Wednesday, April 13, 2022

VACEOs Fall Leaders Conference 2022

This is a new event you won’t want to miss! We encourage business owners/CEOs to bring their executive teams. VACEOs Members and Sponsors will get a discounted rate but register now to receive the best rates.

Join VACEOs on September 19, 2022, at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, to spend the day with Verne Harnish – scaleup expert, world renown speaker and bestselling author.

Verne’s Scaling Up presentation focuses on the Four Decisions methodology that every company must get right: People, Strategy, Execution and Cash. Verne will be sharing fours specific ideas-one each for People, Strategy, Execution and Cash-that you can use immediately to drive a positive impact in the business. Look at the #1 most important question to ask in each of the four decisions-and practical examples of how various small to mid-market firms answered these questions, driving much better results.

In the end it’s about getting more money, saving more time, and having more fun in scaling up your business. Verne Harnish will help you get there. To register, click HERE.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Scot McRoberts to learn more.

Topics Verne will cover in Scaling Up include:

PEOPLE: Recruitment, on boarding, coaching & culture:
Designing the employee journey.

STRATEGY: Purpose, core customer, brand promise & identifying the company culture.

EXECUTION: Systems, processes & accountability through current technologies.

CASH: Cash flow, margins, key performance indicators & efficiencies.

To register now, click HERE.

Schedule for the day:

Monday, September 19

8:30 AM – 9:00 AM: Registration

9:00 AM – 12:30 PM: Verne Harnish (People & Strategy)

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM: Lunch

1:30 PM – 5:00 PM: Verne Harnish (Execution & Cash)

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Cocktail Reception

Who is this for:

This program is open to all CEOs and their senior executive teams. Click HERE to register.

Verne Harnish

About the Speaker

Verne Harnish is founder of Entrepreneurs‘ Organization and Scaling Up, a global coaching and executive education firm. He has spent the past four decades helping companies scale. He‘s author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time; Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0) and Scaling Up Compensation.

Register Now!

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 11:13 am
Thursday, March 17, 2022

Future-Proofing Your Career in 2022: Break The Bias

VACEOs partners with Robins MBA to #breakthebias

 #BreakTheBias posed with their arms crossed to show their commitment to calling out bias, smashing stereotypes, and breaking inequality

In recognition of International Women’s Day, over 100 women gathered at the University of Richmond on March 10 to hear a keynote address by Susan Quinn, President & Chief Executive Officer of circle S studio for the fourth annual Future-Proofing Your Career event. Her topic: Break the Bias which is also this year’s International Women’s Day theme.

Hosted jointly by the Virginia Council of CEOS (VACEOs) and The Richmond MBA, the festivities took place at the Jepson Alumni Center to a sold-out crowd of women from all different stages of their careers.

Keynote Speaker:  Susan Quinn, President & Chief Executive Officer of circle S studio

An executive with 30 plus years of experience, Susan believes that “leadership is a mindset from the inside out.” It needs to be cultivated and nurtured like a garden and “not left to chance.”

Speaking for 30 minutes to an attentive audience, she mapped out four keys to future-proofing one’s career. They include:

  1. Respect yourself and stop apologizing
  2. Keep an open mind and stay curious
  3. Be authentic – don’t try to be anyone but yourself
  4. Raise the bar – keep bettering your personal best

Following Susan’s keynote address, there was a panel discussion of business leaders, including Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) member Connie Hom, CEO of Buckingham Greenery, Inc., Melody Short, co-founder of The Jackson Ward Collective and Polly White, Chair of the ChamberRVA and COO of Gather.

From left to right, Susan Quinn, Connie Hom, CEO of Buckingham Greenery, Inc., Melody Short, co-founder of the Jackson Ward Collective and Polly White Chair of the ChamberRVA and COO of Gather.

For Connie Hom, a first time panelist, but a four time Future-Proofing Your Career attendee, she shared that loved all of the energy in the room and was grateful for the opportunity to get together in person this year to “learn, improve and grow.”

Jennifer Boyden, CEO of Heart Havens, Inc., said “Being among and having conversations with other professional women is empowering. It is encouraging to see how far we have come and motivating to see how far we still need to go to work in a bias-free world.”

The words “inspirational” and “powerful” could be heard being murmured all around the cocktail reception held towards the end of the evening.

Susan Quinn best summed it up when she said there was “a lot of power packed into that room.” She also said, “when women come together to learn something new, they are often successful and there is no limit to what they can accomplish.”

