It’s a common aspiration of young children to want to become a firefighter, doctor or police officer, but often times those dreams fade and evolve into new ones.
Professor Lori Muse, Ph.D., said she knew since she was a child she wanted to be an accountant. She realized during a 7th grade job fair that she was interested in business and from that day forward, she said she stuck with it.
Muse was recently appointed as the Rick Muth endowed chair to the Center for Family Business in the College of Business and Economics at Cal State Fullerton, a position previously held by one other person, Tom Schwarz, Ph.D.
“I’m very excited about this particular endowed chair position because it gives me the opportunity to work with the family businesses in the Orange County community,” said Muse. “And anything that the Center for Family Businesses can do to help those families thrive in turn helps improve the economy in the Orange County business community.”
Anil Puri, dean of the College of Business and Economics, appointed Muse in January.
“(Muse) is clearly qualified,” said Puri. “She understands the vision for family businesses, and I think she’ll do a great job.”
Muse began her career in the business field when she obtained her undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Akron in Ohio, where Muse is originally from.
After working in accounting and for a non-profit, Muse decided to pursue her MBA part time while working full time. Muse went on to receive her Ph.D. in human resource management and organizational analysis and change as a part of a dual degree program from Auburn University in Alabama.
Continuing to move throughout the country, Muse began teaching at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich. for nearly six years.
As Michigan’s economy continued to threaten higher education with budget cuts, Muse began looking for new opportunities.
Muse said she was impressed with CSUF’s business college, and even though she had no ties to California prior, she took a teaching job at CSUF.
“I was very open to explore different opportunities to see where the best opportunity might be and where I might have the best fit,” Muse said. “When I came out here to interview I felt very at home with the people in the department and the college and the dean. I decided to make the leap.”
Muse has been teaching at CSUF since August 2008.
She received her tenure and promotion to become a full-time professor, effective last August.
With her new appointment as the endowed chair, Muse is responsible for research on family businesses, applying for grants for the center, organizing events for the center’s members such as affinity groups where members can come share ideas and concerns with fellow business owners.
In addition to working with the center, Muse will be teaching a business course in the fall.
Ed Hart, director for the Family Business Center, said Muse was an ideal candidate because of her expertise and background in business and teaching.
“(Muse) brings a lot of experience with family business, with leadership, with human resources, she’s had a tremendously successful teaching career to this point, so we’re excited that she’s going to bring a lot of expertise and background to the Center and our members,” said Hart, who’s been director at the center since 2011.
Both Hart and Muse will work closely together on the monthly seminars the center provides for its members.
For the month of February, the Family Business Center will be holding a “Leaving your legacy with future generations” seminar.
The seminar will focus on the transition from one generation of family business owners to the next, as well as the challenges that occur witthin a family business.
“One of the biggest challenges family businesses make is successfully transitioning their business from one generation to another,” Muse said. “So this next generation affinity group is going to be members of family businesses who are at least in the second generation of their family business who are preparing or have just taken over their businesses.”
The Family Business Center, in Steven G. Mihaylo Hall, is one of only about 50 in the nation and was founded back in 1995, according to Hart.
“Family businesses like that connection to the University because there’s a cache and that prestige, and we like it because it gives us a chance to, in some cases, place students with some companies, which is really what we’re all about is educating and then finding jobs for students,” Hart said.