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“Commit to the group, commit to the learning, stay open-minded and speak true.”
Mike Cohen
Executive Chairman, Myoderm
Leadership Award winner
6
Jenna Fromm
Minneapolis
CEO & Co-owner, Palmer Bus Service
CE 5658 | Chair: Brian Davis
Vistage member since 2017
Impact Award

Jenna Fromm spent childhood summers painting wheels and waxing floors for her father’s business, Palmer Bus Service. Fast forward to 2015, and Jenna was thrust into the role of CEO. Embracing the challenge of leading the 46-year-old fleet, she understood the needs of her staff, customers and community — but had no CEO experience.

In 2017, Jenna joined Vistage, and transformed the business from surviving to thriving, with a highly engaged team of 1,200+.

Jenna’s CEO success secrets:

  1. Remember life is a roller coaster. Don’t expect a monorail.
  2. Get enough sleep.
  3. Your job is to keep the ship afloat. If someone is causing it to sink, let them go.
  4. You don’t have to be a “big personality” to be a great leader.
Peter Romano Jr.
Buffalo
President & CEO, United Materials, LLC
CE 348 | Chair: Alan Weinstein
Vistage member since 2013
Leadership Award

When Peter Romano assumed control of a company reeling after the recession, he took a culture-first approach to conquer the monumental task of turning things around. “Everything in the business flows from culture,” Peter says. “Fix that first, and the other pieces will follow.”

Drawing strength and perspective from his Vistage group, he rebuilt the company into the powerhouse it is today.

Peter’s tips to mend culture:

  1. Become the cheerleader on all fronts.
  2. Shift mindset on who we are, and who we need to be.
  3. Get involved in the community.
  4. Increase employee engagement. Engaged employees are more invested, and will work harder.
  5. In hard times, forego executive team bonuses to do more for employees.
Craig Krumwiede
Arizona
President & CEO, Harvard Investments
CE 590 | Chair: Conrad Prusak
Vistage member since 2010
Lifetime Achievement Award

For 26 years, Craig Krumwiede has led Harvard Investments in real estate acquisition and development, facing difficult decisions with transparency and integrity. Craig leads his team through empowerment, investment in growth, trust, respect and mutual loyalty.

During the financial crisis of 2008-09, Craig looked to his Vistage group for guidance and support to successfully weather catastrophic circumstances in the real estate landscape.

Craig’s insights:

  1. Stay disciplined in your daily actions.
  2. Don’t put your head in the sand. How you respond to crisis establishes trust.
  3. Maintain a culture of integrity and openness to build a strong stock of goodwill.
  4. Everything you’d tell your kids to do, how to behave, do that yourself.
  5. Be the bearer of bad news in person.
Tony Jaffe
Iowa/Nebraska
Founder & CEO, T1 Technologies
CE 5862 | Chair: Rick Faber
Vistage member since 2014
Leadership Award

In three years, Tony Jaffe has doubled business for T1, one of the Midwest’s leading tech firms. “Success is a series of intentional decisions,” he shares. “It’s easier to succeed when you’re surrounded by people that know how… and are helping you stay accountable.”

Critical to Tony’s momentum is being attuned to his leadership team’s aspirations. “As the business evolves, and things change, people change too,” he explains. Checking in ensures you’re still on the same path, mutually driven to reach the finish line.

Tony’s other tips:

  1. Investing in your people is an investment in your business.
  2. Have some conversations outside of work, for freer flow of ideas.
  3. Recognize your team’s expertise. Release total control.
Trevor Mitchell
Dallas
Executive Director, American Mensa
CE 5764 | Chair: Lisa Harrington
Vistage member since 2018
Impact Award

Chosen to helm a 50,000+ member organization that “identifies and fosters human intelligence for the benefit of humanity,” first-time chief leader Trevor Mitchell was faced with an impressive undertaking. Ready to
embrace the challenge, Trevor enlisted the support of a Vistage peer group, and grounded his leadership in intentional communication, integrity and transparency.

