Our partner, Dr. Sarah Bridges, has worked with leaders from large companies, small companies, family run companies, and everything in between. This experience has allowed her to discover what it takes to be an effective leader. In this white paper, Sarah discusses how mindfulness brings focus and calm so leaders can move forward thoughtfully and with purpose. It can be applied while you are in your position and transitioning away from it.

Mindfulness and Leadership

We are excited by the opportunities that our clients have and are driven by the prospect of helping them achieve a satisfying and high quality of life. We want to partner with you and your company to ensure clear pathways and predictable outcomes through transition. Contact us today to explore how we can work together.

New Opportunity

“I feel like every opportunity I’m finding will have me tied down for at least a year.”

This was said to me recently by an executive who was right in the middle of his transition. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a comment like this and it illustrates the desire that executives in transition have to find new opportunities but not get tied down in something. Executives have left behind the 70+ hour a week commitment and usually aren’t keen on jumping back into one. Below are a few things to keep in mind as you try and find new opportunities.


The idea of networking always sounds great but actually knowing how to go about doing it can be difficult. Networking is a skill and you might be a little rusty because you haven’t had to do it, or search for new opportunities, in years. One very practical tip to help you begin networking is to create a LinkedIn account. Do this before you leave your job so you can begin to build a network that can transition with you. Also, get involved in industry groups that you are interested in (you can also find these on LinkedIn).

Explore outside your industry

There are many new and intellectually stimulating opportunities that can be found outside the industry you are familiar with. When you are having conversations with influencers from other industries don’t shy away from exploring how your past experiences and skills could transition and add value to the new industry and opportunity.


Like the executive I quoted in the beginning of this post, feeling trapped in a new opportunity is a common concern. As you explore new opportunities make sure you “test” them out first. Having clear communication on the front end around the time commitment or length of engagement will allow for this to happen.

Say “No”

It is a common desire to want to fill your schedule as soon as possible. You should know that if you aren’t careful and set clear boundaries others may think it is their duty to help you fill your schedule. To protect yourself from committing to things that don’t align with your true desires you have to learn how to say no. Being able to do so and explain why the opportunity is not a good fit will allow you to only choose opportunities that bring you true satisfaction.

We are excited by the opportunities that our clients have and are driven by the prospect of helping them achieve a satisfying and high quality of life. We want to partner with you and your company to ensure clear pathways and predictable outcomes through transition. Contact us today to explore how we can work together.

Private Equity

When Private Equity Comes Calling

You’re sitting at your desk, debating whether to order Chinese or a pizza for lunch, when the call comes. A private equity firm has your company in its cross-hairs, and the caller wants to chat. It’s not a mistake. Private equity buyouts aren’t just for large corporations – they occur at the small and middle-market business level, too. Nearly 90% of all private equity deals are under $1 billion.

However, unlike publicly owned companies, your business isn’t up for grabs just because some investors noticed its potential and want to buy a stake in it. You have a choice. You can hang up and order your pizza or you can start negotiations with a partner who may offer to swell your coffers, underwriting growth, funding the acquisition of a competitor or improving your balance sheet. Ultimately, you could reap a very large financial reward. But there may be a downside, too.

Whose Vision Is It?

Private equity firms prefer deals that allow them to make a profitable exit through an initial public offering (IPO) or a sale in about five years. Typically, they do not run the businesses in which they invest, often leaving daily operations to existing management. Instead, they will sit on your company’s board and offer advice on strategic decisions about your product line, geographic expansion, key management hires and preparing for the sale or IPO.

Working for owners with a different vision of how your company should operate could be frustrating. After all, your skills brought the company to where it is today. And walking away from a firm that you founded – even if your pockets are well padded with cash – might be emotionally difficult, especially if you’ve always regarded the company as your legacy. Business owners in such a position sometimes feel disloyal to long-time employees, whose job security can no longer be guaranteed.

Investigate On Your Own

On the other hand, you may believe it’s time to sell your company because you need liquidity, have a growth opportunity that requires more capital than is available or are nearing retirement. A private equity firm sale may allow you to continue to manage and partially own your company, at least for a while, and to profit from its future growth, if that is what you want to do.

Various types of private equity may be available, depending on your size and current stage of growth. It’s best to look for more than one option. Unless you have a deal that seems too good to pass up – and you should investigate any proposal carefully before making a commitment – you’ll be in a better negotiating position if you know your alternatives.

