The goal of the ISPA is to provide professionals who are or desire to be involved in the lucrative succession planning market access to education, technology and developmental programs that will significantly leverage their ability to impact clients who own or who have vested interest in the continuity of closely held businesses.


The mission of the ISPA is to strategically improve succession planning practices and philosophies by building membership, professionalism and collaboration among succession planning professionals and through providing assessment technology that will efficiently and economically impact manufacturers, vendors, business owners and succession planning professionals.


The vision of the ISPA is to be the global resource for succession planning education, collaboration and technology by providing unique resources to advisors, business owners, manufacturers, and vendors that will support the achievement of their respective goals. Specifically, we believe the Succession Planning Assessment™(SPA™) can be a motivator to business owners to take action, as well as a versatile tool for the business community, to assess business value and family harmony and create exposure to their succession issues.

The Succession Matrix

ISPA Core Philosophy

Through an extensive national research and study program, the organizers of the ISPA identified the ten planning factors critical to the continuity of a business through the next generation. These interdependent factors, as a body, are referred to as the Succession Matrix.

The Succession Matrix is the foundation for the education programs and resources of the ISPA. 

About The Succession Matrix

The Succession Matrix describes the planning factors that the ISPA Board has confirmed as the predictable challenges impacting the continuity of a business through the next generation. Each of these critical factors, by virtue of their inclusion within the Matrix, can have a significant impact upon business succession. Depending upon the gravity of the circumstances, any one factor can significantly handicap the probability that a business can achieve Succession Success.

The factors of the Succession Matrix are also interdependent. Due to the compounding impact of this interdependence, extraordinary strength in some factors can support weaknesses in others. Reciprocally, a shortfall in multiple Succession Matrix factors can support the conclusion that significant enhancement of planning circumstances is needed to have confidence that the continuity of a business legacy is reasonable.

To assist business owners and their advisors in identifying business succession assets and liabilities, the ISPA has developed the Succession Planning Assessment (SPA), based upon the factors included in the Succession Matrix.

  • Owner Motivation and Perspective 
  • Personal Financial Planning 
  • Business Structuring 
  • Business Performance 
  • Strategic Planning
  • Leadership and Management Continuity 
  • Successor Preparation 
  • Management Synergy and Teamwork 
  • Family Dynamics 
  • Family Governance

ISPA Board & Contributors

The International Succession Planning Association has gathered a diverse group of professionals from many industries to ensure the direction and resources of ISPA are in alignment with the needs of the members.

Loyd H. Rawls, CLU®, ChFC®
Founder and Chairman - The Rawls Group

Loyd H. Rawls is one of the nation’s leading succession planners. Since 1973, Mr. Rawls and his associates have provided business succession services for the owners and key executives of closely-held, capital intensive businesses throughout the country. A native of Fayetteville, NC, Mr. Rawls is a graduate of North Carolina State University. After serving 4 years as an officer in the US Air Force, Loyd moved to Orlando, Florida and began a career as a financial planner. In 1973, Loyd’s business expanded when he founded The Rawls Company, which later evolved into The Rawls Group, a business succession firm. Loyd achieved designations of a Certified Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant and earned his Master of Science in Financial Services from the American College.

After approximately five years as a financial planner, Loyd enhanced his practice and began specializing in business succession planning. As he gained experience and recognition, his practice expanded nationally and he confirmed theories regarding the critical factors that impact business succession and the role key managers can play in a succession initiative. As Loyd presented his succession planning concepts and processes, he recruited partners from various career fields that impact business succession, such as business management, management training, strategic planning and interpersonal relationship facilitation. In 2000, Loyd developed the concept of an analytical tool to empower business planning professionals to assess Succession Positioning and, subsequently, became a co-founder of the International Succession Planning Association. Loyd is a frequently requested speaker by local, state and national organizations. An avid writer, Loyd has published four succession-focused publications:

