Family Business

Empowering non-family executives in a small, fourth generation family business


5 min




Listen to the Beaches, a fourth generation family who owns and operates Basin Harbour Club in Vermont, USA, describe how they are integrating more outside talent in the management and decision-making of the family business to ensure its long-term sustainability. Employing non-family members in a family business can help bring innovative ideas to the business as well as bring long-term success by initiating change that family members would not engage in on their own.


« Back to Catalogue


Bob Beach Jr.
Unlike my parents’ generation, we established a backbone of key people who are very capable of running this property without Pennie or I, so we have in place the elements to continue to operate this property forever.

Jocelyn Vandal
The inception of the Executive Committee was a decision that was sprung by a lot of discussion amongst ourselves with the owner and said, “We need to like, have a decision-making nucleus that involves just the few of us as opposed to all the department heads where we end up around a table and we are suddenly you know, we are twenty people and you know, we talk about state of business but we are not strategizing.”

Rachel Novak
Prior to the Executive Committee, everyone reported to Bob and Pennie, so it was spreading them very thin. So we ... View More restructured and the departments were put under the six of us.

Brian Goodyear
I think Bob and Pennie were looking for a different way to manage the resort because they are so open to employees and because their offices are right next to so many people it was you know, very easy to bend one of their ears.

Pennie Beach
With two of us being the boss sometimes people go to one or the other of us and you know, make things happen. Like children going to mom and dad and going behind somebody’s back or something like that.

Bob Beach Jr.
It is really important to bring fresh ideas into a property and that is what is so great of having a team of really devoted individuals that work with us.

Rachel Novak
I think change for both of them is a little daunting so that is where I feel like myself and some of my other team members come in terms of you know, pushing them towards improving things and making change.

Brian Goodyear
It definitely allows myself or another person on the Executive Committee to wear the black hat a little bit more often than maybe it was worn in the past.

Rachel Novak
The Executive Committee, sometimes we get into heated debates or discussions and I think sometimes we are not allowed to really like have the discussion to the extent that it should be had. I think sometimes it is just suppressed a little bit you know, no kids, do not fight, kind of thing.

Jocelyn Vandal
A lot of times you know, we should vote as a nucleus and we do not really. So we follow the owners, if one of them says, “Well, I want to do this” we all follow it. Then that is there it gets tricky is that when they are not on the same page so you say well that is where a vote needs to happen again and stuff like that, it does not always.

Brian Goodyear
Bob and Pennie are on the Executive Committee along with everyone else, but let us face it they have the right to veto, all of us know that and although there are certainly some discussions that come that we can build consensus from, I still know whose resort this is and who are the people that I work for and who I want the people that work for myself, I want them to know that it is still Bob and Pennie, the ones that running the show and the ones that continue to make this a successful property.