Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A Call to Serve Virginia’s Autism Community, at Home

“I’m a kid that grew up in the north side of Richmond, one of the toughest parts of Richmond when I was growing up,” says Dr. Cedric Moore. “And it was my community, which helped shape me, to help me become who I am today and who I continue to try to aspire to be.”

Moore has risen far indeed. He is now the CEO of Spectrum Transformation Group, the first organization licensed in Virginia as an intensive outpatient Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) service. Also a member of the Virginia Council of CEOs, Moore is supported by a local roundtable group as he implements his strategic plan for Spectrum and navigates various business challenges, including the pandemic. 

Listen in as Moore talks about his business, social work, challenges facing minority business leaders, and his new-found home a VA Council of CEOs (Captions available)

Moore’s journey out of the city led to a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Eastern Mennonite University, an MBA, and later a doctorate in strategic leadership from Regent University. He then returned to Richmond and launched Spectrum in 2010. Still, he admits that before joining VACEOs, he sometimes felt unheard or unacknowledged when in a room of non-minority business leaders. 

Moore (center) attends a Zoom meeting with several members of his roundtable group.

“There were times where, you know, I had to speak a little louder or there were individuals who wouldn’t call on me in a meeting,” he explains. “Those are some things that we face as minorities, even with a terminal degree.” 

“I’m very aware sometimes that I’m invited to the table, but I’m not actually welcomed at the table,” he says. “But I understand now that I’m happy to embrace this role and be able to help other minorities, as well to get them a seat at the table. I’m fortunate enough to find the Virginia CEOs and be able to work with Scot [McRoberts, VACEOs executive director].” 

“It’s an ability to not only to survive things like the pandemic but also to come out of the situation a lot better. So everyone is there to help each other. I’m so happy, so proud to be a part Roundtable 17. It’s just been great.”

Dr. Cedric Moore, CEO, Spectrum Transformation Group

He elaborates on his VACEOs roundtable peers, “these groups, I mean, they really care about you as a person and they care about your business. It’s an ability to not only survive things like the pandemic but also to come out of the situation a lot better. So everyone is there to help each other. I’m so happy, so proud to be a part Roundtable 17.”

Carrying the Banner for In-home Autism Services

How did Spectrum come to be? “I want to help people. That’s what we do, social work,” Moore explains. “My wife had a passion with autism and that was huge for us.” 

“We met with her mentor, psychology professor Donald Oswald, who is a guru on the East Coast within autism spectrum disorder services,” he says. “That drove us to provide services for a population at the time that there wasn’t much there other than educational services.”

At Spectrum, a team of 52 full-time employees—including psychologists, psychiatrists, behavior analysts and technicians, and speech and language pathologists—provides general mental health diagnoses and a variety of services, such as outpatient therapy.

“We are happy to carry a banner with being the first licensed program in the state to provide those services in the home,” says Moore.

A Future of Service, Family, and Faith

Adapting to a pandemic was especially challenging for an organization whose clients rely on face-to-face interaction. “So going to a telehealth platform made it really difficult. Some of their attention spans are a lot shorter than their peers. Some of them can’t sit for a very long period of time,” explains Moore.

In response, the company redesigned and reconfigured offices, common areas, and therapy spaces to comply with CDC safety guidelines and enable in-person services. “Our ability to be able to pivot was definitely important as we continue to try to meet the needs of those that we serve,” says Moore.

What’s next for Spectrum? The company is implementing phase three of its strategic plan and is bringing on psychiatrists and nurse practitioners. “It’s super exciting. It’s a new learning experience for me,” says Moore.

As important as Moore’s business goals, however, are his family and his faith. “I grew up with a single mom and my ability to be there for my children, it’s very important to me. My ability to be there for my wife is very important to me. And my ability to be able to serve God as best as I can is important to me. So every day I’m just trying to be better than what I was the day before.”

