• February 03, 2015 7:22 PM | Theresa Boyce (Administrator)

    CEO Trust speaker Shawn Achor spoke recently about how "Happiness Breeds Happiness" as the opening keynote for the Ultimate Software User Conference. Shawn's research is focused on happiness, its generation, and its use as a competitive advantage.  Key elements of Shawn's talk included:

    • Reality is caused by the way you view it. Not by the way it is.
    • Emotional tone is contagious.
    • Habits of thought persist.
    • It’s important to change the way you think on a regular basis (and hard to do).
    • Happiness is a choice and not a choice.
    • By choosing to be happy, you can increase the happiness of others.
    • The best way to change someone else is by changing yourself.

    After spending twelve years at Harvard University, Shawn has become one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. His research on happiness made the cover of Harvard Business Review, and his TED talk, "The Happy Secret to Better Work," is one of the most popular of all time. Shawn has worked with over a third of the Fortune 100 companies, and lectured in more than 50 countries. Shawn is the author of New York Times best-selling books The Happiness Advantage.

    Read full article here.

  • November 17, 2014 1:37 PM | Theresa Boyce (Administrator)

     On Tuesday, November 11, CEO Trust's NYC Chapter was fortunate to share in the insights, experience, creativity, and wisdom of Gary Cohen, most recently global CEO of Timex and a consumer products veteran, and Heather Marasse, Managing Partner of Generative Leadership Group (GLG), a leading innovation consulting firm.  Gary and Heather have partnered at Gillette, Playtex, and Timex to help launch dozens of successful innovation programs. Here are some of the highlights:

    • Consider the intersection of human systems with the business systems we routinely manage. The challenges with innovation are culturally based, and rest often in being too dependent on what we know.
    • Get past the need to be knowledgeable. Judging and evaluation too early in the process, and intolerance of mistakes, are pitfalls to taking an innovative and creative approach to business problem solving.
    • Think about how to establish a vision for the future to remove barriers. The vision can be at the team level inside the business. Possibility versus certainty is the key to developing a vision that will result in immediate action. Only an hour or so is needed to develop a compelling and actionable vision for the future.
    • Create a climate for generous listening and true communication. Since large companies have a gravitational pull to the past, this can be challenging.
    • Embrace conversations that produce results through possibility, relationship, opportunity, action, and completion. Remember, conversation has a design.
    • Celebrate early and often. It is the acknowledgement and communication of small but important wins that will ensure a cycle of innovation and success.
    • Ask - what can we try first? Some things cannot be known until you try them.
    • Declare your future! This is the key to innovation.

  • November 03, 2014 4:47 PM | Theresa Boyce (Administrator)

    Our CT Chapter welcomed Rob Henrikson, former chairman of the board, president and CEO of MetLife, Inc., for our Leadership Series event on October 22nd in Darien. After catching up with colleagues over a lively wine & cheese reception, CEO Trustees & invited guests settled in for an informal and engaging talk from Rob, who shared with the group his experiences, anecdotes, and lessons learned from his nearly 40 years with Metlife, the largest life insurer in the U.S. and provider to more than 90 million customers in over 50 countries.

    Rob disclosed that his journey with MetLife began in 1972 when, fresh out of law school at Emory, he joined as a life insurance agent in Atlanta. Through the 70s & 80s, he served in roles with increasing responsibility in the company’s pension business in Atlanta, Chicago and New York. Attendees learned about some of Rob’s biggest business challenges and accomplishments over the years and throughout his various senior executive positions with MetLife, including president and COO. Interestingly, Rob is the first MetLife agent in the company’s 142-year history who went on to become CEO, a role he assumed in 2006 and kept until 2011.

    Trustees & invited guests came away with an insider's perspective of MetLife from during it's most interesting phase of history.

  • October 01, 2014 12:02 PM | Theresa Boyce (Administrator)
    Our NY Chapter was fortunate enough to have guest speaker, Vivek J. Tiwary, a multi-TONY award winning producer, and New York Times Best Selling Author of the graphic novel The Fifth Beatle. Vivek shared expert insight into the business of the legendary group The Beatles, through narrative regarding his historical mentor, and manager of The Beatles, Brian Epstein. Vivek provided commentary of business lessons that could be derived from the The Beatles and how they translated to modern day business practices.

    It was quite evident that Vivek's discussion was thoroughly enjoyed by all. I believe our Trustees were highly engaged, and loved the unique subject matter, as it resonated with many of them on a personal and cultural level. Vivek's passion and enthusiasm was noted by many of our Trustees, who were very receptive to learn about his other successes and upcoming projects. Vivek was a great speaker, and I would love to have him back at some future point.

    A special thank you to Joan Caruso and The Ayers Group for being gracious hosts! 
    - Justin Melia, Event Chair, Founder and CEO, RMC Venture Group
  • September 16, 2014 8:21 AM | Anonymous member

    Fox, in the kind of an understatement we have come to expect in the marketing of reality TV, is billing its new fall series “Utopia” as “television’s biggest, boldest social experiment.” The show’s premise taps into the age-old dream of creating a perfect society. This dream burns particularly brightly in the treasured eighteen to thirty-four year-old demographic, marinated in the you-can-do-anything ethos. These are the very folks who would ask: Can a group of random strangers actually create a perfect society?  No, they can’t. Read More

  • September 16, 2014 8:10 AM | Anonymous member

    Just published in Directors & Boards.  The summary:  

    Nucor's classic incentive plan contained three elements:

    1) a fixed share of profit growth ...