Use the interested firm’s website to check out its other interests and its track record. Other sites provide profiles of equity firms that deal with businesses of your size in your region and industry. Network with other businesses to produce leads. Learn more through the Association for Corporate Growth (acg.org). Founded in 1954, it’s for professionals involved in corporate growth and development, mergers and acquisitions.

If you receive a buyout offer out of the blue, or have an interest in discussing the future of your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


As many first generation executives near transition, the most affluent generation of young people in our nation’s history is coming of age. Transferring wealth to the next generation is a complex topic that is weighing heavily on the minds of executives. In spite of significant advances and an increased emphasis on financial literacy, young people today are still lagging behind in some areas. Here’s a look at some of the ways you can help the next generation in your life understand and confidently manage the wealth they’ll inherit.

Start Financial Independence Early

Many experts advise that children as young as three stand to benefit substantially from learning the basic mechanics of money. And they’ll learn the most by watching adults. When you use money, show them exactly what you’re doing and explain everything as you go.

This is also the time to introduce financial responsibilities, including allowances and saving for their own purchases. Some experts even encourage establishing personal savings accounts for children around the age of seven. These advocates recommend that children take an active role in managing their own accounts, including reviewing monthly statements.

Simply letting them use money (and being open about how you use it) is one of the most effective methods of teaching children about the workings and realities of money.

Don’t “Protect” Them

Parents can tend to be protective of their children in many areas of life – and money is no exception. However, there is a thin line between protection and neglecting financial development.

The Dreyfus Gender Investment Comparison Survey found that parents begin to encourage earning at a younger age for boys than girls (13 versus 16-18, respectively), and are twice as likely to teach boys to save their money.

Overall parents dole out equal amounts to boys and girls, but boys receive most of their share as part of an allowance while girls get cash for specific purchases or before shopping trips. This can be a signal to girls that parents don’t trust them to handle money on their own. It is important to educate and empower girls in the same ways we do boys. Financial equality should be emphasized early.

Don’t Stop at Saving

In a nationwide test of high school students sponsored by JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, the average score was only 52% which leaves much room for improvement.

Financial education that goes beyond the basics is key, but it can be hard to come by. While most states have introduced legislation to add financial education to public school curricula, few schools currently have programs in place. Fortunately many nonprofit agencies and large investment firms have taken up the cause and sponsor financial classes and camps geared to educating and empowering children ranging in age from six to 18.

Older teens may also benefit substantially from more direct involvement in family finances. Consider including children and grandchildren in meetings with accountants and financial advisors, and encourage them to participate and ask questions.

Consider a Career Consultant

Our partner, Dr. Sarah Bridges, has acted as a career consultant for many children who stand to inherit significant wealth. Her work focuses on empowering the child by discovering what strengths, interests, and desires they have and ultimately helping them enter into the work place.

Children who have been able to find satisfaction in their own careers are much more likely to make wise decisions when they receive inherited wealth.

Empowering the next generation is a complex topic that can weigh heavily on your mind. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help empower the next generation in your life and provide you with confidence, please contact us today.

meaningful work

Our partners at New Directions have been highlighted in the article, Create a Plan for a Meaningful Retirement. The article was published in the September 2014 Kiplinger Retirement Report. Read below to hear more about how they are helping clients find meaningful work and why we have partnered with them.

In their quest for a meaningful retirement, many new retirees look for activities that provide for the greater good or connect to a long-held passion. Sally Conkright had held top management jobs at large companies for decades. In 2009, after a corporate restructuring, she decided to retire.

Unsure what to do next, Conkright, now 61, who lives in New York City, sought the guidance of New Directions, a Boston firm that helps executives navigate career transitions. Extensive coaching confirmed what she was already thinking: She wanted to work for a nonprofit. Early in her career, Conkright worked for a health care company and wanted to return to the field. “There is the sense you get that you are making a difference,” she says. Through her connections, she found paid part-time work consulting on strategic planning for two medical centers in Brooklyn.

Continue reading the Kiplinger article.

Collaborative Legacy Partners wants to hear your story and help you make a smooth transition into the next stage of your life. Contact us today.


Who will change my lightbulb

Raymond James (the firm Birch Cove Group has chosen to partner with) has joined forces with the MIT AgeLab to provide new and helpful research around improving quality of life.

