It’s hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since I joined the Association for Corporate Growth. Virtual high fives to anyone who made a career change in the last 12 months! A rollercoaster is an understatement: What we thought we signed up for quickly changed in our first 90 days, and then changed, mutated and more when COVID-19 happened.
Without a doubt, 2020 will be brazened in our memories the same way September 11 is, and as we did 19 years ago, I believe each of us will emerge stronger in every facet of our lives.
Like many of your organizations, the vibrancy of ACG’s community and the connectedness of its network is contingent on efficient operations. Words that have described the field operations of ACG include a loose confederation and independently owned and operated franchises. Similarly, words that described our headquarters include inefficient, bureaucratic, Titanic, incompetent and self-promoting.
Note that I used the past tense of “described.”
Today, when I describe these two entities, I use words and phrases like committed to members, flexible, technology-driven, collaborative, collegial and flexible. At our center, we are a membership organization. You are our most important stakeholder and consumer. Our role is to serve you.
Our board of directors embraced that objective in February. They did more than read “Race for Relevance,” they acted upon it. When I arrived at ACG, I estimated the necessary governance changes would take upwards of two years. COVID accelerated the need to bring efficiency to our governance and our operations. Our blemishes exposed; we needed to change fast. - In less than eight months, a resolution was voted on, passed and enacted. Last week’s board vote cemented this.
Their vision to solidify ACG’s operations to benefit its members is the embodiment of what I refer to as #OneACG. Merging back-office operations; reducing administrative functions; investing in technologies that help us measure, make us leaner and more efficient; creating greater connectivity; attracting new strategic partners, inviting more deal opportunities and amplifying our influence are all current results of this effort. #OneACG will sustain us through 2020 and grow our breadth in a meaningful way that ensures current members remain part of this community and prospective members seek to join it.
The ACG Global Board of Directors approved the following changes to the organization’s bylaws:
I’m pleased to announce the 2021 ACG Board of Directors:
Please join me in congratulating our continuing members and our new members. Also, please join me in thanking the following directors for their generous years of service: Andrew Apfelberg, Frederic Borras, Bob Brickman, Tim Bryan, John Connery, Shane Dunn, Paul Gautier, Josh Hollingsworth, Brent Kulman, Matt Laffey, Angie MacPhee, Steven Moon, Jeff Noland, Ellen Purdy, Steven Smith, John Sweeney, and Walter O’Haire.
The chapter council which is created as part of these governance changes is still being assembled. We expect the council and future subcommittees to create additional volunteer opportunities and seed a perennial group of active ACG candidates for the board of directors and chapter council.
As Brent Baxter, our incoming chair noted at last week’s board meeting, the 2021 board represents a group of ACG/ middle market rock stars, each of whom is active at the chapter and national level and will work to best conjoin all facets of our operation to maximize value to members. These governance changes highlight what ACG can do best when it leverages our collective strengths.
I also commend Martin Okner for his stewardship this last year. Onboarding as a new CEO as pandemic loomed and effectively shut down ACG’s live networking events was only possible because of Marty, his predecessor Angie MacPhee and his successor Brent. His ACG Tombstone will read “Forward under Pressure”, as Angie committed to forward momentum, Marty advanced it.
All of us know well, that leadership is challenging. Our board can make or break us. And breaking up a board could very well be a death sentence. There are innumerable silver linings from this last year. I remain grateful for the opportunity to lead ACG through this period of sustenance and am committed to positioning for future growth. Thanks to each of you for your membership, and especially our volunteer leaders for their commitment to you and ACG.
President & CEO