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New UNH Program Offers CEOs a Confidential Haven For Peer Feedback

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Business leaders looking for a noncompetitive, confidential haven to discuss their business experiences and challenges now have a safe place to do so with the launch of the new CEO Peer Group offered by UNH.

A program of the UNH CEO Forum and the Center for Family Business, the CEO Peer Group will consist of eight to 12 dedicated, high-level executives who will meet monthly to share, learn and help each other. Designed for CEOs, presidents, and business unit manager-level executives, the program runs from September to June. The group will give members an opportunity to receive feedback and ideas on issues important to members.

“Running a business is very lonely. There is no ‘owner’s manual.’ The opportunity to draw on the experiences of other business owners and leaders in a safe, noncompetitive environment cannot be overstated. We all make mistakes in what we do. If, by being able to bounce your problems off of others, you can make one less mistake, then this program will certainly pay for itself,” said David Greer, CEO of Wire Belt Company of America in Londonderry.

Greer, whose company was named the 2012 Family Business of the Year by the UNH Center for Family Business, proposed the idea of the CEO Peer Group to UNH.

“I saw this program as a natural expansion of the CEO Forum and the Center for Family Business. These programs are excellent, but by design, they can only scratch the surface of the issues inherent in operating a business. Having a group of noncompetitive business people meeting regularly is a great way to share problems and solutions, gain insights and understanding to problems that may be new to you, and have a sounding board of experienced professionals who only want to help you succeed,” Greer said.

The CEO Peer Group will include a diverse membership of executives from small and large firms, and from family-owned, private, and public firms involved in wide range of business sectors that complement each other. The group is not a leads-generating networking group. Members are expected to adhere to the group’s confidentiality requirement regarding group discussions and feedback. Meetings will feature a professional facilitator and occasional guest speakers.

The first meeting of the CEO Peer Group is September 2012. The annual tuition is $2,495 for companies with 25 employees or more. Tuition for smaller companies is $1,995. For more information, contact Barbara Draper, director of the UNH Center for Family Business and the UNH CEO Forum, at 603-862-1107 and barbara.draper@unh.edu.

The UNH CEO Peer Group is sponsored by Optima Bank and Trust; Sprague Energy; Berry, Dunn, McNeil and Parker; Crystalvision; Management Planning, Inc.; Moitoza Consulting; the law firm of Pierce Atwood; Mass Mutual Financial Group; and Baker Newman & Noyes.

Initiated in 1997, the UNH CEO Forum is an outreach program of the UNH Whittemore School of Business and Economics and the UNH Graduate School serving CEOs, presidents, and senior managers of companies in northern New England. The forum provides its members with opportunities to meet and exchange ideas with their peers in business and industry in an informal setting. For more information about the CEO Forum, visit http://www.unh-ceoforum.org/.

The Center for Family Business is an outreach program of the UNH Whittemore School of Business and Economics and the UNH Graduate School. It is a membership program to provide owners and managers of entrepreneurial businesses with an opportunity to exchange ideas and information and to discuss business challenges, concerns, and solutions. For more information, visit http://www.familybusiness.unh.edu/.