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The Business Council

Long before Richard Cheney and Paul O’Neill joined the Bush team as vice president and treasury secretary, they were members of America’s unofficial cabinet: The Business Council. Member CEOs of this corporate clique founded in the Depression are among the most influential, and have historically swelled the ranks of government at the request of Presidents.

A typical council gathering unfolds like the recent meeting at the Greenbrier in the small foothill town of White Sulphur Springs, WV. Outside, reporters from CNBC, Bloomberg, and CNN stalked the event, anticipating the release of the council’s bellwether economic report. Inside, the likes of Michael Eisner, Scott McNealy, Ralph Larsen and their wives mingled in a cocktail party atmosphere.

“They are truly peers,” says James Fisher, publicist for the event. “When they talk to each other there are no trappings of power. It’s a forum where they can get a pulse on other industries.”

Membership is limited to 125 and is by invitation only. New members are nominated by current members. “The key is the personal prestige of the individual,” says Phil Cassidy, executive director of the organization. “It doesn’t matter whether the company is public or private, new-line or old-line. Individual politics don’t matter.”

It’s not a good idea for aspiring members to seem too eager. “It’s like [the golf course] Augusta,” Cassidy says. “Bill Gates has made it very clear he wants to be a member. And that’s why he’s never going to get invited.” Gates could not be reached for comment.


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  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.