Selecting Seattle CEOs for 2nd Peer Advisory Board

The most effective CEOs work on (NOT in) the business.

These CEOs understand and value strategic solitude and deep thought. These CEOs constantly gather insight from new and unfiltered sources. You won’t find these CEOs on the tactical treadmill to nowhere. These CEOs don’t get caught in an echo chamber. These CEOs are not lonely and isolated. These CEOs seek out ways to manage the stress and fatigue of the job. These CEOs join and become valuable members of peer advisory groups. These CEOs connect with other CEOs and build deep bonds of trust. They lead powerfully. They get results faster. They are just a whole lot happier professionally and personally. They understand like Joseph Roux that, “Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.”

Who am I?

I am a seasoned Vistage Chair with a fully energized peer advisory group of 16 CEOs. I’m building an equally dynamic second chief executive group in the Seattle Metro area. My second group launches this Spring, and I’m taking applications for remaining seats now. Are you a candidate? Read on to find out.

Work On (NOT In) the businessAre you a leader working ON or IN your business?

Every CEO, president, founder, or business owner aims to accomplish more in their business, fix something internally or avoid a costly mistake. Imagine a dozen or more fellow CEOs and business owners sharing their advice and perspectives on your challenges and opportunities. Vistage peer advisory groups helps CEOs grow their businesses by outpacing their competition, hiring top talent, and establishing a better work-life balance.

As a result, Vistage member companies grow at 3x the rate of average U.S. companies.

My Selection Process

A critical part of my Chairing is to select, vet, and invite only the highest quality members to join my CEO peer advisory groups. I look for candidates with these Member Attributes.

The Mutual Selection Journey is a guided process to help us explore chemistry with each other and within the peer group. My ASK? If you’re serious about leadership growth – if you’re ready to take your company to the next level – then commit to these actions:

  1. Visit to reserve your seat for my CEO Breakfast Forum on February 28, 2017.
  2. Talk with me for 10-minutes by phone. I want to understand your opportunities and challenges.
  3. Meet me in your office for 30-45 minutes. I want to get a sense for what drives you.
  4. If asked, commit to a 90-minute selection interview free of interruptions and distractions.
  5. If offered a seat in the group–answer, “Hell yes!” or “Hell no!” Don’t say, “Maybe.”

I’ll be considerate of your time, and I expect the same from you. Let’s get to know each other. The power of peers is a game-changer for you. If you are selected you will embark on a remarkable journey — not because of me — but because of extraordinary chief executive peers surrounding you.

Your consider points as Vistage candidate...

More information

I look forward to helping you evaluate this opportunity, gain new perspectives and discover a renewed sense of direction. These links will give you a better sense of Vistage membership: 

You can review these videos and flyer in under 10 minutes.

Let’s Talk

Call me: 206.890.6858. Email me: To learn more about my Chair practice, go to my LinkedIn. Let’s connect.

Related Reading

Thanks Seattle Network, Vistage, Colleagues, CEOs, and LinkedIn

I write to express gratitude. Earlier this month, my Vistage CEO Peer Group welcomed member sixteen. I also signed the first member for my second CEO Group. Group two launches in the Spring of 2017.

No success is achieved alone. 

The ongoing counsel and encouragement of Tom Zahniser, Sarah Fraedrich, MK (Murthy Kalkura) and Tim Call help me in innumerable ways. THANK YOU! I am also inspired by the support and collegial spirit among my fellow Chairs and Vistage colleagues Nathan Hoover and Hannah Cates. I am backed by a strong team. Thanks so much Cara McDonald, Christine Masonthank-you-noteGaly Vega, and Elena Nelson. I deeply appreciate your hard work and commitment to my CEO members and Chair practice. And, Colleen McKenna and Doug Donnelly–and crew–thanks for having my back.

Throughout the year, I saw the power of a great network in life and on LinkedIn. You rallied for me. You shared great insights. You helped me accomplish some audacious goals by connecting me with Seattle chief executives, CEOs, presidents, founders and business owners. How do I thank you? I’ll find a way…

I’m in a place where calling and passion are aligned. I am humbled. I am fortunate to be working with CEOs in a “ready state” for personal and professional leadership growth. Doing the work of a Chair would not be possible without my CEO members. You are the knights of the round table. You are powerful CEO peer advisors to each other. And, I deeply appreciate your support, encouragement, and post-meeting libations.

