Educate. Connect. Grow. Meeting the unique challenges of family businesses for over 25 years.

UConn's Family Business Program helps family businesses adapt and thrive in today’s rapidly changing economic and business climate. Through business and family-systems programming, we help you prepare and propel your business through innovative business strategy, organizational structure, management practices, human resources, leadership development, and succession planning. Equally important as learning from such programming, the Family Business Program is a collaborative, member-driven initiative, allowing you to share challenges and solutions and learn from each other through our network.



Throughout the year, the UConn Family Business Program sponsors a variety of events and programs designed to bring maximum value to family businesses. These special events are collaborative events with organizations that support the family business ecosystem. Check back regularly for new events, or sign up here to become a member of the Family Business Program community and receive email notifications.


Family Business Program Ambassadors

The UConn Family Business Ambassadors are volunteers committed to helping family businesses in the region. They are professionals who are involved with and dedicated to our Family Business Program. Many operate family businesses themselves, and all are experts in their field with proven track records helping family businesses succeed.  They can provide resources, experience and expertise to help strengthen your business. Please feel free to reach out to them!


Jonathan Belek

Risk Management Consultant, Sinclair Risk and Financial Management

Since graduating from the UConn School of Business in 2006, Jon Belek has been putting his finance and risk management education to good use acting as a trusted advisor to some of New England’s oldest and most successful family businesses. Through his work as a Business and Risk consultant to Multi-Generational Family Business Leaders & Owners, Jon has developed a deep knowledge and appreciation for what it takes to be a successful company. In 2009 Jon’s first employer sold to a large private equity firm. He decided it was important to partner with a local family business with best in class people, products and services to help his clients succeed.  Jon found this partner in Sinclair Risk & Financial Management in Wallingford, CT, and remains a partner and leader in the company today. Jon’s respect for the odds against the successful transition to future generations and expertise in the risk-facing family businesses is what drives his passion. Embracing “Family Businesses helping Family Businesses,” Jon advises family businesses on how to become best in class in their respective industry and derive all the benefits that come with the status. 

Mary Kay Della Camera

Microenterprise Business Advisor, CTSBDC

Mary Kay Della Camera is passionate about helping people reach their full potential, accessing the resources they need to succeed with their small business and and has been working with CTSBDC since its relaunch in 2013. She works with pre-venture clients across the state and across all industries, to develop and refine their business plan, connect with the right resources, assist with navigating Federal and state regulations relative to business start, and guiding entrepreneurs through the challenges and execution of their business decisions. Mary Kay earned her BA in Religious Studies from Albertus Magnus College and her MS in Clinical Social Work from Columbia University. She went on to earn a Sixth Year Professional Diploma in Administration-Supervision from Southern Connecticut State University. She has extensive experience in business advising, assessment, resource provision, project management, and outreach.

Paul Gagne

The Workforce Alliance

Paul Gagne has been in Workforce Development for 10 years as a Business Service Specialist along with roles as a workshop facilitator, case manager and job developer.  Paul also has 14 years’ experience as a sales and service professional within the insurance, retirement and finance industry where he spent seven years at MassMutual along with The Hartford, New York Life, Combined Insurance and First Eastern Mortgage. Throughout his diverse work experience, Paul honed his strong interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills to gain and retain clientele.  In addition, Paul graduated Summa cum laude from Albertus Magnus. Paul’s passion is economic and social equality. He has been dedicating his time and resources on ways to utilize other public and private community partners to empower the working class.

Matthew Kerzner

Managing Director, Eisner Amper

Matthew Kerzner, is a Director in the Center Family Business Excellence Group within the Private Business Services Practice. Matt has more than 25 years of experience in organizational development with a specialization in assisting family businesses and closely held businesses with addressing transition, financial stability and sustainability, and human performance management matters. Matt works with clients developing a strategic plan that acknowledges the issues and dynamics of both the family and the business in order to develop succession plans that prepare the next generation leaders to succeed. Prior to joining the firm, Matt was Vice President of a health care management firm and led the human resources for the company. Matt is an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Haven, and has presented on a range of topics including, human resources and labor negotiations. In addition, he co-wrote and presented “Meditation as Teaching and Learning Tool Theory, Practice and Testimony.”