About The Richmond MBA

The Richmond MBA is a highly-ranked part-time program designed to meet the needs of working professionals. With small class sizes and experienced, engaged faculty, the student body is comprised of high-potential individuals who form a network of ambitious and innovative leaders driving change across central Virginia’s top organizations. The program is part of the larger Robins School of Business, a fully-accredited business school in a liberal arts university, recognized nationally for quality and excellence.

About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 8:58 am
Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Tips To Take Your Heart Health to the Next Level

How to Improve Your Heart Health

“What can I do to improve my heart health?”

It’s one of the questions we get asked most frequently at PartnerMD, and not just every February during American Heart Month. For good reason, heart health is (and should be) a year-round focus.

In a general sense, the answer isn’t all that difficult. Just about every habit – good or bad – can effect your cardiovascular health. The three main healthy habits you should focus on should not be a surprise.

Top Three Healthy Habits

Eat healthy foods. More than two-thirds of heart disease-related deaths worldwide can be linked to food choices, according to a recent study in the European Heart Journal.

Exercise regularly. Sedentary people have a 35% greater risk of developing high blood pressure than physically active people do, per the University of Maryland Medical Center. High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease.

Make an active effort to sleep better. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people sleeping fewer than six hours per night had a 20% higher chance of a heart attack.

If you can make progress in those three core areas, you’re going to improve your heart health. But what if the question is slightly different?

“What can I do to really take my heart health to the next level?”

That’s quite a different question, because it’s really about supercharging how you eat, exercise, and sleep. That likely means investing in products that are on the cutting edge of those core health areas.

If you’re looking to take your heart health habits to the next level, here are four products that could help.

1. LMNT Electrolyte Supplements

LMNT Sample Pack

Electrolytes help regulate your fluids, produce energy, and strengthen your bones. You lose electrolytes by removing processed foods from your diet (i.e. low carb/keto), because processed foods are often high in sodium (an electrolyte), and through things like sweat (i.e. exercising).

So, if you follow a low carb/keto diet or exercise intensely, you can become electrolyte deficient. You can be eating well and exercising regularly – both very beneficial heart health habits – but still feel off. You may even suffer from headache, muscle cramps, etc., which lead you to abandon those healthy habits.

Gatorade and Powerade are well-known for their electrolytes, but they also contain high amounts of sugar. Sugar leads to inflammation throughout the body, which can ultimately lead to heart disease. One study published by JAMA Internal Medicine found people who eat a high-sugar diet had a 38% higher risk of dying from heart disease.

LMNT electrolyte supplements are sugar-free and stevia-sweetened and “formulated to help anyone with their electrolyte needs.” They’ll help you maintain your electrolyte levels and operate at peak performance more often than not. A 12-pack starts at $20.

2. Red Light Therapy Device

Red Light Therapy Machine

Red light therapy uses low-wavelength red light to supply your cell mitochondria with extra energy to boost new cell growth.

It has been shown to have many positive health effects, such as improved collagen production, wound healing, and muscle recovery; reduced inflammation; decreased pain; and improved mental acuity.

In particular, recent studies have shown that red light therapy could assist exercise performance and recovery, two very helpful things for heart health.

A study in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that “light therapy also promotes the growth of healthy muscle tissue, or muscle hypertrophy, naturally increasing muscle size and bulk—as well as strength.”

Red light therapy devices allow you to bring red light therapy to your home. They essentially replicate the light your body gets from natural sunlight without the heat or UV rays. JOOVV is one of the top brands in this space, but they are pricey at more than $500.

3. Calm or Headspace (Sleep and Meditation Apps)

With long hours and plenty of competition, it’s no secret that stress and sleep are among the biggest health concerns of CEOs. Stress is also a very common risk factor when it comes to heart disease. At the most basic level, stress triggers inflammation, which can ultimately lead to heart disease.

However, stress and sleep problems often affect the rest of your healthy habits. Your nutritious diet might go out the window with a little bit of stress eating and a lack of sleep. And we all know it’s next to impossible to find the will to exercise when we’re tired.

But like just about everything these days, there is an app for that. Calm and Headspace are two of the most popular ones. They both produce guided meditations to help you manage your stress and provide sleep soundtracks and breathing exercises to help you sleep better. Not sure which to choose? Here is an article comparing both options.

Both are free to download and offer limited free features but cost $69.99 per month for an annual subscription and access to their full complement of features. We all already spend enough time on our phones. With these apps, you can use some of that time to improve your health.

