Donor Story

Helping Businesses Keep It in the Family

Couple’s Gift Establishes Parker Center for Family Business at Anderson School of Management

By Michelle G. McRuiz

Posted December 15, 2014

When it comes to running a family business, entrepreneurs often have to put aside the “family” part to make the “business” part succeed. Jim and Linda Parker know firsthand how challenging this is through personal experiences and as business advisors. Using their generosity and planning, the Parkers have funded a program within the Anderson School of Management that will offer family businesses opportunities to learn, hone and share their skills.

Linda and Jim Parker Photo: Kim Jew

Linda and Jim Parker
Photo: Kim Jew

A Unique Forum

Family businesses have special concerns, said Linda and Jim. Emotional issues among family members can become exacerbated in business dealings. This can interfere with operations and strategic planning. From division of labor to management to deciding who inherits what, families can derive great benefit from having a forum where they can discuss business challenges and opportunities.

Linda, president and owner of Cafeteria Plan Company, a family-operated third-party administration firm in Albuquerque, is chair of the Anderson School of Management Foundation Board of Directors. She and Jim discussed the idea of establishing a family business center with Doug Brown, dean of the Anderson School. “Anderson offers research activities and courses focused on family-owned business operations,” said Linda, “and it seemed like a natural fit.”

“There is such a need for counseling, education, and an opportunity to address family-business issues,” Jim said. In 2005, he co-founded the not-for-profit New Mexico Family Business Alliance with Ann LeMay, PhD and John E. Schoen, MBA. Jim is a lawyer with Modrall Sperling Law Firm in Albuquerque and has more than 40 years of experience in federal taxation, estate planning, employee benefits and business law.

Setting up Shop

The Parker Center for Family Business (PCFB) will open this fall as part of Anderson’s Small Business Institute. Businesses can be¬come members of the Center and participate in symposiums. Ernesto Poza, an author, professor and internationally recognized leader in family business, will be the presenter at the first dinner presentation of the PCFB on June 26. The Center will hold regularly scheduled meetings with speakers and focus groups.

Members also can take discounted courses offered by Anderson’s Executive and Professional Education Center. Plans to collaborate with other UNM schools and colleges are underway as well. “There are so many components that people need to be educated in,” said Linda. “We see this as an opportunity to be part of the economic recovery of New Mexico.”

The Parker Center for Family Business will inspire Anderson students to start their own businesses knowing that help will be available, said Dean Brown. “For Linda and Jim to trust the Anderson School to take the New Mexico Family Business Alliance and develop it through our Small Business Institute is an honor.”

“We have a responsibility to give back to the community, and we’re excited to fund this program,” said Linda. “Given the stature that the Anderson School of Management has achieved, it’s something we envisioned years ago that might be part of Anderson,” added Jim.

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