September 28, 2017
A growth company CEO’s dual role as Chief Culture Officer was top of mind at LLR’s CEO Collaborate 2017, which brought together the leaders of our active portfolio companies to address common growth challenges, share best practices and network with peers.
Ann Rhoades, Founding Executive Vice President of People at JetBlue Airways, President of PeopleInk and Best-Selling Author, kicked off the day by sharing the methodology used at corporate culture icons like Southwest and JetBlue, as well as many growth-stage and private equity-backed businesses, to create unique workplace cultures based on values and behaviors that ultimately drive high performance. Ann was then joined by two LLR portfolio company leaders, Mike Swinford, CEO of Numotion, and Steve Hodownes, CEO of Orbis Education, to shed additional light on how maintaining a values and behaviors-based culture helps drive growth at their organizations. For these CEOs, culture is integral to their hiring, accountability and rewards programs, measurable at every turn, and part of how they operate as leaders each day.
Expanding the conversation to focus on the customer, attendees later participated in Customer Success Roundtables, during which they worked to define customer success across their range of business models and outline best practices for putting the right team, processes, technology and metrics in place to enable customer success and enhance customer lifetime value. Throughout the discussions, culture remained a key element of the strategies shared for driving customer success and loyalty from sales and implementation through support and account management.
Three highly-experienced CEOs, now each leading their second LLR portfolio company, also shared lessons learned while building and exiting a business as part of a CEO Panel on Exit Preparation. George Abatjoglou, CEO of Kemberton Healthcare, Jim Flynn, CEO of SICOM Systems, and Brian Madocks CEO of eOriginal, revealed some of their best advice, including how to balance operating and growing a business while preparing for its sale; how to align expectations and efforts between private equity investors, investment bankers and your leadership team; and how to navigate many of the tactical elements such as diligence materials, management presentations and negotiations.
Finally, experienced Board Director Jack Gavin lead an engaging session on how to Optimize Board Relationships and leverage a Board of Directors to build value for your company. The session included a focus on identifying the right roles and areas of expertise needed on a Board, especially from Independent Directors, as well as effective meeting structure to ensure you can extract maximum value from the Board, instead of simply reporting on the financials.
Read more about LLR Partners’ series of Collaboration events for our portfolio executives and our network.