4. Oura ring

Oura Ring

Let’s assume you’re doing all these things. You’re living a largely healthy lifestyle. Now you need someway to track your progress. Something that gives you the ability to know when you’re improving, when you’re sustaining, and when you might need to re-focus.

While an Apple Watch or Fitbit is a useful tool for fitness tracking worn on your wrist, an Oura ring is worn as a ring on one of your fingers.

It analyzes your sleep, your activity levels, and how ready you are to take on the day. It can also track your heart rate, your body’s recovery rate. It even gives you a “readiness score” every day and recommends an activity level based on your recent data. They start at around $300.

And one more tip: Find your partner in health.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention another thing that can help take your heart health to the next level – a high-quality, personal relationship with your healthcare team. That team includes your primary care doctor and maybe even a health coach.

As a concierge medicine practice, we provide both to our patients. You get personalized care for a physician who has the time to guide your healthy lifestyle and access to on-staff certified health coaches who can help formulate a plan and hold you accountable to it. In fact, all these products were recommended by one of our health coaches. Learn more about membership at PartnerMD here.

About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 10:02 am
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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Productivity for SMB CEOs

Apps, processes, discipline, and little orange books.

We recently had an online “Square Table” gathering of VA Council of CEOs members to learn from one another on how to be more productive in our work and lives. Here are some of the ideas and tools that work for these entrepreneurs, business owners, and CEOs.

Email, the bane of our existence

  • Inbox Zero is possible, and at least one or two of the CEOs in meeting do it daily. Here’s how, from Ari Meisel, who spoke at our Spring Retreat a few years ago. Basically, you make a decision on every email the first time you look at it — DO, DEFER, DELEGATE, or DELETE.
  • One person uses four email addresses. They help him separate out personal, business internal, business external, and marketing.
  • is a tool used by some. Some email clients have unsubscribe functions that are easy to use. Just don’t unsubcribe from VACEOs mail!
  • Many folks use filters and rules to automatically move emails to folders. For example, I have a filter I use to move all email from speakers and meeting venues (it’s a lot) to a folder for later review.
  • Some use Slack or Teams for internal communication, reducing email volume.

Mind Like Water . . .

  • David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, talks about Mind Like Water, and defines it as “a mental and emotional state in which your head is clear, able to create and respond freely, unencumbered with distractions and split focus.” Achieving that is the trick! Following are several tricks mentioned by this group of CEOs.
  • Block your time. Mark out time on your calendar for one thing without distraction – reading, writing, meeting prep, yoga, whatever.
  • You brain is not good at storing information. It is made for processing. So, do whatever you can to get information offloaded and stored elsewhere. Evernote and OneNote make it easy to organize notes, store documents and set reminders.
  • Use Hey Siri! or Hey Google! and tell them to remind you when you need to know.
  • Some CEOs, even those who have small organizations, make use of an assistant – either someone in their business or a virtual assistant.
  • Several people mentioned using journal books – the orange VACEOs books are a favorite. Some use them just for notes, others use them to list that day’s to-do list. I use a Full Focus Planner, which helps me organize my day’s work without digital distraction.
  • Ari Meisel introduced me to FollowUpThen, which allows you to bcc an email and have it return to my inbox at a certain time. Gmail has similar functionality built in.

Is your time worth more than $15 an hour?

  • Meetings Suck! And they waste a ton of time, as Cameron Herold taught VACEOs members a few year ago. A key takeaway — No Agenda, No Attenda!
  • Calendly save you hours of back and forth trying to schedule meetings. Just send someone your Calendly link and let them choose from among available times.
  • Have you (the business owner) ever spent an hour or more searching for the best deal and route for a $350 flight? Old school tip — use a travel agent. The do the searching, present you the options, and when your get stuck in Denver, you have someone to call who can actually help you get another flight. The cost is minimal.
  • Finally, one CEO said that she regularly stops and asks herself, “Why am I doing this $15 an hour work? Shouldn’t I be spending my time on $1,000+ an hour work?”

What are your favorite productivity tools, hacks, and tips? Share in the comments!

Posted by Scot McRoberts at 4:37 pm
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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

The Fall Leaders Conference is a program that VACEOs offers to all business leaders – business owners, C-suite executives, entrepreneurs, and consultants. You don’t have to be a VACEOs member to attend!

Individuals and leadership teams have the opportunity to change the trajectory of their organizations in just one day.

Posted by Staff at 3:09 pm