CLIENT TESTIMONIALS


What CEOs Say About the High-Growth CEO Forum®
What are the benefits of participating in a Forum?
“I fundamentally believe one of the reasons our company has been successful is that I have been a long-term member of the Catlin & Cookman Group’s High-Growth CEO Forum, which brings a set of intellectual property around how to build a high-growth business. My participation has made a measurable impact on Constant Contact‘s success. Combine Catlin & Cookman Group‘s insightful probing and leadership thinking with the feedback of some really smart CEOs, and you‘ve got a winning formula for success.”
Gail Goodman, CEO, 
Constant Contact®
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2002
“In all of the companies I’ve been with, I’ve found the High-Growth CEO Forum to be very helpful in allowing me to make challenging, business-altering decisions, whether they be personnel-related, business-plan-related, implementing best practices — the Forum is a tool that allows learning, growing CEOs to stay ahead of their BoD.”
Colin Angle, CEO, iRobot

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2004
“The High-Growth CEO Forum gives you the opportunity to freely express your concerns, share your business challenges, and vet critical decisions with same-stage peers who are often wrestling with similar challenges. As the CEO of a fast-growing company, it‘s a rare luxury to gain truly objective counsel.”
James Hemmer, CEO,
Antenna Software
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2005
“There are circumstances that trigger certain events in the life of a company. So hearing about the challenges that other Forum CEOs are facing gives one the opportunity to ‘pre-manage‘ by getting some exposure to these issues, and understanding the ways that people are advising other Forum members to deal with the problems. This not only prepares you to anticipate those issues in your own company, but maybe even to prevent them.”
Ian Howell, CEO, Newforma

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2008
“Being CEO is the loneliest job on the planet. You can’t bounce ideas off your staff, because they think you actually plan to do what you’re talking about. You can’t talk to your board because more often than not, it can come back and bite you — be held against you. Who do you talk to? Through the Forum, I have a network of peers.”
Ian Howell, CEO, Newforma

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2008
“The High-Growth CEO Forum provides a chance to get this incredible insight into your company and your own challenges that you just can’t get from your BoD or management team. And because you’re also helping someone else solve his or her problems, as well as hearing other people share their ideas about the situation, it’s like getting a condensed business-school education four times a year. That’s tremendously valuable.”
Tom Ebling, CEO, Demandware

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2011
“If you think about it, you get almost no training to be a CEO whatsoever. You have to almost make it up as you go. So I’ve found the High-Growth CEO Forum to be very helpful. Everyone else’s challenges always have relevance to something I’m dealing with in my company. We’re all wrestling with BoD issues, personnel issues, strategy, etc. So even when the discussion is about other people’s problems, you usually wind up with some extremely helpful ideas that you can use, too.”
Christopher Ainsley, CEO, ShopperTrak

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2010
“To me, there are three big benefits to participating in the High-Growth CEO Forum: first, once a quarter, you’re forced to step back, think about your biggest challenge, and put together an action plan to handle that challenge. There’s a discipline to that. Second, there are the interactions with peers and the insights you’re getting from people who share your challenges. Third, there’s the opportunity to step away from a stressful business environment and get a little downtime for creativity.”
Court Cunningham, CEO, Yodle

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2007
“If you want to learn and become a better leader and CEO, the High-Growth CEO Forum is a great environment for you. There’s no downside: you are getting coached by your peers; it’s really transparent and open. I get great input on the challenges I’m facing, and I learn from the challenges that the others have, too. It’s a very unique environment that will help you be better equipped to lead your people and lead your company.”
Jon McNeill, CEO, Enservio

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2011
How do the Forums differ from other CEO groups?
“The job of the CEO is inherently and unapologetically isolating. The High-Growth CEO Forum offers a refreshingly honest and sincere source of support and advice from peers who live on similar quarterdecks. Its format and strong facilitation differentiate it from other groups I have seen.”
Colin Angle, CEO, iRobot

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2004
“The interview process is extremely selective. The biggest thing we look for is whether this person will be able to take frank, even harsh feedback in the goodhearted way in which it is given, and to give frank, constructive feedback in return.”
Colin Angle, CEO, iRobot

