Monday, September 28, 2020

EO vs Vistage vs VA Council of CEOs. Which is Right for Me?

It’s no secret. If you run a small or mid-sized organization, you know that it can be really lonely at the top. Turning to family members or your internal team when you face certain challenges is not an option. That’s why so many successful business owners turn to peer advisory groups (peer roundtables).

Peer groups typically meet once a month and include CEOs from non-competing organizations. A strict protocol of communication and confidentiality is followed. This creates an environment of trust and confidentiality to share both professional and personal challenges. (Read Roundtable FAQs)

There are several organizations that offer a roundtable experience for CEOs. Some are international organizations with thousands of members, others are smaller in scale. Some feel more like a networking group, while others encourage a “no-selling” environment. The cost for membership can also vary. Lastly, most of these organizations have minimum membership requirement for annual revenue and/or number of employees. 

How do you choose which option is best for you? Here’s a brief comparison of three well-known organizations that serve CEOs in Virginia. Take a look, and then ask a local business owner to share the experience they’ve had within their peer advisory group.  

Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)

About (From their website)
Entrepreneurs’ Organization is a high-quality support network of 14,000+ like-minded leaders across 61 countries. We help entrepreneurs achieve their full potential through the power of life-enhancing connections, shared experiences and collaborative learning.”

Membership Criteria 
Business earning a minimum of $1 million in revenue during the most recent fiscal year. Venture-backed companies must have either privately-raised funds of at least $2 million or publicly-raised funds of $5 million, and a minimum of 10 employees.

Cost (2020)(US$)
Global dues are currently $2,470 (plus a one-time $2,500 initiation fee). Chapter dues and event registration fees can add several thousand to this amount. Source:

Pros and Cons: Entrepreneurs join a local EO Chapter, which supports their forum and provides education and social programming in their local area. Members have access to a global member network and events on a regional and national level. EO Chapters are volunteer-led, with professional support from the national organization. For small and mid-sized business CEOs who crave a national or international network, EO is a good choice.


About (From their website)
“Vistage is the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize business leaders. We offer the most effective approach to achieve better results, grow your company faster and maximize your impact as a leader.“

Membership Criteria 
For CEOs of businesses with $5+ million annual sales revenue. In some areas, Vistage offers groups for other executives.

Cost (2020) (US$)
$12,000 or more annually

Pros and Cons
Vistage groups are facilitated by an accomplished business leader (chair). The chair also meets with members between meetings to help the CEO move forward on their goals. Vistage offers access to subject matter experts and networking with members both locally and globally. For CEOs seeking a facilitated experience with coaching, Vistage is a good choice.

VA Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

About (From their website)
The Council was founded in 2000 by a small group of CEOs seeking to connect and learn from their peers in the area. The goal was to find a forum to comfortably test new ideas, learn from other CEOs, and think differently about their businesses. The Council has more than 200 members who participate in monthly roundtable discussions, learning and social events, and an annual retreat.”

Membership Criteria (US$)
The Council is for CEOs of organizations with at least $1 million in annual revenue and 5 or more employees (FTE). The average member leads a company with $7 million revenue and 35 employees.

Cost (2020) (US$)
There is a $900 Joining Fee once acceptance is approved. Prorated dues are then invoiced once the new Member is seated in a Roundtable or Forum. Annual Dues: Roundtable-$3,060; Forum-$5,460. There are no additional registration fee for any of the dozens of learning or social events.

Pros and Cons
This organization is great for Virginia CEOs, providing the largest CEO network in the Commonwealth. The Council provides both member-led peer roundtables and professionally-facilitated forums as the main benefit of membership. Additionally, VACEOs brings its community together for learning and social events, including a three-day annual CEO Retreat. For small and mid-sized business CEOs who seek to learn and grow with others like them in a “no-sell” or “safe” environment, VACEOs is a good and affordable choice.

Posted by Staff at 2:38 pm
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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

FAQs: 7 Most Common Questions About Peer Roundtables Answered

CEO advisory groups and/or peer roundtables are often a lifeline for small and mid-sized business owners who want to quickly grow their business or avoid a common pitfall. For many, hearing from seasoned advisors and trusted peers who have “been there, done that” gives them the strategic and emotional edge they need, and helps them to get over that “lonely at the top” feeling that most business owners have.

So, how do CEO peer roundtables work? How often do they meet and for how long? Here are answers to the most common questions.


Roundtable peer groups typically have 8 to 10 people. This allows enough time for each member to meaningfully participate in all elements of the meeting.


The most effective CEO peer roundtable groups are a safe environment built on trust and confidentiality. Therefore they do not include competitors, business partners, relatives, clients, or investors. This helps to build camaraderie and trust among the members who are invested in each other’s success.


VA Council of CEOs Members are immediately eligible for “ad hoc” or one-time CEO roundtable sessions as they are offered. Permanent roundtable/forum placements typically take anywhere from one to six months. Once a permanent roundtable option is available, a new member is given the opportunity to clear the group to rule out any business or personal conflicts.



Roundtable meetings typically occur once a month. Meetings follow a strict protocol and structure and usually last between 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Some organizations, like VA Council of CEOs, train each new member on meeting protocol before he/she is formally placed in a group.



