Austin Business Community – If the content is of interest or could assist you, please join us at one of our morning speaker workshop sessions.


business speaker
All meeting dates listed are for Vistage Business Owner Group CE4943, guest speakers in the morning with executive (members only) sessions in the afternoon.





January 17th Speaker Workshop – Starts at 8:15am – 3 hours

Don Schmincke, “Discovering the Leaders Code for Executive Performance”

Program Description:

Based on his book, “The Code of the Executive,” Don Schmincke focuses this unique session on an issue personally dear to the CEO’s heart – how to lead extraordinary performance in their organization. When the organization functions effectively, the CEO has more fun, strategy executes, and the bottom-line improves. Yet most CEOs are frustrated with the level of results produced by their organization, or the politics, hidden agendas, and other dysfunctional behaviors sapping organizational vitality.

Value to Members & Guests:

This highly participative session addresses these issues with a special journey into ancient history to rediscover lost wisdom that has propelled organizations to success for thousands of years. Members leave with take-home, valued actions and a set of tools for the future.

Speaker Biography:

Don has been accused by a NY press agency of providing “the most provocative and sensational view of business than any other speaker today.” What else would you expect from an MIT and Johns Hopkins researcher who was nearly arrested as a capitalist spy in the Soviet Bloc, got shot off an aircraft carrier, survived in the Kurdish capital as the Ayatollah held hostages in Tehran, and developed missile inertial guidance systems while his frat brothers took Vegas (later portrayed in the movie “21”)?

Don Schmincke’s irreverent humor and unconventional methods provide audiences such a refreshing change to other status-quo topics that he’s been called the world’s “management renegade.” His patent-pending offerings transcend typical programs via refreshing alternatives to trendy theories, unproven methods, and phony “experts.” The industry agrees: Renown books “The Code of the Executive” and “High Altitude Leadership” (with NBC Emmy-nominated climber Chris Warner) have been published in over 10 languages, endorsed by leading authorities and recommended by top business schools. And Don has been featured by CNN, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and more than 60 industry publications annually.

The high failure rates of pop-management theories drove Don’s research using anthropology, evolutionary genetics and biology to dispel the “program-of-the-month” syndrome frustrating CEOs and HR managers for so long. By using Don’s science-driven leadership methods companies experience accelerated results in sales, employee engagement, and cultural alignment. He admits, “our work is politically incorrect but scientifically accurate.”

Today, Don flies 200,000 miles annually speaking at conferences, training CEOs in his workshops and working with clients from the Department of Defense (where he helped the U.S. Navy evolve its Fleet Readiness strategy) to companies across every industry including healthcare, manufacturing, non-profits, distribution, technology, communications, finance, and insurance.


February 21st Speaker Workshop – Starts at 8:15am – 3 hours

Dan Barnett, “Make or Break Execution”

Program Description:

The best leaders have both a clear vision and an eye for the operating detail that will make or break that vision. Lack of vision will result in a business that spins its wheels. And yet even the best vision will go nowhere in the face of poor execution. The big struggle for most leaders is how to do both. How do you actively lead your organization to insure superb execution of your vision without being consumed by the details and the urgent “alligators” you face daily?

This interactive workshop presents a highly effective and easy-to-implement process for keeping your company’s performance on track to your vision all the time. First you will learn how to change your company’s perspective to be truly forward looking rather than relying on the usual backwards facing lens of income statements and other common financial reports. You will learn how to focus your management team on the things that will deliver your revenue and profit goals – year in and year out – missing major goals is for the most part avoidable. You will learn how to ensure constant innovation in your company. And you will learn how to be in the middle of it all – actively linking together people, strategy, and operating detail – doing the real job of an effective leader.

