Copper Beech & Co. helps families of means activate the promise and purpose of their next generation. Our expert team of educators, change makers, and innovators boldly combine new knowledge in neuropsychology, education, social responsibility, business, and organizational systems to prepare individual family members to lead their most enterprising lives.
Founder and Executive Director of Copper Beech & Co., Simon Holzapfel is an award-winning educator, thought leader, innovator, scrum master, writer, and competitive amateur athlete. He has dedicated his adult life to equipping people of diverse backgrounds with the knowledge, skills, values, and purpose they require to work and live well. In addition to his recent and successful tenure as Head of School and President at The Darrow School, an international boarding school, Simon has served as a trustee for varied educational institutions and organizations. He has earned undergraduate and advanced degrees from Carleton College and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Simon and his family reside in Massachusetts. Whenever he's not reading, cooking or eating, he can often be found on skis or his bike.
Chief Operating Officer at Copper Beech & Co., Ann K. Brehm is an experienced project manager, educator, facilitator, and scrum master. A passionate believer that different learners require different modalities, she has pioneered and championed multi-age, multi-generational educational opportunities for students through hands-on learning. Ann is an unusually keen observer of human behavior and highly skilled in identifying the most effective means by which to empower an individual learner to take risk. Ann has been President of a small school, and in addition to her deep experience in education, she has founded her own business and worked in the New York film industry. These successful and eclectic experiences opened the world for the native Vermonter and demonstrated how iterative design can also be applied to one's life. Ann loves her children, cooking, and garden design, especially the hardscape.
The Performance Improvement Director at Copper Beech & Co., Dr. Jonathan Aronoff has been a practicing clinical psychologist for over thirty-five years. In addition to leading inspirational morning walks four times a week at the exclusive Canyon Ranch Health Spa in Lenox, Massachusetts, Jonathan serves on the faculty at the College of Executive Coaching in Arroyo Grande, California. Jonathan earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University, an M.A. in clinical psychology from Alliant International University (formerly the California Professional School of Psychology), and an M.S. in experimental psychology from Ohio University. He is a Professional Certified Coach from the International Coach Federation, an Advanced Certified Professional and Executive Coach from the College of Executive Coaching, a Certified Master Mentor Coach, and a Certified Master Wellness Coach. No one can interact with Jonathan without feeling better about themselves or better about their future.
Board of Advisors
- Ms. Ela Ben-Ur
- Mr. Kurt Dowdle
- Mr. Bob Moesta
Make Your Mark
When she was a girl, the young woman thrived in the best schools at every level. Whether leading project teams in the classroom or captaining athletic teams to championships, she was focused and she was fearless. Now a twenty something professional with experience at multiple international companies, she is beginning to wonder what meaningful role she can serve in her family's business.
How do I approach my family about this?, she asks herself one morning. What knowledge and skills will I need to be successful? She considers a bigger question: and how do I even begin this process?
Blaze Your Own Trail
The young man is not a businessperson. While his parents once encouraged him to spend time in his family's business, his mind worked differently. He traveled. He pursued evolving interests. With his parents growing older, he and other family members are talking about the family's future. He is certain he does not want to lead his family's business. Still, he believes he can and should fulfill a meaningful role in his family's future.
But how do I define that?, he wonders in frustration after a tense meeting with his father. Who will teach me all the things I need to understand? He thinks about his large family. Can we all learn to work together? He has so many questions.
Blaze Your Own Trail
The man approaches business from a long-term perspective. He has witnessed short-term thinking ruin many friends and partners. Until now, this mindset has never waivered. But more and more, he is looking ahead to a time when he won't be there to filter seismic decisions through the prism of his wisdom and experience. His children - each unique in their own way - have graduated from the finest schools. And yet... his instinct tells him that they are not quite prepared to steward the family's legacy.
How can I objectively assess gaps in their skills and knowledge, he asks himself, and then how can I programmatically address them? How can I integrate each of their aspirations with the long-term goals I have for the family as a whole?
