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Buffalo/ Rochester 2023

Hosted in Buffalo Tuesday, October 3, 2023 7:15 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. EDT

Event Overview

Experience the entrepreneurial energy of thought leaders all in one room.

The Vistage Executive Summit has been crafted to inspire your leadership, equip you with latest findings in research, future-proof your business with economic insights, and most importantly, build connection with the powerful leaders in your community.

  • ITR Economics brings the economic landscape into view and helps leaders navigate the uncertainties ahead.
  • Vistage Research shares findings from the CEO Confidence Index to help leaders make better decisions quicker.
  • Leadership keynote will wrap up the day on an inspiring and thoughtful note. More details coming soon.
  • Thought leaders present breakout sessions on top-of-mind topics with fresh perspectives.

As a Vistage member, enjoy world-class leadership content and the opportunity to meet new faces in your community. Your insight and impact will make the day even more valuable!

The Member Excellence Awards program will celebrate incredible member stories in your community. Winners and finalists will be showcased at the Executive Summit. Learn more and nominate a member today!

Get ready for the day by downloading the My Vistage app and logging in. Expect to access speaker materials and more resources through the app on the day of the event.

Available for Vistage members only.

Event Speakers

Patrick Luce

Economist, ITR Economics

A Changing Landscape

The economic landscape will be changing in 2023, especially later in the year. Aggressive action by the Federal Reserve Board has also changed our outlook for 2024. We will discuss which segments will be impacted and others that will be more immune to interest rate and other pressures. We will also discuss how attendees can best prepare for the challenges and ongoing uncertainties, and we will offer business strategies and tactics that will allow for maximum profit potential given the economic landscape. We will also:

  • Analyze the Federal Reserve Board’s actions and impact on the economy
  • Talk through key areas of disinflation and deflation
  • Discuss varying opportunities in key markets
  • Cover global trends and their impact on member businesses and on the US economy
  • Analyze labor market conditions over the next several years
  • Present an overview of the economic landscape through the rest of the decade.

Joe Galvin

Chief Research Officer, Vistage Worldwide, Inc.

Managing Workforce Velocity: Attention to Employee Retention

Workforce velocity will continue to plague CEOs as accelerating quit rates, rising wages and unprecedented transparency to new opportunities lure workers to greener pastures. Retaining skilled, experienced workers that align with your culture demands a focused strategy on the key elements of employee retention. Managing workforce velocity will increase the ability for small and midsize business to operate at full capacity, meet customer demand and scale for the future.

Shaun Tomson

The Code for the Next Wave

Sometimes all you need to turn hope into action is to write your promises down and say them out loud—to make a promise to no one but yourself. The Code Method is an academically validated self-development program that inspires, uplifts and connects individuals and teams. It helps activate internal strength to combat despair and emotionally re-engages individuals through the power of purpose.

Built around 12 promises that individuals write and share, The Code is an effective tool to create a powerful, positive and purposeful attitude to navigate the uncertainty and turbulence of life. The power of writing-the power of affirming "I Will"- helps one see beyond today and set a course for a better tomorrow. The Code is about many things—faith, courage, commitment—but above all it is about the promises we make which ultimately define our life purpose and our path through uncertainty and turbulence towards success and fulfillment.

The only way to create positive change is through the choices we make and the decisions we take. The Code Method is designed to create a wave of commitment throughout an organization and illustrates how every one of us can reshape our lives through the power of “I Will.”


Hyatt Regency Buffalo Hotel and Conference Center

7:15 a.m.
Registration opens

Check-in and pick up your badge. Breakfast buffet served in the Marketplace.

7:45 a.m.
Breakfast Sessions with industry experts

  • Transforming Your Business Through Intelligent Process Automation
  • No Stone Left Unturned: Optimize Optionality with Financial Planning
  • How to Estimate the Current Market Value Range of Your Business

9:00 a.m.
Patrick Luce, ITR Economics

A deep dive into the economic issues facing your market.

10:35 a.m.

Visit sponsors and the wider Vistage community in the Marketplace.

11:05 a.m.
Vistage Research & Connection Activity

Meet Vistage peers in a structured networking activity.

12:00 p.m.

Lunch buffet served in the Marketplace.

12:30 p.m.
Lunch Sessions with industry experts

  • Is Your Company Investment Grade? 12 Key Factors to Attract an Outsized Valuation
  • Planning for a Successful Exit: Considerations in Transitioning Your Business
  • CEO's Candid Guide to Right People, Right Job, Right Fit To Scale the Business

1:40 p.m.
Shaun Tomson

Sometimes all you need to turn hope into action is to write your promises down and say them out loud—to make a promise to no one but yourself.