Areas covered include:

  • Forward facing dashboards: staying ahead of the game with facts and data
  • Plan performance: achieving growth goals year in and year out
  • Staying on course: making course corrections in real time
  • Teamwork: keeping everyone accountable and on the same page
  • Innovation: creating fresh ideas everyday
  • Recognition: making it a way of life

Value to Members & Guests: In this workshop, Dan Barnett delivers amazing value with street-proven tools gained from running highly successful companies large and small for many years. This action- packed session includes hands-on exercises and useful notes to create a valuable learning experience so leave with ready-to-implement ideas.

Biography: A recognized expert on business, Dan Barnett has appeared regularly on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal to speak on CEO confidence and leadership. Dan is an internationally recognized speaker and consultant who has helped thousands of companies throughout the world. He has headed companies for some of the world’s leading corporations including Nestlé, Pillsbury, Weyerhaeuser and Constellation Brands as well as running smaller private companies. After a tripling of the stock price of Constellation Brands, where he was president and CEO of the wine company, he retired to Lake Tahoe at the age of 49. Barnett was Chief Operating Officer of Vistage International for seven years. Dan is currently the owner of Make or Break ExecutionTM, his speaking and consulting company and is a Vistage Chair in Reno, NV.


April “Vistage Executive Session”  – save the date – April 10th AT&T Conference Center Dr. David Cook, Sports Psychologist & Alex Chausovsky from ITR will be our keyenote speakers.


May 16th Speaker Workshop – Starts at 8:15am – 3 hours

Balaji Krishnamurthy, “Developing Leadership Through an Intentional Corporate Culture”

Program Description:

The most common limiting agent for a growing small corporation is neither market opportunity, nor investment capacity; instead it is usually the limited leadership talent below the CEO. Senior leadership frequently focuses so exclusively on the growth of the company, that it often neglects growing its internal leadership, the fuel for continued growth. Balaji Krishnamurthy insists that while leadership can be developed, it can not be learnt or imitated, and suggests that business leaders must develop a clear and intentional leadership agenda that is their own. Using thought-provoking logic and a passionate style of delivery, Krishnamurthy causes each member of the audience to examine their own unique style of leadership. This style must then be translated into an intentional corporate culture, which becomes a source for developing internal leadership that is consistent with the company’s core values. A concrete framework for developing an intentional corporate culture is offered that will allow participants to analyze their current culture against their intent.


While a broad overview of the components of the framework will be covered, time permits an in-depth study of one of the following cultural topics, to be chosen beforehand by the chair:

  • Should the culture serve the shareholders, customers or employees?
  • Creating speed and agility as a corporate asset Cultural philosophies for staffing, evaluating, and rewarding employees
  • The science, art & culture of decision making

Value to Members& Guests: The audience will leave with the ability to analyze their own leadership style and agenda. They will have a framework within which they can formulate and articulate their intentional corporate culture. Specifically, they will have concrete tools to analyze a soft subject like corporate culture and use it to develop leadership from within. Most importantly, they will leave energized to act.

Speaker Biography:

Balaji Krishnamurthy (Bôl’uh-jee Krîsh’nuh-moor’thee) is founder and principal of LogiStyle, a management consulting firm that helps corporations develop logical leadership. Known for building intentional cultures within organizations that promote empowerment and logical, critical thinking, Krishnamurthy has been nationally recognized for his concepts of transparency and stewardship in corporate governance. Krishnamurthy earned his BS and MS degrees in mathematics from the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani, India. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1981.


July 18th Speaker Workshop – Starts at 8:15am 2 1/2 hours

Joseph Rosenberger, “Business Process Triage (Building self-healing, continuously improving processes and teams)”

What is Business Process Triaging?