Posted by Staff at 1:05 pm
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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

10 Attributes Of a Great CEO Peer Group Member

It’s no secret that CEOs of small and mid-sized businesses get a lot out of their peer advisory roundtable groups. Roundtables supply diverse perspectives in a confidential environment and are proven to deliver advantages in decision-making and leadership, especially during challenging times. 

To ensure the roundtable performs at its greatest potential, I’ve found that those participants who receive the most from the process tend to share certain qualities.

They are, in no particular order:

  1. Intellectual curiosity.  A desire to know what makes things work, the “back story”, answers to “why”, getting to the “root cause”.
  2. Life-long learner.    
  3. Open to seeking the input of others, and willing to implement suggested solutions not your own.
  4. Committed to the process of continuous improvement. Not satisfied with the current state. Growth-oriented. 
  5. Embrace change. An innovative spirit.
  6. Strategic thinker.
  7. Self-aware. A willingness to be vulnerable, to be transparent.
  8. Secure. No inherent need to be the smartest person in the room.
  9. Humble. More concerned about being able to give as much as you’re getting, as opposed to getting as much as you’re giving.
  10. Appreciate the power of diverse backgrounds, world views, perspectives, and experiences.  

These attributes, in fact, define our members to a tee!

Is it necessary to have all of these attributes to maximize the benefit of peer group membership? No. Would it be helpful to have some of them? Definitely. More important is attitude, your approach to the process. We all get the same 24 hours per day. The only thing that we can control is how we utilize, leverage, and prioritize those 24 hours.  

Keith Hartman

About the Author

Keith Hartman, Regional Executive for Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs), has over five years of experience developing and supporting peer-to-peer roundtables and forums for Vistage Worldwide, the international leader in peer advisory groups and personal leadership development for CEOs and senior leaders. He has experienced first-hand the transformational impact that the sharing of challenges, opportunities, and experiences with trusted peers in a confidential environment can have, and is looking forward to helping the Council expand this concept to all corners of the Commonwealth. Learn more about Keith.

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Posted by Staff at 2:06 pm
Tuesday, July 27, 2021

3 Reasons Why Marie Antoinette Lost Her Head (and how today’s CEOs can learn from it)

“Let them eat cake,” famously rumored to be said in the 17th or 18th century by princess Marie Antoinette upon being told that the French peasants had no bread. Whether she actually said it or not is unsure, but it does offer small business CEOs a few lessons in leadership.

3 Reasons Why Marie Antoinette Lost Her Head

#1. Losing touch

Knowing your audience is important. As a leader, you have to be mindful of your words to avoid a potential faux pas. Immerse yourself in the wisdom of others and find better ways to handle sticky situations.

#2. Running from crisis

Respect is earned by facing problems head on. Managing confrontation is unfortunately part of the job and must always be handled tactfully. Have a trusted friend by your side.

#3. Guillotines

The world is quick to judge and it doesn’t take much for tempers to flare. You’ve done everything in your power, but are truly struggling to fix the issue at hand. Fortunately for you, we know people who can help. It will be alright.


Life is full of missteps and mistakes. A smart leader will observe others, absorb their wisdom, and navigate through new territory much easier.

Our CEO members find that with the backing of their peers, they evolve faster and achieve more together. Listen in to what they have to say.

Posted by Staff at 1:26 pm
Friday, June 18, 2021

Do As the Romans Do Not


(and how today’s CEOs can learn from it)

#1. Internal Conflict

Making an entire empire happy seems impossible. As the leader it can be draining. What if there’s a way you haven’t thought of? You’ll never know without immersing yourself in the wisdom of others with similar challenges.

#2. Wandering Values

As the empire evolves, so does its goals. The trick is to never let these goals interfere with, or take priority over a solid foundation of values. Having trusted peers as friends helps us keep sight of what matters most.

#3. Barbarian Tribes

Competition is slightly more civil these days. Regardless, it’s important to keep your spears sharp and stay aware of your surroundings. It’s easier to hear the rumblings of potential threats when you have alliances on the outside.


