J. Richard “Dick” Emens
A co-founder of the Conway Center for Family Business, Dick serves as President and chairs the Advisory Board of the organization. He is co-author of the book “Family Business Basics: The Guide to Family Business Financial Success” and has written numerous articles on issues pertaining to family business.
Dick also co-teaches coursework in family business at Ohio Dominican University, which prepares students to be employed in a family-owned or controlled business.
A partner with Emens Wolper Jacobs & Jasin, Dick specializes in business and corporate law; oil, energy, pipeline, and gas law; family business law, and succession planning. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America in corporate law and in oil and gas law. He is a member of the Columbus, Ohio, Michigan, and American Bar Associations and holds Bar Admissions in Ohio, Michigan, and the United States Supreme Court.
Dick is deeply committed to creating academic opportunities for young people. He was a long-time board member of the Ball State University Foundation and is an emeritus trustee of Franklin University, where he is a past board chairman. He is a past president of the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation and has served as a board member of numerous non-profit and for-profit organizations.
Dick received his Bachelor’s degree at DePauw University and his J.D. at the University of Michigan.
Executive Director & Vice President
Jill Hofmans joined the Conway Center in 2013. She is the Center’s only full-time staff member and manages the Center’s operations, as well as its communications and marketing initiatives – in conjunction with Rick Miller Communications. She is also responsible for developing educational programs and the annual Family Business Awards and Expo and is the initial point of contact for members, prospective members, and the public. In addition, Jill writes and edits material for the Center’s publications, the “Monthly Message” and the “Family Business Communicator”. Jill’s responsibilities also include development and outreach projects that help increase awareness of the Conway Center and the resources it provides to family-owned businesses.
Jill brings a wealth of executive-level experience to the Center including event planning, liaising between educational facilities and state licensing agencies, fundraising, and creating successful outreach and recruitment programs from California to Washington, D.C., to Ohio — and even to Belize!
She earned a Bachelor’s degree (with honors) in Gender and Feminist Studies from Pitzer College and a Master’s degree (Phi Kappa Phi) in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University.
Amy Dotts joined the Conway Center in 2016. She is responsible for all details and logistics needed to execute smooth, successful events. Amy works closely with the Conway Center team and solicits feedback from members to produce engaging and informative educational programs.
Amy has extensive experience in association management having served as Executive Director of a non-profit healthcare association for over 20 years. She has a passion for working with members and supporting businesses to ensure that their goals and expectations are met.
Amy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management from The Ohio State University. She and her husband are longtime residents of Worthington, Ohio.
Peer Group Facilitators
Ignite Your Business Peer Group Facilitator
Kelly is a Conway Center Advisory Board member and chief strategy officer of GREENCREST.
In 1990, Kelly was inspired to launch GREENCREST, a strategic marketing, advertising, public relations and interactive firm that provides direction for small- and mid-market privately-held companies. As a certified business consultant, an accredited public relations specialist and a certified brand strategist, Kelly leads her team in propelling businesses from market players to distinguished market leaders. Kelly understands what it takes to define a brand and turn that into an increase in market share and solid results. GREENCREST executes communications programs that begin with a solid marketing foundation and result in increased market penetration and awareness.
Kelly is a strategic advisor to CEOs, best selling author, speaker, and columnist for Smart Business magazine. She serves on the local boards of Neighborhood Design Center, The Entrepreneurship Institute, Association for Corporate Growth, Conway Family Business Center, the American Heart Association Columbus Metro Board, and St. Pius X Finance Council.
Human Resources Peer Group Facilitator
Sharon DeLay is a highly credentialed HR expert, a dynamic business owner and community leader, and a popular author and presenter. She is the founder, visionary, and President of GO-HR, an HR consultancy that spans the key areas of HR strategy, compliance, recruiting, training, non-traditional benefits design, and outplacement. GO-HR specializes in small and micro business human resources nationwide, but their successes range up to include a client with $1billion+ in revenue with over 1,500 employees.
Sharon is the treasurer of HRACO, Central Ohio’s HR trade membership organization, and is a board member of Camp Wyandot, a 90-year-old non-profit organization that provides camping experiences for kids.
In 2019, Sharon has been honored as 2019 Emerging Leader by the WSBA, with an HR Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award by Columbus CEO magazine, and an invitation to lead the HR Roundtable and serve as a mentor for the Conway Center for Family Business. GO-HR is a 2019 nominee for Columbus CEO Best of Business Awards for HR Services.