  • Fast, Effective Issue Processing Think about using a ProcessTriage© approach to address issue identification and prioritization. In a medical scenario, triage is used to assign medical services which are limited to an overwhelming number of casualties. One must quickly nominate, size, sort and prioritize who receives treatment first.In a similar manner, a select work team (your own Go-To staff) looks at processes and uses a triage approach to nominate, size, sort and prioritize what improvements should be worked on first/now.
  • Operational Excellence in “Driveshaft” Business Process Using the ProcessTriage© approach also focuses improvement efforts on the workflow that drives your business—your “driveshaft.” A driveshaft business process is an essential process that drives performance: high volumes, customer generation, product and service delivery, cash generation.Examples of a driveshaft are:
  • Opportunity-to-Cash (e.g., Bid or RFP)
  • Customer Order-to-Cash
  • Inventory Forecast-to Stock

Issues with driveshaft process potentially threaten the success of the business, jeopardize your customer promises or slow your growth.

  • Development of Problem-Solvers Within the Organization Using the ProcessTriage© approach encourages tactical solutions to occur outside of the executive suite. Your “go-to” experts who work your processes every day are rewarded by driving the analysis and solutioning of issues. Process Triage creates a culture of issue processing as close to the work as possible.Executive or management sponsors act as coaches and enabler of resources. The front line experts propose pre-sorted solutions—knowing they will implement and live with them.
  • Reinforcement of High-Performing Team Culture Using the ProcessTriage© approach creates and sustains a “I’ve got your back!” empathy and situational awareness that great process teams master. Team-centric issue processing delivers bottoms-up, bought-in, tactical, incremental improvements. It creates leaders who bring you solutions.

This presentation includes case studies in your industry (if we have one—and we usually do) and a practical exercise that demonstrates the triaging method itself.


August 15th Speaker Workshop – Starts 8:15am – 2 1/2 hours

Michael Canic, “Ruthless Consistency: Aligning Your Organization To Win…Or Else!

Program Description:

Results don’t happen by chance. They happen when managers create an environment that is uncompromisingly aligned with the strategic focus of their company. An aligned environment means people processes, business processes, and organizational structure. And it means alignment through the eyes of employees, not just through the eyes of managers.

Dr. Michael J. Canic outlines in detail the “Strategic Alignment Model” and the four critical areas that need to be aligned for organizations to achieve results. Taking actual business problems from the Vistage group, he provides a methodology for diagnosing misalignments and gives practical suggestions for correcting them. Members can apply these tools and techniques to a range of business challenges including:

  • Strategy implementation
  • Organizational change
  • Workforce motivation

Value to Members & Guests: Members and guests will leave with:

  • an understanding of what constitutes an “aligned environment” and why it is critical to achieving results
  • the ability to apply an “alignment template” and assess how well their company’s environment is aligned for results
  • a checklist of tools for remedying specific misalignments

Biography: Michael J. Canic, Ph.D., is the president of Bridgeway Leadership, an executive consulting firm that focuses on making strategy happen. He has helped hundreds of executives across North America achieve quantifiable results through a relentless focus on strategic alignment and execution. Canic earned a doctorate in the psychology of human performance from the University of British Columbia.


October 17th Speaker Workshop – Starts at 8:15 – 3 hours 

Pat Murray, “The Essence Of Leadership: The Inside Moves” 

Program Description:

Murray is provocative and interactive in his presentation on leadership. His approach to the topic is to structure the exploration of leadership issues and challenges through what he calls the “outside and inside moves.” The outside moves specify what the organization directly experiences in its interactions with the leader. The inside moves are the less visible, but more important, underpinnings of the outside. The inside moves are where the essentials are created that achieve that rare phenomenon – exceptional leadership. Key topics include:

  • Personal core purpose
  • Basic beliefs
  • Compelling mission/vision
  • Strategic priorities
  • Role
  • Reliable action and results

The program covers the analysis and synthesis of Murray’s eighteen years of experience working with CEOs. It captures his “givens” about leading a company and details the factors that make “great” leaders different and more effective.

Value to Members & Guests: Murray brings to light the deepest leader/follower dynamics – those things that leaders experience daily, but do not understand fully. Members will be given a conceptual framework with which to assess themselves and their companies. They will also be given, through concrete examples and handouts, a structured method for transforming themselves and their organizations.

