Vistage NYC Review by Jill Vitiello, founder of Vitiello Communications Group

Life After the Sale: Retire into the sunset? No way.

Jill Vitiello, Founder and former CEO of Vitiello Communications Group, who joined Vistage in 2014 shares her review of Vistage NYC and Vistage Master Chair Mark Taylor.

I’ve been an active member of the women’s business community for decades. So when my chief operating officer recommended that we join Mark Taylor’s CEO and Key Executive Groups, I was skeptical. What more could we gain from Vistage? The answer: allies. Vistage is about helping members increase their leadership effectiveness and enhance their lives. Mark’s Groups include women and men who are committed to helping one another reach their goals. Thanks to Mark’s leadership and the expertise of our Group members, as well as the professional development provided by the excellent Vistage speakers, my team and I were able to achieve our strategic growth targets and execute a satisfactory succession plan. I’m thankful to my Vistage allies for their acceptance, business savvy and generosity.”

Over the past decade, we were able to double annual revenues and our team, which was my goal when I joined Vistage. But in recent years, our Fortune 400 clients were asking for expanded services and a global reach. So, we set out to accelerate growth and partner with a company that could help us achieve both goals.

When we connected with Forty1 and The Creative Engagement Group (TCEG) based in the United Kingdom, we knew it was a great strategic and culture fit. It was important that our employees would be highly valued and have more opportunities. Also, it was important that my clients would have access to expanded, world-class services. With our acquisition by Forty1 and TCEG’s parent company, Huntsworth, we achieved it all. And I’ve remained at the company, now known as Forty1-Vitiello, as a partner and executive vice president.

For me, it was never going to be about retiring into the sunset. I am passionate about what I do, and now I can focus on representing our brand and contributing to thought leadership. My husband recently retired, and we’re spending winters in Florida. That’s allowed us to enjoy more time with our older daughter, her husband, and our grandson. The rest of the year, we’re back home at the Jersey Shore, visiting our younger daughter and her husband. I see more traveling when things open back up again.

This was my company for 30 years – it was my baby; I never wanted to be fully out of the arena. And so I found a way to begin to take my hands off the wheel and ease into a different way of being.

It’s also deeply satisfying to know that “my baby” is in the very best hands. Nadine Green, who I hired in 2014 to run operations, was a Vistage Key Executive member, is now chief operating officer of The Creative Engagement Group, North America. And Kristen Erickson, who I hired as my assistant in 2012, is now heading up the company in North America!

There is a motto that I live by that I borrowed from Dr. Charlotte Jones-Burton, co-founder of Women of Color in Pharma: “We lift as we climb.” It’s so important to be sure you are turning around and giving a hand up to whoever is behind you.