Executive Forum in Action

Will Bachman– "How to Find Clients”


How to Find Clients

The Executive Forum’s Independent Career Track Group (ICT) hosted Will Bachman in an interactive presentation “How to Find Clients” where he shared strategies that provide a framework for targeting and reaching ideal clients, including building core networks, optimizing your LinkedIn profile, and drafting your fishing line. Will is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Umbrex, the world's largest community of independent management consultants, with over 4,500 members globally. Prior to founding Umbrex, Will was an Engagement Manager with McKinsey specializing in lean operations. Will also hosts the popular podcast Unleashed: How to Thrive as an Independent Professional, with over 550 episodes published. ICT Chair Jim Ranton facilitated.



Clients want you to focus and be specific in your offerings, not take the position that you can provide a broad set of services. Presenting yourself as a generalist is typically not the optimal approach. You're unlikely to be the first person that comes to mind when someone seeks a solution to a specific project or problem. Instead, specializing or focusing on a niche offers independent consultants a more robust platform.


Optimize your LinkedIn Profile

Potential clients often turn to LinkedIn to gauge your expertise and suitability for their needs. Your profile should effectively convey your value proposition, positioning, and establish your credibility in your field. Will provided best practices, guides and checklist as well as critiquing a few members’ profiles during the session.


Fishing Line

Shorter and more to the point than an elevator speech, a fishing line should be 15 words or less and very specific. It should identify your target audience and exactly what you do — but, not how you do it. Your target should be specific. Don’t cast a wide net. Your fishing line should indicate who the clients are you want to serve, and what problems you can solve for them. Will worked with members on crafting fishing lines during the session.



NEW YORK (April 15, 2024) – The Executive Forum (EF) announced the creation of two new Board roles – Chair Board Journey and Chair Strategic Partnership – and the appointment of three new board members, each having made significant contributions to the growth and evolution of the organization. Effective immediately, Phil Grabfield joins the EF Board as Chair Strategic Partnerships, Helayna Minsk as Chair Board Journey and Carol Yvette Thorney assumes the role of Chair Technology & Digital Strategy. .


“The Executive Forum has an exceptional team of volunteers who serve on the board and board committees, lead our SIGs and other specialty career tracks, and numerous individuals who participate in leadership conferences, events, and many meaningful ways that support the organization,” said Co-Chairs, Executive Forum Cheryl Palmer and Scott Smith. “We are privileged and grateful for this level of commitment to EF’s success and continued growth and are excited by the energy and new ideas that Phil, Helayna and Carol will bring to the organization.”


Phil Grabfield joins the EF Board as Chair Strategic Partnerships. In this new role, Phil will evaluate our current partnerships, codify these relationships, and create new partnerships that will benefit EF members and the partnership organizations. Phil has been an EF member since 2013, an active member of the organization’s Brand & Marketing Committee and has over 25 years of experience as a Chief Marketing Officer in B2C and B2B companies over diverse industries and geographies. He recently left his position as the head of Marketing at E&I Cooperative Services, a purchasing coop for the education sector, and has recently “graduated” from the EF New Horizons program. Previous roles include marketing leadership positions at Teladoc, Inc., the nation’s first and largest telehealth platform, and Mercer.


Helayna Minsk joins the EF Board as Chair Board Journey. Board Journey, a recently organized career path, fosters an environment where EF members convene to explore, enrich, and share their interests and expertise in board service. In this new Board role, Helayna will be responsible for the continued development of Board Journey programs and services and for building ongoing engagement and sustainability for this new career path. Helayna has been an EF member since 2021 and has over 30 years of senior-level marketing and general management experience in Consumer Products, Healthcare, and Retail. She was previously at Unilever and J&J in local and global roles, and most recently, she was Group Vice President of Walgreens Retail Brands. She is currently consulting and on the board of a beauty company.


Carol Yvette Thorney has assumed the role of Chair Technology & Digital Strategy on the EF Board. Her extensive experience includes leading corporate transformation initiatives and serving as CEO of Thorney Advisors (TA Solutions Global). As a trusted advisor, Carol assists clients in navigating evolving technologies related to risk management, business intelligence, data strategy, cloud adoption, and cybersecurity. Additionally, she collaborates with private equity, venture capital, and angel investors.


About the Executive Forum

The Executive Forum is a volunteer-led organization for accomplished top executives who are a premier source of modern executive talent and see their careers as a journey and not a destination. A community of c-suite-level executives from leading corporations, private equity firms, boards, and independent consultancies, the EF provides an unparalleled, diverse network of collaborative, connected, and growth-focused leaders and experts who are committed to supporting one another. For more information, visit https://www.executiveforum.org.


Anita Nowak - “Empathy is our Superpower”


Empathy is our Superpower

Executive Forum’s New Member Group hosted Anita Nowak in an interactive presentation titled “Empathy is our Superpower” where she defined empathy, its role in the workplace and its importance for humanity. Anita is a leading authority on empathy, author, award-winning educator, international speaker, and certified coach. She is the author of Purposeful Empathy: Tapping Our Hidden Superpower for Personal, Organizational, and Social Change.


What is Empathy?

Anita puts empathy along an altruistic continuum with pity on the opposite side and sympathy and compassion in between. Empathy trumps them all. She defines empathy as the innate trait that unites us in our common humanity. There are two kinds of empathy. One engages our heart when we feel for another. For instance, we cringe when another stubs their toe. The other kind is where we step into another’s shoes. It occurs within some context where we read into it with our own experience. Pity, on the other hand, assumes that power and authority are present in the relationship, one looks down on another.


Brain Plasticity

Brian plasticity is the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganization. We can learn and change. We are all born with an open brain and capacity for empathy. As adults our brains become denser and more filled with more information, but we can still change. We must practice. It’s empathy and collaboration that has enabled us as a species to survive. Now is the time for a global empathy revolution.


Howard Stevenson - “Uncommon Wisdom to Inspire Your Life’s Work: A Fireside Chat with The Father of Entrepreneurship?”


Uncommon Wisdom

The Executive Forum hosted special guest and speaker Howard Stevenson at an event titled “Uncommon Wisdom to Inspire Your Life’s Work: A Fireside Chat with The Father of Entrepreneurship” where he shared insights drawn from his experiences, his book Just Enough, and his student, colleague, and dear friend Eric Sinoway’s book Howard’s Gift. Howard is Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School, where he is known as the “lion of entrepreneurship” and held key leadership positions including Senior Associate Dean and Director of External Relations and Chair of the Harvard Business Publishing Company board. He also served as Vice Provost for Harvard University Resources and Planning and Senior Associate Provost. Eric introduced Howard and this event. Eric is the Managing Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Thinking (which he co-founded along with Howard), an organization that has been pursuing work related to innovation and entrepreneurship. EF member Barbara McCartney facilitated.


What Does Success Mean?

Success is not a static achievement but a dynamic state encompassing different activities, feelings, and accomplishments. It is challenging to measure, uneven, and ever-changing. This complex concept involves episodes, passages, and the entirety of one's life, resisting freezing at any single moment in time. It’s a state of being and it’s complicated.


Satisfactions of Enduring Success

Enduring success comprises four satisfactions: Achievement, Happiness, Significance, and Legacy. These elements involve accomplishments against comparable goals, feelings of pleasure and contentment, positive impact on loved ones, and establishing values for future success. Rarely does one thing satisfy all. Fill the success buckets as you go along the path of life.


The Art of Juggling

It’s all about juggling, not balancing. Mastering the art of juggling involves keeping a keen eye on all success elements, allocating energy appropriately, and throwing efforts in the right direction. The most important ball to keep in the air is the one that’s about to drop. Some balls are rubber, and some are glass. You can’t have it all. Consistent practice is key to achieving harmony in managing diverse success domains.


Marie Meliksetian - “Do You Know Your Brand?”