Marc Kitz

Sales Coach / Consultant, Kitz Consulting, LLC

Marc has over 37 years of experience driving new business as a Sales Representative, Coach/Mentor and Sales Manager. He has closed over $200 Million in his career for Fortune 100 and small organizations including Hewlett Packard (Technology Services – 18 years), OEM Partner Organizations (Technology Services – 11 years) and NCR (Business Forms – 4 years). Marc has a strong track record for finding new business and managing thru complex sales processes. He is focused on giving back by sharing his experience through Sales Coaching and on his Sales Coaching blog – marckitz.com.

Dan McMahon

Founder and Managing Partner, Integrated Growth Advisors

Dan’s career has consisted of 25 years working in Chicago and New England as a CPA and business advisor with focused experience on serving professional services firms. Prior to founding Integrated Growth Advisors, Dan served as an Audit Partner and the Partner-in-Charge of Sales and Marketing for a $30 million revenue regional public accounting firm based in New England where he also specialized in governance and controls. Integrated Growth Advisors, LLC (“IGA”) was formed with the mission to assist small to medium sized businesses attain sustainable growth through strategic planning and tactical follow through. IGA is a business advisory firm skilled in the development and implementation of business processes focused on solving the challenges businesses face from the perspective of strategic planning, growth and financial risk assessment.Dan has served in a variety of volunteer capacities including as a member of the Accounting Principles Committee for the Illinois CPA Society, the workplace coordinator for the Greater Hartford Arts Council United Arts Campaign, a member of the Marlborough, Connecticut Board of Finance, a charter member of the Board of Directors for the Exit Planning Exchange, Connecticut Chapter and as a Board member for the Community Investment Corporation.

Bing Murphy

Finance Director, Northeast Towers Inc. 

Vincent ‘Bing’ Murphy is a seasoned Chief Financial Officer specializing in the successful financial management of privately-held, family-owned business.  His financial career begin in 1993 as a small business Commercial Loan Underwriter and Loan Officer.  In 1998, he became a licensed financial planner focusing on investment and retirement strategies and programs for privately-held businesses.  Since 2003, he has been an accomplished ‘big picture’ Chief Financial Officer for four different privately-held, family-owned companies in Connecticut.  He is a good listener and a great financial translator.  Bing is a graduate of the University of Hartford in 1988. 

Julie Paine-Miller

Vice President, Paine's Inc.

One could say that Julie Paine-Miller has been a part of Paine’s from the day she was born! Julie is the daughter of Russ and Molly Paine. Russ has since retired and Molly still works as the company’s Software Analyst. Julie started her working career at Paine’s in 2004 as a Customer Service Representative. In 2009 she was promoted to Executive Associate and in 2014 she became the company’s Vice President. Today she is actively involved in the daily operation of our multi generational family owned business; learning and coping with the ever evolving aspects and challenges of the waste industry. Whether it’s dealing with new legislation or keeping her employees safe during a world pandemic, Julie is up for the challenge. A strong believer in the power of the team, Julie can often be found working with all the departments to find a new and better way to get things done.

Rebecca Pardoe

President, Results HR, LLC

Rebecca has over twenty-five years of human resources experience with small businesses, many of them family-owned. Before launching Results HR, she worked with a series of rapidly-growing businesses in a range of industries, typically as the first human resources professional hired. In addition to honing her management skills, from first-line supervision to executive positions, the small business environment gave her hands-on exposure to marketing, sales, and operations. Through her early experience in social work and psychology, she developed communication and problem-solving skills that enrich her human resources practice to this day. Rebecca’s special talent is building a solid yet flexible human resources infrastructure to attract high-quality talent and accomplish real-world business goals. Through her consulting practice, she provides outsourced Human Resources support, from strategic-level advice to hands-on help. She acts as an experienced, down to earth partner who works collaboratively to understand the client’s unique culture and develop practical solutions that work for their operation. Typical services include employee handbooks, job descriptions, performance management and compensation programs, management training and coaching, and systems and support for hiring, onboarding, leaves of absence, and separations. Client industries include healthcare, manufacturing, nonprofits, restaurants, B2B sales, and many others.

