We met Debbie in late 2010 to discuss our small business enterprise which we started in 2005. We manufacture innovative oral care products for special needs populations. All of our products fall into niche markets and we were struggling to understand not only our core business strategy and margins, but also our unique marketing challenges. Debbie immediately began to bring to the table a rigorous bottom-line analysis with a laser-like focus on business inefficiencies. Within one year our revenues and margins improved, and the red ink had stopped flowing. Amazingly, all of this happened within the framework of a very positive and encouraging culture of optimism combined with a can-do energy and attitude that Debbie brings to everything she does. Debbie is truly amazing with her positive and proactive approach to business solutions, and we can't thank her enough for her advice and mentor-ship.
In Stephen Covey’s words, “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning on the right wall”. The CEO roundtable refocuses CEO’s from day-to-day activities to exercising true leadership envisioned by Covey. Debbie Drysdale, through her dynamic and focused leadership, challenges each one of us to better our corporations, ourselves and our community. The CEO Roundtable allows us to share topics, discuss difficult issues and raise questions others in the room who can help sort-out, redefine and/or solve in a non-threatening, professional manner. I’ve worked with Debbie within a corporate environment, on several board-of-directors, through coaching, mentorship and CEO roundtable. The words of others saying she is a breath of fresh air is unquestionable and her understanding of business encompassing. Debbie has enhanced my career more than any other individual throughout my life.
There have been a multitude of ideas and perspective I have gotten from the CEO Roundtable. One meeting was particularly helpful to me in rethinking our debt and ownership structure. At the beginning of the year we were burdened with both a $320,000 annual payment to our founder and onerous conditions controlling our operations which had been grafted into our corporate by-laws. As we discussed this issue it became clear eliminating the debt to the founders family was necessary. By focusing on ownership and debt, we reduced our debt payment to $75,000 and eliminated the complications in our corporate by-laws. This has improved the bottom line of the company by approximately $250,000 per year and reduced the operational constraints.
Working with Debbie is like a blast of fresh air, clarity and reason. She brings wisdom, experience, and warmth to every situation. I find her to be the perfect mix of business savvy and compassion. She holds my feet to the fire and helps me to see the truth, whether I want to see it or not. Debbie's keen listening abilities combined with her proven business success offers anyone who spends time with her the opportunity to learn and to have the courage to make important business changes.
This is also true of the monthly CEO roundtable meetings. Members are surrounded with bright business minds; professionals who not only hold each other accountable, but are kind in doing so.
CEO roundtables takes a holistic approach to business. The group is not only concerned about the financial and structure aspects of corporate functionality, but is focused on individual members' families, and their physical and mental well-being.
It is easy to leverage and take action based on the combined intelligence of the high-functioning CEO's in this group. Their collective knowledge and straightforward ways continuously deliver important observations that help shift business thinking.
As CEO, I have a unique view of the inner workings of my business, but with my hands-on, head-down style, I cannot always achieve the clarity of perspective that distance or objectivity provides. The CEO Roundtable is a room full of successful CEOs who are willing to hold up the mirrors of their own experiences in order to provide me with additional ways to see a situation, attack a problem, create a product or simply enjoy the milestones of life. Debbie Drysdale is an excellent facilitator of this dynamic mix of business owners who are similar in their pursuit to balance work and life, yet just different enough to generate real creative sparks. It’s one of the rare outside engagements where I feel I get at least twice as much good advice as I give.
Working with Debbie has been a life changing experience for me as a supervisor and a program director. The ability to discuss key issues with an impartial, but incredibly knowledgeable, mentor is an invaluable experience. I leave every coaching session with a plan to tackle my most pressing problems and new strategies to improve my effectiveness with working with internal and external partners. Whether we are developing a staff training plan, brainstorming language to broach a difficult topic, or discussing areas of person skill development, Debbie is patient, focused, and provides relevant suggestions that can be implemented immediately. I am so grateful to have her as a resource.
The CEO Roundtable is a place to share, to learn, to hear different perspectives, but for me the most valuable part is that I have a group of colleagues that hold me accountable, and support me in being the best I can be in my profession.
Throughout my time with the group I have always found the meetings to be informative and relevant. When the group works an issue with you, the insight and advice is very useful. I use the one to one sessions to focus on specific issues in my business. My last 12 years of involvement with the CEO Roundtable has not only helped shape me as a leader but has influenced many of the changes in GLHN. I have taken full advantage of the collective intellect of the group on many occasions.