Do You Know Your Brand?

The Executive Forum’s Independent Career Track Group (ICT) hosted speaker and EF member Marie Meliksetian in an interactive presentation “Do You Know Your Brand?” where she shared insights into crafting a memorable brand identity. Marie is the CEO of Reliance Solution Services, LLC. She is an expert in Business and Procurement Transformation with extensive experience in turning around and re-engineering large global organizations and smal-to-medium businesses. She was the US Chief Executive Officer for a DXC Company (Xchanging Services) and has held a variety of senior-level global positions at IBM, focusing on Business Process Outsourcing and Procurement.


Defining Your Brand: What You Stand For

Your brand reflects your core beliefs, values, and the unique value you provide. It encapsulates what makes you stand out and how others perceive you. Craft your brand to convey authenticity, creativity, and commitment to quality.


Personal Brand Statement

Your personal brand statement is the essence of your value proposition. It answers why you, what differentiates you, and why others will remember you. Define your target audience and the specific issues or challenges you aim to address through your personal brand.


Promote Yourself

Identify your target audience's needs and strategically influence them through thought leadership, public speaking, and posts. Leverage champions and references to amplify your impact. Communicate with short, clear, and consistent messaging across social media, conferences, and panels.


Guiding Principles for a Strong Brand

Adopt five brand rules: Be authentic, avoiding pretense; be creative, standing out from the crowd; focus on quality, letting your work speak for itself with consistency; be visible, actively networking and sharing content to enhance your presence; and be patient, it takes time.

Cole Smead - Smead “US Value Strategy and Smead International Value Strategy”


Value Strategy

The Executive Forum’s Investing Special Interest Group (SIG) hosted guest Cole Smead in an interactive presentation titled “Smead US Value Strategy and Smead International Value Strategy.” Cole’s presentation included discussion of investors’ lack of fear in piling into index funds such as the S&P 500 and other ETFs despite rising treasury bill yields, challenges facing commercial real estate, and over-paying for equities, generally, as an asset class. Cole is the Chief Executive Officer and Portfolio Manager at Smead Capital Management. He has been with the firm since its founding in 2007. Prior to joining Smead Capital Management, he was a Financial Advisor with Wachovia Securities.


Households Over Own Common Stocks

US household exposure to equities, through direct ownership and through equity mutual funds, remains high. The result is low returns. Examining long run data sets on total household financial assets as indicators we can start to predict possible outcomes for the future. If stock ownership remains similar to today, we can expect low returns. History shows that when households tilt their portfolios toward equities, future market excess returns are lower on average.


Dogs Chase Cars, People Chase Stocks

The 2020 bear market made investors overconfident. But the bear market is over. History shows that bear market buyers can be handsomely rewarded for their boldness over the long term. Generally, however, people are not comfortable with durational risk – no one wants to go too long without making new highs. We need to be patient in demanding high returns.

Alicia Kennedy – “How to Market the Best Version of You”

Executive Forum’s New Member Group hosted Alicia Kennedy in an interactive workshop titled “How to Market the Best Version of You” where she shared best practices on interviewing. Alicia Kennedy is an expert interview skills coach who provides personalized coaching services and job search strategies at Ace the Interview. With a love of marketing that spans decades, Alicia has worked with Fortune 500 clients that include Chanel and Harley-Davidson, mentored professional colleagues, promoted local businesses, trained teams on marketing and communications skills, been the “go-to” interviewer of candidates for hire, and landed her own dream job more than once. Today, Alicia helps motivated professionals shift from awkward interviews to comfortable conversations in their own job search efforts. New Member Group Co-Chair Richard Gellman facilitated.


The Heavy Lifting

The heavy lifting of your experience resides in your resume. Its role is not to get you a job, but to get you an interview, conversation, or consideration. Your resume is like the trailer of a movie. It entices the recipient. Ensure it is clear, concise, and consistent. Recruiters spend a few seconds reading a resume. You must tell your story with immediate impact and relevance, prioritizing the job at hand and eliminating any excess. Ensuring each bullet or sentence relays the results and impact of an activity will help achieve this.


Be Memorable / Be Likeable

Statistics indicate that being memorable and likeable are the most important aspects of any interview. Accomplish this with storytelling. Examine a problem you face, how you acted on it or solved it, and the result or impact you had. Have a “bookshelf” of stories at your disposal so whatever question you are asked in an interview, you need only draw on your prepared stories. Stories have the power to shift an opinion to fact. They can illustrate your strengths in a memorable way drawing a common thread throughout.

Marcia Ballinger – “The 20 Minute Networking Session”


The 20 Minute Networking Session

Executive Forum’s New Member Group hosted Marcia Ballinger in an interactive presentation titled “The 20 Minute Networking Session” where she shared best practices on networking meetings. Marcia is a Co-founder and Principal of Ballinger / Leafblad, Inc., an executive search firm servicing the civic sector—foundations, nonprofits, higher education institutions and professional associations. She is an expert, author, and frequent speaker on executive networking, career management and best practices in executive recruiting. Marcia co-authored The 20-Minute Networking Meeting, and authored Winning the Executive Interview.


Pool of One

The overwhelmingly most important part of your job search is networking. Statistically, you are most likely to land your next job through networking. If you browse through job postings or reach out to an executive recruiter, look at it as reconnaissance. Most won’t get a job that way because you’re one of thousands of candidates. Transferable skills won’t be detected by the interns or software going through resumes, only exact matches get through. But, when you network, you are in a pool of one and someone is vouching for you.


The Beginning of a Relationship – How to Get There

Consider who’s in your network. Who knows who. Who can refer you. Email them to set up a networking meeting. Be straightforward in the subject line – indicate who referred you and that you want to schedule a conversation. In the body of the email, be complimentary, gracious, and respectful. Use a narrative to show why your common connection made the referral. Suggest a short meeting – 20-30 minutes maximum – at a time that is convenient for them. Attach your resume or one-pager.


You get the meeting. You run the meeting. You direct the conversation. Thank them. Remind them of your connection/referral. Indicate you have some questions. Think about what you want to learn from this person that would be additive to you. Ask questions that will help you. Remember this is a networking meeting, not a job interview. Do not spend time talking about yourself. They have your resume. Wrap up the conversation within 20-30 minutes. This person will want to chat with you again. It’s the beginning of a relationship.


Geoff Brookins - Leverage Your LinkedIn Network: Creating Customized LinkedIn inMails with ChatGPT / GPT for Sheets

Executive Forum’s Technology Special Interest Group (SIG) hosted special guest and EF member Geoff Brookins in an interactive presentation titled “Leverage Your LinkedIn Network: Creating Customized LinkedIn inMails with ChatGPT / GPT for Sheets.” This was the first in a series of hands-on workshops designed to help members navigate the evolving world of ChatGPT and AI. Geoff led an exercise to export LinkedIn contacts and enable ChatGPT to produce and send a short email to each contact. Geoff is a CTO focusing on AI and its applications. He is an experienced technology leader with over two decades of experience building strong technical teams and SaaS products. Wally Yosafat facilitated.


AI-powered Messaging Tools for Sheets and Coding

ChatGPT and GPT for Sheets are two AI-powered tools that can generate precise and concise messages. Although these tools can be helpful in writing emails, you should always personalize notes. ChatGPT can also assist in coding, helping to solve coding errors by understanding specific requirements and responding in different languages. Additionally, you can create custom instructions and settings, including data privacy and security settings.


First Step: Export your LinkedIn Connections

The workshop included step-by-step procedures to export a list of LinkedIn contacts. Geoff noted that LinkedIn’s current export function only applies to first level connections, not second or third. There is, however, value in communicating with second and level connections. To accomplish that, you may need to consider using paid tools to extract that data.