Finances for Family Business Peer Group Facilitator
With over 18 years in public practice, Brian has extensive audit experience with a specialty focus in audits of employee benefit plans (EBP). He has a thorough and deep understanding of the operations and compliance aspects of many types of EBPs, providing him with the ability to consult, guide, and advise clients on best practices and opportunities to improve plan processes and to protect fiduciary liability.
Brian continues to develop his EBP audit expertise through regular attendance at conferences sponsored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and other continuing education opportunities throughout the year. He approaches each engagement as a business partner of his clients and has the necessary skills and knowledge to provide them with best-case solutions.
He has a B.S. in Business Administration from The Ohio State University and Wharton School of Business and International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, CEBS.
Leadership Development Peer Group Facilitator
Jonathon McKay is a founding partner at PATH, a data-driven growth strategy firm. Jonathon helped found the company based upon the belief that people are an organizations most valuable component of success and those organizations who share that belief will achieve long-term sustainable growth. He has created and delivered unique, effective growth programs for national and international organizations. With a comprehensive approach to the employee and customer experience, Jonathon helps clients develop customized metrics to create benchmarks, increase engagement and evaluate program impact. In addition, Jonathon is a frequent speaker on data-driven growth strategies and has executed more than 100 training sessions for organizations across the nation.
Jonathon graduated from John Carroll University from the Boler School of Business with a BS in Economics. He has achieved Net Promoter Score Associate status and has presented to executive teams, professional associations and the broader professional community on how to drive growth by focusing on the human experience.
Jonathon is also a music-lover whose personal mission is to take in shows at the most renowned venues around the world. He’s on a perpetual search for the best places to camp and hike. (He’s open to suggestions!)
Thaddeus J. O’Brien, PhD
Succession Planning Peer Group Co-Facilitator
Dr. O’Brien was a founding board member of the Conway Center for Family Business and frequently moderates educational programs offered by the Center.
Thaddeus is the president and founder of O’Brien & Associates and specializes in working with organizations in major transition – either undergoing changes in leadership or dealing with rapidly shifting market conditions.
For more than 30 years, Thaddeus has worked with companies in industries ranging from hospitals and medical work to professional service organizations and closely held companies. He serves on an array of civic, hospital, and professional service boards.
Thaddeus is a licensed psychologist who received his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago. He is an active member of the American Psychological Association, The Ohio Psychological Association, The National Association of Sports Psychologists and the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
Succession Planning Peer Group Co-Facilitator
Meredith’s practice at Taft/ is focused in the area of sophisticated wealth transfer, estate planning and administration, tax planning for individuals, corporations and partnerships, business succession planning and general corporate representation. She frequently advises high wealth individuals on how best to structure and implement wealth transfer and estate planning vehicles such as GRATs, dynasty trusts, family limited partnership and limited liability companies. She also represents estates, businesses and individuals in IRS audits. She regularly forms and advises nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations.
In addition to her estate planning and tax practice, Meredith also advises business owners regarding structuring complex transactions, entity formation, succession planning, mergers and acquisitions and other corporate needs. She has developed a special focus on representing business owners who are involved in the development, installation and construction of energy facilities, as well as oil and gas leasing and development transactions. She frequently collaborates with members of the firm’s Environmental practice.
Online Strategy Peer Group
Danielle Walton is co-founder and principal of Adept Marketing where she focuses her efforts on developing integrated digital strategies for companies who put a prioritization on growth. With more than 15 years of experience in strategic marketing and interactive development, Danielle works directly with growth-minded owners and marketers to drive new and existing customer acquisition.
She began her career in technology and management consulting with Deloitte Consulting working on large-scale technology implementations for Fortune 500 companies.
Women in Family Business Peer Group Facilitator
Succession Planning Peer Group Co-Facilitator
Bea is a co-founder of the Conway Center for Family Business and serves as an Advisory Board member. She is a partner in the law firm of Emens Wolper Jacobs & Jasin, in Columbus, Ohio. Her practice focuses on succession planning, estate planning, general corporate law, contracts and the buying and selling of businesses, with an emphasis on family-owned businesses.
Bea serves as the Ohio President for the International Women’s Forum and serves as a director of TB Investment Properties and Insight Bank. She is on the Legal Advisory Board of the Columbus Foundation and Central Ohio Planned Giving. She has served on the executive committees of COSI, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Mt. Carmel College of Nursing, Greater Columbus News Bureau and Small Business Council.