So, how about this New Year’s wish?

  • Unlock potential
  • Take determined action
  • Choose abundance over scarcity

Intention ALWAYS prevails. Let’s all kick ass in 2017. Let’s all fail gleefully into success. Have a relaxing, joyful holiday season. I am because of YOU.

Butterfly Image for LCUAbout Kevin McKeown and his Vistage Chair Practice: Kevin is a trusted advisor to CEOs, founders, owners and other key executives. He is a seasoned Chair with a fully energized group of 16 CEOs and is currently working to build an equally dynamic second CEO group. His entrepreneurial and C-level leadership roles range from early stage to Fortune 500 (Mitsubishi) firms. As LexBlog’s President, Kevin’s team built the world’s largest professional blog network. As co-founder of HitHive, Inc., his team brought digital music to cell phones. Kevin also helped build and sell one of the first online department stores. He has a JD from Villanova University and a Bachelors in English from University of Pittsburgh. Kevin lives in downtown Seattle. His blog is Leadership Close Up. Kevin’s top five Gallup Strengths: Strategic • Ideation • Command • Individualization • Achiever

Leaders Play on Both Sides of the Vulnerability Equation

Summit of Mount Rainier

That’s Mike on the far left, then me, Byrl, and Russ on the summit of Mt. Rainier. I won’t forget this climb. I ruptured my left Achilles tendon six months prior. I was in top shape despite my injury. My doctor cleared me to climb.

When I reached 11,000 feet, I experienced severe cramping in my left leg. I needed to gain another 500 feet to reach our base camp. That’s a painful memory. I plopped down in camp beaten. How could I risk the push to the summit at midnight (5 hours away) if that jeopardized my climbing partners?

Alpine climbing is safest when you’re part of an experienced team. Every climber has a role – a rope links us. I figured that I was benched but my climbing partners encouraged me to rest and not give up. We talked about the safety issues and developed contingencies. I hydrated. Those 3 guys inspired me. Those 3 guys encouraged me when I was at my weakest. Those 3 guys helped me rally. Those three guys led me.

We made the summit at sunrise. I never experienced the cramping again. I slogged up the mountain pain-free. This self-portrait – I hung my camera on my ice ax – isn’t about my second Mt. Rainier summit. This shot is about honoring that team and reminding me that sometimes I need help – that I’m not meant to walk alone in life.

Asking for help takes guts. Helping the vulnerable takes courage. Play on both sides of this equation.

That’s what real leaders do…

How Is Your Story Going to END?

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 5.42.50 PMThis is a guest post by my colleague and Vistage Chair, Will Kaigler. Will leads and facilitates a CEO peer group in Pittsburgh, PA:

As you have come to know, my Monday morning email is typically comprised of articles and quotes relating to business.  This week I am compelled to go in a different direction.


In many respects, last week was a good week.  Many good and positive things were achieved.  Then, Thursday evening, while eating dinner, my world was rocked.  At 5:03, I received a text from my son, Zane, that simply stated “Omg dad”.  The terseness, the choice of wording, even the lack of capital letters, made me uneasy.  His response to my equally terse “What?” response, however, knocked me on my ass (figuratively).  What he told me was that (and I am not going to use names here for obvious reasons) the father of one of his friends and neighbors had just committed suicide.

The background story is that his friend’s father had been a Pennsylvania State Trooper for 19 years.  It wasn’t just his job – it was part of who he was – his identity.  Well, last spring he was accused of a rather disturbing act.  Since then, he had been on unpaid leave awaiting trial.  The crime that he had been accused of was a misdemeanor crime, but it was disturbing and it was embarrassing.

I have no idea if he was guilty of what he had been accused of and it is not the point of today’s message.  What I can say is that what he was accused of was not in character for the man that I knew.  The neighbor who played wiffleball with all the kids in the neighborhood, the Dad who built a haunted house in the driveway so that all the “trick or treaters” could have a fun experience, the baseball coach who never missed a game that his son played or drove my son and all of his friends to Cedar Point for a great day.

Given a very difficult situation, he had a few options:

  1. If he was innocent, he could have fought on for his innocence
  2. If he was guilty, he could have taken the brave step to admit that he had made a mistake, accept the consequences and seek help to address the underlying issue, or
  3. He could run from the problem

WK What's your storyHe chose number 3 and, as a result, left a terrible void in his family, left his son without a father, and his wife a widow.