Second Step: Generate Messages via ChatGPT

Let ChatGPT generate compelling and personalized messages to reconnect with your LinkedIn contacts. In the workshop, members uploaded their contacts to ChatGPT and prompted ChatGPT to organize their contacts. They can be organized by in-house hiring managers, recruiters, industries, etc. depending on the prompt you use. For instance, you might ask ChatGPT to pull out the top 20 in-house recruiters from your exported LinkedIn file. Then use another prompt to ask ChatGPT to draft short emails to each contact, limiting word count, addressing each contact personally. Geoff noted the importance of targeting your messaging to ensure it resonates with your audience.


Jonathan L.S. Byrnes and John Wass - Enterprise Profit Management: Key to Managing EBITDA and Margins 

Executive Forum’s Technology Special Interest Group (SIG) hosted special guests Jonathan L.S. Byrnes and John Wass in an interactive presentation titled “Enterprise Profit Management: Key to Managing EBITDA and Margins” where they shared insights on how AI and machine learning capabilities are supercharging profitability management and delivering value. Jonathan is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Profit Isle, an Enterprise Profit Management (EPM) platform, and a Senior Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). John is Co-Founder and CEO of Profit Isle. Profit Isle’s software incorporates AI and advanced analytics to see below the averages of the profit and loss into profit peaks and drains all the way down to the invoice detail of the business, enabling organizations to adapt faster to changing markets, focus resources that produce the most profits, and implement profit-driven processes throughout the company. Lalit Panda facilitated.


Profit Peaks

Too many organizations follow obsolete KPIs, believe in increasing sales by controlling operating costs and reducing supplier costs, and believe gross margins predict net profits. That’s old-school thinking. It’s a relatively small percentage of customers who make up an organization’s profit peaks – where most of the revenues and profits come from. Focus on these customers. Make them a priority. Shift those customers who are profit deserts or profit drains to profit peaks to increase profits.


Budget Variance

Ad hoc budget variance reviews are often based more on intuition than data because there’s too much data for management to digest and not enough focused information. Budget categories are too broad, and costs are not linked to revenues. .


EMP Platform

The Enterprise Profit Management (EPM) platform integrates all data from production systems, providing a complete view of profitability down to individual customers, products, and operations. This data-driven view helps managers see where they may be off the average. They can focus on variances that impact profit; they won’t be distracted by variances that don’t impact the business in a meaningful way. When data is segmented into profit peaks and drains, managers can see profit opportunities. AI and machine learning are helping to reveal hidden profit patterns from massive amounts of data.



Greg Monaco - “Becoming a Unicorn: The Secret to Standing Out” 

Becoming a Unicorn: The Secret to Standing Out

The Executive Forum’s Independent Career Track Group (ICT) hosted speaker Greg Monaco in an interactive presentation and workshop titled “Becoming a Unicorn: The Secret to Standing Out” where he shared both a framework to build a personal brand and a template to help you become more memorable in the minds of your prospects. This workshop clarified what makes you and your business unique so you can start to tell a story that separates you from the rest.


Greg is a brand and story coach who works with authors, entrepreneurs, executives, and artists. Previously, he was a Founding Partner of Monaco Lange, an independent global brand consultancy, and was a Senior Copywriter at Ogilvy helping tell stories for clients like Girl Scouts of the USA, American Express, AT&T Wireless, SAP, and IBM to name a few. EF member Jim Ranton facilitated.


Build Your Brand

Greg outlined a four-step framework to build your brand. Start by looking inward and understanding yourself and what you are qualified to deliver. Know your “genius.” Then look outward to understand your prospect. Build trust by sitting in their chair and know them better than they know themselves. Once you’ve established this, tell stories that connect your prospects back to you and the solutions you offer, not the other way around. And keep telling stories..


“Author” Your Category

Your job title falls within a broad category that includes a tremendous number of others in your industry with the same title. Don’t get lost in a broad category that’s not of your choosing. Break it down. Change how others view it and you. Shine a light on your “genius” so a prospect sees you as the solution to their problem.


Behind the Scenes with a Global Visionary 

The Executive Forum’s 2023 Leadership Conference, “Own the Opportunity,” brought its members and guests the opportunity to listen to, engage with, and learn from leaders who created opportunity and owned it, including Joanne Collins Smee, EVP and President Americas at Xerox, in conversation with EF Board Member Kelly Christiano, who shared her leadership journey, touching on creating opportunity, wellness and happiness, and managing transition.


Joanne discussed the need to own your career progression – you can’t expect your manager or anyone else to do this for you. Her career started in corporate America; Joanne joined IBM and led global teams in the sales and delivery of technical solutions to clients. After two decades with IBM, she joined the Federal Government, establishing and leading a large-scale technology transformation office and talent, focused on civilian agencies that had the greatest need for technology modernization. Joanne is currently with Xerox, leading their business in the Americas as they are making a technology shift from print to adjacent markets – digital, IT Services and additional offerings that “make work, work”.


These career pivots were a result of consistent analysis of well-being and suitability of role - assessing if her skills were optimally matched to requirements for success and was the role fulfilling, meeting career and life goals at that point in time. Those regular reviews were key to “own the opportunity” and make the moves necessary to assure optimal performance and yes, happiness in role.


Phil Harvey “So You Want to Be Your Own Boss” 

Executive Forum’s New Member Group hosted EF member Phil Harvey in an interactive presentation titled “So You Want to Be Your Own Boss” where he shared insights from a career that spans thirty years, with twenty-five years of experience in the franchise industry as a franchisee, franchisor, c-suite executive, and independent business owner. Phil is the Founder and President of Prosperity Services, LLC, a franchise advisor dedicated to guiding people through a rigorous process of entrepreneurial exploration to find, evaluate and select the right franchise.


As a c-suite leader, brand builder and entrepreneur, Phil has recruited, developed, and led world class business development, operations, supply chain, marketing and sales teams. Phil has also served on non-profit boards, reported to for-profit boards, and worked closely with elected boards, in public and privately held organizations.


Paths to Entrepreneurship

The path to entrepreneurship is paved with passion, exploration, and expectation. Phil shared three ways to embark on this venture – start a business from scratch, buy an existing business, or start a business through franchising.


Starting a business from scratch provides you with total control, but there’s little support and a high rate of failure. Buying an existing business provides a business history and existing cash flow, but you’d better do your due diligence regarding cash flow, not to mention the good will and seller motives. Franchising offers greater predictability, so access to capital is more prevalent and you’ll have a built-in peer group among other owners/franchisees. But fees and royalties can be high, there’s lots of compliance issues, and you will not be in complete control. Among the three paths, franchises outlast the others by years. They are more durable, sustainable and nine times more likely to exist ten years after inception.


Ready to be a Franchisee?

Candidate readiness is paramount. You’ve educated yourself in the business and you’re ready to take the plunge, but before you do that you must be coachable to be successful. You must follow the franchisor’s systems; you cannot build your own. You must have the initial funds and you must fully commit. Understand your motivation. Having passion for your business and the sector you work in helps in making the decision to move forward. But, if you are looking for a sustainable business and a legacy you hope to leave your kids, then purchasing a franchise in a sector for which you don’t have a burning passion might still work.


Executive Forum Leadership Conference 2023 - Truly Customer-Centric


Truly Customer-Centric

The Executive Forum’s 2023 Leadership Conference, “Own the Opportunity,” brought its members and guests the opportunity to listen to, engage with, and learn from leaders who created opportunity and owned it, including Peter Fader, PhD, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Fader presented the latest thinking on and misconceptions of customer lifetime value and customer centricity, about which he’s written several books.


Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a prediction of how much value a customer will bring to a company over their lifetime. It takes into consideration how long a customer will remain a customer, how often they will make a purchase, and over time how many interactions they will have with the company that either create or destroy economic value. This prediction of customer behavior is based on characterizing companies and their relationship with their customers – e.g., do they sell one thing or many, contractual or not? By determining which model applies to which business CLV can be implemented.