Biography: Pat Murray is the founder of J.P. Murray and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in working with CEOs and top-management teams on leadership strategies and organizational alignment. Murray has consulted with hundreds of companies covering most of the major industry groups. Murray was selected as Vistage’s Speaker of the Year for 1991.


November 14 Speaker Workshop – Start time 8:15am – 2 1/2 hours

Eve Grodnitzky, “Mindset Changes Everything: The Art + Science of Success in Business and in Life”

Program Description:

Why do some of our employees embrace challenges, bounce back quickly from setbacks, take feedback well, and adapt easily to change – whereas other employees struggle to do these very same things? And (equally important) are these differences “hard-wired” – or are they something that we can change?

The answer lies in an understanding of a concept called “mindset,” originally described by research psychologist Carol Dweck. Mindset is the most fundamental way that we perceive, understand, and interact with ourselves, other people, and the world at large – and it can take two different forms: “fixed” or “growth.”

People with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence and skills are essentially innate (“fixed”) characteristics; you either have them, or you don’t. As a result, fixed mindset people often feel compelled to continually prove to themselves – and to others – how much innate intelligence and talent they already have. Unfortunately, this leads to a tendency to prefer working on things they’re already good at, and they can struggle if challenged to step outside their comfort zone – where they fear they might appear to be lacking in new or different skill sets.

By contrast, people with a growth mindset believe that “innate” intelligence and skills are significantly less important than effort and learning. They believe that it’s not how you start – it’s how you finish. And how you finish is largely determined by how hard you’re willing to work and how much you’re willing to learn. As a result, people with a growth mindset are less concerned with proving how smart, talented, and capable they already are – and are more interested in doing everything they possibly can to get better. They embrace challenges, show resilience in the face of setbacks, welcome feedback, and are undaunted by change.

The good news is that mindset itself is not “fixed”; it can be shaped at both the individual and the organizational level by focusing on three key factors. Understanding how to leverage these factors allows us to shift ourselves – and to help others shift – from fixed to growth mindset. Shifting to a growth mindset allows us – and our employees, our colleagues, our children and our partners – to perform at our best and to maximize our potential in every area of both our professional and personal lives.

Value to members & Guests: This session provides participants with a robust understanding of the differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset – and the ability to recognize the components of these mindsets in themselves and in others. Particular attention is also given to the specific steps that participants can take to shift from fixed to growth mindset – and how they can help others make this shift as well. At the end of the session, participants will (1) understand the value of shifting themselves, their employees/colleagues, and their organizations towards a growth mindset; (2) have the tools to make this shift at the individual and organizational level; and (3) have identified the first two specific steps that they, personally, can take to begin to make this shift.

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Eve Grodnitzky is a psychologist by training – and an author, executive educator and professional speaker by choice. After obtaining her Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Michigan, she spent more than a decade working with several leading research and consulting firms, partnering with Fortune 500 and Global 1000 organizations on issues such as leadership development, performance management, employee engagement, and the attraction and retention of high-potential employees.

For the past several years she has divided her time between delivering executive development sessions for various global clients and engaging in her own research initiatives related to the phenomenon of insight. Her new book, CLICK: The Art + Science of Getting from Impasse to Insight, details her seven-step methodology for facilitating and accelerating the insight-generation process.

Much of Dr. Grodnitzky’s work with clients also includes the development of a “growth mindset.” A key focus of this work is helping people – from senior executives to front-line employees – shift from “the desire to prove how good they already are” to “the development of an obsession with learning, effort and improvement.”

Dr. Grodnitzky’s work with clients has taken her to virtually every corner of the world, and in the course of delivering more than 1,000 speaking engagements over the years, she has had the privilege of working with organizations in 17 countries (and counting) on six continents. She is still trying to figure out how to arrange a session in Antarctica to make it a clean sweep of all seven.



Please contact Ed with any questions about the 2017 Speaker Series.