CEO Leadership Forums
In 2016, the CEO Leadership Forums emerged as a joint effort with Valencia College in Orlando.
The CLF, a CEO educational organization, founded by CFO Services firm Nperspective in collaboration with other advisory companies, mentors middle-market CEOs in Central Florida and delivers scholarships to students who will fill the needs of those participating companies.
Through an on-campus training series, the CLF offers workshops to help businesses discover skills to increase their value and develop their exit strategy. The workshops identify a business’ needs and gaps and deliver “best case” solutions, which can be developed further with the CLF’s advisory members in a post event diagnostic process.
“It’s an educational experience and we utilize different methods to engage participants, including stand-up presentations, interactive panels and break-out sessions,” Nperspective Chief Marketing Officer Geoffrey Gallo said.
The CLF’s first of three-part series, “Boosting Your Business Value,” debuted in July, where they focused on building and protecting value of participating businesses. Its most recent event in late September discovered areas within the businesses that drive valuation and work towards their transition. Their next workshop on Nov. 10 will focus on the activities leading to the business owner transition event.
According to Gallo, the target industries in Orlando are construction, healthcare and manufacturing/distribution.
“The idea here is to get business owners in an environment where they are learning, connecting, and ultimately, through our post-event process, engage in a 360 degree diagnostic on the company which not only identifies business planning action steps, but also can potentially reveal opportunities for part-time jobs for students, things like that.”
Diagnosing A Company’s Values
CLF’s purpose is to deliver content to business owners in an environment where the best of the best talent around is providing that expertise.
“We are in a position to identify what those skill and function gaps inside of the business are,” Gallo said.
Before the workshops, each business owner attending is personally interviewed using an assessment questionnaire which rates their level of concern about certain areas within their business. This questionnaire gives the CLF an idea of what the companies are thinking going into the event. At the end of the workshop, everyone gets a copy of an assessment graph of their company.
“We can’t possibly address everything in that one event, so we have a post-event process,” Gallo said. “We get a little deeper into their own situations. We basically tell them we are going to follow up with a team and review the issues they identify.”
The complementary consultative service CLF provides can take between 10-15 hours, and at the end, they deliver a written recommendation and report to the company.
“In essence, when we’re diagnosing, we’re spotting some of the issues that often involve systems and people. Either people are overloaded and you need to outsource some jobs and some responsibilities, or they are the wrong people in the seats,” Gallo said.
That is where the college students come into play.
Mentoring Future Leaders
The CLF delivers scholarships to students who will, in turn, work within a Central Florida business, potentially leading to employment after graduation.
Nasser Hedayat, Valencia College’s assistant vice president of career and workforce education, said the college is very excited about their partnership with CLF.
“Through this collaborative relationship, many of our students could be provided the opportunities to receive scholarships towards their education,” Hedayat said, “as well as internship opportunities to gain valuable work-based experience.”
Although the program is new, Nperspective has their own student working for them. Senior UCF finance and accounting major Kevin Deal reached out to Nperspective as a junior and met with Gallo, who shared his interest in starting a mentorship/internship opportunity.
“He wanted to provide an opportunity for me to learn about Nperspective, how they generate revenue and the different aspects of the business, which would be a great learning experience for me,” Deal said.
The hands-on approach Deal experiences at Nperspective, from creating revenue analysis spreadsheets to managing the CRM (customer relationship management), to participating in client consulting, is an invaluable asset to his education. Deal’s knowledge of specific business functions, as well developing his core traits and soft skills have expanded. The classroom can tell students how to talk to a CEO, allocate time to finish projects and which skills to develop, but telling can only go so far.
“This experience has instilled a lot of confidence and inspiration in me because I work with professionals that are leaders in the business world, and it makes me want to strive to achieve a similar amount of success in my career,” Deal said. “Geoffrey has provided great one-on-one mentorship since I began working for them almost a year ago.”
“Ultimately, what we want to come out of this is a direct connection of the small-midsize business owners in the various communities in Florida with some of the state colleges and universities that are participating as part of this program, not just as potential employers,” Gallo said. “I have witnessed close mentor relationships between participating CEOs and college students emerge out of this process, an extremely mutually rewarding experience for both.”
CEO Leadership Forums plans to collaborate on at least four events in each major market in Florida during 2017. Refer to www.ceoleadershipforums.com for a workshop in your area. The next scheduled event is set for November 10, 2016 from 8am to 12:30pm at Valencia College, West Campus. See the website to register and for more details.◆