Find Your Voice
His mother's brother oversees the family's array of businesses and the young man's two cousins are active in helping his uncle manage them. Other than what he hears from his mother or reads in the news, the young man knows very little about his family's business. A lack of self-confidence and feelings of anxiety have inhibited him from enjoying much of a personal and professional life. He imagines these struggles as invisible anchors around his legs. His mother believes her brother and his children are actively planning for the future of the family's businesses. She is concerned they might exclude him from their plans out of respect for his own well-being.
Who can I talk to about my anxiety?, the young man wonders. I just want to live a better life.
Find Your Voice
The Family Advisor
While she has partnered with the family for more than five years, her firm has advised them for nearly a century. She meets in person with the parents quarterly. Sometimes, one of their children joins them. She has cultivated relationships with each child and marvels at their different personalities and ambitions. Like other families of means, they are a complex but gifted group of remarkable human beings. As the parents consult with her about the family's legacy and her observations about the abilities of their children to help steward it, she wonders whether it's time for a more intentional and holistic approach to the preparation of each child, and really, to the preparation of the whole family. She searches her memory.
Is there a firm that can integrate subjects as different as financial literacy and sibling teamwork? Can you even learn some of these things?
Reflecting the circumstances of each Copper Beech Family and Next Generation Family Member, our philosophy is fundamentally 'one-size-fits-one'. Individualizing tiered engagements with durations spanning multiple days to multiple months, our consultants work alongside each client across their private residences, business locations, and advisor offices.
Engagements begin with in-person Discovery sessions to clearly define each Copper Beech Family stakeholder's goals and design outcome-based road maps for each Next Generation Family Member that detail the distinct competencies we will develop with them each quarter.
The basic work of life can be likened to trail building. No matter where we might travel, we all need a trail. But from where or from whom will that trail come? And how much will we walk our own trail, or will we follow someone else's?
Embracing this metaphor, we leverage deep expertise in Agile to facilitate three highly individualized engagement models we call 'Trailblazers'.
We know that families seek long, healthy, productive, and fulfilled lives for their children. Families of means are no different. But the complex and sometimes overwhelming burden of stewarding their legacy assets, contributing meaningfully to their family's legacy, and honoring the enterprising spirit of their family's founders can be challenging for children within these families.
We equip Next Generation Family Members to find their unique voices, blaze their own paths, and make their mark on their own terms.
Designed around principles of Live Well, Think Well, and Own Well, the primary objective of Trailblazer is to enable each Next Generation Family Member to begin their mastery of 'anti-fragile' living and financial literacy.
Benefits for the Next Generation Family Member include:
- Clarified purpose
- Strengthened sibling, parental, and familial bonds (as desired or necessary)
- Superior adaptive thinking
- Improved judgment and decision-making
- Focused reasoning
- Enhanced determination and grit
- Enriched connection with nature
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased mastery of financial literacy
In addition to further strengthening the actionable benefits of Trailblazer, Trailblazer Elevation develops a cohesive narrative for each Copper Beech Family, to include the clear articulation of a family-specific Vision and a path to achieve it. Trailblazer Elevation also extends and deepens each Next Generation Family Member's understanding of complex business concepts, to include analyzing modern financial statements, risk modeling, and the basics of financial investment.
In addition to the benefits of Trailblazer and Trailblazer Elevation, Trailblazer Summit introduces each Next Generation Family Member to the fundamentals of trusts and family governance. Copper Beech & Co. facilitates the creation or confirmation of a set of agreed-upon rules describing how decision-making within that Copper Beech Family will flow.
As part of their ongoing one-on-one coaching with each Next Generation Family Member during Trailblazer Summit, our consultants will also design a 'Triple Balance Sheet' defining that individual's unique human, intellectual, and available financial capital. This balance sheet will become an individualized and evolving roadmap for future growth and development.