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Leadership Transition & Organization Sustainability, Panel Discussion

  • 24 Sep 2020
  • 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
  • Go To Webinar



This Webinar aligns with our program year theme: Fostering Resilience, Innovation & Sustainability. Our 4 panelist will discuss from their experiences and perspectives the challenges and opportunities of Leadership Transition and Organization Sustainability.

Change is hard and preparing for and executing change in organizational Leadership creates a unique dynamic. In addition to adjusting and adapting to different leadership styles/different personalities and even different genders, employees can react from the full gamut of fully accepting to fully resisting.

Each panelist will discuss how their organization navigated the process – identifying what were some key factors to be sensitive to, e.g. if you have a union environment, the longevity of employees, the current culture, the history of the organization and its public reputation, the stability of the business structure and model, whether the organization is a family business, privately held entity or not-for-profit organization.

The focus will be on the importance of the organization’s readiness for the leadership transition and the impact on organization sustainability. Panelist will discuss what preparation, what type of succession planning, what other factors were integral to the successful transition – whether by design or by default.

Additionally, they will reflect on if they could change anything about the process, what would they have done differently – if anything and why.

Our panelists include the Boston Group HR Director for Enterprise Holdings Inc who will be speaking of the transition in its CEO made last fall. Enterprise has a very prescriptive process for succession planning and Carolyn will speak to the organization’s readiness, process, planning for mission critical positions, etc. We have two Presidents and CEOs leading family businesses. One has transition to it’s 4th President and CEO, third generation of a 74 year old family business which has seen changes over the years, including unionization of warehouse and general labor. The other family business is 46 years old and is in the process of transition to the 3rd President and 3rd generation. Our final panelist, is the 3rd President and CEO of 57 year old not-for-profit institution specializing in student educational loans. This panelist came in at a time the organization was facing some business challenges and in the wake of a former President and CEO who held that position for 40 years.

Participants will gain a greater understanding of the complexity in identifying, planning, grooming, and preparing for leadership transition in mission critical positions. Succession planning and leadership transition is essential for sustainability, innovation and the well being of any organization. One size does not fit all, culture, history, industry, current economic climate and many other factors impact the process. Participants will be able to identify key elements integral to instituting a successful process as well being mindful of unintended consequences and unanticipated challenges.

This webinar is approved for 2 SHRM PDCs and 2 HRCI BUSINESS credits. 


Carolyn Murphy – Group HR Manager
Carolyn Murphy has been employed with Enterprise Holdings for 30 years.  She is currently the Group Human Resources Manager of all Boston Group operations, a role she has held since July, 2015.  Prior to that, she served as Group HR Manager in Indiana for 13 years.  As Group HR Manager, she has oversight over all HR functions for operations in Central and Eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine including Benefits, Legal Compliance, Training & Development, Talent Acquisition, and Diversity and Inclusion. Carolyn is a cum laude graduate of Wellesley College.  In addition to her work accomplishments, she currently serves on the United Way of Massachusetts Bay Board of Directors and serves as vice-chair of the United Way Women United Executive Committee.  While in Indianapolis, she served two terms on the Indianapolis Urban League Board of Directors.  She resides in North Andover and has one daughter, Sara, who is carrying on the family legacy with her own Enterprise career in Colorado. 

Henry Huntington, President And CEO
Henry’s agricultural roots run deep. Growing up on his family’s farm in Connecticut, he learned the importance of hard work. Combining this with a passion for growing, Henry then joined his father Jon and brother Jeff to establish Pleasant View Gardens– which has become one of the most successful horticultural businesses in the Northeast. Innovation, sustainability, and employing environmentally sound practices, has advanced the family business as an exemplar in the industry. His dedication to the highest standards, industry-best genetics, and advanced growing systems led the way to creating the #1 consumer plant brand, Proven Winners®, and the region’s leading herb and vegetable brand, Savor™. Building on that success, the Huntington family proudly launched lēf Farms in 2017, New England’s new home of fresh baby greens.

Christiana Thornton, President and CEO
Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry and trade associations. Strong business development professional skilled in Management, Legislation, Public Policy, and Finance. She has held key leadership roles in organizations operating in the finance industry – President of the NH Banker’s Association, Board member of Merrimack County Savings Bank, Board member of the National Council of Higher Education Resources and her current position as President and CEO of The NHHEAF Network Organizations. The NHHEAF Network Organization had its beginnings in 1963. Christiana became the third President and CEO of this organization in October of 2018.

Chris Brown, President and CEO
New Hampshire Distributors, LLC was founded in August of 1946 by James H. Hayes. New Hampshire Distributors’ beginning was simple – a basement in a store in Epping. In 1947, the business was moved to One Durgin Lane in Concord (about where the Sandwich Depot/parking garage is located today). During the next ten years, the business outgrew that building and in 1957 a new warehouse was built on Horseshoe Pond Lane. In 1983, after four expansions at Horseshoe Pond Lane over a twenty-six year period, we built a state of the art distribution facility at our present location at 65 Regional Drive. New Hampshire Distributors continues business today with a successful transition to the 3rd generation, This New Hampshire Distributors 4th President and CEO, Chris Brown, is the founder’s grandson. Currently, this “family business” has a staff of over 200 full-time employees. Over the course of 2016 and 2017, the company successfully completed the acquisitions of two contiguous wholesalers, paving the way for the future of the business while growing our geographic footprint.


PO Box 261

Concord, NH 03302-0261

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