Our CEO members find that with the backing of their peers, they evolve faster and achieve more together. Listen in to what they have to say.

Posted by Staff at 2:12 pm
Wednesday, April 28, 2021

CEO Roundtable: How to Get the Most Out of The Experience

get most out of your roundtable

I recently came across a terrific article in CEO World Online Magazine written by Leo Bottary. Leo frequently writes for the magazine, and he is listed to be a member of the External Advisory Board (EAB) there. He is a staunch advocate for peer groups, and I follow his work closely. 

Still, there is a nuance within a recent post about CEO roundtables where we differ.

In his post “The Power of We Begins with You,” he writes: “After four years of helping new and experienced peer advisory groups squeeze the most value out of their time together, two findings have consistently emerged. First, the strength of the overall group rests in the hands of its members. Second, there are three things members can do to up their game to everyone’s advantage: Show up. Step up. Follow up.” 

I liked his explanation about showing up, writing in part: “If you believe that 80% of life is about showing up, then understand that to be an outstanding member, it’s that and then some.” Stepping up is about being prepared and bringing your A-game. 

The Follow Up action is where I begin to disagree with him, but I do see where he is going. His example is based on a scenario where advice is given in a roundtable session.

Our roundtable meetings at VA Council of CEOs are purposely designed not to function that way. Giving advice is forbidden. 

The VACEOs Roundtable Way: No Advice, Only Experience Sharing

“Learning to participate in a group [using Gestalt Language Protocol] takes effort and practice, but it’s essential for creating a safe, rewarding experience. By avoiding advice, VA Council of CEOs  peer roundtables allow CEOs to connect more deeply, creating more opportunities for growth.”

Scot McRoberts, Executive Director, VA Council of CEOs.

All VACEOs Roundtables adhere to a set of ground rules by which the group must abide. Chief among them is strict adherence to a code of confidentiality and Gestalt Language Protocol.

“The Gestalt Protocol is based on the theory that as children we were always told what to do by our parents,” explains Mo Fathelbab, Forum Resources Network president and author of Forum: The Secret Advantage of Successful Leaders. “As a result, adults – especially entrepreneurs – resent being told what to do by anyone.”

The guiding principle of the protocol is to never give advice but to share related experiences instead. Participants are careful to avoid phrases such as “If I were you…” when another group member presents his or her challenge.

Learning to participate in a group this way takes effort and practice, but it’s essential for creating a safe, rewarding experience. By avoiding advice, VA Council of CEOs  peer roundtables allow CEOs to connect more deeply, creating more opportunities for growth. (Read more here.)


One thing is clear to both Leo and me. Peer groups that are confidential, highly structured, and based on trust is a powerful tool for the small business owner. 

Said one VACEOs Member but echoed by many: “I was looking for a peer group to help guide me as I tried to guide the firm to places we’d never been before. And I can honestly say it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

Does it take commitment? You bet. Those who choose to join a peer advisory organization understand it’s an investment in their professional development that will generate a worthwhile return.

Or, as Leo so eloquently writes in his post: “The reason you’ve been invited to enjoy the privilege of being part of a peer advisory group is because there is an expectation you will bring value to the other members. You’re not there to fill a seat; you’re there to make a difference. Once you accept that responsibility as seriously as how you see your role at your own company, you’ll be on the path to receiving the kind of incalculable value you can only get from a group of your peers.”

I could not agree more! 

You can read Leo Bottary’s post here.

Scot McRoberts, Executive Director, VACEOs

About the Author

Scot McRoberts is the executive director of the VA Council of CEOs (VACEOs). One of the original co-founders, he has led the organization’s growth from 20 members in 2000 to more than 200 today. Utilizing a best practice model for the Council’s CEO roundtables and a dogged focus on its core purpose of connecting CEOs for the purpose of sharing experiences, McRoberts has developed an association that boasts 90% retention. Before coming to VACEOs, Scot was a senior executive at the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, where he led business councils, small business programs, and business retention efforts.

Posted by Staff at 11:23 am