Annual Holiday Party hosted by Stanton Chase- San Francisco

Thank you to everyone for joining us for annual Holiday Party! It’s delightful to be accompanied with so many great personalities and warm smiles. We enjoyed seeing our long-time friends and making a few new ones too! We appreciate your company, generous contributions, and above all, your friendship.

Many of you expressed gratitude for the party and appreciation for the new friends you made. This is really the essence of our mission… bringing people together as professionals, building trust and kinship, learn together, and nurturing our network.  We do this to encourage one another, grow and succeed together, and celebrate the good times hand in hand, year after year. The holiday party was a manifestation of this and the credit goes to everyone in attendance and our trusted vendors, partners, and the Stanton Chase team!

It’s been a very successful year for the CEO Club of Marin, focusing on “Executive Challenges” and for the COO-Forum’s Marin chapter. We are very excited to continue our growth in 2017, and invite you to participate in our leadership and programming.

Enjoy these photos and Happy Holidays…see you in the New Year!


Failures – Opportunities in Disguise… When Embraced Properly

DSC_1200You know the old adage, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” It refers to the importance of keeping a vigilant eye on things that may be a threat to you. The same applies to business and failure; as a business leader, how you deal with failures can be the downfall of your business, or can result in opportunities for subtle improvement, or even disruptive positive change.

DSC_1211Who better to speak on this topic then long-time CEO Club member, Mark Coopersmith, an accomplished Entrepreneur, Executive, Educator, and Author of THE OTHER F WORD: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to WorkAs an award-winning professor at U.C. Berkeley’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, Mark enlightened us with his learnings on how to leverage failure to drive innovation, growth, and employee engagement in your organization.

DSC_1207Mark shared a series of study cases that illustrate this concept. Ever heard of the app Burbn? Not many people have… it was first launched as a full-suite app that  let users check in at particular locations, make plans for future check-ins, earn points for hanging out with friends, post pictures of the meet-ups, etc. This app wasn’t very successful; users thought the app was too complicated and weren’t using most of the features. The company began to delve deep into their failure, asking users for feedback and focusing on giving their customers what they wanted. It quickly became clear that even though the app did not gain much traction, there was one feature that users loved – and that was the photo sharing app. Founders of the app decided to scrap 90% of the product and keep only the photo app, aiming for the utmost simplicity. The new app was called Instagram and was sold for $1 billion to Facebook in 2012.

DSC_1215There are countless examples of companies who were cognizant of their failures and set out to learn from their mistakes, and plenty others who failed to do so. Mark’s insights on how to leverage failure to discover new opportunities resonated deeply among the attendees, who’ve all faced failure at some point in their careers and learned to turn downfalls into chances to learn and do something new and different.

How can you leverage failure for innovation? Mark Coopersmith and co-author John Danner have identified the 7 Steps of The Failure Value Cycle and created a model that can be used to dissect and re-purpose failure.  Here are some key elements:

The Failure Value Cycle Diagram

The Failure Value Cycle

  1. Respect | Accept that failure is a natural part of business; no risk = no innovation
  2. Rehearse | Prepare for different circumstances
  3. Recognize | Identify the mistakes that were made
  4. React | Act swiftly to acknowledge the issue and resolve it before it grows and spreads
  5. Reflect | Look back to understand what went wrong and why
  6. Rebound | Re-craft your approach based on your learnings from the failure
  7. Remember | Carry these lessons with you into your next mission and objectives

Our gratitude goes out to Mark Coopersmith for a thought-provoking discussion on how we, fellow CEOs and Business Owners, can be more successful in business.

Diversity pays! Why Investors seek Women in Top Leadership

Janet CrawfordWhat do the Technology and Entertainment industries have in common? They both exhibit a stunning underrepresentation of women. Meanwhile, research shows a strong correlation between the number of women in top leadership positions and higher rates of innovative and overall business performance! However, leaders don’t always know how to change the culture to gain the benefits of a more inclusive culture. This is why they call Janet Crawford, our February speaker.

Janet Crawford has invested many years in developing an understanding of the nature of systems, first in environmental science, then business systems, and most recently in evolutionary biology and neuroscience. She is a recognized author, successful consultant, and sought after speaker, both domestically and internationally.

