Member Testimonials

For me, the #1 thing about being a Vistage member is that you learn how to run a business, plain and simple. I take the approach that I’m the dumbest guy in the room, so I’m like a sponge, learning everything that I can. It’s better than a university, because these are real-life lessons.

If you could see the performance of my business—where I was in 2002, and where I am today—you’d see why I stick with this approach. I get more than my money’s worth out of Vistage.”

Mark Reichard

Maroon Inc.

Seth Uhrman

CEO, State Industrial Products

“Having the group behind me, I feel more confident in my role as CEO.  I know at any point in time, I can pick up the phone and get honest advice.”

Dave Vance

Qualtech

If you’re too busy for Vistage, this is clear evidence that you are not focused and a prime candidate for Vistage. The group will help you pay attention to what is most important.”

Paul Noonan

International Data Management

“I’ve personally benefited from my Vistage membership for more than six years.  Simply put, my membership in Vistage has not only kept me in business through a tough economy, but we have actually grown and become more profitable.  I am a far better executive today than I as for the previous 20 years.

Like me, your greatest concern is, or should be, the full day commitment each month away from the office.  Before joining, I couldn’t imagine how I would make up the time.  I can honestly say, that it has turned out to be the best day of the month.  I come back to Avatar filled with ideas, but more importantly enthusiasm, a sense of purpose and clear goals.  It seems counter-intuitive, but being away for a day each month actually makes me personally more productive.  One last, but very important point…where else can you share candid conversation with 17 other executives who are all in similar situations with you!  Before Vistage I had to rely upon my employees, a few friends (who didn’t really understand my situation) and my spouse.  Other members were also able to converse with their boards, but in each case, such conversations are far less productive than what we experience together.”

Mark Gardner

Avatar

Sam Falletta

Incept

Tony Mazzella

CEO, Mazzella Companies

“Vistage is like a monthly dose of insight that supports my efforts to run my business better. Four of my associates participate in Vistage groups, and the leadership techniques we learn guide us as we frame and solve issues. My group is a safe haven to discuss anything, from business opportunities to communicating effectively with people. Thanks to a Vistage speaker, we’re recasting our customer focus. You can see why I drive two hours each way to attend Vistage meetings in the Canton/Akron area. It’s well worth my time.”

Hussein Y. Shousher

GEM Inc.

Risk Taking Peers:  These words resonated with me 16 years ago.  They still do.  Nobody else at my company has responsibility for the whole enchilada.  Nobody else has no back stop.  Nobody else can trash the whole company with one personal mistake. Nobody else carries the load of all of the biggest, gnarliest decisions.  I want exposure to people who are in the same situation as me, so I can learn from them how they make it work.
 
Candid Unfiltered Feedback:  As CEO, your employees are inhibited from telling you the full extent of your mistakes and your company’s shortcomings.  This is true of your outside accountants and attorneys too.  Furthermore, if you are anything of a leader, you’re persuasive enough to bring them around to your point of view, even if you’re off base. Your fellow CEO’s have no such inhibitions.  They will tell you things that you need to hear  — things that your employees simply cannot. 
 
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know:  Successful companies have all kinds of techniques for every conceivable aspect of business:  hiring, incentives, employee development, finance, cost accounting, time management, quality control, marketing, sales, strategy development.  Millions — yes millions — of small businesses have been developing these management techniques for ages.  Before Vistage, everything I knew about business was the result of my own finite career experience.  I want to be exposed to as many different management techniques and management styles as I can.  Every meeting for the past 16 years I have seen several new-to-me ways of handling problems that were previously outside of my experience.  
 
Real-Life, Real-Time Case Studies:  Harvard Business School’s famous case study technique will cost you $87,000 per year to learn canned case studies from a book.  Every month in Vistage, two or three members bring their real-life issues to the group for help in making decisions.  You get to see the “case” as it unfolds, and over time, you get to see how it evolves.  
 
The Right Blend of Structure and Flexibility:  Vistage is not just unstructured networking.  Every Vistage meeting has a well thought out pre-set agenda, but it’s custom designed for that group and that meeting.  There are rules of conduct for the meetings, but the group makes and enforces their own rules.  The chair is a highly trained professional, equipped with an arsenal of facilitation skills and and thought-provoking group exercises.  But the group consensus guides what activities the group will do.  With the chair’s guidance, there is seldom a wasted minute in a Vistage meeting, but there is always variety and freshness in what goes on.   
 
Dedicated, Professional Chair:  The chairs are rigorously selected. They go through an extensive training process, that continues every year.  And they are truly dedicated to helping you. 
 
Monthly One-to-One with the Chair:  This is a unique opportunity to explore your toughest issues, of any sort, with a trusted advisor.   
 
World Class Speakers:  Eight times a year you get a top quality speaker in a small group setting. 
 
Challenge Your Assumptions:  Most of the time we don’t even know what our assumptions are.  And even if we do know what they are, we are convinced that they are unerringly true.  The CEO group (and your Chair) will point out assumptions that you did not realize you had.  They will challenge your most cherished sacred cows.  And they will help you realize when your failure to act is based on emotion, not on the rationalizations you’ve been telling yourself.  This can lead to a much more profitable company.  And it can eliminate a lot of needless stress and unhappiness from your life.  
 
Find Out What’s Limiting Your Success:  See “Challenge Your Assumptions.”  No matter how successful you are, you can be better.  Much better.  Shockingly so.  
 
More Profits:  What I have learned at Vistage has made me a far better CEO.  My company would be much smaller, less well run, and much less profitable if I had never joined.  
 
It’s Lonely at the Top:  It’s true.  In order to lead a company you need to maintain a certain amount of distance from even your most trusted employees.  And you need to project an image of certainty and confidence, even if you don’t always feel that way.  Getting to know a group of Risk Taking Peers let’s you learn that your problems are not unique — in fact they are pretty universal.  Your Vistage group gives you a safe place where you can let your hair down. 
 
See What’s Under the Hood:  When you talk to successful CEO’s in social situations, or in networking organizations, they only tell you how wonderful their company is. You don’t really learn much.  But in your Vistage group, you see the gritty truth about how successful companies overcome obstacles and deal with inevitable setbacks.  You get to see what really makes it happen.
 
Learn From Other’s Mistakes:  Cautionary tales from other members have saved me from many a misstep.  In this case, vicarious experience is superior to real experience.  
 
Inspiration:  I can’t count how many times I’ve seen how a group member handles something, and said to myself, “I want to be just like that when I grow up.”
 
Personal Development:  You take a full day every month to stretch yourself, to try on new mental pathways, and to challenge yourself to be better.  It helps, not just business, but life in general.

Doug Grossman

CEO, Q-Lab

Bill Priemer

Hyland Software

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