when to interject a little bit of levity to help everyone work through the hard stuff. I had the privilege of speaking at two of Ira's events. He was a gracious and supremely well-organized host during a period when unexpected outside events required us to regroup on short notice. Even hurricanes can't slow him down.

- George Anders, author of The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else

Jason JenningsThink Big

Each year I do eighty paid speeches around the world. It's both heady and humbling that organizations think enough of me and my work that they're prepared to pay big money to put me in front of their audience.

But, I'm also reminded on a daily basis that, to he who much is given much will be asked. For that reason I also do a number of pro bono or low fee speeches for organizations whose mission is noble but who lack the funding to bring in high price authors and thought leaders.

Last year, one of those events I did was for the Family Business Center at the University of Massachusetts. It was one of the highlights of my year!

The audience of family business owners genuinely seeking advice and guidance about how to achieve their full economic potential and with an authentic thirst for knowledge validated my work in ways that money alone doesn't provide.

If you're lucky enough to be asked respond with a resounding YES!

You really have no choice!

—Jason Jennings,
author of Think Big, Act Small, Less Is More, and It's Not the Big that Eat the Small, It's the Fast that Eat the Slow


Thank you very much for inviting me to speak to the members of Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley. The event was well organized and you and the Family Business Center made it a pleasant trip. Your group was excellent and their interest created a great give and take during the question & answer period. Wish we had more time for questions, I think we could have gone on for at least another ½ hour—perhaps another time we can. It was also a pleasure to speak with many of your members before and after the session. . I would greatly enjoy working with you and the Family Business Center again in the future.

Regards, Bob Wilkening, Wilkening and Company, Chicago, IL

The Starbucks Experience

I have been blessed to present worldwide from Saudi Arabia to Barbados. Nowhere have I found a better organized event with a more inquisitive and warm audience than at the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley. Ira Bryck, the meeting organizer, is passionate about transferring knowledge. In turn, business leaders who attend are there to learn, laugh, and enjoy camaraderie. Presenting for Ira was a highlight for me. Not only did I learn from the accomplished group of attendees, but my passion for sharing business knowledge was enlivened by their energy and responsiveness.

—Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., author of The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary

Ross Shafer

I speak to about 100 organizations a year and am a teaching fellow at a respected university, so it is my high praise to say that speaking to the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley was one of the most rewarding engagements I've ever done. We can all learn from Ira Bryck and the program he has built, infusing every component (top notch speakers, newsletter, program content) with a refreshing energy that keeps the program vital and rewarding for the participants and speakers alike. Ira does a first class job in every category, paying attention to every detail and every need of the family business community, keeping it relevant, personal, state of the art and fun.. Please take the time to get to know Ira Bryck and the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley. You'll leave a changed person.

Ross Shafer, author of Nobody Moved Your Cheese, Customer Empathy, and The Customer Shouts Back!


Parents Sign Paychecks

As a speaker to groups both nationally and internationally, I realize how crucial the role of the host is in making the event successful not only for me, but more importantly for the members of the group. In my years as a speaker, I have met no one more prepared, professional, and more of a champion of their group than Ira Bryck. This experience at the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley epitomizes what it is to work with Ira Bryck: low maintenance with high return. Working with Ira Bryck means the process is collaborative and the energy goes towards maximizing the experience for the members.

—Greg McCann, author of When Your Parents Sign the Paychecks

Principled Profit

In my two presentations to the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley, and in twelve years of working with Ira Bryck and the Center in a different capacity, I've seen the Center present an ever-widening agenda of informative and useful programs that go far beyond most Family Business Centers. As a speaker, I have found the audience unusually attentive and perceptive, the logistics appropriate, and the dialogue highly stimulating. I'd recommend that any speaker with relevant topics consider speaking to the FBC.

—Shel Horowitz, award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and six other books, and founder of the Business Ethics Pledge and

Ira: You had a great group that grasped research quickly and had a true interest in preserving what's best about our country: family, business, free enterprise, a strong work ethic, and a commitment to the betterment of society through personal responsibility.

- Joseph H. Astrachan, Ph.D., Cox Family Enterprise Center, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA

Addressing the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley was an honor, a pleasure, and boon for me. The invitation was an honor because there is no other organization in the region that consistently assembles such a high quality audience of business owners committed to the best practices of entrepreneurship. The address was a pleasure because the attendees were eager learners, active participants, and savvy professionals. Lastly, the speaking opportunity was a boon for my consultancy because it resulted in a valuable client engagement with an outstanding company. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

—J. Sheldon Snodgrass, MBA, The Steady Sales Group,
"Helping you get a dollar out of every dime spent on sales & marketing!"

The Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley has a wonderfully inquisitive and receptive membership. It was a pleasure to address them and to keep in touch with some of the Center’s members for years afterwards.

—David Gage, Ph.D., BMC Associates, Leaders in Business Mediation and Collaboration,

Members of the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley in general, and Ira Bryck in particular, are smart, inquisitive, adventuresome and warm. They are committed to their organizations' success and their own personal growth...even when painful. Through his high caliber programs and his stringent groundrules, Ira creates a safe environment for members to challenge and adjust their beliefs, assumptions and strategies.

Having been invited to speak several times about leadership, creativity and organizational change, I felt well rewarded by the positive response and full engagement of the audiences, as well as opportunities to work with some family businesses. I was also inspired to stretch my own limits in seeking to offer something different and meaningful to this very savvy group of leaders.

