Lea Boyce, Director, BOYCE Family Office
Lea Boyce, Director of BOYCE Family Office is an experienced global business leader who deploys her unique qualifications in Anthropology and Gender Studies to support multi-generational family businesses across industries with succession planning, governance, mentoring, and inter-generational transfer. BOYCE Family Office is itself a family endeavour, led by Lea and her husband Richard, with their daughter Emily (pictured above right) also working in the family business, representing the 6th generation.
As a multi-generational family business themselves, BOYCE Family Office see beyond merely the commercial objectives of an organisation, and understand the dynamic, complex and evolving goals of family business and the interconnected web of relationships that sustain them.
Lea is the CEO of Family Capital 100, which is the specialist consulting division of BOYCE Family Office, and a Victorian Advisory Board Member of Family Business Australia. She leads the family’s philanthropic interests, supporting children and women’s health, the arts and gender equality.
How has COVID-19 changed the way you deliver business?
We build relationships not just a book of clients, we work on building long term mutually beneficial relationships. Therefore, we spend time with our family groups and COVID-19 has meant we can’t physically visit them or have them visit our office.
We have long embraced technology, so the use of it during COVID-19 has been great but has provided some challenges when communicating with clients who are not as technology savvy. As we use cloud-based systems it has made having staff working from home an easy transition as everything is to hand for them.
We have gained more time under COVID-19 because we are not travelling, so we have been able to spend time working on our business rather than always in it.
How does BOYCE Family Office support family businesses globally?
At BOYCE Family Office we support private family groups, and this includes Australian based and international based families. As we don’t believe in a one size fits all approach to our work, we also find the leading advisors globally to work with us in supporting our family groups.
While we travel to wherever our clients are, sometimes, we use a local advisor to deliver services or address particular location specific compliance requirements. We have a global alliance of advisors under our Family Capital 100 business which covers Asia Pacific, USA, Canada, UAE and Europe in the pillars of consulting, next gen, education and research.
This is made up of a range of highly experienced advisors across academia, finance, consulting and more. My qualifications include anthropology with a focus on equality, and this helps enormously when dealing with global families as it allows me to think about their local customs and beliefs and how that overlays with what needs to be achieved.
Why is it important to have a multi-generational view when you are supporting family businesses?
We like to think in generations rather than the here and now. People work incredibly hard to build successful family businesses, but don’t often plan up front what the generational transfer might look like. It might be that the next generation want to be part of the business and often they don’t, and either way is great, but it is about planning for options.
We all work hard to create wealth and if we think in generations, we have a better understanding of why we are creating the wealth. If we don’t know the “why” it is harder to know the “how” and the “what”. Businesses and families are evolutionary entities and therefore it is important to consider what the longer-term goals of not only the business founders but the wider family group and how this changes over time.
Thinking in generations also allows families to take into account what might happen once cousin consortiums etc come in to play. It can potentially help alleviate future conflict situations.
How do you ensure everyone in a family has an equal voice when it comes to succession planning and building great family businesses?
Families are better when they stay together and the most common reason for breakdowns in families is communication. It is no different with business families. Our philosophy is that if you have seen one family, you have seen one family. Every family is different, and no two stories are the same. So, it is critical to ensure that everyone has a voice, and no one goes into building a great business or succession planning with any preconceived ideas, and that they don’t bring a fixed mindset to the table.
We are not afraid of the hard conversations that so often occur in order to ensure everyone is heard and understood.
Most proud of?
My two daughters (17 and 21) are what I am most proud of. They are two women who are strong and passionate and understand the challenges they will face as women in business, but are ready to meet those challenges head on. They are prepared to call out inequality without fear of reprisal. This gives me confidence that a generational change to inequality is possible. They are prepared to tackle gender stereotypes, they are brave, they are bold, and they believe in themselves.
Advice for future female leaders?
Be brave, be bold and believe in yourself!
There is a great movie where a father talks to his children about having “20 seconds of insane courage and embarrassing bravery” because the outcome can deliver more than you could hope for. I feel if this was what I was told I could have progressed in many areas, including business, more quickly.
You are the female economy. Whether you are a female consumer, business owner or a woman in the workforce, you can create gender equality by choosing female led brands.
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