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
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Virginia CEOs Find Answers and Solace in Peer Groups

Melissa Ball takes a snapshot of her roundtable practicing safe social distancing during recent meeting.

To say that many small and mid-sized Virginia business owners find themselves on an emotional and operational roller coaster today is an understatement. 

Connie Hom, CEO, Buckingham Greenery

“We as CEOs have been plummeted into chaos, and the levels of stress for us have accelerated exponentially,” says Connie Hom, CEO of Buckingham Greenery. “We are taking the lead in this crisis, and our teams look to us not only for empathy, but also for guidance and true leadership. This is probably the best test of how we’re leading.” 

As the backbone of the U.S. economy, how will small business CEOs manage the COVID-19 crisis? Some, like Hom and Charlie Connell, CEO of PUNCH, are finding a safe haven in confidential (and virtual) peer roundtable meetups. Both Hom and Connell are members of the Virginia Council of CEOs, and Hom says her roundtable group has given her “the opportunity to vent challenges in a very safe place.”

“The feeling is that I’m not in this siloed by myself,” Hom explains. “This has been a fast-paced, changing environment. There are decisions as a CEO in regard to labor, clients and revenue, and the shared experiences have been very helpful. The virtual roundtable has truly been a breath of fresh air, and the Council membership has proven to be, for me, a port in the storm.”

Connell agrees. “My roundtable has always helped me deal with the emotional side of running a business. Now, more than ever, it has helped me navigate the business end of it. Without my roundtable’s support, I would not have been able to sift through all the information we were bombarded with in terms of the Payroll Protection Act and all the other support options that were put in front of business owners. Our experience-sharing has been more influential than any other resource in making the decisions I have made to deal with our current situation.”


(Left) Charlie Connell, CEO, PUNCH with his pups. (Right) Charlie’s roundtable enjoy a retreat together.



The nature of the confidential information shared within VACEOs peer roundtable groups means that trust among members often grows quickly and runs deep. 

Melissa Ball of Ball Office Products

Melissa Ball, Managing Member at Ball Office Products, has been a member of VACEOs since 2011. She describes her roundtable as “a good, solid group with a high level of comfort with each other.” Where they once met once a month for several hours, they’re now meeting every week for an hour. She says the format of the meeting now is less structured than before, but it’s been an invaluable outlet for her and other members. 

On top of managing her family at home, Ball is also managing new vendors, new customer relationships, new ways of handling freight inventory, and much more. “I’ve never worked harder,” she says. “Sometimes you just need a sanity check, you know what I mean? I’m like, ‘How crazy am I really for thinking this or doing this?’ And then I’ll be like, ‘Okay, it’s not just me.’ It might sound flippant, but it’s real. When you’re able to pose a question to somebody and say, ‘Okay, guys, here’s what I’m thinking,’ it’s helpful to hear what other people are doing, especially as it relates to payroll and HR and emotions.”


Many of the CEOs we spoke with reported that at times they’ve had almost too much information coming at them from well-meaning organizations and industry groups – and that it sometimes adds to the chaos. 

JJ White, CEO of Dale Carnegie Southeast United States

JJ White, CEO of Dale Carnegie Southeast United States, perhaps most concisely expressed how many CEOs are feeling by saying, “Now, more than ever, is the most critical time in your business to find people who can help you get through this, but more than just get through it – actually create something in your business so that you’ll come out of this better than you’ve ever been before.”

Do you run a small or mid-sized business in Virginia? Don’t face these challenging times alone. Virginia Council of CEOs is now offering virtual roundtables across Virginia. Contact VACEOs today to learn more.





Posted by Staff at 7:19 am
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Monday, April 27, 2020

(Video) VA Council of CEOs Develops Community Membership in Response to COVID-19

Listen in as Scot McRoberts, Executive Director of VA Council of CEOs, addresses Virginia business owners


Now, during this unprecedented time of COVID-19, VA Council of CEOs is even more committed to serving the CEOs of Richmond and Charlottesville, Virginia. That’s why for a limited time we are offering a no-cost and no-strings membership to those who would most benefit from this offer.

