Passing the Torch- The Keys to an Easeful Business Transition


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By Chris Yonker. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In today’s episode we will talk with John Abrams, founder of South Mountain Company in Martha’s Vineyard. John talks about the transition of his business to its next leader– Deirdre Bohan– and the challenges they faced in the process. With over 2 million or more baby boomers at the helm of businesses today, there is a much needed demand for resources on transitioning a business so the legacy continues. With the Great Resignation in place and businesses, like construction, are experiencing a shrinking workforce…how can you gain and retain good employees? During this episode, John and Deirdre talk about how they created a model that works. If you are looking for creative and aligned ways to transition a business this episode is for you.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • The business model that gives employees more “skin in the game”
  • How to keep your core values intact during a transition
  • Empowering others through delegation
  • Why engagement and transparency with employees is critical for longevity
  • The keys to creating loyalty in your team
  • What to look for in new hires to create future leaders
  • The components needed for an easeful business transition


John Abrams COO & Co-Owner

In 1975 John and his family inadvertently landed on the Vineyard. Their arrival marked the end to a wandering back-to-the-land hippie odyssey and the beginning of South Mountain. For nearly a half-century he has devoted himself to creating, nurturing, and growing SMCo and a variety of public initiatives, mostly related to affordable housing. These days, he concentrates on building capacity for the 2022 transition, after which he looks forward to a life of writing, activism, grandparenting, skiing with family, and travel with Kim.

John is a co-founder of Building Energy Bottom Lines, a peer group network of 60+ Northeast U.S. businesses in the architecture and construction industry. His writings include his book COMPANIES WE KEEP: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place, which was published in 2008.

Deirdre Bohan COO & Co-Owner

Deirdre spent childhood summers in Vineyard Haven. After graduating from Brown University, with a degree in Computer Science, she returned to the island to work a variety of jobs (and briefly bum around the Caribbean) before settling at South Mountain. Since joining our team in 1995, she has inhabited a variety of roles, including but not limited to: bookkeeper, founder of our interiors department, chair of our management committee, COO and designated CEO-in-training.

Like so many of us, she feels enormously grateful to have spent her entire career in a place that allows her to do her best work, contribute in meaningful ways and share days with friends. As designated future CEO, she will focus on paying these gifts forward.

Deirdre lives with her husband, young son and Australian Shepherd puppy in a restored Oak Bluffs bungalow.




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57 episodes