A CLV score should impact how and how much a customer will be catered to. The more value a customer brings to a company the more that company should spend on them. If companies cater to every customer, no matter how valuable they are, they are spending too much on customers who don’t warrant it. Companies need to prioritize. They should spend money on their most valuable customers, not every one of them. Understanding who the most valuable customers are can help drive decisions in the right direction.


Customer centricity interplays with CLV. All companies will aim to provide good service and develop new products and services. Customer centricity means they will prioritize these activities for their most valuable customers — the ones who provide the most value to the company — but not for every customer. Some customers deserve special treatment, and if others want to make a purchase on occasion, that’s great, but they should not be treated the same.


The Executive Forum’s 2023 Leadership Conference, “Own the Opportunity,” brought its members and guests the opportunity to listen to, engage with, and learn from leaders who created their opportunity and owned it. Joanne Collins Smee, EVP and President Americas at Xerox, in conversation with EF Board Member Kelly Christiano, shared her leadership journey, touching on creating opportunity, wellness and happiness, transition, and building team effectiveness. Harry Moseley, former Global CIO of Zoom, in a fireside chat with EF Board Member Doron Grosman, reflected on his career, hybrid work, and managing distributive teams. Peter Fader, PhD, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, presented the latest thinking on and misconceptions of customer lifetime value and customer centricity, about which he’s written several books. The conference opened with introductions from EF member Barbara McCartney, Leadership Conference Chair, news from around the EF from EF Board Co-Chairs Cheryl Palmer and Scott Smith, and EF landings from New Member Co-Chairs Richard Gellman and Kelly Christiano.




Interview a Board Recruiter

The Executive Forum’s Board Journey hosted Claudia Pici Morris, a consultant with SpencerStuart, at a virtual, interactive session titled “Interview a Board Recruiter.” EF members asked Claudia questions about the “Black Box” of board search, private versus public board searches, getting your search started, and more. Claudia focuses exclusively on board advisory engagements as a core member of SpencerStuart’s Board Practice. She advises clients from Fortune 50 and family-owned companies to private equity-backed and pre-IPO companies on board effectiveness, board succession planning, board director recruitment, and other essential governance and senior leadership issues facing boards and CEOs. She leads SpencerStuart’s Governance Chair Network and regularly convenes board chairs and nominations/governance committee chairs to discuss best practices and trends in corporate governance. EF member and Board Journey Group Administrator June M. Archer facilitated.



Claudia responded to EF members’ questions about board service and shared her insights, drawing on 30+ years of experience, having conducted more than 1,000 board director searches and governance consulting engagements. Some of the key takeaways included the following.

·       You will need a board profile. Claudia shared a template to help folks get started. Know your value proposition and where your expertise lies – industry and/or functional. Highlight operational successes. Know your target companies. Know how far your network will take you. Understand why you want to be on a board.


  • ·       You will need a board profile. Claudia shared a template to help folks get started. Know your value proposition and where your expertise lies – industry and/or functional. Highlight operational successes. Know your target companies. Know how far your network will take you. Understand why you want to be on a board.

  • ·       Directors’ compensation varies. Director roles, on the whole, are not wealth-creation opportunities. A director on a non-profit board often bears a financial commitment – it’s a pay-to-play scenario. Directors on private company (family business) boards will not receive equity; they will be compensated in cash only. There is no negotiation of compensation on a public company board. You will find it published in the proxy. Note that you will most likely be expected to purchase the company’s stock. Directors on private equity boards are paid a small retainer and equity, which could be quite valuable if the company is successful. 


  • ·       The effects of age limits and term limits on a board are changing. On a public company board, the turn-over is very low. Age limits are used more than term limits to refresh a board but it’s not always successful. Boards will call in law firms to conduct a formal assessment of a board, examining the relevance of an individual or the whole group. On occasion, long-term directors have outstayed their welcome.


NEW YORK (October 23, 2023) – The Executive Forum announced the appointment of Kelly Christiano to the board as Co-Chair, New Member Program. Kelly joined the Executive Forum in August 2022 and has been an active and engaged member. As a member of the Member Events Committee, Kelly organized the recently held NYC networking event and secured Joanne Collins Smee as one of our headline Leadership Conference speakers. Kelly is the CEO and Co-Founder of Revelocity, a Sales, Marketing, and Business Strategy Consultancy. Before that, she was the EVP of Consumer Lending at Navient.


“The management and success of the New Member Program is of critical importance to the Executive Forum,” said Executive Forum Co-Chairs, Cheryl Palmer and Scott Smith. “Through this vital program, EF provides new members with the tools, programs, content, and significant networking opportunities for them to succeed in finding a new full-time, interim, or consulting role.” Kelly will co-lead this important program alongside Richard Gellman.


In addition to the above appointment, Jessica Perry assumes the role of Board Vice President, effective January 1, 2024, and will be working on strategic initiatives critical to the ongoing success of the organization. Jess joined the Executive Forum in July 2020, became a platform/engagement committee member, and joined the Board in 2022 when she and Andy Yost took over as Co-Chairs of Engagement. Jess is the Principal at Six Doors Media, providing marketing and growth strategies for SaaS, media, and information services organizations.


About the Executive Forum

The Executive Forum is a volunteer-led organization for accomplished top executives who are a premier source of modern executive talent and see their careers as a journey and not a destination. A community of c-suite-level executives from leading corporations, private equity firms, boards, and independent consultancies, the Executive Forum provides an unparalleled, diverse network of collaborative, connected, and growth-focused leaders and experts who are committed to - supporting one another. For more information, visit https://www.executiveforum.org.




Emerging Trends in People, Talent, and Culture

The Executive Forum’s Member Events team hosted special guest speaker Christine Dellecave, PhD. at an event titled “Emerging Trends in People, Talent and Culture,“ where she shared insight and perspective on what’s working and what’s next in organizational engagement. Christine is an Operating Partner & Advisor at Wiser and Partners, and also runs The Dellecave Consulting Group LLC, where she and her team provide advisory and consulting services related to human capital strategy and talent management to executives in all industries. EF member Barbara McCartney facilitated.


The Landscape Affecting Work

There are an overwhelming number of outside influences that impact employees. Geopolitics, COVID, social issues, the economy, health, and new technology can all be triggers for an employee and affect how they experience life in the workplace. Employees are looking to leaders to address many of these issues even if those triggers did not emerge from the workplace.


Human Centricity

One trend Christine is seeing is employees’ need for psychological safety at work. Employees are bringing their whole selves to work, especially those of the Gen Z generation. They focus on assurances, safety, and well-being. There is a disconnect between what Gen Z considers feeling unwell and worrisome and how human resources departments view it. Employees want a personal experience to help them feel safe. That means managers need to check-in with them weekly, offer recognition, and celebrate life events. Psychological safety affects team dynamics and individual contribution more than the skills a team member might bring to the table – it has become of utmost importance.


The Return to Work Struggle

98% of employees want at least some remote work. 50% of leaders want employees back in the office full-time. Therein lies the struggle. Leaders need to know a hybrid workforce is here to stay. Organizations need to demonstrate flexibility and engage with employees on this issue. Maybe that looks like a direct ask about a specific day an employee wants to come into the office. Leaders need to think about how to make coming into work beneficial for employees. They may want employees back at work because they are worried about collaboration and culture, but they need to optimize the experience of being back at work. That does not mean mandating it, it means making it worthwhile.



Harry Moseley, former Global CIO of Zoom, Joanne Collins Smee, EVP, President Americas at Xerox and Peter Fader, PhD, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to be Keynote Speakers.

NEW YORK (October 10, 2023) – The Executive Forum (EF) announces that Harry Moseley, former GLOBAL CIO for Zoom Video Communications, Joanne Collins Smee, EVP, President Americas at Xerox and Peter Fader, PhD, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania will be speaking at its 2023 Leadership Conference.


