The DCU National Centre for Family Business has announced Laura Kohler, Senior Vice President – Human Resources, Stewardship and Sustainability at Kohler Co, as keynote speaker for the Centre’s 2020 national conference (The Helix, DCU, Thursday, April 2nd 2020).
A world leader in design and innovation of kitchen and bath products, Kohler Co. is a thriving 4th-generation family business with over 38,000 employees and 50 manufacturing plants across six continents.
Laura’s great grandfather, John Michael Kohler, is credited with innovating the bathtub in 1883, while her father and current Chairman, Herb Kohler, has received more than 200 design and utility patents for plumbing products alone.
With over 48 acquisitions completed in the last 40 years, the Kohler’s UK subsidiary is best known for manufacturing Mira Showers. Kohler Co. has also significantly diversified its portfolio, which now includes power generation, interiors and hospitality. The family owns Whistling Straits Golf Resort in Wisconsin, which will host the upcoming 2020 Ryder Cup, as well as the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, Scotland.
Announcing the details of the national conference, Director of the National Centre for Family Business, Dr Eric Clinton said
“We are delighted to have Laura Kohler as our keynote speaker this year. The Kohler Co story is a fascinating one of generational ingenuity, perseverance and professionalism. Through her own career to date, Laura has played an instrumental role in continuing this – in essence, she is the epitome of successful succession. Starting as a part-time waitress and receptionist within the family business during her high-school summers, Laura earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in fine arts, became an actress and founded her own theatre company before progressing through the ranks at Kohler. As SVP of Human Resources, Stewardship and Sustainability, she has spearheaded the company’s global social impact strategy which focuses on environmental sustainability, Innovation for Good, stewardship, associate volunteerism and a renowned Arts/Industry program. Laura’s insights on family business will be keenly anticipated at the conference.”
He added: “April’s conference will also feature research findings on the numbers, nature and financial contribution to the economy of family businesses in Ireland, as well as a study into selection processes and criteria deployed for succession-planning in family businesses. Our national conference provides an opportunity for people in – or simply interested in – family business, to share experiences, challenges and best practices in an open, collaborative environment.”
Sponsored by PwC, AIB and Beauchamps, and MC’d by entrepreneur and Dragons Den star, Gavin Duffy, the free-to-attend half-day event is the Centre’s largest annual gathering, attracting 450 participants from family businesses big and small, representative organisations, development agencies and anyone with an interest in family-run enterprises.
You can register for this event here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/family-business-for-the-future-tickets-94837913753