It was a day of very mixed emotions this month as we said farewell to one of our founding members, Jeff Zember, after a very successful exit/sale of his business.
There is no prouder day for a Vistage Chair! Unprompted by me, Jeff said that the two best investments he ever made were:
1. His Investment Banker … I introduced Jeff to Kirk Michie. Kirk is a great friend of my Vistage Groups, having done a number of lunchtime briefings about the Investment Banking/Private Equity Landscape which he worked in for many years but now doesn’t, so he can offer an unbiased perspective and understanding of the dynamics of the deal process. Kirk facilitated the process of Jeff selecting his Investment Banker.
Jeff says, “I didn’t know, what I didn’t know about the M&A space until I met Kirk Michie. He was an invaluable advisor, at the right time with the right resources. Selecting the right investment banker with the right fit and the right financial incentive is crucial. Don’t short change this part of the process”
Kirk says, “Jeff built a great business. None of the past year would have been possible without the 20 years or hard work that preceded it. Beyond that, Jeff was receptive to feedback, humble in incorporating advice from his deal team, and clearer about his transition than any CEO I’ve worked with before. His instincts and well developed leadership skills drove an extraordinary outcome for all of the stakeholders.”
2. Vistage … Jeff was with me since 2011 when I spoke to his Vistage Group in Orange County with my AGILITY topic, after which he engaged me to work with his team on “Traction Planning” which they did very effectively. A few years later in 2014, tired of commuting to his OC group, he asked if he could join my San Diego CEO Group, which he did. Then in 2017 when I started the first ever Temecula CEO Group, he transitioned into this group as a founding member (his business/home are here). As we began discussing his future options, it was such a delight to help Jeff lean into the option of exiting this chapter of his career/life, engage in the process as mentioned above with Kirk Michie, and begin to think about his second half. I referred him to the book, “HalfTime: Moving from Success to Significance” which he loved (being a Vistage Chair/Speaker has been a pivotal part of my second half). I have no doubt Jeff will go on from great success to great significance, I am very excited to be involved in that, even though I am very sad that he isn’t in my Vistage Group anymore.
Jeff says, “Vistage has been an awesome and invaluable experience. It has been a true blessing to have been mentored by Mike Richardson. His authenticity, humility, thought leadership, and “Agile” approach to life and business is a rarity that inspires continual self-improvement, courage and confidence. I would highly recommend Vistage and Mike to any CEO who wants to go onwards and upwards in business and life”
Read more about the first ever Temecula Valley Vistage CEO Group (or click on image below).