A charismatic leader and technology visionary, Moseley will share his experience as an executive leader at Zoom during a time of unprecedented global demand as well as his perspective on emerging business technologies that are impacting the way we work, invest, build and communicate.


Moseley has more than 45 years of experience in technology, having held several senior leadership positions including CIO for KMPG US; CIO and Partner at Blackstone; CIO of Global Investment Banking/Co-CIO for Credit Suisse First Boston; and CTO for UBS Americas. Harry was inducted into CIO Magazine's Hall of Fame, recognized as one of the world's top 100 CIOs by Computerworld, twice honored by Irish Magazine as one of its Annual Wall Street 50, awarded the 2022 CIO and IT Leader of the Year award for the Private Sector, and was a 2022 Irish America Business 100 Honoree. Additionally, Harry has given numerous presentations including a TEDx talk about working and living in the virtual world.


We will go “Behind the Scenes” with Joanne Collins Smee, a C-Suite leader who has successfully built highly engaged, empowered organizations delivering innovative solutions for IBM, the US Federal Government and now leads a $4B portfolio for Xerox as EVP and President Americas. Throughout her career, Collins Smee is known for her unwavering commitment to helping organizations solve their technological and business challenges. She leads with a solutions-driven approach that has been instrumental to Xerox’s success throughout her tenure with the company and will share insights on leading for success in complex environments.


Collins Smee joined Xerox in September 2018 and has served as Chief Commercial Officer, spearheading the development and delivery of Xerox’s integrated technology solutions and services strategy. Before joining Xerox, she led Technology Transformation Services for the U.S. Federal Government and spent more than 25 years at IBM in global executive roles, spanning client sales, support and delivery of technical products and services.


Peter Fader, PhD, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, literally wrote the book on Customer Centricity and will present the latest thinking on the topic. Professor Fader will share why “the right customer is always right” and how to create strategic advantage and revenue gains by focusing on them. Professor Fader’s expertise centers around the analysis of behavioral data to understand and forecast customer shopping/purchasing activities. He works with firms from a wide range of industries, such as telecommunications, financial services, gaming/entertainment, retailing, and pharmaceuticals. Managerial applications focus on topics such as customer relationship management, lifetime value of the customer, and sales forecasting for new products. Much of his research highlights the consistent (but often surprising) behavioral patterns that exist across these industries and other seemingly different domains. These insights are reflected in his three books, starting with “Customer Centricity: Focus on the Right Customers for Strategic Advantage.”


In addition to his various roles and responsibilities at Wharton, Professor Fader co-founded a predictive analytics firm (Zodiac) in 2015, which was sold to Nike in 2018. He then co-founded (and continues to run) Theta to commercialize his more recent work on “customer-based corporate valuation.” In 2017, Professor Fader was named by Advertising Age as one of its inaugural “25 Marketing Technology Trailblazers,” and was the only academic on the list.


Barbara McCartney, Board Chair, Leadership Conference & Events for the Executive Forum noted that the “Executive Forum is honored to host this charismatic and engaging trio of leaders at this year’s leadership conference. They each bring a unique perspective on what drives success in today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environment that will be of interest to our members who are business, tech and investment leaders.”


Executive Forum Leadership Conferences are highly anticipated events, offering all members an opportunity to learn the latest on a wide range of business trends and topics, including leadership, communications, innovation, globalization, culture shaping, private equity, and strategy, all while networking and renewing business affiliations with fellow EF members and invited guests. Leadership Conferences are held annually each fall. Speakers range from highly regarded corporate leaders to authors, analysts, and other thought leaders.


About the Executive Forum

The Executive Forum is a volunteer-led organization for accomplished top executives who are a premier source of modern executive talent and see their careers as a journey and not a destination. A community of C-suite-level executives from leading corporations, private equity firms, boards, and independent consultancies, the EF provides an unparalleled, diverse network of collaborative, connected, and growth-focused leaders and experts who are committed to - supporting one another. For more information, visit https://www.executiveforum.org



   Harry Moseley                      Joanne Collins Smee                Dr. Peter Fader


The Executive Forum’s Independent Career Track Group (ICT) hosted guest speaker George Bradt in a “fireside” chat where he shared insights and stories from his start-up and discussed how to differentiate yourself, create and capture revenue, drive client satisfaction, and develop business. George is the founder and chairman of the executive onboarding group PrimeGenesis. They help prepare leaders before they start new positions, speed up their assimilation, set direction, build the team, accelerate momentum, and deliver results. EF ICT Chair, Jim Ranton, facilitated.


Be Different

George had worked for a large consumer brand where he witnessed new executives come on board and experience disorganized, thoughtless first days. It made him angry. And it stuck with him. Years later he started his company PrimeGenesis - at a time when no one had ever heard of executive onboarding. He set out to offer something no one else was offering - to solve the problem that 40% of leaders fail within the first six months of new positions.


Create Awareness

George wrote a book, The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan, that would be the playbook for his company, as well as its initial marketing tool. He made his prospective audience aware of what he had to offer. He also had an article placed in Forbes Magazine, and since then has written nearly 900 articles for them. These articles are the top of his sales funnel. His website had offered executive summaries by signing up with an email. This initially developed his database, from where he developed a stream of leads and built a pipeline.


Avoid the Roller Coaster

When you’re an independent consultant you may find yourself on a roller coaster – too much work, then no work. Once you get your first project, it’s super, and it fills up your time. But there’s often no time for business development, and thus no pipeline. So, after you complete that project, there’s no next project. George did not want to ride this roller coaster. He decided not to pursue his endeavor alone. He hired four partners and kept one day per week for business development – 20% of his time. When you have a team, you can sell beyond your individual capacity, turn down work, and hand off assignments.



The Shenorock Shore Club in Rye, New York was the perfect setting on September 14, 2023 for this distinguished group of EF members to enjoy a wonderful evening with one another during the Professional Enrichment Dinner.


From Left to Right: Carl Cohen, Heath Podvesker, Jim Ranton, John Hopper (Co-Chair), Allen Shapard, Steve Zales (Co-Host).


Kneeling: John Eisenstein


The New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, Rhode Island was the perfect setting on September 6, 2023 for this distinguished group of EF members to enjoy a wonderful evening with one another during the Professional Enrichment Dinner.


From Left to Right: Nicky McHugh, Patrick O'Neill, Barbara Karpinska (Co-Host), David Smith and Katia Facchetti (Co-Host).


EF’s Media, Marketing & Insights (MMI) Special Interest Group (SIG) hosted speaker John Parikhal in an interactive presentation titled Surfing Your Future: How to Survive and Thrive to 2025, where he shared insights and stories about how to manage change in the business landscape, and implications for leaders. He drew from his decades of experience as an entrepreneur, trend spotter, marketer, executive consultant, and creator. John has helped hundreds of clients – including NBC, CBS, PepsiCo, Disney, Zimmer Biomet, and Viacom – ride the waves to billions of dollars in profit and growth in industries as diverse as media, healthcare, sales, marketing, and digital transformation.


The Giant Wave

John likened change to a giant wave. You can’t fight it, but you can surf it. And to manage change successfully, you need to read it, ride it, and stay balanced. Change happens so quickly that in many ways it’s already here, even if you don’t immediately detect it. For instance, everyone is talking about artificial intelligence, but it’s been around for quite some time. You’ve encountered it everywhere from the McDonald’s drive-up window to medical technology.


Read the Wave

Look ahead. John identified a few notable areas where we’ll see change, including demographics, where we have more data than ever. We don’t just identify people by their nationality or age anymore. People have become more tribal than national, identifying with political and social ideals, religions, or even Taylor Swift. People over 70 years old think they are 50. They are more active than ever and intend to complete everything on their bucket list. There are opportunities to be found in these kaleidoscopic segments.