  • Seeking Succession – How to Continue the Family Business Legacy 
  • The Succession Bridge – Key Manager Succession Alternatives for Family Owned Businesses 
  • Estate Planning Heartburn Relief™ – Answers to Gut-Grinding Estate Planning Questions Family 
  • Business Heartburn Relief™ – Answers to Gut-Grinding Family Business Questions

T. Jeff Faulkner, M.S.
Partner - The Rawls Group

Specializing in business succession planning since 2002 as a partner with The Rawls Group, Jeff relies upon his background in family counseling to navigate the unique challenges of family dynamics in the succession planning process. Jeff earned his undergraduate degree from Samford University in Birmingham, AL with a major in Psychology, and is a graduate of Georgia State University, where he earned a Master of Science degree in Counseling.

Jeff also earned a diploma from Psychological Studies Institute where his studies focused on the integration of theology and psychology. His experience as a succession planner has allowed him to understand the delicate balance of the family-business system. He is also technically proficient in the financial planning field for closely-held businesses. He is working toward the Certified Financial Planner® designation to further enhance his financial planning skills. The unique combination of Jeff’s knowledge base and skill sets allows him to assist families in structuring plans that will stand the challenges of a succession transition.

J. Daniel Schneider, M.A., CSP®, NLP
Partner/Director - The Rawls Group – Business Succession; President – Edge Cultural Architects

Dan Schneider specializes in working with families and organizations to design, build, and implement emotional and logical relationship systems and processes that increase human and financial capital and stakeholder value. Since 1996, Dan Schneider has been involved in business start-ups, business cultural development, succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, and community development. He has served as Vice-president of Development, Chief Operating Officer, and Executive Vice President of firms in the manufacturing, technology, financial, and advertising industries.

Dan Schneider’s formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Ambrose University; a Master of Arts degree in Legal Studies from Antioch School of Law; and a Certified NLP Business Practitioner from the Quadrant 1 Group in London, England. He is a former Chairman of the Board of Governors for Leadership Iowa, a statewide leadership program sponsored by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. In addition to his role as Managing Partner in EDGE Cultural Architects, Dan is a Partner and Director of The Rawls Group as well as a founding member of the International Succession Planning Association. Dan frequently speaks before local, state, and national organizations about leadership and change.

David Ciambella
President and CEO - The Rawls Group

David works with closely held business owners, family members, and executive management teams to address a myriad of family business succession planning issues and is a co-founder of the International Succession Planning Association®, an organization dedicated to providing professionals, business owners and strategic partners access to a network of expertise, educational tools, and resources to enhance business longevity and value. A native of Philadelphia, David graduated from Rollins College in 1991 with a B.A. in Psychology. David enjoys spending time with his wife, children and friends at the beach, supporting his children in their various sporting activities, fishing and playing an occasional round of golf. David’s expertise with privately held and family owned businesses is also shared throughout various industries. He is a frequent speaker and presenter for national organizations and contributes articles in publications that span industries including professional services, automotive and other franchise concepts.

Jefferey E. Wacksman
Partner - Loeb, Block & Partners LLP

Jeff has been advising ultra-high net worth individuals, companies, family offices and fiduciaries in all aspects of their legal, business and financial activities since joining Loeb Block in 1991. Jeff is equally comfortable in a corporate transactional setting as he is in counseling clients on their estate plans. He regularly assists his clients in business and investment structuring, corporate mergers, financings and asset acquisitions and divestitures, including real estate. He also advises those same clients in their domestic and international trust and estate planning, family succession planning, philanthropic giving and asset preservation techniques.

Jeff obtained a B.A. from the University of Vermont and his J.D. from Cornell University School of Law. Prior to joining the Loeb Block team, Jeff was an attorney at Shearman & Sterling LLP after graduating law school, where he specialized in representing clients in all aspects of real estate and corporate transactions. Jeff has served on numerous Boards, including open and closed-end public mutual funds, private foundations, public charities, as well as closely held corporations.