She holds a bachelors degree in Environmental Science from U.C. Berkeley, a Masters in Latin American Studies from Stanford University, and is former faculty at the JFK University Graduate School of Psychology and the Kauffman Foundation Center for Venture Education.

So, if you are like Disney, Pixar, Flextronics, Virgin America, Intel, and many other companies who have sought to gain competitive advantage by unlocking hidden potential in their work cultures by listening to Janet Crawford, join us for our upcoming CEO Club Breakfast. Janet shared some insight into her work at our January meeting, and was unanimously recruited to be our featured speaker in February!

If you’re interested in learning more, you can read some of Janet’s published articles and explore additional resources that pertain to biology and leadership. And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter!




“The Man Who Thinks He Can”

For those of you working on your goals or resolutions, and wanting inspiration or direction to connect your wishes with your actions and results, read this timeless poem I chose for my CEO Club.

Wishing you Faith, Achievement, and Satisfaction in your life in 2016… and beyond.

Thinking of the famous poem written by Walter D. Wintle, a poet who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century. Excellent read as we enter a new year and set our goals. May this shared poem stimulate your success!

“The Man Who Thinks He Can”

Reaching for the StarsIf you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but you think you cannot,
It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will–
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins

– Walter D. Wintle

Cheers of Joy for a Successful Year!

We hosted the annual Holiday Party at our home on Tuesday evening and invited members of the CEO Club of Marin and the COO Forum. What a wonderful turnout! Everyone came in full spirit and contributed to a joyous night. I sincerely compliment each of you for making the effort to get to know each other, introduce your spouses, and share the warmth of the holiday season with us.  Thanks also to everyone who contributed to the success of the party with your contributions of sustaining food and beverage.

Conversations were lovely, the food was delectable, and wine corks did not stop popping. Many of you expressed gratitude for the party and appreciation for the new friends you made. This is really the essence of our mission… bringing people together as professionals, building trust and kinship, learn together, and nurturing our network.  We do this to encourage one another, grow and succeed together, and celebrate the good times hand in hand, year after year.

It’s been a very successful year for speakers and programs, focused on “What it is like to be CEO of my Company.”  We are very excited to grow the CEO Club in 2016, and invite you to participate in our leadership and programming.

Enjoy these photos and Happy Holidays…see you in the New Year!

Marin County’s Elected CEO – Supervisor Damon Connolly

Connolly2“This was our best breakfast ever!” retorted one of our attendees this week at our November meeting. Supervisor Damon Connolly had just spoken about his first year as a Marin County Supervisor.  Attendees then brainstormed on vital topics for learning/speaking in 2016, and agreed to conduct two joint events with Dominican University of California (Exporting and Economic Forecast).  We also brainstormed on guest speakers, and the best “must read” business books.  That topic was met enthusiastically with many new book recommendations!

Supervisor Connolly shared his background with us, and helped us to follow the common thread of service and compliance in his career.  As many of us are, he was greatly influenced by the example set by his grandfather for community and civil service.  After law school, Damon worked on behalf of Californians to achieve justice from wrong dealings by Enron Corporation.  When Damon moved to Marin County he established his own local law practice, serving business owners and working as a San Rafael City Council Member.

Damon sits on the Boards of Marin Clean Energy, SMART, and other large-scale community enterprises.  Being a County Supervisor is his first full-time role working for citizens in civic leadership.   Together with his four fellow Supervisors, they manage a $500 million county budget.  Damon has taken leadership roles on several topics already, and found support from a populace ready for change.   More importantly, Damon seeks to work as a partner with his fellow Supervisors to accomplish as much as possible by working as a team.

Supervisor Connolly shared literature on Marin’s current budget and answered questions on our fiscal health, budget balancing, managing unfunded liabilities, reducing traffic, transportation planning, increasing tax revenue from Medical Marijuana dispensaries, paying down countywide debt, improving mental health services, railway infrastructure development, building low-income housing, and developing the Marinwood Plaza.  Sounded like a busy first year to us!

He promises to return in the future to give us an update on his progress running this $.5 Billion enterprise!  Follow this link to subscribe to Supervisor Connolly’s monthly newsletter.

We hope Supervisor Connolly and his wife will again join our esteemed CEO Club members at our Annual Holiday party on December 8th.  Thank you, Supervisor Connolly for your membership and ongoing support of the CEO Club of Marin.