—Ingrid Bredenberg, M.A., Bredenberg Associates

Igniting the Power of People!, Producer of Numinescence - Creative Visualizations for Creativity, Connection & Courage

I have presented to the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley more than once, and these were perhaps my most memorable presentations ever. From the graciousness of the Director to the responsiveness of the audiences, the entire experience was a pleasure! I guarantee an interesting discussion, and I'm sure you, like I, will find yourself learning at least as much as you teach.

—Alex Hiam, Insights for Training, and author, The Starfish Files

Ira asked me to present at a Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley forum in the spring of 2005. I was on a panel with three other local consultants and we were addressing the question of how organizations face change. We accepted the challenge and so did the audience. Family business members were quick to ask questions and express their opinions. It was a lively evening that allowed the presenters to understand that the business owners had plenty of answers! I would strongly endorse a speaker to participate with Ira and the great group he has assembled!

—Peter Zimmer,
Family Business Consultant, Enfield, CT

Sustaining the Family Business

Please let it be known that the UMass Family Business program ranks in my list of top 10. I have visited over 30 university based programs lecturing on the content of my book "Sustaining the Family Business" and with few exemptions this is one of the best managed program in the country. Ira Bryck is a creative and dynamic leader that pushes the envelope on bringing to his members the latest word on dealing with family business issues. I look forward to reading his emails. If you're not on his e-mail list you must sign up to read his comments on issues that effect every business leader.

—Marshall Paisner, Scrub-a-Dub Car Wash,
author of Sustaining the Family Business: An Insider's Guide to Managing Across Generations

Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley members are attentive, perceptive and will ask you engaging, thoughtful questions. In presentations to this great group, I've found that if I listen deeply, respect their high intellectual and emotional intelligence (e.g. avoid infomercials, glossing over challenges and/or withholding key information/processes you want to sell them later) they will reward you with their trust, their business and their deep insight. You'll learn as much as they do.

—Paul Lipke, Sustainable Step New England
Building the capacity of organizations to thrive while strengthening our shared environment and communities

Just a quick note to tell you how much I have enjoyed my experiences with the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley, both as a presenter, (on coaching issues) and as a part of a panel (on hiring issues). I found the attendees to be an interesting mix of committed professionals, and I was delighted with how welcoming, attentive, and dedicated to their own continuous learning they were. I found their questions in the "Q & A" segment to be well thought out, respectful, and intriguing. Their appreciation for the time and information I offered made it really fun to be there, and I was glad that so many of them approached me after my scheduled time, to give appreciative feedback and express thanks. I also really enjoyed the way you began the question and answer period with your own insightful and intelligent questions. It sets a tone of relaxed, curious inquiry mixed with humor, that sets the participants up to follow suit in a very comfortable way. It's obvious that this is a group very used to hosting a myriad of presenters within their learning community.
I admit I'm disappointed that your decision to continually find new and different speakers for your group would prevent you from calling on me more frequently. Please let me know if you change your mind, and I'd be back in a heartbeat! Thanks for all the great work that you do, Ira, and congratulations on your track record of success!

—Jan Morton, Illuminating your people matters

I've had the honor of presenting to the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley a number of times over the years and have detected a remarkable consistency in both the invitations by Ira Bryck and the responses of the Center's members: both consistently and vastly broaden my professional concept "space." Just when I feel that experience is giving me a handle on the difficult interface between hypothesis and practice, Ira suggests a new equation or different variable for a workshop. This forces me to restructure my thinking along more fertile paths, which thinking, in turn is broadened and stropped by the sophisticated Family Business Center members as they question and respond. This is not necessarily a comfortable experience, but it always, always is exhilarating.

—Don Jonovic Real-world resources for family businesses and farms

The UMass Business Family Center and Ira Bryck could not have been more accommodating and gracious to me both concerning the arrangements and when I spoke there. The audience was an extremely engaged community of family business owners who generously support each other in dealing with their common issues. I recommend them highly to any speaker who has a perspective to share with this uniquely outstanding group!

—Michael S. Broder, Ph.D.,
Psychologist and Author: Can Your Relationship Be Saved? How To Know Whether To Stay Or Go

I have warm memories of my evening presentation to your enthusiastic membership as well as the special discussion we had with many professional advisors from your surrounding area. Both groups were lively, and ready to share their experiences. I view the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley as one of the best of its kind.

—Kenneth Kaye, Ph.D.,
author of The Dynamics of Family Business and the blog "Family Business Matters," consisting of fictional stories based on actual family business challenges.

Kids and Money

Just a note to let you know that presenting my "How to Gimme-Proof Your Kids" workshop at the Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley was a terrific experience. Your members comprise one of the most intelligent and responsive audiences that I've had the pleasure of addressing. They were receptive to considering tough issues, such as the challenge of preparing the next generation to be financially savvy and responsible before they inherit the family business -- or the wealth it has created. At most workshops, attendees tend to ask the same predictable questions, but your members posed refreshingly thoughtful and provocative questions. Thanks so much for inviting me to offer my workshop to your organization!

Best wishes!

—Jayne Pearl,
Freelance Writer/Editor, Speaker and Author, Kids and Money,,

It was a pleasure to present before your Family Business Center. A large multi generational audience of family business members demonstrated its commitment to lifelong learning and stimulated significant interaction among one another. It was a presenter's dream come true.

—Paul I. Karofsky,
Transition Dynamics, Director Emeritus of the Center for Family Business at Northeastern University

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