VA Council of CEOs expect members to attend every meeting of their roundtable.  This commitment builds camaraderie and trust among the members who are invested in each other’s success. The CEO is the member and it is an intensely personal engagement. Second in commands or “fill in” employees are not permitted for this reason.



In general, the roundtable experience is about addressing the CEO as a whole person. The information that is shared in the meeting is confidential. VACEOs roundtable meetings strictly follow the Gestalt Language protocol where no advice is given. Meetings are highly-structured, timed, and only experiences are shared.

There are two parts to each VACEOs roundtable meeting. Each member gives a general update at the beginning of the meeting. The updates can range from: “I’m thinking about hiring a new CFO,” OR “I’m facing an issue with my health.” Then, the group takes a deep dive into one or two of the members’ challenges.


It’s widely believed that YES, business owners highly value their peer group, in fact, they often express that it gives them the ability to rise above the day to day grind and work on their business instead of in it.

Roundtables are valuable because members can lean on each other to overcome challenges like: 

  • Developing a long term incentive compensation plan to retain top talent,
  • Crafting an exit plan, 
  • Working through issues with a family member or spouse,
  • Helping achieve double-digit growth year after year, and other issues.


Related article:

Why CEOs Value Peer Roundtables



Posted by Staff at 2:07 pm
Monday, August 10, 2020

VA Council of CEOs Community Membership Gives CEOs a Peer Roundtable Experience at No Cost

Six months ago we could not have imagined the changes we are all facing now. If you own a small or mid-sized business in Virginia, VA Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is here for you.

Listen in as Scot McRoberts, Executive Director, Virginia Council of CEOs, talks about a no-cost peer roundtable membership offer that expires on September 30, 2020.

Says McRoberts, “Don’t face this challenging time alone. Join VA Council of CEOs. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

We’re a network of CEOs and other expert who come together to help one another. And membership for you is free right now. I encourage you to join us.

As a member of our community, you’ll have access to the Emerge Stronger Conference by Pat Lencioni and his team. He’s involved a number of  other CEOs in that content that I think you’ll find really valuable. And you’ll have access to replays of other presentations we’ve held. The topics range from underlying legal risks that you’re dealing with, to managing your own mental health, to effectively selling online.

But most importantly, you’ll be given access to a network of peers in a virtual, confidential, roundtable setting. Peers who are ready to share information
and knowledge with you that can help you succeed.

Apply today. I want you to experience a peer roundtable as soon as possible.

Let’s move forward together.”


This no-risk, no-cost offer is extended to those CEO’s who would benefit most
from the Council’s programming and community. More specifically, those who manage a business in Richmond or Charlottesville Virginia with more than $1 million in revenue and employ five or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs).

As a Community Roundtable Member you will have access to:

  • VACEOs Flash Roundtable event(s),
  • Exclusive VACEOs information-sharing sessions with local and national experts, including the Emerge Conference with Pat Lencioni and other thought leaders,
  • A network of 200+ peers and sponsors who are committed to each others’ success.

Don’t delay, you’ve got nothing to lose. This offer expires September 30, 2020. Apply online for VA Council of CEOs membership.


Related post: Hear from Members (video testimonials)


Posted by Staff at 2:31 pm
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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Peer Roundtables: What Do CEOs Get Out of Them?

We regularly check in with roundtable and forum members, asking how satisfied they are with their group, getting feedback on programs, and more. All responses are anonymous.

One of the most telling questions we ask is: “What two things about your Roundtable or Forum experience are most valuable or meaningful to you?” In essence, what are you getting out of the experience?

Here are just a few of the responses from the VA Council of CEOs 2020 Member Survey.

RESPONSE TO QUESTION: “What two things about your Roundtable or Forum experience are most valuable or meaningful to you?”

  • “The spirit of acceptance and encouragement”
  • “The spirit of camaraderie”
  • “The emotional vulnerability and candor of all at the table”
  • “Peer learning with a group of people who ‘get it'”
  • “I have also gained ideas to make me a better leader”
  • “Learning from other’s successes & mistakes”
  • “Understanding trends happening in all types of business- not just my industry”

To sum, these CEOs of a small and mid-sized businesses have found that a group of peers – one that meets regularly and follows a strict code of conduct and confidentiality, has been a worthwhile experience that has made a positive impact on their business.

Read related posts:

Hear from Members (video testimonials)


Posted by Staff at 10:31 am
Friday, July 17, 2020

7 Reasons to Join a CEO Peer Roundtable

CEO roundtable peer groups provide members a confidential and safe place to learn from each other and talk about the challenges they are facing, both professionally and personally. This video recaps why CEOs value the peer-to-peer experience.

Here are a few benefits to being part of a CEO roundtable peer group include:

  1. They move your business forward and in new directions.
  2. They push you to think differently and broaden your business.
  3. They can help you solve long-standing problems.
  4. They allow you to unburden yourself from day-to-day issues.
  5. They give you clarity and new perspectives.
  6. They give you access to resources.
  7. They offer personal support.


Related link: “Virginia CEOs Find Answers and Solace in Peer Groups

(Left) Charlie Connell with his pups Huck and Finn. (Right) Charlie’s roundtable enjoys a retreat together.



Posted by Staff at 1:38 pm