Trevor’s guiding principles:

  1. Leadership is serious work, but don’t take yourself too seriously.
  2. Recognize everything you say and do has specific meaning.
  3. Keep lines of communication open.
  4. Get a clear picture — ask for more information.
  5. In crisis, evaluate decisions by asking: Would I be okay with this showing up on the news?
  6. Trust your gut.
Gus Cawley
Atlanta
CEO, NorthPoint Search Group
CE 4792 | Chair: Shaun Bradley
Vistage member since 2017
Impact Award

“We have two options, right? We can be a victim of the economy, or we can pivot,” says Gus Cawley, a CEO who redefines entrepreneurial resourcefulness. Leveraging insights from a mapping expert who spoke to his Vistage group, Gus recently expanded his business to achieve exponential growth — even in the current climate. Diversifying into different markets and industries, and creating a software that allowed him to build a database of 7M+ contacts nationwide, Gus’ business is thriving more than ever.

Gus’ leadership tips:

  1. Never stop learning.
  2. Look to your Vistage Chair for guidance.
  3. In the face of adversity, get up earlier and work harder.
  4. Don’t be afraid to rebuild, and come back stronger.
Jerry Kelsheimer
Cleveland
President/Principal investor, Medic Management Group Founder/Principal, Exodus Capital Partners Ltd.
CE 3547 | Chair: Brad Roller
Vistage member since 2008
Lifetime Achievement Award

With 30+ years’ experience, Jerry Kelsheimer is a proven leader known for intentionally empowering his team to deliver exceptional results.

“It really isn’t ever lonely at the top,” Jerry says. In crises large and small, he’s learned the greatest strength is found in having a strong team to lean on, be it one’s executive leadership team or Vistage group. For the means to persevere, it is imperative to embrace the wisdom of colleagues that genuinely care.

Jerry’s advice:

  1. Learn to lean on your team.
  2. Be willing to listen.
  3. Value the perspective gained from experience.
  4. Create a safe environment. Robust discussion makes your leadership team stronger.
  5. Commit to walking out of meetings linked in purpose.
John Herrmann
San Antonio
President, WB Liquors
CE 3867 | Chair: Charles Marino
Vistage member since 2012
Leadership Award

“We have a commitment to continual evolution,” John Herrmann says, when asked how WB Liquors continues to achieve increased year-over-year earnings. As president of the more than 50-year-old family-owned and operated business, John has expanded operations to 60 stores. Since joining Vistage, he’s also doubled revenue.

A 30-year retail industry veteran, John runs his company from the store level perspective, not from the corporate office. It’s a pragmatic approach echoed in his advice to fellow leaders:

  1. Build for the future and do not get stuck in the present.
  2. Invest in the employees that are your company’s future.
  3. Keep finding ways to break out of your comfort zone.
  4. Put ego aside. Admit to mistakes, learn from them, and keep moving forward.
Jay Manoogian
Orange County
President & CEO, Preferred Property Maintenance
CE 583 | Chair: Bob Dabic
Vistage member since 2001
Lifetime Achievement Award

Jay Manoogian founded Preferred Property Maintenance on the heels of the “worst year” of his life. 33 years later, Jay’s first two employees are still with him. “We celebrate our victories, we really do,” he says.

With an average staff tenure of 11.5 years, Jay notes a key to his leadership success is the accountability he’s found in being a 20-year Vistage member. “My Chair has done a great job of keeping me accountable to my actions and promises,” he shares. Jay’s other secrets to long-term leadership success:

  1. Prioritize work/life balance early.
  2. Recognize your demeanor sets the tone for your staff.
  3. Implement one-to-ones, allow your team to make decisions, and celebrate them.
  4. Install core beliefs.
Dr. Roger Smalligan
Birmingham
Regional Dean, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine (Huntsville Campus)
CEO, Valley Foundation
CE 3872 | Chair: Ron Greenwood
Vistage member since 2017
Impact Award

Dr. Roger Smalligan began his medical career in the Amazon jungle. Today, he leads 247+ faculty, staff, students and residents in crucial clinical care and education.

“I started out as a practicing physician, teaching along the way, and moving into more supervisory roles. Next I took over a department, and with the move to UAB, became regional dean in charge of it all,” he shares.

Through the transition from physician to running a business, Roger learned the value of leaning on your teams, be it your staff, other leaders in your industry, or a Vistage group.

Roger’s other tips:

  1. No margin, no mission.
  2. Find mentors.
  3. Be open to big ideas. Apply the brakes if needed.
  4. Take pause and consider alternate perspectives.
Mike McVaugh
Philadelphia
President, Laboratory Testing Inc.
CE 343 | Chair: Marty Roark
Vistage member since 2000
Lifetime Achievement Award

Thrust into the role of president of his family business overnight, Mike McVaugh embraced the challenge head on. He had no training. No warning. No education beyond a high school degree and yet — Mike has achieved 5x revenue and profit growth and twice doubled the size of LTI, all while preparing the third generation to assume control of the business.

