New forum helps CEOs give and take advice

A newly launched CEO Dialogue Forum is designed to give New Hampshire business executives confidential evaluations from experienced businesspeople on a variety of specific management practices and business strategies, such as hiring salespeople, forming management teams and developing profit-sharing models.

The forum was created by Vested for Growth (VfG), which provides capital and peer-learning opportunities to small businesses in New Hampshire, with support from the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.

According to John Hamilton, managing director of VfG, The CEO Dialogue Forum is an outgrowth of VfG Learning Partners, a group of CEOs who meet monthly to share experiences and develop management strategies for their businesses. Members of the VfG Learning Partners make up the group of CEO advisors in the CEO Dialogue Forum, he said.

“A CEO wrestling with business and management challenges can use the eyes and ears of other CEOs who have experience in dealing with similar issues,” said Hamilton.

The program, said Mike Donahue, chair of the BIA’s board of directors, “facilitates the exchange of ideas and advice among successful business leaders.”

According to Hamilton, the format consists of a two-hour advisory, on-site session, usually at the beginning or end of the business day. The host CEO can include other employees in the session and outlines the business issue to be discussed and provides relevant background information to the group of CEO advisers. Feedback begins, and a discussion follows. Conversations are confidential, allowing all participants to share ideas and feedback openly.

Following the on-site advisory session, the host CEO can initiate further discussion with the group to discuss specific outcomes and solicit additional feedback.

Peter Morgan, CEO of The Highlander Inn in Manchester, recently engaged the group. He said the advisory session “enabled us to move deliberately and strategically through a new initiative, because the feedback was tailor-made to our business, and my management team and I were able to hear the good, bad and the ugly from other CEOs who had already been down this path.”

For more information about the CEO Dialogue Forum, contact Hamilton at 856-0729 or To view a list of participating CEOs, visit and click “Peer Learning.” – JEFF FEINGOLD

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