MIT AgeLab has identified three simple questions you should ask yourself to assess how prepared you are to live well in retirement. What do these questions have to do with retirement planning? A lot more than you may think. They actually uncover important factors that will determine your future quality of life and serve as a starting point for planning a satisfying retirement. Click on the link below to see what they are.

Three Questions that Predict Future Quality of Life

Collaborative Legacy Partners wants to hear your story and help you make a smooth transition into the next stage of your life. Contact us today.


This week’s post is focused on leaders who are considering making a move in their careers. Whether that means moving within your industry or trying something completely different, this guide provides a few points to consider to ponder before making a change.

At a certain point in our lives, leaving a job will have repercussions beyond finding a new parking spot. Here are some considerations to minimize financial, personal, and professional repercussions and ease the transition of leaving a job.

Considering a Change? – Things to Think About

Collaborative Legacy Partners wants to hear your story and help you make a smooth transition into the next stage of your life. Contact us today.

SS Benefits

There are many questions around Social Security and unfortunately few good resources to help answer those questions. So even though this post doesn’t deal specifically with selling your business or leaving the c-suite, we know this is a topic that is top of mind for many of our clients and we want to help.

Through a partnership with BlackRock, Birch Cove Group is able to provide you with an informative guide to understanding Social Security. BlackRock has also hired three professionals that retired from the Social Security Administration to answer questions about Social Security and Medicare so please contact me with any further questions that you have.

Understanding Social Security Retirement Benefits

Collaborative Legacy Partners wants to hear your story and help you make a smooth transition into the next stage of your life. Contact us today.

business executiveLonger life spans and good health are adding years to the new, extended middle age. In turn, many accomplished professionals are reaching an age where retirement might be expected, yet they are not interested in fully stepping away from their careers. In our experience, while they might have planned well for their futures financially, they still may not have considered the options available to them for continued personal and professional fulfillment. Have you considered any of the following questions?

Continue reading Anticipating or considering retirement?



Today’s post is being provided by Jeff Wright of Corporate Finance Associates in Minneapolis. Jeff and his firm represent owners in the sale of their companies.

Imagine that you own a company with, say, $10 million in annual revenues. You started it 30 years ago; you persevered through lean times, built a loyal staff and a satisfied customer base. Your hard work and risk taking has paid off and you’re now turning a decent profit. You’re in the baby boomer cohort and are close to, or over the magic 60-year-old mark (60 is the new 50, right?). You’ve had thoughts that at some point (sooner than later) you should take chips off the table and dial back.

Like many company owners you sometimes get letters from potential suitors. Most of them don’t seem legitimate but one day you are approached by a big player in your industry saying they are eager to acquire your company and will pay top dollar. You’re intrigued. You take a meeting. You share some financials. They come back with a bid letter with a very attractive “offer”. You feel very smart and very shrewd, because you’ve quickly done all the work that you would have paid an investment banker to do for you.

You are on a path to a very positive outcome, right? Wrong! Continue reading Beware of Suitors Bearing High Offers.

Collaborative Legacy Partners wants to hear your story and help you make a smooth transition into the next stage of your life. Contact us today.


Today’s post is by Dr. Sarah Bridges.

Talking about vulnerability can be a conversation killer. Maybe it’s my approach, priming friends with enticing openers like, “Tell me about the time you felt most exposed at work.”

Leadership Vulnerability (PDF)

Collaborative Legacy Partners wants to hear your story and help you make a smooth transition into the next stage of your life. Contact us today.

Fortune 500 - minnesota


Whether it’s GIS, UNH, or MMM, executives often have a significant amount of their compensation and net worth in the company’s stock. So when it’s time to leave, distributing this stock efficiently is critical.

In today’s post we get a best practice from our partners at Birch Cove Group on how to use Net Unrealized Appreciation to receive favorable tax treatment of this stock and potentially save thousands of dollars in taxes.

Distributions of Employer Stock (PDF)

To hear more strategies around dealing with executive compensation, please contact Birch Cove Group today:

  • Concentrated positions
  • Stock option optimization
  • Managing granting schedules
  • Leveraging deferred compensation

Collaborative Legacy Partners wants to hear your story and help you make a smooth transition into the next stage of your life.  Contact us today.

Aging Parents

How to handle a difficult subject together

The millions of Americans that are part of the “sandwich generation” are faced with very real challenges – provide for the needs of a growing family, care for elderly parents, and plan for retirement.  And, many struggle to find a balance.  Through a partnership with Birch Cove Group, we are providing this guide to provide tips to help you speak with your parents about the legal, medical, and financial issues associated with aging, plan ahead, and approach the situation with an objective perspective.

