UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School


For more information about the Family Enterprise Center, please contact: Cooper Biersach, Director and Co-Founder biersach@unc.edu, 919.619.4247

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Our People

  • Cooper Smith Biersach, Executive Director, Family Enterprise Center

    Cooper Biersach


    Cooper Biersach is the Co-Founder and Director of the Family Enterprise Center at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Cooper serves as an adjunct assistant professor and co-teaches two courses in family business. Since 2008, Cooper has worked with over 400 next generation family business leaders at the Family Enterprise Center.

    Cooper also provides leadership development, succession planning, governance, and communication consulting to numerous privately held businesses. Cooper received her BA in English at UNC-Chapel Hill, followed by her MBA and JD with honors.

    Prior to moving to North Carolina, Cooper lived in Boston, MA, where she served as the Senior VP, Worldwide Human Resources and as a member of the Executive Committee of Jack Morton Worldwide, a multinational brand experience agency that provides live meetings and events, learning, exhibits and 3-D environments, multimedia and interactive experiences, channel marketing and measurement to the world’s leading companies. In her role, she faced firsthand many of the challenges and opportunities of a family-run business — exponential growth, succession planning, acquisitions, global pressures, and the purchase of the company by a publicly traded holding company (Interpublic Group). While at Jack Morton, Cooper created an innovative HR culture focused on leadership and employee development that resulted in the company’s ability to meet ambitious growth objectives. During her tenure, the company grew from 170 employees in 9 U.S. offices to over 1200 professionals in 30 offices worldwide. Company revenue grew from $51 M to over $200 M.

    Cooper is the founding director of the Carolinas Family Office Forum, a networking and educational group for top executives of family offices in North and South Carolina; and she serves on the advisory board of the Carolina Clinic at UNC, a premier executive health program that addresses the needs of high-level executives.

  • Stephen P. Miller, President, GenSpan Inc.

    Steve Miller


    Steve Miller is a family business expert, co-founder of the Family Enterprise Center at UNC Kenan-Flagler, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior.

    His research focuses on next-generation leadership development in family-owned enterprises.He works with family businesses and his students to help them develop world-class, sustainable enterprises. His approach to family business leadership is to create and use business and governance strategies that align business, family and ownership goals.He draws on his 34 years of experience as the top non-family executive of the Vanderbilt/Cecil family-owned Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., where he played a key role in making Biltmore the most visited historic home in the United States, with over 1 million visitors each year.

    He also is president of GenSpan, Inc. in Asheville. He conducts succession planning, leadership training and strategic consulting for The Biltmore Company and other clients, and serves on the boards of Asheville Savings Bank and Draper & Kramer, a family-owned real-estate development and management firm in Chicago. He received his PhD from Case Western Reserve and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Undergraduate Business Program at UNC Kenan-Flagler. He completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.


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