    2) ... without limit

    3) annual grant of standard stock options

    The company was enormously successful because of this plan.  It looks like everything that shareholders care about is imbedded in this plan.  Empirical evidence strongly supports these plan elements as being good for shareholders.  Yet none of them would pass muster with ISS today.  Read More

  • August 28, 2014 5:00 PM | Theresa Boyce (Administrator)


    A fun and entertaining evening of live theater was enjoyed by our CT Chapter at the Westport Country Playhouse on August 20. We had a great member turnout and the evening began with some lively discussion and mingling amongst the members and their guests. That was followed by a very interesting discussion by Michael Ross the Managing Director of the Westport Country Playhouse who educated and entertained the group on the history of the Playhouse and the intricacies of the theater business. Michael was gracious, fun and a wonderful host to our Chapter.

    Michael's discussion was followed by a viewing of the play "The Things We Do For Love" in only its second night of production. It was a funny and sometimes tragic depiction of a love triangle that was performed exceptionally well and was very entertaining. I think we all had a good time and it was very nice to share the experience with our spouses and guests. A special thanks to Craig Rebecca Schiavone for arranging this event.

    - CEO Trustee & CT Program Chair, Michael Pellegrino

  • July 29, 2014 4:55 PM | Deleted user




    Grit and determination and a long career in consumer solutions have led Gwen to her current role as president of a high-end fashion retail company.* Two retail companies are now courting Gwen for the CEO position she’s been tracking toward for years. While the offers present similar salaries, one offers significant wealth potential through performance-based stock awards.

    Can Gwen use these performance options to accumulate the wealth needed for retirement and a second career pursuing her humanitarian ventures?

    Performance-based equity awards have continued to gain prominence as company boards seek to align compensation with executive performance. The compensation advisor The Hay Group surveyed 300 companies in the top 500, and found that 51% are incentivizing executives today using performance awards tied to the strategic goals of the firm.  While time-based stock option awards have declined, performance options are nonqualified stock options linked to performance. Usually the awards are tied to earnings per share targets or certain stock price conditions. They vest when the metric has been satisfied; thus they are referred to as “performance-earned” options. Once vested, an executive can exercise and sell them right away.

    Gwen sought our help in understanding how these performance options work, and whether the performance metrics could reasonably be met in order to benefit from the award. She determined that the offer from the company utilizing performance options was superior and would accelerate her plans to eventually run a nonprofit serving humanitarian goals.

    If you are evaluating offers and need help comparing parity, it is important to understand the value of the awards, the terms of the performance target, tax treatment and how the likely outcome compares with other forms of executive compensation.

    For more information, please contact us.

    * The name, likeness and circumstances in this example are a fictional composite of facts from executives similar to actual SFG Clients.

    Mr. Steege is President of SFG Wealth Planning Services, Inc., SFG Investment Advisors, Inc. (SFG), a fee-only financial planning firm. Founded 20 years ago, SFG is dedicated to assisting senior executives and their employees with their complex stock-based compensation and planning challenges

  • July 16, 2014 9:22 PM | Anonymous member

    It used to be said that patriotism was the last refuge of scoundrels.  Now that patriotism is being viewed with more irony than honor among a certain portion of Americans, I think the “last refuge” has become the bashing of “fat cats.”  My evidence is a recent spate of articles on how President Obama, who is polling rather poorly these days, is once again going after Wall Street bonuses.  There is no surer way to get heads nodding again when you speak.  I nod, too, but for a different reason. Read More 

  • June 13, 2014 3:17 PM | Theresa Boyce (Administrator)

    On June 11, our CT Chapter participated in a 90-minute interactive seminar on the science of Influential Negotiation. Four attendee volunteers had the opportunity to hone their business negotiation skills during a live mock negotiation session based upon a provided study/scenario. Following the negotiation simulation, presenters Jane Dolente and Jack DeBardeleben of The Skilled Negotiator facilitated an engaging group discussion regarding the 13 essential behaviors utilized by skilled negotiators. Each volunteer received a personalized, quantitative analysis of their use of these identified behaviors, along with qualitative feedback from fellow attendees.

    CEO Trustee Mike Pellegrino, CIO of The Sun Products Corporation, participated in the mock negotiation and shared, “I liked the program - it was engaging, fun and thought-provoking. Jack and Jane were really good and did a very good job of working with everyone to experience negotiating via a simulation exercise. Everyone was engaged in the discussion due to the scenario-play type of presentation they did, and it fostered good conversation and feedback. Well done."

    Attendee Llew Smith, CEO Trustee and Managing Partner of The Office Suites of Darien, added “Negotiating is a learned skill. The Skilled Negotiator system was helpful in that it added a way to measure the skill areas that make up most successful negotiations and relationships.”