Joseph Raycraft

Export Finance Manager, Office of International Trade, U.S. Small Business Administration

In his role, Joe is responsible for providing trade finance expertise and technical guidance to the USEAC’s business and lending communities while promoting the SBA’s export assistance programs to exporters and lenders throughout New England. Joe brings 20+ years of private sector business experience, including international roles in manufacturing, commercial finance and commercial lending. His commercial lending experience includes working at a commercial finance company and various commercial banks in the Hartford area. For the past three years, Joe worked as a commercial relationship manager at a Connecticut-based Community Bank where he supported small businesses, with a particular focus on family-owned businesses, with their commercial banking, financing and cash management needs. In this role he utilized SBA’s 7a and 504 loan programs. Most of Joe’s experience is international as for 19 years his focus was on the marketing, underwriting and financing of projects using the four largest U.S. government loan guaranty programs, including Ex-Im Bank, OPIC/DFC, SBA and USDA providing short, medium and long-term financing to small businesses active in global markets. Joe earned his bachelor’s degree in Finance from Babson College and master’s in International Affairs from Ohio University.

Christine Sullivan

Operations Team Lead, Business Advisor, CTSBDC

Christine enjoys helping entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve their next milestone. Whether it’s developing a business plan or finding the right source of capital, Christine can help advise on the best plan to achieve the company’s short- and long-term goals. Prior to joining CTSBDC, Christine worked in investment banking for nearly 20 years where she focused on technology and food and beverage companies. During her career, she realized how rewarding it was to work with earlier stage businesses where she could see that her advice was having a real impact on the company’s growth and success.

Denise Whitford

Customer Acquisition Team Lead, Business Advisor, CTSBDC

Denise Whitford has earned a reputation as a seasoned Business Advisor, where she brings nearly 35 years of professional economic development and financial services experience. With more than two decades of experience in bank operations, lending, sales, and service management, Denise shares her knowledge and extensive business acumen to help her clients build the best chance of enduring growth and profitability. A creative force of positive, focused energy, Denise provides her clients with competitive insight, technical skills, and strategic guidance to drive their success in both domestic and international markets. Denise earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA. After working through numerous mergers and acquisitions in the banking industry, Denise earned an MBA from UConn with concentrations in Management and Human Resources and recently received Certified Global Business Professional accreditation from NASBITE (National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators).

Joe Williams

Capital Access Team Lead, Business Advisor, CTSBDC

For Joseph Williams, the most rewarding aspect of being a CTSBDC business advisor is giving back on a daily basis, spotting individuals ready to take a leap toward achieving their goals. As Joseph would tell you, his role is to ensure their vision is well-supported and viable as they prepare for the inevitable challenges ahead. Full of positive energy and always pleased to meet new people, Joseph brings many years of entrepreneurial and nonprofit executive experience to those he serves. A master of strategic planning, communication and business development, he helps clients appreciate the essential elements of success—passion, common sense and a desire to be the best at whatever they are trying to achieve.

Cathy Wynne

Owner, A Hire Purpose, LLC

Cathy Wynne has worked in Talent Acquisition in both Corporate and Franchised Staffing & Recruiting organizations for 30 years. President of A Hire Purpose, LLC, she creates and inspires authentic conversations to align talent, purpose and goals for employment and business success. Cathy is an energetic natural leader who works with small and medium sized businesses to identify their specific needs for talent and to strategize the approach to marketing the employer brand and unique value proposition in talent attraction, onboarding, and retention. Industries Cathy has served include non-profit, financial services, insurance, retail, home care, distribution, manufacturing, and more. Frequently called upon to assist with critical recruiting needs, A Hire Purpose will engage in Contingency Search or Hourly Consulting.