Ride the Wave

You’ll need a mix of agility, anticipation and upskilling to successfully manage change. Innovation and constant improvement are of utmost importance for an organization and in management. Everyone has genius. The challenge is getting it out of them. Creative abrasion refers to the rubbing together of opposite ideas. Most people don’t speak up, they don’t like to disagree. So, sometimes their ideas, perhaps the best ideas, stay buried. One way to combat this is to lead from the middle, not the top. An example of what not to do is Elon Musk’s handling of Twitter – X.


Stay Balanced

Everybody has their own slice of genius. Find it. Get better. Challenge yourself, get uncomfortable. Manage your habits. You probably already have the skills, sometimes you just need to get outside yourself to realize it. And through it all, remember to breathe.



Boston Executive Forum members meet monthly to exchange ideas, best practices, and industry insights. In July, the group connected over lunch to celebrate some wins. Representing different industries, backgrounds, and experiences; these monthly lunches foster meaningful connections that go beyond business, creating a network of like-minded individuals committed to each other's success.


From left to right: Barbara Karpinska, Nicky McHugh, Susan Myers, David Reibel, and Jeff Popper


Demystifying the Boardroom

The Executive Forum’s Board Journey team hosted guest speaker Jocelyn Mangan, CEO & Founder of Him For Her, a social impact venture aimed at accelerating diversity on corporate boards. To bridge the network gap responsible for the sparsity of women in the boardroom, Him For Her engages business luminaries to connect the world’s most talented female executives to board service. Jocelyn delivered a virtual, interactive presentation titled “Demystifying the Boardroom,” providing background on Him for Her and articulating the network gap, the kind of expertise boards look for, and how to choose a board. EF member June Archer facilitated.


Jocelyn has over two decades of technology experience building iconic global mobile apps and market-leading software products at some of the world’s best local, consumer, and marketplace companies, including CitySearch, Ticketmaster, OpenTable, and Snagajob. Jocelyn currently serves on the boards of Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA), ChowNow, and Wag!, and is an advisor to Homebase and CORE. She is a part-time moderator for the Netflix Leadership Program. Jocelyn was honored as a member of the 2016 class of Henry Crown Fellows at the Aspen Institute, was a global ambassador for the Vital Voices Global Partnership, and was one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” in 2015.


It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s a network problem.

There is no shortage of female executives qualified for board service. But, Boards are made up mostly of men. And they find new members mostly through their personal networks. Female executives tend to be underrepresented within the personal networks of men serving on Boards today. So, we need to break into that network. Him For Her helps accomplish this with round table dinners and by partnering with investment companies.


Six Dimensions of Expertise

When a Board has an opening, they're usually looking for candidates categorized across six dimensions of competencies – functional, industry, ESG, scaling, business model, customer segment. Most female executives looking for a Board role have experience in all six, but may not realize it. They must look at themselves in a multidimensional way.


Be Picky

There are lots of open Board seats, so be picky. Choose a Board you are willing to spend the next ten years with. Take a long-term sensibility in making your choice. Enjoy the CEO. Be interested in the industry. Learn from and contribute to the other Board members. Appreciate the culture. Look for transparency. Understand the time commitment.



The Shorehaven Golf Club in Norwalk, CT was the perfect setting on May 25, 2023 for this distinguished group of EF members to enjoy a wonderful evening with one another during the Professional Enrichment Dinner.


From Left to Right: Jim Kickham (co-host); Jim Daly, Ed Wiggers; Jim Ranton; Katherine Skinner (co-host); Jennifer Buchholz; Lee Wachter; Peter Bingaman; David Gitow


Executive Forum and the International Women’s Forum co-hosted an interactive webinar “How Can I Use ChatGPT and Generative AI as a Business Solution?” with guest speakers Florin Rotar, Chief Technology Officer, and Carol Thorney, Industry Lead, both at Avanade, a leading provider of digital, cloud and advisory services, industry solutions and design-led experiences via Microsoft. EF members Barbara McCartney and Paul Villani facilitated


Unleashing the Power of Generative AI

Generative AI consists of artificial intelligence algorithms that use existing content like text, audio files, or images to create new plausible content. It can solve problems, quickly synthesize data, and help create new ideas. It’s an innovative business tool with applications for all parts of a business including customer service, marketing, decision making, sales, and compliance. And 98% of global executives agree AI foundation models will play an important role in their organizations’ strategies in the next 3 to 5 years.


ChatGPT – What is GPT4?

Using natural language processing techniques ChatGPT can provide automated responses to questions and conversations with users. You can talk to it like a person, and it will respond to you as a person. Do this by creating chat threads. Use prompts, queries or directives to ask ChatGPT to generate a response.


Ask ChatGOT what GPT-4 is, and this is its response - GPT-4 is a state-of-the-art language processing model developed by OpenAI. It stands for "Generative Pretrained Transformer" and is the third iteration of the GPT series of models. GPT-4 is trained on a massive amount of data and can generate human-like text on a variety of topics. It is a powerful tool for natural language processing tasks such as language translation, summarization, and text generation.


Value-add of Generative AI

Generative AI will add business value to all parts of a business:

  • Customer Service - Self-service with “ChatGPT”-like chatbots will add efficiency in all channels, smart routing, automatic email answering, e.g., product questions, complaints, etc.
  • Marketing Support - Market with newly generated images or graphs. Create content for client or internal communication (email, text, letters etc.). Add the support of open question customer surveys with next-generation sentiment analysis and intent recognition.
  • Sales support – Use suggested email responses that are personalized and context specific, automated client read-outs, meeting preparation information, meeting summaries, and action items. Add efficiency with autogenerated next-best action, upsell, and cross-sell opportunities.


The Business of Broadway

The Executive Forum hosted special guest and speaker, Wendy Federman, thirteen-time Tony Award-winning theater and film producer, and President at Foolish Mortals Productions, at a networking event where she discussed the “Business of Broadway.” She shared her personal journey to building a successful career as a Broadway producer and founding the new Museum of Broadway. In addition to being a Tony Award-winning theater and film producer, she has received two Olivier Awards, eleven Drama Desk Awards, twenty Outer Critics Circle Awards, eighteen Drama League Awards, and three GLADD Media Awards for many of her over ninety co-productions.


“Don’t feel like your first career has to be your last career.”

Producer is Wendy’s third big career. When Wendy’s father died, she and her brother took over the family business. She was 23 years old. She was in the front office negotiating pricing with mostly male clients who wanted to speak with a man. She learned how to speak up, stand up for herself, and be prepared. She learned to believe in a great product, how to put finances in place and keep costs under control, while reaching the target market to attain maximum sales - all important skills she’d utilize as a producer. Ten years later they sold the family business and Wendy became a biofeedback therapist, operating stress management centers. It gave her more time to spend with her young family. The father of a child in her son’s playgroup happened to own two off-Broadway theaters. He recognized Wendy’s passion and understanding of the theater world and asked her to co-produce the national tour of “Legends!,” a show about two actors who hated each other, starring Joan Collins and Linda Evans of “Dynasty” fame. This would be Wendy’s first producer credit.


Wendy’s passion and understanding of the theater world came from her family. They were well-established in the entertainment world. Her mother and aunt performed on radio, movies, television, and Broadway. Her uncle was Paul Frees, the voice of the Jolly Green Giant, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and many other famous characters. A biography written about his life and voices was titled Welcome Foolish Mortals. It was from that title where Wendy would find the name of her company. Wendy had originally hoped to be a performer and studied dance, but she always had a mind for business and fell in love with producing from the first instance.


What do producers do? It’s more than just the finances.