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2004
“What makes the High-Growth CEO Forum so powerful is that, unlike other groups, our members are all CEOs of high-growth, investor-backed, technology start-ups. This combination of investor pressure plus technology, plus growth creates unique business challenges. So having a set of people around the table who all share those challenges, and who are willing to provide insights on how to manage them, is extremely valuable.”
Court Cunningham, CEO, Yodle
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2007
“It’s a formula that’s very unique, very rewarding. Everyone is there to participate openly and honestly and share anything they can of their experience, to help others resolve their challenges. Whatever you give, you’ll get that back and more in terms of the experience around the table and the quality of the advice that you get in return.”
Ian Howell, CEO, Newforma
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2008
“For me, one of the key attractions of the High-Growth CEO Forum was that the CEOs are all from similarly situated businesses. Similar size and funding; same sort of product set and growth; that means we’re really facing similar challenges.”
Jon McNeill, CEO, Enservio
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2011
What has the business impact been for you?
“As a member since 2002, my participation in the High-Growth CEO Forum has made a measurable impact on Constant Contact’s success. Combine Catlin & Cookman Group’s insightful probing and leadership thinking with the feedback of some really smart CEOs, and you’ve got a winning formula for success.”
Gail Goodman, CEO, Constant Contact®
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2002
“Bottom line, the High-Growth CEO Forum is so valuable that I recommend it 100%. A proven framework shows you what changes are needed for growth and the custom advice and support from fellow CEOs makes it all practical. I can’t say enough about it. The ROI is off the charts.”
Russ Wilcox, CEO, 
E Ink and Transatomic Power
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2008z
“I see my High-Growth CEO Forum participation as having a very high business impact in terms of the quality of the thinking and the creativity it drives. We would not be as successful if I hadn’t been a member of this Forum — I’m 100% confident of that.”
Court Cunningham, CEO, Yodle
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2007
“The High-Growth CEO Forum is a group that will challenge you and provide a perspective you won’t get anywhere else, which is very helpful when a CEO is facing major decisions and transitions. My company has moved from B2B to consumer-driven, and I found that the advice, support, and out-of-the-box thinking I got about that transition made everything go much smoother. We have the same things in common — same investment profile, similar boards with venture capital backing, and we’re all going through significant growth periods. That means we can help each other, think about each other’s problems, and also have a lot of fun together.”
Meredith Flynn-Ripley, CEO, HeyWire
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2009
How has Forum participation helped you become a better CEO?
“The CEOs in my Forum group are highly knowledgeable. Even on something that’s very specific to my company, the people around the table are smart enough to give me some extremely helpful insights.”
Christopher Ainsley, CEO, Shoppertrak
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2010
“The High-Growth CEO Forum was a major contributor to giving me the ideas and inspiration as an entrepreneurial CEO that led to winning the Entrepreneur of the Year award.”
Dan Schimmel, CEO, 
OneSource Information Services and MAK Technologies
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2000
“The High-Growth CEO Forum has helped me in so many ways: from providing strategy and tactics for working with my board, to giving me a sense of having a sounding board with other CEOs who know what it’s like to be in their shoes. There’s no other equivalent.”
Stuart Patterson, CEO, SpeechWorks, Agion Technologies, Nexamp, and Xtone
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2002
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a Forum when I didn’t leave with a couple of good ideas — and a great number have worked out.”
John Bruce, CEO, Co3 Systems
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2006
“I think there’s a real need to pay it forward, so having the opportunity to help other people is a big part of the gratification. And frankly, you get better as a CEO by thinking through other people’s problems, because guess what, everyone’s going to have the same issues, it’s just a matter of when you encounter them.”
James Hemmer, CEO, Antenna Software

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2005
What about the time commitment?
“I admit, I was somewhat reluctant to become a High-Growth CEO Forum member because of the time commitment. But now I realize there’s immense value to be gained in spending the time thinking less about my own company, and more about other companies and their problems, and potential solutions to those problems. I almost always come away with a whole bunch of ideas that are useful to my company just through that process.”
Tom Ebling, CEO, Demandware

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2011
“The High-Growth CEO Forum is extremely valuable to my company — both in terms of time and money. Once a quarter, it forces me to get out of the office and away from thinking about the day-to-day troubleshooting. If you’re not careful, a CEO’s job becomes almost entirely firefighting, as you rush from crisis to crisis. The Forum gives me the luxury of time to clear my head and actually think about some of the bigger, more important issues facing my business.”
Christopher Ainsley, CEO, ShopperTrak
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member since 2010
“The time commitment and intensity are on a scale by themselves — but that’s what drives the Forum’s success.”
Stuart Patterson, CEO, SpeechWorks, Agion Technologies, Nexamp, and Xtone