Lisa Zaccardelli

Partner, Hinckley Allen

Lisa practices in all areas of civil litigation with a concentration on employment law litigation and commercial matters. A substantial part of her practice includes non-compete, business tort, and trade secret litigation cases. Lisa also regularly handles eminent domain and tax abatement matters and cases. Lisa routinely represents employers on matters related to disputes with their employees including employment discrimination matters, ADA and FMLA claims, wrongful discharge, breach of employment contracts, unfair labor practices, wage and hour disputes, and retaliation claims in state and federal court and administrative agencies. She regularly counsels employers in these matters and in matters related to employment practices including employee discipline, internal investigations and compliance with wage and hour laws. She has single handedly handled the trial of cases to verdict, appeals, arbitrations, jury selections, and mediations. Lisa regularly conducts seminars and training on sexual harassment, diversity and ADA public accommodations for management of client companies. She is a frequent lecturer on the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Bob Zelinger

Partner, Hinckley Allen

Bob Zelinger is a business lawyer who concentrates his practice on providing legal services to middle market, privately-held enterprises, including start-up business organizations and emerging growth companies.  He advises his clients on selecting the legal forms of operation, obtaining and documenting financial arrangements, compliance with regulations, and the negotiation and preparation of documentation for a variety of commercial transactions. Bob often serves as outside general counsel to his clients in a variety of industries.  On behalf of clients, he has formed, acquired, sold and dissolved business organizations; structured private stock offerings and financial arrangements; developed tailored terms for contracts; negotiated and documented joint ventures, and handled a variety of commercial transactions and general business matters. Bob provides clients with a sound and practical approach to legal issues developed over nearly thirty years of practice. He is also a frequent lecturer and seminar participant on subjects such as “Buying and Selling Businesses,” “Starting a Business,” and other topics relevant to business owners.

External Resources

Looking for further support for your business? There are many resources aimed at supporting Connecticut businesses and family businesses. Here are some useful links to check out:

ctsbdc logo

Connecticut Small Business Development Center (SBDC):

The SBDC's mission is to help Connecticut businesses start and grow in order to create jobs, increase business startups, and increase financial investment in the small business and entrepreneurial community. They provide business advising to small business owners and entrepreneurs to start, grow and thrive in Connecticut.

Family Business Alliance:

The Family Business Alliance was formed in 2003 to bring together directors of university-based family business programs. While this remains an informal association of professionals, we welcome the participation of additional directors of family business programs in the academic space. There are approximately 50 centers dispersed throughout the United States and Canada who are affiliated with the Family Business Alliance.

Connecticut Small Business Administration:

The SBA's mission is to support the success of our nation's small businesses through capital, counseling, contracts, and disaster relief. their programs and initiatives are all focused on achieving the same mission: to empower our nation's small businesses.

Center for Open Research Resources and Equipment: 

The Center for Open Research Resources and Equipment (COR²E) serves as the gateway to research resources available to the UConn community. In addition to providing a variety of software tools for exploring UConn research and expertise, COR²E is also the managing entity for a wide variety of core facilities, housing both state-of-the-art equipment and expertise.

The Hartford Business Journal: 

Hartford Business Journal is a media organization providing business news, information and analysis for business owners and decision makers. Inform. Engage. Connect. It is the mission of Hartford Business Journal to be the leading source of business news and analysis.

CT Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) -

Provides loans, grants, and other resources: The DECD is the state's lead agency responsible for strengthening Connecticut's competitive position in the rapidly changing, knowledge-based global economy.

CT Business & Industry Association (CBIA):

CBIA is the leading voice for business in the state, representing thousands of member companies, small and large, across a diverse range of industries. We fight to make Connecticut a top state for business, jobs, and economic growth: driving change, shaping legislative and regulatory policy, and promoting collaboration between the private and public sectors.

Family Business Magazine:

Family Business is the magazine that targets thriving multi-generational North American family companies. It offers a vital and active paid circulation of more than 6,800 committed family company owners, leaders and shareholders and is run by a family company for family companies.

Connecticut Statewide Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Organizations:

Business chambers and individuals who promote the interests of their local business community through advocacy, networking, and campaigning.

UConn-Authored Research