  • Find the product and ensure that the art is there.
  • Build the team. Establishing the right team is important, and often it’s made up of writers and actors and others you’ve stayed in touch with over the years.
  • Prepare a budget. Attract investors. Share a recoupment chart with them so they know when they might break even. Aim to pay the investors first, not the producer. • Find a theater for the show. This is not easy and is one of the first tasks. Space is at a premium, so the theater owner is the first person to reach out to.
  • Shepherd the project from inception to opening night. Market the product. Sell tickets.
  • Take the reviews and use them to better the production and move forward. Keep the production open. Manage the actors. And if the show is nominated for awards, manage that process.


The Rails Steakhouse in Towaco, NJ was the perfect setting on April 27, 2023 for this distinguished group of EF members to enjoy a wonderful evening with one another during the Professional Enrichment Dinner.


Seated from left to right: Mark Pettie (co-host), Michael McDonagh and Dennis O'Donnell


Standing from left to right: Michael Epstein, Ernie Toth, Bruce Perlmutter, Phil Harvey, Mark Mishler, Sam Recenello, Barry Pincus, Mark Kapsky, Richard Gellman and Jerry Fragetti (co-host)


The Penn Club in NYC was the perfect setting on April 18, 2023 for this distinguished group of EF members to enjoy a wonderful evening with one another during the Professional Enrichment Dinner.


Standing from left to right:


Stefanie Shelley, Robyn D’Elia, Wendy Palmer, Ted Chang, Lori Strasberg, Lucie Claire Vincent, Lori Marcus, Patricia Raufer, Alexandra Aleskovsky, Judy Levin

The Beach Point Club in Mamaroneck, NY was the perfect setting on April 27, 2023 for this distinguished group of EF members to enjoy a wonderful evening with one another during the Professional Enrichment Dinner.


Seated from left to right: Heath Podvesker, Katherine Skinner, Josh Rucci and Paul Kadin


Standing from left to right: Allen Shapard, Dave Lampert, Jack Randall, Brian “Fitz” Fitzgerald, Co-Host Bob Sloane, Co-Host Andy Glaser



The Wee Burn Country Club in Darien, CT was the perfect setting on April 11, 2023 for this distinguished group of EF members to enjoy a wonderful evening with one another during the Professional Enrichment Dinner.


Standing from left to right:


George Russell (Co-Host), L.K. Tan, Nicky McHugh, David Smith, Rick Routhier (Co-Host), Barbara Karpinska, Chip Steppacher, Don Foscato, Werner Domittner, Mark DeGennaro and Bruno Perreault


Board Search Readiness

The Executive Forum’s Board Journey team hosted speaker Alyssa Gelbard, Founder & CEO of Point Road Group where she also directs the company’s Board Director/Executive Branding practice. Alyssa delivered a virtual, interactive presentation titled “Board Search Readiness,” articulating the importance of doing your homework, optimizing your personal brand, and networking strategically in your search for a board position. EF member June Archer facilitated.


Alyssa serves on the Advisory Boards of Peterra Kitchen and the Graduate Sports Management Program at Endicott College. She sits on the Board of Directors and is Career Management Chair of Financial Executives International (NY Chapter) and serves on the Executive Committee and is Membership Chair of the Private Directors Association (NY Chapter). Alyssa is an elected member of the Tufts University Alumni Council and co-chairs the Tufts Women's Network in New York.


Do Your Homework

Understand why you want to serve on a board and be able to articulate those reasons well. Identify the right fit for you. Do you want a board position with a public or a private company? Understand the obligations required of each. Searching for a board position is different than searching for a job. The sense of urgency and the timeframe are not the same.

Optimize Your Brand

Optimizing your brand is very beneficial as it can improve your visibility and credibility. Know your value to a board. Know what to emphasize and be consistent. Do not assume people already know your accomplishments and what you can bring to the table. They don’t. Be clear and concise in your message and ensure it’s consistent across all platforms, including your board resume, board bio and LinkedIn.


Network Strategically  

Not everyone enjoys networking, but it’s better to do it consistently than occasionally because you want to build momentum and stay relevant over time. Ensure the people in your immediate circle know you are looking for a board position and understand the value you can bring to a board. Determine if your network supports your search. Are any of them current or past directors? Do they sit on a nomination committee? Do they work for an organization that services boards?


The Case(s) for Economic Equity

The Executive Forum hosted special guest and speaker, Dr. William M. Rodgers III, Vice President and Director of the Institute on Economic Equity at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, at a networking breakfast where he delivered a presentation titled “Cases for Economic Equity.” Dr. Rodgers shared his personal journey and made compelling cases for economic equity, including a business case and how improving those households with income above the Federal Poverty Level but below the basic cost of living (ALICE) can strengthen a whole community.


Dr. Rodgers served as Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, Chief Economist at Rutgers University’s Heldrich Center, holds doctorate and masters degrees in economics from Harvard University, and has frequently appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg, Yahoo Business and other major media outlets.


The Business Case

It was no longer enough to simply issue statements about the abhorrent, racially charged, violent events taking place. Action needed to be taken. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis created the Institute on Economic Equity in this vein to look at barriers to wealth and labor and the community response. An improvement in economic equity benefits everyone. Black men earn about 60 cents for every dollar White men earn. If that number were equal, it would amount to an additional $1.6 trillion in buying power. Closing the income gap increases buying power. Corporations are leaving money on the table. The reasons for this gap vary by community, but if private and public investments were made in transportation and childcare, for instance, those groups affected by these barriers would have a better chance to compete and succeed.


ALICE is an acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE represents the households with income above the Federal Poverty Level but below the basic cost of living. Firefighters’ and teachers’ families are examples of ALICE households. These people work hard, vote, and are good citizens but they are poor. This is not a common narrative. It’s not all about race. It’s not about laziness. ALICE households face challenges like housing and childcare that impact a whole community. We all have an interest in improving conditions for ALICE.

Dr. Rodgers asked us all to become champions of economic equity, finding solutions that give people what they need in our communities.


Using ChatGPT to Optimize Your Job Search

EF’s MIT/New Member Group hosted Ron Bates, Managing Director & Founder of Ascent Logic, in an informative and interactive discussion on artificial intelligence (AI) and using ChatGPT in your job search. Ron demonstrated how to analyze job descriptions and tailor your resume and application, identify strengths and weaknesses in your resume relative to job specifications, and optimize your resume for job application systems, applicant tracking systems (ATS) and LinkedIn, all using various prompts. As a global executive coach, career coach, and leadership coach, Ron works with executives who seek to level up their leadership capacity and capability to drive more economic value and achieve greater career fulfillment. EF member and New Member Program Co-Chair Sean O’Toole facilitated.


First things first

In four months ChatGPT signed up 400 million members. It took Facebook six years to achieve that and the whole world was in awe then. AI will unlock human potential and increase productivity like never before. The industrial revolution increased productivity 26-30%. An MIT study of white-collar workers using ChatGPT demonstrated they experienced an increase in productivity of 50%.


 AI is good at diverse recombination. That is, taking stand alone categories and analyzing them to create a unique category that is a combination of them all. AI is not good at creating something brand new or the first of its kind. It can war game complex sales strategies, but it can’t discover a new life-saving drug.

Using ChatGPT

Using natural language processing (NLP) techniques ChatGPT can provide automated responses to questions and conversations with users. You can talk to it like a person, and it will respond to you as a person. Do this by creating chat threads. Use prompts, queries or directives to ask ChatGPT to generate a response.

Ask ChatGPT to act as an expert, a candidate, a hiring manager, or a critic to help tailor the response to what a candidate should emphasize in an interview or which skills would differentiate the candidate. Copy and paste your resume and ask ChatGPT to analyze it to determine how it aligns with the job specifications. If something is missing it may just be that the candidate needs to edit how they portrayed that skill.

Ron provided several practical tips, demonstrated actual prompts, and shared strategies for leveraging this powerful AI tool.


