Friday, June 11, 2021

Fall Leaders Conference Speakers Announced

Fall Leaders Conf 2021

Welcome to the first annual VACEOs Fall Leaders Conference! Here are the speakers who will be presenting at this year’s event.

Dr. Margie Warrell Presents Leading with Courage

September 20, 2021
Keynote: 9:30 – 11:00 am
Closing address: 3:00 – 3:30 pm

Dr Margie Warrell is an expert on human potential, helping leaders bring out the best & bravest in themselves, their teams and organizations.

Margie has learned a lot about courage, adapting to change and ‘bouncing forward’ from setbacks since growing up on a small dairy farm in rural Australia. Her work today draws on her diverse experience in business, psychology and coaching coupled with global perspectives from living around the world while raising her four children.

A member of the board of Forbes Business School, leadership advisor (working with bold leaders such as Bill Marriott and Richard Branson), Margie is also the bestselling author of five books and trusted by forward leaning organizations such as Salesforce, NASA, Dell, Morgan Stanley, Deloitte, Google and Johnson & Johnson to deliver transformative programs that nurture ‘cultures of courage’, fuel growth and improve bottom line outcomes.

Margie recently returned to live in Old Town Alexandria Virginia after nine years in Asia. More at

Craig LeMasters Presents Unstuck

September 20, 2021
Keynote: 11:15 – 12:00 pm
Workshop: 2:00 – 2:45 pm

Author and Speaker, Rapid Cycle Learning
Former Fortune 500 Subsidiary CEO
Entrepreneur | Investor | Board Member

Craig Lemasters, former CEO of a $5B Fortune 500 subsidiary, is an author, entrepreneur, investor, and board member with more than two decades of success in executive leadership positions, now dedicated to helping senior leaders get unstuck on the major growth challenges to their businesses.

When Craig took over Atlanta-based Assurant Solutions in 2005, it was a $2 billion purely domestic business focused almost entirely on a dying industry: Credit Insurance. Today, Assurant is a dynamic, high growth, digitally astute global provider of protection products and other innovative digitally-focused risk management solutions.

Craig’s insistence on candid conversations about knowledge gaps, leading by doing, and output-based strategies, reinvigorated the culture while laying the foundation for growth. During his tenure, Assurant Solutions expanded from a solely domestic B2B organization to include B2C offerings and a presence in 25 new markets around the world.

Craig continues to build on his leadership philosophy as CEO of GXG, an advisory firm that helps organizations de-risk and accelerate critical growth initiatives by connecting them with the right combination of external knowledge and experience. Craig speaks for a wide variety of industry and leadership audiences around the world with a focus on helping organizations more effectively navigate the journey from strategy to execution. Learn more at

About the VACEOs Fall Leaders Conference

Launched in 2021, the Fall Leaders Conference is a scaled down version of the VACEOs Annual Retreat. This new event is designed for leaders who want to immerse themselves in one night of connecting and one full day of learning. 

This event is for VACEOs Members and Sponsors only.

Posted by Staff at 3:09 pm
Monday, April 12, 2021

2021 Spring Retreat 10-10 Presentations Announced

The VA Council of CEOs Annual Spring Retreat includes internationally-acclaimed keynote speakers and workshops tackling the challenges that are most on the minds of the CEO of today.

Added to this year’s event lineup are two days of “10-10” presentations by VACEOs Members and Sponsors. These presentations are quick, 10-minute informational sessions followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. This format is designed to spark your imagination! Here’s the lineup.

April 20, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

When Indeed and LinkedIn are Not Enough – Finding the Talent You Need When You Need It

Sponsor, Sara Shelton with Fahrenheit Advisors

Job seekers are out there, but do you know how to find them? This quick presentation will illuminate a method outside of the traditional LinkedIn and Indeed approach.

Avoid Calcification

Member, Henry Clifford, Founder & CEO of Livewire

We all reach a point where we start using the rear view mirror more than the windshield in our lives. It could be anything; music tastes, instincts for business decisions or what to eat for dinner. As CEOs, calcification is a cancer we must actively work to avoid. Doing what we’ve always done will get us where we’ve always gotten. Only by intentionally working each day to break out of our ruts can we instill a culture of “always learning in all things” for ourselves.

Rewarding Employees with Equity

Sponsor, Gary Wallace with Keiter

Think outside the box. Consider rewarding your employees with equity. Here’s the why and how.

April 29, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Be a Better Coach

Sponsor, Clay Eure, with Eure Consulting 

Learn how to be a more effective coach in just 4 easy steps!

Listening with Optimism

Member, Sam Dibert, President of Dibert Valve and Fitting Company

This presentation will teach you how to get more out of conversations with others in only 10 minutes.

