Life as a Vistage Peer Group Chair from Midlands Based Chris Everard
Chris Everard is one of the UK’s leading Vistage Chairs and the only one based in Leicester. He now has five peer groups of business leaders under his belt and has this year been awarded with the ‘Best and Fairest Chair’ in the country. Here, Chris shares his insight and experiences in working with some of the Midlands’ top business people through Vistage.
“Although I’ve been a business coach for many years, when I first took on a challenge of becoming a Vistage Chair just over four years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now with five groups on my roster - I can say with ease that is was one of the best decisions of my working life.
“I recently had the pleasure of watching the award-winning Ryan Avery speak at a Vistage Open Day and my favourite takeaway was that the three most important things when it comes to your work should be: to have fun, be yourself and add value. Vistage lets me do all three every day. My members and fellow Chairs help to make this possible - like-minded individuals with energy and a passion for their chosen fields and most importantly, for supporting each other.”
Of course, Vistage doesn’t come without its challenges. An essential part of this group support is its demanding nature - a responsibility held by each member to hold themselves and their peers accountable for overcoming their own barriers to growth and success, whether that’s in their personal or professional lives.
Chris continued: “To maximise the value you add and receive from Vistage, it’s incredibly important to openly challenge one another and work hard to unearth the root of your issues. I have personally benefitted from the power of this, thanks to some of my more formidable members!”
Vistage is the world’s largest provider of private advisory groups for business owners, CEO’s and executives, with over 21,000 members worldwide. The organisation, founded in 1957, brings together like-minded business leaders to share their expertise, discuss business practices and overcome personal and professional challenges - led and supported by a network of Vistage Chairs.
Chris was recently awarded with the National accolade of “Best and Fairest” Vistage Chair, a reflection of the impact of his close relationships not only with his members, but the team at Vistage HQ.
He said: “I was delighted to win this award. Having the choice with whom I spend time with on a day to day basis has been liberating, as well as the getting to work with the enthusiastic and supportive Vistage team who make it all happen. They touch the lives of a great number of people; Vistage members, people within our members organisations, the families of our members and of course the Vistage Chair community, along with their families and colleagues.”
Operations Director at Vistage, Lorna Barker commented: “Chris has been voted Best and fairest Chair to work with on a daily basis by the HQ support team. As a Chair, Chris has reached out to the staff to offer his support and help to them and has made a difference not only to his members lives but those of the staff. He lives the values of Vistage and is a truly inspiring Chair.”
Also speaking about his recent award, Karin Simonsen, Marketing Campaign Manager at Vistage said: “Working with Chris as a Vistage Chair is great fun, his commitment to his working relationships is second to none and his passion for Vistage is contagious. He always has a kind word for everybody and is appreciative of everything we do for him as we are of him. It was a unanimous decision in awarding Chris the ‘best and fairest chair’ award.”
Chris said: “The most rewarding aspect of Vistage for me is seeing my members become great leaders. Seeing them improve, grow, change and achieve balance in their life and work is the ultimate outcome from their membership from my point of view. If I can facilitate that in even a small way, I’m happy.”
So, what’s next for Vistage in the Midlands?
Chris continued: “I’m looking to grow my five groups over the next year or so with more like-minded business people. We have to be selective with new members, but the more experienced input we have within each group, the more value each person can take away. Vistage has been a truly fun and life-enhancing path for me and I believe it can be an invaluable tool for personal and professional development for other business owners and executives.”