The next generation of women in families are advancing gender equality while leading their businesses to even greater success through innovation and collaboration.
Yet they still face challenges. Women are underrepresented at the leadership level of global business and family firms are unfortunately no exception.
Senior management roles held by women worldwide increased by a mere 1% in the decade to 2017, according to the newly launched Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London.
Only 7.7% of the 262 family offices surveyed by Campden Research for The Global Family Office Report 2017 had female chief executives.
In an effort to increase the awareness of this next generation of leaders, CampdenFBwill champion 20 of these ones to watch throughout this month of September, starting with our first five: Ruchi Dana, Lydia Forte, Marcella Kanfer Rolnick, Alisha Moopen, and Laura Rea Dickey.
While still sitting on the board of her $500-million-a-year family group Dana, Dr Ruchi Dana has managed to earn her MBA from Stanford and found two businesses. Jugaad, an on-demand last mile logistics provider in the UAE, and Pik A Venture, a crowdfunding accelerator platform for South-East Asia. Her father is Indian magnate Dr Birbal Singh Dana, who moved to Dubai and set up Dana, a steel group with business concentrated around India, Qatar, and Libya. Still in her early thirties, Ruchi’s contributions to the family business include helping it diversify into lubricants, retail, and hospitality.
In her early thirties, Lydia Forte has forged a career in some of London’s top restaurants, earning her MBA from INSEAD and learning five languages along the way. Forte’s main responsibility today is bar and restaurant manager at Rocco Forte Hotels, founded by her father. During her tenure, she has increased revenue at the 14 restaurants and bars by 20%, and profit by 30%. Food and beverage accounts for up to 35% of revenue at the luxury hotel chain, which turned over £193 million ($246 million) in 2017. Forte won CampdenFB’s Top Family Business Rising Star Award at the European Families in Business Awards 2018.
As the first female leader of her family’s diverse enterprise GOJO Industries, Marcella Kanfer Rolnick says she wants to be both an industry leader and role model for other working mothers. She took over as chair earlier this year, when her father Joe Kanfer retired, with him describing her as “my confidant and partner for nearly her whole life”. Kanfer Rolnick studied at Princeton before completing her MBA at Stanford. GOJO Industries’ most famous product is the hand sanitiser Purell and the company turns over about $300 million annually. She founded the Lippman-Kanfer Foundation and sits on a number of other non-profit boards.
Alisha Moopen, named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in the Arab World by Arabian Business Magazine, is a healthcare and women’s activist, and chief executive of the Gulf Cooperation Council-area of her family business, Aster Healthcare. Overseeing 85 clinics and seven hospitals, Moopen is the daughter of Azad Moopen, an Indian-born physician and philanthropist worth more than $5 billion who has developed numerous healthcare businesses in Asia-Pacific. Her own philanthropy is mainly through the Aster DM Foundation, which assists children with congenital heart disease.
Laura Rea Dickey is the granddaughter-in-law of Travis Dickey, who founded Dickey's Barbecue Pit in Texas in 1941, and became chief executive of the US restaurant chain in 2017. Rea Dickey joined the 550-restaurant business after 15 years working in marketing and technology. When the recession hit, her husband Ronald Dickey Jr said his $300-million-a-year family business needed her expertise, and she started as chief information officer. When her husband was elevated to the family’s holding company, she became chief executive to oversee departments and continue to roll out Dickey’s big data initiative Smoke Stack, alongside a new smartphone app and an Alexa interface for the kitchen.