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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Do You Have an Anniversary? Celebrate, Enjoy and Move On!

This has been a busy couple of Vistage weeks for me.  First there was my Vistage CE group two day retreat at the wonderful and faultless Nunsmere Hall Hotel near Northwich, then administration afterwards and some one-to-one mentoring sessions.   

Then on Thursday night, my colleague, Edward Clifford and I were given a dinner at the Lowry Hotel in Salford to celebrate our 20 years of chairing Chief Executive groups in North West England.

It was a splendid and most enjoyable occasion and I thank Vistage and particularly CEO Steve Gilroy most sincerely for their kindness in giving us this accolade.

The evening was enhanced in no small measure by the presence of Phil and Helen Meddings who, after a successful launch in Australia, started TEC (now called Vistage) in the UK around 23 years ago.

I don’t normally march bravely backwards into the future with my eyes firmly fixed on the past - I much prefer to look forward but perhaps on this occasion I might be forgiven for a little hoary reminiscence.

It all started when my wife Hilary called me at the office which I had at the time and asked me to bring home a Manchester Evening News which we used to read at least twice a year.

After finding what was needed for her son (something about Manchester City as usual) she skimmed through and found an advertisement looking for “Chairman for Groups of Chief Executives” which seemed interesting so I applied.  Thank you Hilary, MEN and Manchester City.

After two or three interviews with Phil and the incumbent CEO,  Ken Saltrese, I had a call in February 1992 to say that I had been successful. 

The first breakfast recruiting event in April resulted in a total of 54 CEOs and MDs congregating in a curious L-shaped room at the Four Seasons Hotel (now the Airport Marriott) and Edward and I both started groups with attendees from that day.  How things have changed!

The first meeting of the group was held at a golf club near Warrington and one of the first members, David Adams, was at the 20th dinner,  Rightly so, as following his membership of the group he moved to London where he became a chairman and the Poet Laureate of Vistage.

After the dinner, the following day it was back to normality with a great Vistage Open Day at the Etihad Stadium, home of the aforesaid Manchester City, where around 80 members, colleagues and guests heard a masterly presentation on Leadership by Glen Daley.  I now am interviewing some potential members for the group.

It was great fun to celebrate the 20th anniversary but it was just a short stop on the journey.  Vistage UK goes from strength to strength, adding to the lives of so many people in business and, in some cases, changing them radically.  It certainly did for me and for that I am truly grateful. 

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