Member Testimonials

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Seth Uhrman

CEO, State Industrial Products

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

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

In the Summer of 2007 I realized my dream of selling my business. The help of my Vistage group members, speakers and my fabulous Chair, Cheryl McMillan, were critical not only in making the sale happen, but in helping me grow the business to a point where it was worth selling.

Over my 15 years as a member, I learned so much and received so much great advice. I  became much more focused on the important things in my business and my life, started to regularly set goals, built a much stronger organization and started tracking important metrics. In the process, I became a better listener, and a much more astute business person.

I was also able to witness dramatic positive changes in my fellow members’ lives and assist in their business decisions. I watched them overcome obstacles and saw their businesses blossom. My Vistage experience was extremely rewarding, and one where I always learned while being able to help my fellow members.

The Vistage model is very powerful when done correctly. Cheryl was my Chair for four of my fifteen years as a member. She is continuously learning new techniques and approaches to helping her members become the best they want to be. She is a truly extraordinary Chair and is rated among the top 20 Chairs worldwide on a regular basis for good reason.

Brad Roller

Vistage Chair and Former CEO, Swiger Coil

Brian Kreuger

CEO, HGR Industrial

My first Vistage meeting was on April 4, 1995. My last meeting was December 19, 2013.

In between those two meetings, my life was changed in every way. There were lots of factors that changed my life and my business, but none as powerful as meeting with my peers for one full day a month, and my Chair for another two hours a month…..When I started with Vistage in 1995, my company had annual revenues of $2 million, 14 employees, was named to the INC. 500 and lost money. That year, my wife and I had been together 20 years and our children were 11, 15 and 16. I paid myself $48,000 in what was my seventh year in business.

Since then, my first business was sold into private equity for $45 million. I’ve started another three businesses and a foundation and between them we manage about $60 million in assets. Half of our investments are in marketable securities and the other half are active investments in socially conscious companies. Our three children are all married and all are running their own businesses….

Most importantly, I’m happier than I ever dreamed I could be. I have health, love of family and an incredible fortune. And daily, I live my dream of serving those who serve the ;poor, the focus of our foundation, The Business of Good.

Tim McCarthy

www.thebusinessofgood.com

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