Here are Mike’s top 10 lessons learned over 20 years as a Vistage member:

  1. Listen and use your advisors.
  2. Learn from your mistakes.
  3. Never stop growing your business.
  4. Take strategic risks.
  5. Find a mentor.
  6. Don’t be afraid of conflict.
  7. Don’t be overly trusting.
  8. Aggressively spend on technology.
  9. Bring in people smarter than you. Give them opportunities to implement their ideas.
  10. Build a culture of accountability, not a culture of entitlement.
David Fitch
Triangle
President, Fitch Lumber and Hardware
CE 4917 | Chair: Janet Boudreau
Vistage member since 2016
Leadership Award

David Fitch lives by the mantra, “You are either better or worse today than you were yesterday. There is no standing still.” President of a fourth-generation family business, David has doubled net profits since joining Vistage.

Leading through the extreme unknown of COVID-19 and resultant supply chain disruption, David invoked the wisdom of his team to stay the course. “Gain perspectives from everybody,” he advises. “Even if you have what you think is the right decision… little tweaks can make it a great decision.”

David’s tips:

  1. Make your entire team feel a part of the family.
  2. Hire honest, smart, proactive people.
  3. Realize you’re not the smartest person in the room.
  4. Be bluntly honest. Don’t let things stew.
Frank Leonard
Seattle
President & CEO, Key Mechanical
CE 5759 | Chair: Carla Corkern
Vistage member since 1999
Lifetime Achievement Award

Facing a financial need in years past, Frank Leonard sought help from his Vistage group, which grew into an ongoing, beneficial banking relationship. 20+ years later, he’s grateful to be able to assist others.

As Frank coaches his two sons, also Vistage members, for leadership, his advice includes:

  1. Surround yourself with those who care not just about business, but about employees.
  2. Stick with your Vistage group. You never know when you’re going to get great help or learn something valuable.
  3. Appreciate the value of giving and receiving.
  4. Knowledge-share with people who are passionate about what they do.
Mike Clark
Cincinnati
Managing Partner, Cassady Schiller CPAs & Advisors
CE 4274 | Chair: Roger Johannigman
Vistage member since 2018
Impact Award

“I’m in the relationship business,” says Mike Clark, with a dedication that shows not only in the success of his company, but in his over-and-above contribution to his Vistage group. Mike joined his firm as a tax manager, and worked his way up to managing partner, earning recognition as one of Cincinnati Magazine’s best wealth managers for three consecutive years.

Mike’s leadership tips:

  1. It can be lonely at the top — a support group is valuable.
  2. Consider ideas you may not agree with, to gain perspective on how to move forward.
  3. Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes, it is necessary.
  4. Don’t over-analyze things — just go for it!
  5. Stay connected with your team members, even in a virtual setting.
Paul Ciminelli
Buffalo
President/CEO, Ciminelli Real Estate Corp.
CE 337 | Chair: Sharon Randaccio
Vistage member since 1992
Lifetime Achievement Award

When Paul Ciminelli joined Vistage, he was “the youngest guy in the room.” 28 years later, Paul has charted a new course for his family business, and for the next generation of leaders.

Taking the helm of the company from his father, Paul sought the perspectives of peers to propel his leadership. His tips for guiding exponential growth:

  1. Really think through hiring at the executive level.
  2. If you make a wrong decision, rip the Band-Aid off and redo it.
  3. No one is irreplaceable.
  4. You have to know where you are going.
  5. Hold family members equally accountable to other team members.

Ciminelli’s portfolio includes 680 properties across four states, representing more than 18M square feet of property.

In their own words
My go-to leadership hack is...
“Listen to leadership, financial investment and futurist podcasts.”
Lou Zaccone
VP & Partner, Harshaw Trane
Lifetime Achievement Award
“Get up early and connect with nature.”
Moira Weir
President & CEO, United Way of Greater Cincinnati
Leadership Award
“Delegate the authority to solve an issue to those who have been impacted by the issue.”
Brian Fitzgerald
President, Easterseals New Jersey
Lifetime Achievement Award
“Just be human.”
Joe Calloway
President & CEO, RE360
Impact Award
“Brainstorm with your Vistage Chair.”
Gus Cawley
CEO, NorthPoint Search Group
Impact Award

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