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2002
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What CEOs Say About Planning for Growth — Building the Profit Spiral®
“Catlin & Cookman Group’s Planning for Growth — Building the Profit Spiral® process provides valuable focus to our entire organization. It gives us a clear path for translating our long-term strategic vision into annual corporate goals, measurable departmental plans, and detailed operating budgets.”
Gail Goodman, CEO, Constant Contact®
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2002
“By engaging Catlin & Cookman Group to deliver their Planning for Growth Profit Spiral process, my team became truly aligned in vision and strategy. That’s because we did the work together — it’s ours, we own the results, and that’s been very empowering for us all.”
Dan Schimmel, CEO, OneSource Information Services and MAK Technologies
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client and since 2000
“It’s more than your typical offsite. Catlin & Cookman Group does a lot of work up front to get ready for the process in terms of really listening to the CEO and his or her challenges. They also conduct a discovery process with senior executives. This information provides the foundation for the overall process agenda and the first exercises. You come out of it feeling that ‘we can do this, no matter how hard it is.’ Over my career, I have engaged the Catlin & Cookman Group three times for their robust planning process, and at one of my companies it helped lead to our IPO.”
Dan Schimmel, CEO, OneSource Information Services and MAK Technologies
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client and since 2000
“Planning for Growth — Building the Profit Spiral Process® gave Antenna Software a great framework for fine-tuning our planning process and putting a growth strategy in place. They provided the exact tools we needed, mapped precisely to a company of our size. The Catlin & Cookman Group is an incredible asset to fast-growing, high-tech companies.”
James Hemmer, CEO, Antenna Software
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2005
“Planning for Growth — Building the Profit Spiral helps you develop a three-year plan, with a set of assumptions and an operating system that helps you test those assumptions on an ongoing basis. It’s a very structured process, with lots of proprietary tools that help you map out where you are today, diagnose the challenges that are affecting your ability to grow, distill the changes that really matter, and develop a clear pathway to where you want to go.”
John Belizaire, CEO, FirstBest Systems Inc.
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2011
“Working with Catlin & Cookman Group gives you access to powerful growth tools that enable you to collect key information about the challenges that are affecting your ability to grow your business. This enables you to map where you are today, and provides a framework that helps you decide where you want to take your business and how to get there.”
John Belizaire, CEO, FirstBest Systems, Inc.
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2011
“Historically, our planning had been a spreadsheet with a list of to do‘s and an allocation of the resources needed to get those things done. But it had no vision or strategy attached to it. After going through the Planning for Growth Profit Spiral process, I actually know how to do a strategic operating plan.”
Janet Kraus, CEO & Co-founder, Circles
Circles was successfully acquired by Sodexho Alliance in 2007
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What CEOs Say About Building the Executive Team as Leaders of Growth®
“Our team found the one-day Building the Executive Team as Leaders of Growth program, with its framework for enhancing communication, to be extremely powerful. By understanding each other’s thinking styles and decision-making preferences, our team has been able to significantly elevate our level of collaboration, leadership, and strategic focus. Plus, we now have a process that will enable us to keep doing it ourselves, going forward.”
John Belizaire, CEO, FirstBest Systems Inc.
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2011
“I hired Catlin & Cookman Group to deliver their customized Building the Executive Team as Leaders of Growth program. We worked together to identify our goals and chose a critical company issue to address. Enservio had made a large acquisition and I wanted everyone to get to know and understand each other quickly, and to be involved and aligned behind the integration. Catlin & Cookman used the HBDI survey to profile the thinking styles of the top 20 executives from both companies. The daylong session built trust and teamwork, and we came up with great ideas about how to streamline the integration. I have highly recommended this process to other CEOs who want to develop better understanding and alignment among their executive team members and work on a real issue at the same time.”
Jon McNeil, CEO, Enservio
High-Growth CEO Forum Member® and Consulting Client since 2011
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What CEOs Say About Working with Catlin & Cookman Group
“When your company is growing quickly, there are a lot of challenges, both those that are seen and those to be anticipated. Catlin & Cookman Group has the roadmap of what to expect at each stage of growth.”
James Hemmer, CEO, Antenna Software
High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2005
“Working with Catlin & Cookman Group gives you access to powerful growth tools that enable you to collect key information about the challenges that are affecting your ability to grow your business. This enables you to map where you are today, and provides a framework that helps you decide where you want to take your business and how to get there.”
John Belizaire, CEO, FirstBest Systems, Inc.

High-Growth CEO Forum® Member and Consulting Client since 2011
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