Peoples Tax Founder and CEO, Chuck McCabe was recognized this past weekend by the Virginia Council of CEOs. The Council announced the establishment of an annual VACEO “Charles E. McCabe Leadership Award” in Chuck’s name and made him the first recipient. Chuck was the visionary that brought the idea of a CEO peer-to-peer group to Richmond, and is the Founding Chairman of the Virginia Council of CEOs.
Here’s Chuck’s story of how the Virginia Council of CEOs came about.
Before the Virginia Council of CEOs was even an idea, I was invited to a CEO group in Northern Virginia called the Council of Growing Companies. This group was a for-profit organization with 26 chapters that did what VACEOS does now. I joined the group and really enjoyed the events, the energy, and, especially the ability to interact with other CEOs.
At some point, the group hired a business development person to expand and open up more chapters. It became apparent to me that a chapter in Richmond would meet a need for the community so I accepted the challenge.
I got on the phone immediately and sent emails to everyone I could think of. I sent emails to well known, high profile CEOs in Richmond who I knew could add credibility and diversity to the chapter. We ended up with an amazing, and diverse group of 24 CEOs who formed our board and our original membership. I also got the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce to endorse the chapter and to place someone from their organization on our board. That person was Scot McRoberts.
Once the chapter got started, we formed several roundtable groups and collected membership dues. Several months later, Scot came to me and said he had decided to leave the Chamber to form his own association management company and the Council of Growing Companies Richmond Chapter will be his first customer. A few months later it became apparent that the Council of Growing CEOs was going under.
Our board of directors concluded “Why not convert our chapter into an independent non-profit organization? Scot then prepared the documents to file with the IRS as a non-profit organization. And so in January of 2000, the Virginia Council of CEOs was formed with Scot as a co-founder and executive director. I became the founding chairman, and we grew the group from there.
I guess you could say I was the sparkplug that made it happen. But I couldn’t have done it without my cofounder, Scot.
The VACEOs is an important group to me – one that I urge every CEO who qualifies to join. As a CEO, nobody really gets what you’re dealing with better than another CEO. The buck stops at you. You’re taking the risk. Your employees work for you. It’s not their money and it’s not their risk – your spouse doesn’t even fully get it. When you’re the CEO, you’re responsible for everything.
Our monthly CEO roundtables are so valuable because they provide you with much needed peer support. Members of our group are there to stay, too. For example, our current group has been the same group for 8 or 9 years. We have confidentiality, we’ve built trust, and we truly know each other. We confide in one another for business and personal issues.
Our roundtables have evolved over the years and always involve a systematic process. In fact, we bring a professional facilitator in periodically to take us through roundtable training so that we are providing the most value to our members.
In addition to the roundtables we have quarterly luncheons, a retreat, and knowledge network lunches. All of this is paid for by the council. We try to provide as much value to our members as possible. For example, our retreat speakers are always high profile. In fact, many of them are authors of New York Times best selling books.
I am so thrilled to see what this organization has become over the last several years. This year is the first year our council has had 200 members. We are also forming our first CEO roundtable in Charlottesville and will eventually have chapters in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. In addition to all of that, we’ve also formed a partnership with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, which will help us fulfill our name – the VIRGINIA Council of CEOs.
At this past retreat, I was honored to be the first to receive the leadership award, which was named after me for my contributions to the Council. The Charles E. McCabe Leadership Award recognizes those who make significant leadership contributions to the Council. I can’t wait to see the future leaders who will be honored with my award.
“Under Chuck’s leadership, VACEOs — which began as a state chapter of a small national organization — did not dissolve when the national organization failed one year in. Today, nearly 20 years after it began, the organization has grown into a successful, thriving association expanding into the Charlottesville market.” – taken from the VACEOs official press release about the award.
Check out the VACEOs website to find out more about the Council.