FBN awakens and inspires families with Cristina Baumgart and Silvia Pedrosa

July 2023

We held another edition of G5 Talks at the end of May and, this time, our guests were Cristina Baumgart, member of the Board of Directors of the Family Business Network (FBN Brazil) and president of the Baumgart family council, and Silvia Pedrosa, superintendent of the network in Brazil. FBN is the largest global family business network in the world, promoting the success, longevity and sustainability of family businesses. During the interview, which was hosted by André Benchimol, Founding Partner, and Fábio Fleury, Partner, we discussed FBN’s mission and values, as well as its importance for business families. We also discussed the organization’s influence on Grupo Baumgart Group and its partners. G5 Talks is a project through which business leaders exchange experiences and learnings with the team at G5 Partners. 

FBN and the purpose of inspiring family businesses 

FBN was founded in Switzerland, in 1989, and is currently present in 65 countries. It has a total of 17 thousand members covering 4 thousand families. In Brazil, the network has been operating for 21 years, with 885 members of 120 families from different sectors, such as agriculture, food, fuel, industry and telecommunications. According to Silvia, the purpose of FBN is “to awaken and inspire families to strengthen their relationships and businesses, involving new generations to build a sustainable future”. Within this context, FBN’s mission is to offer families a safe space to learn, share and inspire each other on how to encourage engagement in their businesses, facilitate family relationships and create awareness of the importance of family-run businesses in society. “We join in exchanging experiences and also call on experts to address several relevant themes”, said Silvia. According to her, in 2020, the network carried out 56 activities, such as webinars, family councils, family office programs and master classes. “Like many people, we had to reinvent ourselves with the pandemic. We went from in-person to online, and that allowed us to be connected, anywhere”, she concluded. 

The FBN support network 

For Cristina, FBN is a space for exchange. “It’s a place for inspiration, exchange, where we can complain, even cry, and find solutions because we find peers.” Cristina is part of the family council of Grupo Baumgart, which began its activities in Brazil with the Vedacit product, in 1936. Currently, the Group owns the Center Norte, Lar Center and Expo Center Norte shopping centers, traditional spaces in the city of São Paulo, as well as Novotel and Fazendas Reunidas. In 2020, the Group founded Trutec, a company in the construction sector. Cristina makes great use of the FBN structure and the association’s contact network to increasingly improve her family’s business. “Today, for example, we are questioning our board structure. For this, we use the FBN network to exchange knowledge with other families. We exchange ideas with people who have strong governance structures”, she explained. According to her, there are many advantages in being part of the network. “We exchange knowledge and create a network with a universe of companies, of all sizes and sectors, sharing information, ensuring confidentiality, deepening discussions on themes such as family council, family office, ESG, inspiration for new actions, motivation to learn, teach and overall awareness of issues related to business families for all generations.” 

Cristina recalls that the exchange with the FBN network began in 2005, with a trip that her brother took with a group of associates to Switzerland to meet up with members of other family businesses. On that occasion, he made several friends, among them, a special one. “He met a person from a direct competitor in the shopping mall industry, who invited my brother for an internship at this company, to learn all the secrets. There are no barriers in FBN, because you can meet a direct competitor and become friends, giving access to a lot of information. This illustrates very well the confidentiality and exchange environment at FBN,” she stated. 


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