3:15 p.m.
Community Reception

Celebrate your community's Vistage Member Excellence Award winners and finalists and connect with fellow peers. Refreshments to be served in the Marketplace.

*agenda subject to change

Breakout sessions

7:45 AM - 8:45 AM

Breakfast Session | Transforming Your Business Through Intelligent Process Automation

Presenter: Nicholas Tabone & Adam Trevett, Ignite IPA

Are you worried about hiring/retaining staff? Are you nervous about inflation or a potential recession/depression? Are you looking to grow your business but are concerned about the increased costs? Leveraging automation can help companies of all sizes support their corporate strategy and achieve high ROI by reducing expenses, avoiding costs, accelerating revenue, and creating more efficient business processes. In this session you will learn about intelligent process automation technologies, and how other companies have leveraged them to achieve higher margins. Opt-in-participants will receive a complimentary opportunity identification assessment focused on creating a quantifiable pipeline of value-based automation opportunities.

Topic: Business Operations: Technology

7:45 AM - 8:45 AM

Breakfast Session | No Stone Left Unturned: Optimize Optionality with Financial Planning

Presenter: Paul J. Brahim, CFP®, AIFA | Managing Director, SVP - Financial Advisor, Wealth Enhancement Group, Vistage Member

Does your financial plan give you optionality? Do you have the freedom to walk away from your business without having to sell it? Entrepreneurs excel at planning for the future of their businesses, but they often neglect their personal finances. Great outcomes don’t just happen – they require thoughtful planning and a keen understanding of your goals and priorities. In this session, you’ll learn how a real-life Vistage member with a 60-year-old family-run business created optionality using integrated, time-tested principles of tax, estate and investment planning.

Topic: Financial planning, tax optimization

7:45 AM - 8:45 AM

Breakfast Session | How to Estimate the Current Market Value Range of Your Business

Presenter: Sam Messina, Director of Business Development, Paramax Corporation and Thomas Emmerling, Senior Associate, Paramax Corporation

From the day you start your business to the day you decide to sell, knowing how to calculate the market value of your business is the first step towards strategic, long-term planning—even if you don’t have immediate plans to sell or transfer ownership. Valuing a business is a forward-thinking concept and, while you can gather data about your company and its industry, you also must make some subjective predictions about what may happen in the future. In this interactive workshop, our team of experts will walk you through the foundational elements of calculating your business's estimated value range and you’ll gain a stronger understanding of how EBITDA multiples and other variables may impact valuation.

Topic: Financials: Mergers & Acquisitions

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Lunch Session | Is Your Company Investment Grade? 12 Key Factors to Attract an Outsized Valuation

Presenter: Wesley Legg, President / Partner, Founders Advisors

Given today’s dynamic M&A climate, business owners need a candid market perspective on what drives enterprise value. This session will discuss key external factors driving market conditions and offer a market-based method to quickly assess your company’s “investability”.

Key Takeaways:

  • What it takes to attract an outsized valuation from institutional grade investors

  • Key Seller Missteps

  • M&A market conditions: Headwinds & Tailwinds

  • Lower to middle market buyer universe

  • A 20 minute market based approach to assess your company’s “investability”

Topic: Financials: Mergers & Acquisitions

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Lunch Session | Planning for a Successful Exit: Considerations in Transitioning Your Business

Presenter: Jason Klein, Rafael Williamson & Rob Swanson, UBS

Business owners may not be planning for their inevitable exit. We’ll summarize the value acceleration process, the different types of buyers, considerations when planning for a sale, maximizing value for all parties, who needs to be involved, how to conduct your own due diligence on buyers, how everything on a term sheet is negotiable, what to consider when exiting, and how to know what you’ll need in terms of Liquidity, Longevity, and Legacy when you transition your company.

Topic: Personal Development: Exit & Succession Planning

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Lunch Session | CEO's Candid Guide to Right People, Right Job, Right Fit To Scale the Business

Presenter: Sumeet Chahal & Kirk Cresto

Join the Culture Index team to reveal the true fit of your executive team and leaders- who is in the right seat and who is not? Do you have the right team in place to scale your business? Not getting the top and bottom line growth by not hiring and obtaining the right team? In this session, you will be prepped to utilize data to make more objective human decisions in securing the right talent in order to drive sustainable growth. Walk away with new insights, tips, and practices to implement into your business and better align your people.

Topic: Leadership: Communication & Alignment