2015 CEO Collective Retreat Recap

By Melissa Raffoni

Trying to find a day that meets the schedule of more than 40 CEOs, organizing the speakers, the meals, and the fun (you’ve got to have fun),  is no small task. My teamjokes that it’s like planning a wedding. This year was our 9th retreat, so we’d like to think we’re getting the hang of it.

While the planning can be stressful, each year I come away feeling the same—excited and inspired. Our goal is that the reatreat be a valuable tool in the lives of our member CEOs. I was pleased to see such high marks on this year’s evaluations and that 100% of the CEOs said they found the retreat valuable.

Missed the reatreat? Here’s a recap of many of this year’s topics:

  1. Leadership development —It’s hot. hot. hot. Everyone wants to talk about it. Everyone wants to figure it out. CEOs recognize that they must go beyond setting direction for their leaders. They must rise to the challenge and build their leadership group into a world-class team.  Special thanks to Rich Rosier, SVP, Linkage, and Jeff DiSandro, Partner, Howard Fischer Associates, for talking candidly about what works, what doesn’t, which jobs are hardest to fill, and sharing numbers on competitive salaries.

  2. M&A—Our CEOs are sophisticated. They understand that organic growth is not the only way to grow a company.  When asked to speak, our panel of six CEOs, all with buy and sell experience, had excellent insights on how to drive a deal. We spoke about how to navigate the best deal (both as a buyer and a seller), who to engage to help you with the process, and how to keep your head clear as you navigate what is ALWAYS a distracting and stressful time for the CEO. Thank you Rob MacLeod, Managing Director, Bigelow, LLC and Stephen McGee, Director, Bigelow, LLC for sharing knowledge on how deals go down and your point of view based on many years of respected experience.  

  3. Scaling Sales—Umm-now this is a tough topic. Lots and lots of questions, and more importantly lots and lots of approaches. The discussion included when to hire a VP verus a director, how often do you change a comp plan, and what has worked versus what hasn’t. Our panel of six CEOs, all of whom have successfully scaled (three of which have scaled in excess of 200m with visions for 1b) shared their stories. 

  4. Audits—CEOs love to challenge and swap war stories on audits. Thank you Travis Drouin, Lead Partner, CPA, Moody, Famiglietti & Andronico for showing us that accountants can be good guys too (wink). 

  5. Getting Personal—The CEOs are willing to sharing the challenges and joys of being a CEO as it relates to their personal lives, including how they manage their schedule to ensure quality time with their families and attending to their health, what stresses them out, where they have fallen down and how they got back up again. We took a risk asking people to tell the personal truth and the results were meaningful.  

  6. Hang Time—It’s always a good sign when the crowd stays up late just to hang out. It’s great to see the relationships built through the CEO Collective and the reatreat. That’s at the core of what we offer to our members—lasting and meaningful connections with other CEOs.

A few thank yous…

Thank you to all the members who came out this year and made the retreat what it was through your presence and participation. You are an inspiration.

Thank you to Tom Fay, Regional President of BNY Mellon, for setting the stage post cocktail party by engaging us in a great discussion about where the economy is heading. Tom is our annual speaker on economy and  is always well versed and prepared to address a tough crowd.

And special thanks to the Raffoni Group team members who helped plan and staff the retreat, Ed Barrows and Erin Mullen.

If you are interested in learning more, please see the links below. If you weren't able to make it, I suggest you join us next year. You'll be glad you did.

See the full retreat agenda.

Get general information on the retreat.