Radiate Forum seeks to create collaborative space for business leaders
December 3, 2013
Steamboat Springs — Sensing a void for leaders of Steamboat Springs businesses, Jay O'Hare and Todd Musselman have created Radiate Forum to show it doesn't have to be lonely at the top.
Now partway through its first six-month cycle and recruiting for its second, Radiate Forum is designed to support and provide a collaborative, creative space for a small group of CEOs, presidents and business leaders.
"Being at the head of an organization is a lonely place," O'Hare said Tuesday. "Who do you turn to?"
On the Front Range or in any number of large metro areas, CEO or business leader groups are established and run regular training sessions.
Musselman said that he was speaking at one such event when he realized that this type of group was lacking in Steamboat. His brother was involved in such a group, as well.
"Every day he came back from that meeting, he was jazzed," Musselman said.
Back in Steamboat, Musselman approached O'Hare, who is an entrepreneur and principal of a marketing firm, with the idea.
They sent out some feelers, O'Hare said, and received great feedback from the demographic that the forum would be geared toward.
The first Radiate Forum participants started meeting in October, Musselman said. They were individuals whom he had previous experience with through his own leadership coaching and training.
"The big thing is that they're all in noncompeting industries," Musselman said.
During six monthly meetings, the forum focuses on six topics: strategy, time management, company culture, balance, new markets and profit.
"The emphasis is that it's very collaborative," O'Hare.
The monthly meetings start with some instruction, but O'Hare said he and Musselman fill the role of facilitators as the meetings progress.
"What we really see value in is the shared experience," O'Hare said.
Because all the participants are from noncompeting industries, there's no apprehension to share what they're doing with one another, O’Hare said.
"There's really not a difference between who you are at home and who you are at work," O'Hare added.
What a person is trying to accomplish takes in both of those aspects, he said, and being in the forum with people who were or currently are in the same place can help reconnect people with why they're doing what they're doing.
Musselman said he was a business owner with 220 employees and knows firsthand the pressure that leaders can feel.
The model for Radiate Forum came about organically, Musselman said.
"We get the challenges of a mountain town," he said. "We relate to those business owners very well."
The results have been rewarding, and already they say they’re seeing strategic shifts come from participating business owners.
Now, they're in the process of filling the second session of Radiate Forum, which should start in January 2014. They want to limit the number of participants to eight so that everyone can have a chance to be heard.
"The illusion is that everyone else has it figured out," Musselman said.
Sometimes, you're just winging it, he said, and there's value in knowing that someone else has been there.
And like any good business leaders, O'Hare and Musselman already have eyes open for new markets.
That could mean spreading the model for business leaders to other mountain towns, such as Vail, or adapting the model to fit individual entrepreneurs or those in the Yampa Valley who've exited a business and are looking for something new.
"Could we offer a place for them to come and create?" Musselman said about the potential for a different type of forum. "It's about creating results, whatever that is for you."