Growing older is inevitable

We all know that growing older is inevitable, and a part of life.  But, it may be difficult to accept the fact that your parents are aging.  Often there are a wide range of emotions with this realization.  You may feel sad, helpless, overwhelmed, or even scared

Your Aging Parents and You (PDF)

Collaborative Legacy Partners wants to hear your story and help you make a smooth transition into the next stage of your life.  Contact us today.

sale of business

Congratulations!  The due diligence is done and you and the buyer are satisfied with the deal.  You’re getting ready to schedule a closing date where you and the buyer, along with your advisors and other professionals, will dot the i’s and cross the t’s.  So what should you expect before crossing the finish line?

In this article, our wealth management partners at Birch Cove Group highlight some of the items that you will experience as you close the sale of your business.  This list is definitely not exhaustive but it is a good place to start.

Selling Your Business: Things to Remember

Collaborative Legacy Partners wants to hear your story and help you make a smooth transition into the next stage of your life.  Contact us today.

Paul Chamberlain is an experienced attorney based in Wayzata who provides legal solutions for the challenges that come with being a business owner. We sat down with Paul to hear some of his best practices and insights for owners who are preparing for a transition.


“I started my career in law in ‘75 and did any type of work I could get. After about ten years I started to focus my practice on working with entrepreneurial minded business owners. With this came work doing business litigation, contracts, agreements, and other areas of law that affect closely-held businesses and the owners. Over the years, our client’s needs have brought us into the other aspects of law such as acquisitions, estate planning, and mergers.”

Why do you think your clients start businesses?

“I rarely have clients who start a business with the end sale in mind. They almost always create the company as a way to generate wealth and cash flow to support their lives. Only after the business has become successful do they begin to think about what a sale would look like and what it could mean for the rest of the family. I think a main reason most of our clients don’t think about the sale initially is because they love the work that they are doing and don’t want to stop.”

Selling ownership to a private equity group

“Some interesting circumstances are usually created when one of our clients sells all, or a portion, of their company to a private equity group. The private equity group (PEG) views ownership within a company purely as a financial investment with a targeted return and exit timeframe (usually 5 to 7 years). The owners usually have a more emotional connection to the business which can create some tension. The owners needs to know what they are getting into when they sell to a PEG.”

“I tend to view the structure of the deal as an initial purchase price and on-going salary plus a bonus (back end earn-out). You hope you get the bonus but if you aren’t satisfied with the down payment and the base salary, then you probably shouldn’t do the transaction.”

Do you see family businesses from the 2nd to 3rd generation facing any unique challenges?

“Our experience with third generation transfers is more limited which probably speaks to the challenges that many family businesses face transitioning from the second to third generation. One factor is that the second generation benefits from the wisdom that is gained from working alongside the first generation who built the business from the ground up. The second generation needs to instill in the third generation the hard work that was needed to create the business but this doesn’t always happen. What you see then is a third generation who erode the business because they spend too much and don’t appreciate love for the business.”

After an owner sells, how does your relationship change?

“For the most part, I stay actively involved with the family going forward. Our firm emphasizes providing legal support to business owners throughout their lives which includes after the sale. Often times when the sale is within the family, the younger generation needs assistance with the business and the older generation still has legal concerns especially around estate planning.”

Do owners have any difficulty figuring out what to do next after they sell?

“I’ve heard of it and I’ve seen it, but entrepreneurs and business owners usually just do something else. It may sound too simplistic but entrepreneurs are like fountains and their ideas keep flowing out. The fact that they are getting out of one business doesn’t mean that they are getting out of life. Our clients always have ideas percolating and they just need to find which ones to pursue.”

“I have also seen that spouses who work together usually transition well to a sale. Working with a spouse presents other challenges but it does build unity, especially when the exit decision is made together.”

Any suggestions when getting ready to sell?

Here are some best practices:

  • Take a lot of time to prepare before putting the business on the market.
  • Get your financial reporting in excellent shape.
  • Get your business ready to sell before you sell.
  • Deep due diligence will occur and you need to be comfortable with a group of people poring over your financials.
  • Getting audited financials for a few years before the sale can help.
  • Don’t pay yourself too much or too little in owner compensation.
  • Have control within the business diversified. Delegate to capable people who are able to manage well. Build value within the company rather than within yourself.
  • A buyer doesn’t want to spend a lot of money when all the value (you) will be walking out the door after the sale.

