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Meet David Karofsky of The Family Business Consulting Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Karofsky.

David, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up being part of our family’s 3rd generation wholesale wallpaper distribution business which my great-grandmother started in 1915.

Watching my father and grandfather work together was very special and although I never formally worked there (the business was sold in 1988), I did have the opportunity to see the pleasure of working in a family business.

After graduating Bowdoin College in 1993, I attend Boston University where I received my Ed.M in Counseling Psychology and then several years later I received my MBA from Northeastern University. In my career as a family business consultant, I always joke that I use my degree in Counseling Psychology 10-1 to my MBA because I work with families.

After many careers over many years, at the age of 39, I joined my father in his family business consulting practice. We had a great differentiator being a father-son team working with other family businesses.

Ten years, dozens of clients, several speaking engagements and one book later, I had the tremendous opportunity to join one of the foremost family business consulting practices in the field, The Family Business Consulting Group. It was a transition opportunity as my father was slowing his consulting down and I was continuing to grow mine.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would say the biggest challenge was finding my professional passion. I enjoyed the careers I had along the way including everything from counseling kids in a juvenile prison to real estate brokerage and development to marketing at EMC and running marketing for a software start-up. But it wasn’t until I joined my father in our family business consulting practice that I truly found my passion: helping other families enjoy working with each other while creating a sustainable business for the long term. I am a firm believer that you need to enjoy what you do and if you do, you will be good at it.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Family Business Consulting Group – what should we know?
In 2017, I transitioned from running my own family business consulting practice with my father to joining The Family Business Consulting Group. With over 2,300 client families in 70 countries, our consultant team has successfully led businesses across industries, family structures, and cultures through the issues, both common and uncommon, faced by families in business together. I specialize in helping families in business address challenges including communication, transition/succession of the business, conflict resolution, strategic planning and governance creation.

I most proud of the fact that we, as a firm, have a positive impact on the clients we serve in such a way that they not only perform better as business but more importantly, the families come together to enjoy working with each other and become aligned on the long-term viability of the family business.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Listening. Communication is the foundation of a successful family business. In working with family businesses, I often feel like a translator as I help family members better communicate with each other. Many times, one family member is saying one thing while it is being heard differently by another family member because of the history and family dynamics that come into play. My ability to listen, hear both sides and help family members to better hear each other is probably the most important characteristic that has led to my success as a family business consultant.

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