How Leaders Can Change What to Say to Get Stronger Result

Sponsor, Danessa Knaupp with Avenue 8

This presentation will be about how to communicate effectively to get results. Leaders often think they’re being crystal clear but are surprised when their teams fail to deliver. The real truth? Leaders aren’t making clear requests. Covered: barriers to communication, the components of clear speech, and a checklist leaders can use to ensure their teams hear them and move to action.

About VA Council of CEOs Spring Retreat

The VACEOS Annual Spring Retreat features acclaimed keynote speakers and workshops tackling the challenges that are most on the minds of small and mid-sized business owners of today. The event also includes time for networking and making connections. CEO members often say the Retreat is “worth the price of membership.” The event is included in membership. Learn more about VACEOs Member benefits.

(VACEOs Members and Sponsors only. Guest tickets available for CEOs interested in the Council.)

Posted by Staff at 12:53 pm
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

NBA Coaching Legend Kevin Eastman Shares Leadership Lessons

Kevin Eastman addresses VACEOs membership


What can you learn about leadership from a 13-year NBA veteran and World Champion coach? Turns out, a lot.

Before we said goodbye to 2017, we said hello to former Boston Celtics and LA Clippers coach Kevin Eastman at our last Quarterly Luncheon of the year. Like our membership, Kevin has a thirst for knowledge – becoming very agitated if he can’t find an entry for his WILT (What I Learned Today) notebook each day.

If you were lucky enough to be at the luncheon, you heard stories about winning championships, managing personalities and, most importantly, what it takes to lead teams to greatness. Simply put, Kevin Eastman’s life is truly a lesson in leadership.

One of the best messages he left us with? “If you fear the consequence of failure, please put equal fear in the consequence of never trying.”

Here are just a few other nuggets he shared with us during his presentation.

Five Leadership Lessons from Kevin Eastman*:

    1. Create buy-in. Be competent. Be trustworthy. Work hard. Be sincere.
    2. Be prepared to refocus your lens. “It’s inevitable that things are not going to go well. I believe our biggest opponents are not the teams we play, and it’s not the competition in your industry. I believe your biggest opponent is human nature: how we react to success and how we react to failure.”
    3. Build a jealousy-free culture. “I found out the best cultures in sports or in the business world are the jealousy-free cultures. If you create a culture where there is very little jealousy, you’ll have a shot to win championships in your lives.”
    4. The best of the best don’t want to be taken out of the game. “A lot of people do the hard work, but the best of the best do the unrequired work. I say to teams and companies I speak with, ‘Hard work is not the answer. It’s the price of admission for you to become a part of the organization. It’s the price of admission for us to hire you.’”
    5. Embrace the philosophy of Ubuntu. “The two tenets of this philosophy are, one: People are people because of other people – meaning, I can’t get to where I want to go without other people around me. Even the greatest players need teammates. The second tenet: I can only be all I can be if YOU are all you can be.”

Have a thirst?

Do you have a thirst for knowledge that will help you grow your business? Or maybe you need inspiration to help you get “unstuck”? VACEOs can help you work ON your business – not just in it. Our members are regularly exposed to inspiring presentations by local and national thought leaders. Topics range from management techniques to trends in technology and marketing, and much more. Become a member today, or contact us about attending an event as a guest.


*Source: ““Leading in Today’s Competitive Environment,” VACEOs Quarterly Luncheon presentation by Kevin Eastman, former NBA coach and World Champion turned motivational speaker.


Posted by Staff at 9:50 am
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Thursday, January 18, 2018

2017 Fourth Quarter Economic Survey Results


Read Richmond Times-Dispatch coverage >

Each quarter the Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) and University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business partner to take the pulse of top executives in the region through a comprehensive Economic Outlook Survey.

The fourth quarter 2017 CEO Economic Outlook survey finds that optimism among Virginia CEOs grew from the third quarter, notching increases in all categories.

The survey’s index, which measures executives’ views on projected hiring, capital spending and sales over the next six months, was the third-highest ever. 2017 was an optimistic year for CEOs, as the survey achieved three of its four highest marks ever, including an all-time high in Q1. The survey has been administered quarterly since 2010.

Economic Index Historical Data

YearQuarter 1Quarter 2Quarter 3Quarter 4
2020-18.73 (historic low)
2017108.97 (historic high)103.6399.17106.3


“Small business CEOs are enjoying the best business environment since the Great Recession. Those that have become adept at dealing with rapid change are thriving,” says Scot McRoberts, executive director of the Virginia Council of CEOs.

“After several years of dampened expectations, CEOs have become much more optimistic over the past year, due to both internal and exogenous factors,” said Randy Raggio, associate dean at the Robins School of Business. Raggio administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter. He adds, “One CEO’s comments reflect the general sentiment: ‘We have been investing in our business development and are about to see a return on the investment. Additionally for us the new tax cuts will allow us to hire more staff.’”

