Family Business Council migrates to DePaul


Submitted by the Chicago Family Business Council

The Chicago Family Business Council will begin operating under the umbrella of DePaul University College of Commerce starting March 1, bringing its myriad programs and services to DePaul students, alumni and  the local business community in the heart of the city Loop.

The council helps family-owned and closely held businesses achieve their goals through peer support and educational programs. At DePaul, the council will work with the College of Commerce, especially the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, to provide educational programs for students and local businesses.

Working with the Chicago Family Business Council, the College of Commerce Coleman Entrepreneurship Center will be able to increase its impact on the entrepreneur community and enhance our students exposure to successful entrepreneurs, said Ray Whittington, dean of the College of Commerce. Our alumni will receive discounts on CFBC educational programs, and there will be opportunities for our students to attend the programs free of charge. The synergies between our Coleman Center and entrepreneurship programs and the CFBC make this a very good arrangement for the College of Commerce and the council.

Addressing common challenges

The Chicago Family Business Council has a membership of 85 companies and more than 135 members who operate in construction, printing, accounting, retail, metal fabrication, floor coverings, chemicals manufacturing and other markets. Together, members address common challenges faced by every family-owned and closely held business, regardless of the product or service it offers.

In this age of global competition, it is critical that our local companies have the resources and experience to develop leaders to grow their businesses, said Brian McIlwee, president of CFBC. As a private university, DePaul offers us the opportunity to work in an environment unencumbered by state legislative mandates.  Our new home at DePaul will allow us to significantly enhance our ability to serve CEOs of entrepreneurial closely held companies and family businesses alike, while we will engage DePaul students with our members and programs. This is truly a winning opportunity for both DePaul and the Chicago Family Business Council.

Under an affiliation agreement with DePaul, the council will operate as a separate entity and have its own board and operations. CFBC was formed in November 2011 at the recommendation of the group board and the approval of its 135 members. Previously, the council was a nonprofit, self-sustaining fund within the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Business Administration. The council desire to become independent, yet remain affiliated with a major university program, spurred its change in structure and move to DePaul.

The most important point I wish to stress is that we are not attempting to change the core of FBC, McIlwee said. Our mission, vision, values, programs, sponsors, officers, forums and protocols are not changing. Additionally, there is a considerable heritage and wonderful relationships that we have developed over the years at UIC. We will regret leaving them but wish to continue to maintain those relationships in the future.

About Chicago Family Business Council

Chicago Family Business Council (CFBC) was founded in the belief that family businesses offer a challenging and fulfilling way to create a legacy for oneself and society. The CFBC offers an opportunity to business leaders of all backgrounds and interests to share experiences and proven best practices. For more information, visit