By now, you are likely asking, “This is a terrible story, but why are you writing about this?” – Good question!

I am compelled to write about this horrific story while it is still fresh because, while this is so sad for so many, perhaps the most tragic part is that while this 46-year-old man, Father, Husband, Neighbor, Police Officer could not change his past, he COULD have changed his future.  It did not have to end in tragedy, it did not have to end in eternal loss.

I hope that no one reading this email ever has to face a crisis like this.  That said, it is inescapable that we all face mini-crisis where we ask ourselves, “What am I doing and why and I doing it?”.  It is my belief that the “Why” in that question is the important part – so much so that if we remember the “Why,” the “What” will take care of itself.  This is true in our relationships – this is true in our businesses – this is true in LIFE.

So, as you start your week, remind yourself “why” you went into your business.  “Why” you surround yourself with those that are close to you, “why” the people in your life (professional and personal) need you and “why” you need them.  

None of us can change what happened last week, those chapters have been written, but we CAN change the next chapter and we CAN write the ending that we want as long as we face our problems head on and remember our “Why.”  

Start writing the ending that you want for your story, today…

About Will Kaigler:

“I help CEOs work ON their business – not IN their business!

WK PHOTO Will_Kaigler-HighI am building private advisory boards for CEOs, business owners & executives to help them step out of the trees and see the forest. One can only understand how lonely it feels to be the leader of an organization after having experienced it. As a CEO myself, there were many times that I would have given anything to have an advisor and peer, who I trusted, to confidentially challenge my decisions (or validate them). Imagine having 15 peers, all talented CEOs, who only have your interest at heart! No hidden agendas or conflicts of interest, and diverse experiences to draw from. The power of the group helps our member CEOs manage strategic issues with clarity and confidence. 

It’s magic…and it’s powerful!

If you’re a Pittsburgh-based CEO you’re lucky to have a Chair like Kaigler in your neck of the woods. To contact Will: 412.915.8680 or

P.S. TEN REASONS to Test-drive a Seattle CEO Vistage Peer Group

Event Date 11/3, Bellevue Club

Vistage Executive Exchange

I invite you to an opportunity to experience a CEO peer advisory group in action and hear from a world-class speaker.

On Thursday, November 3, I’m hosting an invitation-only breakfast meeting to allow CEOs and business owners the opportunity test drive a Vistage group meeting. We’ll tackle a real issue that someone in the room is facing. Then, as a group of CEO peers, we’ll provide new perspectives, ideas, and solutions. This is a chance to see the real magic of a peer group meeting, which isn’t normally open to visitors. Test-driving the Vistage CEO peer group process is the best way to experience the power of peers.

Our guest speaker, Herb Meyer, will speak on how key trends in politics, economics and culture affect business leaders and their companies in today’s global market. Herb is credited with being the first senior U.S. Government official to forecast the Soviet Union’s collapse, for which he later was awarded the U.S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. 

I know you’ll get a lot of value from the breakfast meeting, I hope you’ll be able to join us. Let me know if you have any questions, or reserve your seat at the table at


Bellevue Club (Olympic Ballroom)
11200 SE 6th St
Bellevue, WA 98004

Take care,

Kevin McKeown, Vistage Chair
LinkedIn | Leadership Close UpTwitter

Image- Breakout-Session-at-the-Salt-Lake-City-All-City-150x150P.S. Here are 10 reasons why a business owner or chief executive should join a CEO peer group:

1. Safe Haven

Confidentiality allows each member to be totally open about issues. It provides a safe environment where a CEO can work through topics that he or she is unable to discuss with others directly associated with their business.

2. Solid Reasoning

When a CEO peer group is working on a challenge for one of their members, having diverse perspectives can pay huge dividends for the quality of the discussion and the depth of the exploration undertaken.

3. Real Feedback

When a peer member asks for unfiltered feedback, he or she gets just that. Truth can be hard to swallow sometimes, but it is good for business leaders to have their ideas challenged sometimes.

4. Guidance

The CEO peer group allows the executive to create their own personal guidance system. This steering committee of seasoned pros can be helpful when charting a course through difficult waters

5. Motivation

The element of accountability can be underestimated by members when they are new to a CEO peer group. Everyone, from time to time, can benefit from having a respected peer hold their feet to the fire.