Of note: Nearly one third (20) of the 61 respondents mentioned the overall economy and tax cuts as reasons for their optimism.


The 2017 fourth quarter survey found that executives’ expectations for sales, capital spending, and employment rose from last quarter. To summarize, CEOs predictions over the next six months include:

  • More than 77 percent of CEO respondents expect sales to increase over the next six months (up nearly three percentage points from the third quarter results)
  • Only about five percent expect sales to fall
  • Forty-four percent of CEOs expect capital spending to increase (up from over 38 percent last quarter)
  • About 46 percent expect capital spending to remain flat
  • More than 62 percent expect employment to increase over the next six months (up from 59 percent last quarter)
  • Nearly 38 percent expect employment to remain flat
  • No CEOs expect employment to decrease over the next six months
  • Nearly one third (20) of the 61 respondents mentioned the overall economy and tax cuts as reasons for their optimism
  • Sixty-one CEOs responded to the survey, which was administered December 17, 2017 – January 3.
  • Multiple industries are represented in the sample, including construction, manufacturing, finance and insurance and retail
  • The average company revenue (most recent 12-month period): $9 million
  • The average employment count: 43



The survey, adapted from a similar Business Roundtable national survey, provides a snap shot of the overall economic outlook index for various companies within the region. It also helps central Virginia companies anticipate business decisions and plan for growth. Randy Raggio, Associate Dean at the Robins School of Business, administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter.

Read Richmond Times-Dispatch coverage.
Read Robins School of Business press release.


The Council continues to expand the survey beyond its members, offering any area business owners whose companies gross at least $1 million in annual revenue the opportunity to participate. If enough businesses participate, the council will provide survey results by industry. Participation is free, and all participants will receive copies of the survey data.

Business owners and CEOs who would like to participate in the next survey should contact Scot McRoberts at

Posted by Staff at 8:33 am
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

VACEOs Adds 47 New Members in 2017


(12/29/17 Editor’s Note: Final membership count for 2017 is 221.)

The Virginia Council of CEOs has experienced an unprecedented year in 2017. Three very important milestones were reached early in the year, including a membership count of 200, a record number of sponsors to come on board, and an alliance with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

The year is also marked by another important development: more new members came on board in 2017 compared to previous years, bringing the final membership count to 218 at press time (December 13).

The Council has grown tremendously this year, thanks in part by our expansion into the Charlottesville market and the extremely high member retention rate we have, which hovers around 90 percent each year,” says Scot McRoberts, Virginia Council of CEOs executive director. He adds, “Our Roundtables and Forums are humming, and we have an incredible lineup of events and programs planned for 2018. Everyone is excited about bringing more entrepreneurs from Charlottesville into the fold.”

We would like to officially welcome the Virginia Council of CEOs Class of 2017 to the organization.

VACEOs Welcomes New Members in 2017 (as of December 13, 2017)

Dottie AllenThe RiverCross Group LLC
Dave AumanThe Capstone Contracting Company
Chip BuehlerIntegrity Landscaping Solutions
Ron CathersArcus Consultants Solutions
Cabell ChildressCabell Childress Group
Jonathan Cotten
The Good Feet Store
Rich CrawfordServiceMaster Clean
Jake CrockerFWS Restaurant Group
Bob Crowell2rw Consultants, Inc.
Sean CusackService Partners, LLC
Jason DanielTech Dynamism
Sam DanielDaniel & Company, Inc.
Corey DivineRent The Help
John Epley River City Corp
Kelsey FinnNACAS
Bill Foster Village Bank
John Grace Grace Auto Sales and Service, Inc.
Canon Hickman
Equity Concepts Carytown
Edwin, LLC
Doug JacksonBryant Contracting INC.
Dennis KaoProactive Information Management
Chris LeoneWeb Strategies, Inc.
Chris LewisConquest Graphics
Ian MacRaeE-N Computers
Tracee MathesOccasionally Made
Adam MonkMcClung Companies
Mark MortonMorton Consulting
Greg MurphyLandmark Intellectual Property Law, PLLC
Howe RiceChick-fil-a
Dan RodenhaverForge Medical
Roger ScottEclipse Tools
Darrell ShiresMedworks
Pete SistiInova Solutions, Inc.
Mark SmithMidas of Richmond
Stacey StrawnSilver Gallery
Sean TaylorUp To Par Management
Ray TuckTuck Chiropractic Clinic
Brad TurnerTREAD Holdings
Tee ValentineMechums River Security Concepts
Scott WagnerCustom View
Lee WallRaison
Robert WatkinsWatkins Nurseries Inc.
Van WilliamsSmart Resources, Inc.
David WilliamsColliers International
Lou Wolf
Jeff WrobelMutual Assurance Society of Virginia
Donny WyattCo-Construct, LLC

A Look Back at the Evolution and History of VACEOs


Posted by Staff at 2:16 pm