katahdin stories

With the Support of My Peers, I Grew Revenue by 26%
Jaime McKinley
W.F. Young
Member since
“As a new CEO, it's really important to surround yourself with good people that can help give you good objective business advice and who can help guide your thinking as you make tough decisions. I've been with the group now for just under a year two years and it's helped me address and frame how I can move the business forward and fulfill the vision andpurpose that we have for the business and our team.”
In January of 2021, I was in a tough spot. I was appointed as the leader of W.F. Young, a 130-year-old family-owned, 5th generation animal health business. I’d worked at the company for 28 years and had turned down the top spot in the past, but this time was different.

The company had just come off its fourth CEO in three years and all the stakeholders were looking to me to steady the ship and the culture. The employees had been battered by all the change, and more specifically by the prior CEO. The ownership strongly endorsed me and the board was cautiously supportive.

As a first time CEO, I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I knew I had to bring my A game from day one. I joined the CEO Collective to support me as I stepped into this new and challenging role. I found that I was immediately surrounded by experienced CEOs of growth companies of similar scale to mine. This gave me a lot of security to know I had these CEOs to receive honest feedback from.

In the first 6 months as a CEO Collective member, I was soaking everything in. I was exposed to a broad range of cases from my CEO peers and brought my own cases to the table on launching a new product and reorganizing the sales department. The combination of increasing my business acumen through osmosis with the candid, insightful feedback on my cases allowed me to gain clarity on which issues were most significant. With the support of the Collective, I felt greater confidence to make important moves to solidify the company.

Over the next two years as I grew into my new role, the company revenue grew as well -- by 26%, a rate not seen in the prior five years. The feedback from my group allowed me to confidently implement changes in the business which set the stage for our increasing growth rate. I leaned on them for the clarity and motivation I needed to successfully step into a leadership role.

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