6. Magnification

The power of a CEO peer group includes the ability to focus the collective awareness of many executives on one specific issue. The result is an intensity of thought capable of delivering much greater mental energy.

7. Illumination

An ever-present challenge for CEOs is to continue to discover information previously not known to them. When a member receives new information from the group, it is as if a light goes on for them and they can see clearer.

8. Molecular

The power a CEO peer group creates in its members a new structure for gathering fresh insights The groups not only help solve problems, they help members grow as a leader and as a person.

9. Explosive

Most businesses, even successful ones, can develop organizational inertia that is hard to overcome. A CEO peer group can give members “escape velocity” to free them from earth-bound issues (at least for half a day each month).

10. Insurance

The majority of new businesses fail. By sharing in the wisdom of others, the CEO can increase the chance of the firm to survive and thrive. By taking this one simple act, CEOs begin to turn the odds in their favor.

“Most executives who join a CEO peer group stay in the program,” says Franzi, who estimates the renewal rate to be 80%. “The reason they remain are as varied as the individual members. But the power of the process is undeniable.”

I look forward to seeing you Thursday, 11/3. If you can’t make 11/3 then let’s talk about opportunities to engage my CEO groups on 11/17 or 12/15. 

Suggested reading: 

Leading is BEING–Not Doing. What’s Your Reality?

Image Being YouLeadership is about BEING  not DOING.

Yep, putting your feet on your desk and looking out your window is leading. You must make time to pause reflectively. You must make time to contemplate. You must make time to go deep. You must maintain your awareness of self and the values (and the “intolerables”) that guide you.

Warren Bennis, the pioneer of the contemporary field of leadership studies, believes:

Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult.

Dee Ward Hock, the founder and former CEO of the Visa credit card association counsels:

Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time in leading yourself—your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers.

Pat Murray, a Vistage speaker of the year, declares:

To lead is to mobilize and guide the energy and talent of others in the pursuit of a worthwhile end.

What is your “worthwhile end?” According to Pat, finding time for “deep thought” ensures that you will take “reliable action.”

Whatever the definition, leading well is about BEING – not doing.

So, who are you? “What do you fear? What lies do you tell yourself? How do you embellish your truth and write your own fictions? What reality are you creating for yourself? Put your feet up and watch this powerful TedTalk to find out:

Related Reading from HBR:

Develop Your Own Personal CEO Guidance System

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 4.01.40 PM“Build an army around you and develop your own ‘personal guidance system’ like some of the most famous CEOs in history.”

Why consider a CEO peer group? Growing your business isn’t easy. Richard Franzi:

“The whole effort of CEOs working together is more than the sum of those same CEOs working separately…. The power of a CEO peer group includes the ability to focus the collective awareness of many executives on one specific issue. The result is an intensity of thought capable of delivering much greater mental energy.” Check out Franzi’s short article: 10 Reasons To Join A CEO Peer Group.

Experience a Vistage CEO peer group for yourself this Thursday.

Our morning speaker is Pat Murray. He’s a nationally-recognized expert on the topic of high-performance leadership. Murray is leading a workshop on what makes the top 1-2 percent of the CEO ranks so exceptional. He’ll answer this powerful question: What separates the top 1-2% CEOs from everyone else?

Save this date:

  • What: Chief Executive Peer Group Meeting
  • When: Thursday, October 20. Breakfast 7:30 AM sharp. Speaker: 8 to 11 AM
  • Where: Escala (Theatre Room), 1920 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101
  • RSVP now (seating is limited)

I look forward to seeing you next Thursday. If you can’t make 10/20 then please get in touch with me about 11/17 and 12/15. 

Suggested reading: 

The CEO–Board Dynamic in Strategic Development and Oversight

Board Strategic Development & Oversight Stanford

Keep in mind:

  • One of the primary responsibilities of the board is to “ensure the strategic guidance of the company.” – OECD
  • Directors should “constructively challenge and help develop proposals on strategy.” –U.K. Corporate Governance Code
  • Directors consider strategic planning and oversight to be their most important responsibility. –NACD

How exactly does the board perform this function? Review the Stanford Business Strategy and Risk Oversight deck to find out.