Goering Center core member announced successful family business transition to fourth generation

On May 1, 2022, Lauren Johnson-Lake of Cincinnati Container Company assumed the role of President. Formerly Vice President of Operations, she succeeded her father, Paul Johnson, as the fourth generation president of the company. Paul is staying on as Vice President of Technology and Chairman of the Board.

“Being the next generation of our family to lead Cincinnati Container is truly an honor and a privilege,” shared Lauren. “Especially because we are a family business, I know that I have big shoes to fill. That being said, I also know that the work we have done to prepare for and ensure a smooth transition will help me to be successful in the future. We have built a team that can be successful even during challenging times, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Cincinnati Container.”

To prepare for this business transition, Cincinnati Container joined the Goering Center in 2017. They participated in the Next Generation Institute (NGI)®, the Center’s flagship institute that was designed to prepare for a smooth transition of ownership for owners and leaders of family businesses, their successors, and other family members who may or may not work in or have ownership interest in the business.

The Next Generation Institute™ provides the space to tackle tough questions together, have difficult conversations, and gain a holistic perspective on the succession journey. The program helped the Johnson family determine what questions to ask and how to start productive conversations about challenging topics, as they dove deeper into their succession planning.

“The Next Generation Institute™ helped us develop the language and the tools necessary to tackle some really tough issues and shifted our focus to work on our business versus just in it. The institute encouraged us to develop this transition plan and make sure we have continuity for the business going forward. I can’t say how beneficial the whole Goering Center staff has been for our family and our business.”

In 2018, Cincinnati Container signed up their full management team for the Communication & Culture Institute™ (CCI), which is designed for family and private business owners, successors, and leadership teams. The program helped participants acquire and practice the skills needed to create a performance-enhancing culture and change any behaviors that were contributing to a dysfunctional culture. CCI reinforced the significance of consistent team communication, which led Cincinnati Container to share more about their transition plan development and vision for their company’s future with their employees.

This past January, Lauren was named a Goering Center Rising Leader Finalist for excelling in Outside Boards, one of the 10 Best Practices of Successful Family and Private Businesses. The 2021 – 22 Rising Leader Finalists are not only shaping the future of their companies, but collectively growing the Greater Cincinnati regional economy. With the assistance of Jim Miller and David Deye, Lauren identified the value that an advisory board could hold for her company and its eventual transition. Through the Goering Center’s Business Boards Institute™ (BBI), she led the candidate search for the board, and has led the quarterly meetings through writing the president’s report and agenda. The board has given insight into certain areas of the company and where to further investigate, including navigation of the pandemic, adoption of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (Traction) method, and assistance with succession planning conversations.

Lauren now participates in a peer-group Roundtable, an additional space within the Center for business leaders seeking balance across their work and family lives. By engaging in multiple Goering Center institutes and seeking unique opportunities to strengthen their leadership team and expand company resources, Cincinnati Container was well-prepared for this year’s family business transition.

As a result of the NGI sessions, the Johnsons implemented a monthly dinner to talk about what they were learning and thinking, and what each wanted to include in the transition plan. “It really felt like we got so much more value out of the programs in addition to the time spent in the classroom.”

The Goering Center team is proud to partner with the Johnson family and other business families and family-businesses throughout the Greater Cincinnati region, providing resources and expertise to utilize on their succession journeys and beyond. Every business has unique issues, challenges, and priorities – the Goering team will continue to meet members where they are to help ensure a prosperous future.

See Cincinnati Business Courier article

Photograph of Lauren Johnson-Lake and Paul Johnson

Lauren Johnson-Lake and Paul Johnson

Celebrating its 90th Anniversary in 2022, Cincinnati Container Company has been satisfying rigid packaging needs in the metropolitan areas of Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, Lexington and Louisville for over nine decades. As a main source in the region, Cincinnati Container has long term relationships with over 300 manufacturers, guaranteeing that customers will not only find what they need from inventory, but can access non-stock items as well.

About the Goering Center for Family & Private Business

Established in 1989, the Goering Center serves more than 400 member companies, making it North America’s largest university-based educational non-profit center for family and private businesses. The Center’s mission is to nurture and educate family and private businesses to drive a vibrant economy. Affiliation with the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati provides access to a vast resource of business programming and expertise. Goering Center members receive real-world insights that enlighten, strengthen and prolong family and private business success. For more information on the Center, participation and membership visit goering.uc.edu.