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Let's Talk Family Enterprise

Jan 13, 2020


Welcome to Let’s Talk Family Enterprise, a podcast that explores the ideas, concepts and models that best serve Family Enterprise Advisors (FEAs) in supporting their clients.



Steve Legler is our guest host today and he welcomes Dr. Dawn Gross and Nancy Belza in order to learn how to better talk about death with clients.


Guest bios

Dr. Dawn Gross and Nancy Belza co-founded Dyalogues, along with their partner, Paul Puccinelli.


Dawn Gross, MD. PhD. is a palliative medicine physician dedicated to transforming end-of-life conversations. Considered a national thought leader on end-of-life care, her work has been featured in Science, JAMA and The New York Times.


Nancy Belza is a Relationship Manager, Business Development Consultant, Training Specialist and planning activist. She combines natural compassion and innate storytelling abilities with over 25 years of financial services industry experience and 15 years of mental health advocacy to help people face end-of-life planning prepared and empowered.


Key Takeaways

[0:16] Steve introduces Dr. Dawn Gross and Nancy Belza, and asks them why Family Enterprise Advisors should have an interest in learning how to talk about death, as well as some of the cultural barriers to those conversations.

[5:35] Dawn and Nancy’s work has a lot to do with the normalization of the discussions around death; they explain what that actually entails, from the knowledge vacuum to the semantic field.

[9:45] Dyalogues was born out of personal experiences with death that Nancy wished to avoid for as many others as possible; she touches on how this personal story affected her view and how it shaped Dyalogues’ mission.

[12:40] Nancy highlights the privileged position Family Enterprise Advisors find themselves in and the crucial role they can play in helping the flow of communication in a family. She shares some advice on how to word your support and guidance.

[15:30] Steve recaps the opportunities Nancy underlined, as well as the steps that were laid out for an advisor to follow.

[16:30] Dawn invites people who are less comfortable, or do not wish to develop fluency in this field, to identify and reach out to experts in this area.

[18:40] Steve shares how this resonates with him on a professional level and some surprising statistics he has heard before asking if the Dyalogues co-founders have some insight to share about them.

[20:42] Nancy shares her thoughts on the recent conference she participated in with Millennials and how it should help shape discussions we begin about death or dying.

[22:00] Steve asks if Nancy can share some background on “The Elephant in the Room” talk she gave at the Purposeful Planning Institute Conference in Denver.

[23:59] Creating permission to start a conversation is the key to breaking down the taboos and building meaningful plans around death that grow and change with the individuals.

[27:00] Nancy and Dawn share what services are offered by Dyalogues, including the ones specifically tailored to advisors.

[29:40] While macroscopic cultural differences exist when it comes to engaging or avoiding death and the conversations around it, the necessity for preparation remains the same since each relationship is its own cultural ecosystem.

[31:40] Nancy and Dawn share their parting tips.

[33:18] Steve thanks Dawn and Nancy for their time and experience and invites listeners to subscribe and tune in for the next episode.


Mentioned in this episode

Let’s Talk Family Enterprise podcast is brought to you by Family Enterprise Xchange



Purposeful Planning Institute


More about Family Enterprise Xchange

Family Enterprise Xchange

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More about our guest

Dr. Dawn M. Gross, M.D. at Dyalogues

Nancy Belza at Dyalogues