Daniel Thill
Director of Research & Plan Design - The Rawls Group

Dan has been a member of The Rawls Group since 1990 and is the Director of Research & Plan Design. Dan offers extensive knowledge and support to our planning team, with a specific focus in the areas of  financial planning analysis and non-qualified deferred compensation plans.

Prior to his work with The Rawls Group, Dan was an account executive with a major Wall Street brokerage firm. Dan earned an A.S. in Business from New York State University at Delhi and a B.S. in Finance from Pennsylvania State University.

Hugh B. Roberts
Partner - The Rawls Group

Hugh B. Roberts, a member of The Rawls Group since 1996, specializes in dealing with issues that must be resolved by clients and their families in order to preserve assets and develop succession plans for their organizations. Working in concert with the client’s other advisors, Hugh orchestrates the development of an integrated plan addressing the business, tax, financial, family and emotional issues, which must be overcome to ensure the preservation of businesses, estates and families.

Hugh has delivered seminars to over 60 Automotive Twenty-Groups, the North Carolina, Utah and Michigan Auto Dealers Associations, and many NADA Conventions over the past 20 years. Hugh has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado, a Master of Arts from Fuller Seminary, and is a CFP® professional, while also being one of The Rawls Group’s top family business succession planning experts.

Don Ray
CPA - Strategic Source

Don is an automotive consultant/reinsurance advisor with Portfolio and travels nationwide in this role. He helps dealer principals and their advisors understand the value proposition of a properly structured reinsurance program from a CPA or CFO’s perspective. Don has worked in the dealership space throughout his career. He joined George B. Jones & Co., P.C. as a staff accountant upon graduation from The University of Memphis. George B. Jones was a CPA firm working exclusively with car dealers across the country. He became a partner in George B. Jones and later the managing partner. After George B. Jones merged with Dixon Hughes Goodman, Don became the co-managing member of the Dealer Services Group. Don spent much of his time on dealership buy/sell transactions and interacting with various industry experts. After his retirement from Dixon, Don joined the DCH Auto Group as its CFO and Senior Vice-President. During his time with DCH, Don oversaw the accounting and treasury functions of approximately 25 auto dealerships. Later Don became a charter member of InnovAuto Group LLC which was composed of experts from the automotive OEM’s and the dealership space including the finance side, the vehicle sales side, and the fixed operations side.

Today Don also serves as the outsourced CFO of Price-Simms Auto Group representing 5 locations. He has a continuing association with The Rawls Group offering succession planning and coaching to automobile dealers, their families and managers. Don serves on the Board of Directors of the International Succession Planning Association, Westminster Academy and Blues City Thrift Stores, a non-profit providing financial support to selected charities in the Memphis area.

Kendall Rawls
Director of Development - The Rawls Group

Kendall is the Director of Development for The Rawls Group. Since officially joining the firm in 2004, she has navigated issues that many business owners face, including working effectively with family, building rapport with key management and outside strategic partners, influencing teamwork, and implementing strategic initiatives to drive growth and increase organizational performance. Kendall knows and understands the challenges that impact entrepreneurial-owned businesses’ success and offers a unique perspective derived from her background and experience as a second-generation, family-member-employee of The Rawls Group.  Kendall is a frequent contributor to national industry publications in automotive retail, multi-unit franchise, marine, and energy. In her spare time, Kendall enjoys spending time with her dog, practicing yoga, playing beach volleyball, and volunteering for her local neighborhood association.

"The most important item I gained by obtaining training in succession planning was an understanding of the legion of drivers that impact a successful succession plan. It gave me the ability to understand my clients’ motives better (which in many instances are not fully articulated). I did not pursue succession planning as a separate business endeavor but used the knowledge to assist my clients in engaging professionals that could help them move forward.

New business and retaining clients are not an issue. Influencing clients to act was. The more I know about building, operating, valuing, protecting, and eventually passing on a business, the better I can serve my clients in achieving their goals."

Managing Member, Tetrick and Bartlett