If you want to hear more about how Paul is working with clients, contact him today.

Collaborative Legacy Partners wants to hear your story and help you make a smooth transition into the next stage of your life. Contact us today.

Realizing Leadership Article-PDF

There is a lot of talk about authentic leadership and how essential it is to being an effective leader. When we have a good understanding of ourselves, with the input of those around us, we have a better picture of how we truly are – not how we wish we are or the person we perceive ourselves to be (which can be quite distorted from reality). The following three approaches will enable us to know ourselves better, more accurately and will assist in our development as authentic leaders.

Three Approaches to Authentic Leadership

Passing the Baton

Whether you are an owner, executive, attorney, or accountant, effective succession management is critical for the continued success of an organizations. In this industry leading report, Sarah Bridges discusses how our decisions are affected by our lack of awareness of our personal influencers. We want to make fair and impartial decisions – but wanting and doing are two different things.

Read the report here: Unconscious Bias and Succession Management

Contact us today if you are interested in hearing more about how Sarah and the rest of our team are making successful transitions possible.


Successful, driven, high capacity, and talented. Our clients are impressive people who have done impressive things so when they are leaving there positions it is natural to ask, ‘What’s next?’. We help them answer that question by allowing them to take control of their time and energy to envision their ideal future and develop a realistic plan to bring that future to life, no matter what it looks like. At CLP, our clients aren’t trapped by the traditional view of retirement.

Instead of walking away from work years, talents and passions, our approach is about building on them. Highly customized, our advisors work closely with each client to create their personal Life Plan by bringing to focus the results of a personal assessment with realistic work/life goals.

Gaining greater clarity and planning on “how you will allocate your time” is critical to living a fulfilling and engaged life now and in the future. Feelings of uncertainty and anxiety will be reduced and individuals will make more informed decisions and have greater control over their work/lives both short- and longer-term.

The core elements of a Life Plan often include an integration of income-producing work, continued learning, leisure and family time, often a re-grounding in spirituality, and giving back. The goal is for our client, along with their family, to create a more balanced and engaged life of activities that matter. We want to engage with clients to envision their ideal future and develop a realistic plan to bring that future to life.

Contact us today to hear more about how we are helping our clients answer, ‘What’s next?’.

Some of the greatest businesses in the history of the US have been family businesses. When structured correctly, a family business becomes more than an asset capable of satisfying a family’s lifestyle, it becomes a tool that shares the family’s values and creates a legacy for generations. At CLP, we are excited about the opportunity to work with such families.

To stay successful and relevant, family businesses must transition and transitioning ownership within a family business is not an easy task. The challenge is that no single industry is able to provide a viable solution to conducting ownership transitions effectively which has left families at risk. At CLP we bring together multiple industries to create a satisfying solution that allows families to maintain clarity while transitioning ownership. From successor selection, to wealth management, to family meeting facilitation, we provide the resources that families need when transitioning.

It is critical to work with professionals who understand the financial and non-financial aspects of a family business and are able to work together while guiding families through the transition. To hear more about how we are helping family businesses through transitions contact us today.

Exiting a business or retiring from the executive suite can be exciting, terrifying, and challenging all at the same time.

Throughout the past few years, we have learned immensely from numerous conversations and stories from people who have gone through change. Below are the top questions that they had asked themselves while going through a transitional time.

  1. During my life what has made me most excited and provided me the most energy?
  2. Who do I know that has gone through what I am going to experience?
  3. Do I feel comfortable speaking with my family about our wealth and my work?
  4. Who do I seek advice from when I am making a big decision?
  5. Do I know experts who can assist me from a financial and non-financial standpoint?
  6. What type of assets do I have? Financial and non.
  7. Where am I going to find my significance?
  8. What is my role within my family? What is my spouse’s view of my role? Have I made this clear?
  9. How is my wealth going to affect my children and grandchildren?
  10. Do my estate plan documents and investments align with what I really desire?

Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive, it is a start. If you can provide satisfying answers to these questions, you are well on your way to transitioning successfully.

Here is the link to the PDF of these questions if you want to pass them along to someone who will be experiencing a change.

Collaborative Legacy Partners wants to hear your story and help you make a smooth transition into the next stage of your life. Contact us today.