Value Creation and the Role of the CEO, our first Roundtable, was led by Richard Reese, Kevin Oxendine, and successful search fund CEO Chris Hendriksen of VRI Inc. The discussions are designed to help CEOs step back and identify the key levers of value creation in their businesses. Value creation occurs for multiple constituents in a business - including customers, employees, shareholders, and the community. At Pacific Lake, we believe that search fund CEOs who learn to think this way about their businesses and industries will be able to more quickly identify the most critical drivers of value.
But this kind of analysis, though rigorous, is just the first step towards success. The CEO must also lead the company in a way that creates buy-in from the team and allows him or her to begin to articulate a strategy, which will create focus and alignment for the team. Only the CEO can articulate the Company's “destination” or “mission.” Doing so effectively requires not only strong leadership and good judgement but also patience, good listening skills, and empathy.
Sounds easy right? Not at all. But it is our belief that CEOs who can accomplish the above will accelerate growth and find opportunity along the way to build great companies. Throughout the event, Richard, Kevin, and Chris each shared their experiences as CEOs scaling small businesses, and the attendees had the opportunity to spend several hours discussing their most important priorities in one-on-one settings with these experienced operators.
Another feature of the event was the time dedicated to meeting and spending quality time with other search fund CEOs in a small group setting. Leadership, though immensely rewarding, can be a lonely endeavor. A network of peer CEOs can be a useful resource on tough days. Over group outings and evenings at some of Miami’s most unique restaurants, the CEOs bonded and swapped stories, best practices, and advice. As one CEO put it, “This is the kind of support from investors that we dreamed of when we each decided to go down this path several years ago.”
That kind of feedback is what fuels us here at Pacific Lake, particularly on the Value Creation Team. Our mission is to enable and assist search fund CEOs as they seek to build great companies. We are excited to announce several other initiatives that fall within the Roundtable Series this year. While value creation and strategy remain a key focus, we are also looking forward to our functionally-focused Roundtables. This summer, for example, we are building an event focused on Software Development for non-technical CEOs, as the number of searchers acquiring businesses with a software offering has grown dramatically. And, later in the year, Pacific Lake's newest Operating Partner, Don Taylor, will lead a Roundtable on Sales and Salesforce Management, an area of special interest to many search fund CEOs.