In a video message to local CEOs, VACEOs Executive Director, Scot McRoberts says, “I’ve spoken to a lot of CEOs over the last several weeks. Like them, I know you’re hurting. Our community of small and mid-sized business owners is hurting too. In this time of uncertainty, I see our Members leaning on each other now more than ever.

Where we once met together in person to share experiences and to connect and learn from each other, we’re now meeting virtually in peer roundtable groups, private chats, and exclusive webinars and information sharing sessions. I’m happy to report that our members are finding the comfort and empathy that they need from others who are facing the same challenges as you and they’re finding the information and resources they need to move forward.

Today we’re extending a special offer to those CEOs who would most likely benefit from our community. No strings, no cost. During this time, you can join Roundtable meetups, listen in on our exclusive webinars and connect with a community of peers who are dealing with the same crisis as you,” he says, adding, “We will get through this and many of us will be stronger. Don’t face this difficult time alone. Join us. No strings, no cost.”


This offer is extended through September 30, 2020 and is for business owners who will most benefit from our programming and community. More specifically, those CEOs who manage a business in Richmond and/or Charlottesville, Virginia with more than $1 million in revenue and employ five or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs).

Community Members will have access to:

  • VACEOs Flash Roundtable events
  • CEO Virtual Retreat Series programming
  • Exclusive information-sharing sessions (Square Tables+) with local and national experts and more.


Do you run a business with more than $1M in revenue and employ five or more FTE? Take advantage of this special offer. Apply here today and select “Community Membership”.

Posted by Staff at 12:10 pm
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

VA Council of CEOs Brings CEO Roundtable Experience to Startup Virginia

The VA Council of CEOs and Startup Virginia are pleased to announce a new community partnership, as Startup Virginia officially launches its peer-to-peer Founders Roundtable program. The program provides founders an intentional opportunity to connect with other founders in order to share, support, and learn from each other as they grow their businesses.

Scot McRoberts of VACEOs

“We were happy to help SVA with the tools and training they needed to build their roundtable program,” said Scot McRoberts, Executive Director, VA Council of CEOs. “We believe peer roundtables make better CEOs and more successful companies, which makes our community stronger. It’s natural for us to want to equip these startup CEOs with such a powerful tool to help them grow and succeed.”

The VA Council of CEOs worked with Startup Virginia staff to create the Founders Roundtable program and provided training for the leaders of the five groups. The program will facilitate structured monthly meetings for small groups of 7-10 diverse entrepreneurs to participate in confidential discussions about the professional and personal challenges of operating a high-growth startup.

Richard Wintsch of Startup Virginia

“We are incredibly grateful for the support and expertise of the VA Council of CEOs in the development of our Founder Roundtable program,” said Richard Wintsch, Executive Director, Startup Virginia. “As a business incubator, the biggest value we offer our founders is the opportunity to support and learn from each other, and this new initiative does it in an intentional way. We’re really excited to provide this opportunity to our member startups.”

About the Virginia Council of CEOs
The Virginia Council of CEOs is a nonprofit association that serves the CEOs of small and mid-sized businesses in Virginia. The Council was founded in 2000 to connect CEOs so that they can learn and grow together. Made up of more than 240 members from the Richmond and Charlottesville regions, the Council is poised for continued growth. Learn more at

About Startup Virginia
Startup Virginia (SVA) is a nonprofit, high-growth business incubator dedicated to advancing businesses that build a long-term, sustainable economy for Virginia. We currently serve 70 startup companies, more than 180 mentors and subject matter experts, and a regional investors network. SVA also provides entrepreneurial guidance and education that is open to all. With support from our partners, mentors, investors, and donors, we help entrepreneurs reach their full potential. For more information, visit

Related posts:

7 Benefits of Joining a CEO Peer-to-Peer Roundtable


VACEOs CEO Roundtable Experience: 5 Frequently Asked Questions


Four Ways VACEOs Maximizes Peer Learning

Posted by Staff at 10:13 am
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