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Jason Maxwell Interview: Reflecting on 12 Years in The CEO Collective
May 21, 2024

What initially drew you to join the CEO Collective? My primary goal was to find a peer group that would help me evolve from a Founder/CEO of a startup to a CEO of a professionally managed company. I was part of another CEO peer group that I felt I was outgrowing. After exploring different groups, I was impressed with the process methodology, leadership, and quality of CEOs in the Katahdin Group.

Reflecting on your journey within the group, what significant personal or professional growth have you experienced as a result of your involvement? A big change for me was the hiring of a first, then a second executive team over the nine years that I’ve participated in the Katahdin Group. Hiring, supporting, and holding a strong executive team accountable for business results is a key part of my job as a CEO.

Can you share a memorable moment or pivotal discussion around a case you presented that has had a lasting impact on you? Yes, there are a few. One conversation centered around a realization, or validation, that I needed to make some changes on our executive team about five years ago. The hiring profile of our executive team needed to shift to more industry experience and process orientation.

How has the CEO Collective adapted and evolved over the past 25 years to meet the changing needs and challenges of its members and the business landscape? I believe that the process methodology is more flexible and allows for more “gray area.” There is less rigidity. There is also more regular education provided virtually on a consistent basis. That additional value began during COVID.

As a longstanding member, what do you believe sets the CEO Collective apart from other professional networks or peer groups? The process methodology and high standards of CEO participants differentiate Katahdin.

What role has the CEO Collective played in fostering collaboration, innovation, or strategic thinking within your own organization? We hire Katahdin to run our annual 2-day strategic off-sites with our leadership team. The strategic process has strengthened our alignment and candidness on the key initiatives needed to drive our business in the future.

Can you share an example of how the relationships you've built within the CEO Collective have influenced your decision-making or problem-solving processes? It is not unusual for a member of my CEO peer group to provide me with shared experiences to help with business situations that I have not encountered before. This has included explorations of potential acquisitions for our business and how to build marketing infrastructure within our business.

Looking ahead to the future, what do you envision for the CEO Collective, and how do you see it continuing to impact its members and the broader business community? I anticipate that the CEO Collective will grow in numbers and intellectual horsepower. Gordie and his team have done a great job of listening to members and building platforms to leverage the shared experiences of our members.

How has being part of the CEO Collective supported you in the CEO role, and what advice would you offer to new members or aspiring leaders considering joining? The Collective has provided me with a strong sounding board for difficult business decisions. It has made me feel that I am not alone in my role as a CEO. My advice to a new member would be to come prepared to each meeting and be vulnerable enough to share real business issues. I feel that preparation, proactive relationship building within a group, and being vulnerable are important to derive strong value from the Collective.

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