Are You an impact Player?

EF’s MIT/New Member Group hosted speaker Tracy Benson, Certified Executive Coach and Founder and CEO of On the Next Page, in an interactive discussion titled “Are You an Impact Player?” Tracy identified what it is to be an impact player and the practices which differentiate them. Tracy has been mentoring, coaching and advising leaders and managers in some of the world's leading companies for 30+ years including ADP, American Standard, Aramark, GE, Ingersoll Rand, Mars, Merck, Nike, Novartis, PepsiCo, as well as mid-sized market-leaders and non-profits. EF member and New Member Program Chair Sean O’Toole facilitated.


What it Takes to Be an Impact Player

Tracy shared insights into what it is to be an impact player and identified five practices that differentiate an impact player from others. She also provided a case study and tips to nurture these skills with your team. Some of the practices include the following:

- Demonstrate curiosity and practical focus. Do the job that needs to get done but also look around to see what’s important to the organization. Go beyond what’s in the job description.
- Step up. Don’t wait for an invitation to initiate. Others may be waiting for direction; but take action, even in an environment of ambiguity and change. 
- Move things across the finish line. Your track record shows that any task given to you is as good as done. 
- Embrace change and ambiguity. Adapt and learn. Everyone needs process and structure, but you know how to sway.


NEW YORK (April 19, 2023) – The Executive Forum announced the appointment of Richard Gellman to the newly created Board role of Co-Chair, New Member Program. The management and success of the New Member Program are of critical importance to the Executive Forum, and provide new members with the tools, programs/content, and significant networking opportunities for them to succeed in finding a new full-time, interim, or consulting role. The board has decided to add a Co-Chair to the New Member Program to augment the exceptional work that Sean O'Toole currently provides.


Richard joined the Executive Forum in February of 2021 and has been an active group member. He has worked closely with Sean for several months and has agreed to join the board to help manage this critical area. Before joining the Executive Forum, Richard spent more than two decades as VP of Marketing/Advertising at Tourneau, the largest national luxury watch retailer in the U.S. Richard formed Ancer Advisors in 2021, a niche consulting firm specializing in talent acquisition. He also offers management and marketing consulting to small cap and mid-size firms. Also in 2021, Richard joined Stoll & Co on a contract basis focused on Business Development, Talent Acquisition, and Digital Marketing.


“I have experienced firsthand the support and value of membership in the Executive Forum. It has enriched my professional life and expanded my network – many of whom have turned into friends, said Gellman, “In my role as co-head of the New Members Group, I hope to effectively reflect the EF’s mission and communicate the resources that the EF offers.”


“We are pleased to welcome Richard to the Board as Co-Chair, New Member Program. Richard exemplifies our values of community and engagement and will continue to advocate for progress in the New Member Program,” said Executive Forum Co-Chairs, Cheryl Palmer and Scott Smith.


About the Executive Forum

The Executive Forum is a volunteer-led organization for accomplished top executives who are a premier source of modern executive talent and see their careers as a journey and not a destination. A community of c-suite-level executives from leading corporations, private equity firms, boards, and independent consultancies, the Executive Forum provides an unparalleled, diverse network of collaborative, connected, and growth-focused leaders and experts who are committed to - supporting one another. For more information, visit https://www.executiveforum.org.


Shenorock Shore Club in Rye, NY was the perfect setting on March 16th for this distinguished group of EF members to enjoy a wonderful evening with one another during the Professional Enrichment Dinner.

Standing from Left to Right: Steve Zales (Co-Host), Dave Nelson, John Hopper (Co-Host), Steve Mason, Brian Anderson, Marc Jaffe, Adrian Norman, Kevin McGahren and Nick Nocca 



EF’s Independent Career Track Group (ICT) hosted Nadine Keller in an interactive presentation titled “Your Lead Generation Strategy,” where she shared insights on the importance of developing a lead generation strategycommon mistakes, and various short-term and long-game activities. Her presentation also included a comprehensive worksheet.  Nadine is the Founder and President of Precision Sales Coaching & Training, LLC. For the past eighteen years, Nadine’s firm has provided strategic programs for tens of thousands of sales professionals in Fortune 100 companies. Her expertise crosses sales, marketing and communications with a focus on helping organizations drive sales behavior to achieve their goals. Recently, Precision expanded their offering to women entrepreneurs in service-based businesses by developing a hybrid on-line learning and coaching programShe is the author of the book Make it All About Them: Winning Sales Presentations. Jim RantonChair of the ICT group, facilitated.


Why Lead Generation?

You don't have a business if you don't have a steady flow of leads that convert to clients. For a small service-based business, lead generation can feel overwhelming. Nadine shared common mistakes and short-term and long-game activities to build a strategy. Some of the many Nadine discussed included those listed below.

Common Mistakes:

Not Doing the Math

Start with your revenue goal and back into how many leads you’ll need to reach that goal. Know your conversion ratio, the price of your service, and your win rate. And if you’re stuck at a revenue plateau, rejigger some of these components. Precision offers a Lead Generation Strategy Template that can help.

Not Asking for Referrals 

Don’t assume clients will provide you with referrals. You must be disciplined to ask for them. Put a system in place to accomplish this. Referrals are the low-hanging fruit of a lead generation strategy. They typically have a higher conversion ratio and shorter sales cycles.



Asking for referrals 

Networking — in-person events and online events 

Email marketing (with a lead magnet if you have a decent size list of ideal clients)


Social Media posts (valuable content) 

Website optimization 

Authoring articles in established media channels


The Elongated Career: A Conversation with Charlotte Japp


EF’s Media, Marketing & Insights (MMI) Special Interest Group (SIG) hosted a discussion with Charlotte Japp on the elongated career and thriving in today’s multi-generational workplace. She shared her journey and how she came to believe in the mission of intergenerational work and culture. Charlotte was recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal article “Here Comes the 60 Year Career,” February 12, 2023. She is a creative leader who specializes in content development and has held positions at VICE Media, Live Nation, TikTok and several startups.  Charlotte is currently Head of Platform at ffVenture Capital, a seed stage fund investing in FinTech, AI, B2B, and SaaS. She is also the founder of Cirkel, a startup creating a community of 20-70+ year-old professionals which provides mutual mentoring and networking across generations and supports older workers to thrive along their longer lifespan. EF member Patricia Raufer facilitated the discussion.


Charlotte’s parents’ journey


Charlotte’s parents were pushed out of their respective careers at ages 45 and 50. Both made transitions to something else due to agist hiring trends. Her dad had been a stamp collector and started an eBay store. Her mom was the oldest in her office at the time, 2008, at age 45. She took the independent route becoming an art advisor. Both made the transition for the need of purpose and a paycheck.


A jungle gym more than a ladder


Witnessing her parents’ abrupt end to their first careers impacted Charlotte. Each job she held in her 10-year career since college built on each other, and each role prepared her for the next one, even if it wasn’t immediately apparent. We are all living longer lives and five generations now make up the workforce. It’s not only the late career professionals who need to examine their future. The early career professionals also need to look ahead at their career trajectory. In today’s world, the career path will resemble a jungle gym more than a ladder. People must pace themselves as they move up, down, sideways, and diagonally. The early career professional needs to try new paths, learn new things, and adapt to their curiosities that will evolve as they age.




In 2018, Charlotte founded Cirkel, having noticed a huge gap between the 20-somethings she worked with and the baby boomers like her parents. Multigenerational workplaces needed to be normalized and mentorship needed to be more accessible. But more importantly, mentoring needed to be a two-way street — her parents needed that support and guidance in their careers, just like Charlotte’s friends did. Her friends and colleagues wanted career mentorship, while her parents and their friends were looking for new skills to stay competitive in their careers. CIRKEL offers a platform where a community of professionals ages 20-70+ can connect for two-way career support and mentorship.