Generational shift brings new dynamics to a family business

Business Transitions Forum


Laura Zanchin gives a hearty laugh when asked if there was any uncertainty about whether she and her sister Andria would take a leadership role in the family business.

“Was there ever any question? Absolutely not,” says the executive vice-president of Zanchin Automotive Group, which includes 32 automotive dealerships across the Greater Toronto Area. “We’re Italian, so it’s just expected of you.”

They wouldn’t have it any other way.

While their father Joseph — who opened one of the first Honda dealerships in North America in 1973 —remains at the helm today as a titan in the industry, his daughters are expected to run the business someday soon.

“There is no date yet, but there is a plan in place so we know what will happen when it will happen,” says Laura.

The transition of leadership has been a long journey — with several twists, turns and bumps — that still continues today, she adds.

The insights Zanchin and her family have gained along the way will be front and centre at an upcoming conference in Toronto. Taking place May 28 and 29 at the Westin Harbour Castle, the fourth annual Toronto Business Transitions Forum is an opportunity for business owners to hear from expert advisers. But just as importantly, it’s also a chance to learn from fellow entrepreneurs — such as Zanchin — who have the lived experience of successfully navigating the challenges associated with the transition of leadership of a business. [Continue Reading]