Katahdin Group was originally founded as The Raffoni Group in 1999 by Melissa Raffoni. Melissa had been on staff with Inc. Magazine running their Inc. Eagles CEO peer group program. When Inc. canceled the program, several members asked if she would continue to run the group, and thus the business was born.
Melissa spent the next 20 years refining the CEO Collective methodology and processes and added two additional programs: The Key Executive Collective, requested by CEOs for their C-Suite and designed after the CEO peer groups; and Strategic Leaders, which grew out of the need CEOs had for more effective strategy planning. In 2005, Melissa hired Erin Mullen, now Managing Director, to help run the business.
Gordie Spater joined as a member of the CEO Collective in 2009. While a member, he grew Kurgo 4x with the support of his peer group, who provided unbiased input on a range of issues related to that level of growth which lead to the sale of the business in 2018.
The last case Gordie presented to his peer group was about his career path after the sale of Kurgo--specifically, he was looking for a business to purchase. Simultaneously, Melissa was working on an exit strategy after running the business for 20 years. Aware of both situations, Erin invited Gordie to run a peer group and get a great sense of the facilitator role and the behind the scenes work.
Gordie loved the work, especially supporting CEOs through COVID and his interest in taking the business over increased. Gordie purchased the business in 2021.
As the team continued to grow and evolve, Gordie and key staff members felt the company needed a brand to evoke the climb CEOs are on as they grow and potentially exit their businesses.
Gordie spent time throughout his life at a camp overlooking Mount Katahdin and has hiked the mountain over a dozen times. Geographically Katahdin is the highest peak in Maine and the typical end of a through-hike of the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail.
The mountain theme is commonly used in business because it works. In business, like with a hike, there are faster and slower paths to the top. In Katahdin’s case there are five signed routes, some harder, longer, steeper, and more dangerous than others. There are less traveled routes you could take which may be more rewarding, but pose a greater risk of failure.
When leading a company, finding the best path is always the challenge, walking the balance between safety and risk is required to reach your destination.
And like those hiking a mountain, those running a business do better when they aren’t alone. Hiking is always more enjoyable and challenges are faced with greater ease when with a seasoned group of peers walking alongside you.
The mission of Katahdin Group is to help CEOs get to the top faster by leveraging the support of their peers to help them pick the best route, identify risks, prepare for the hike, and adjust as things do not go as planned.