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Ann Arbor Spark

Accelerating Growth Through Peer Groups

Wednesday, June 30 2021 at 11:00am - 12:00pm

In the book Optimize for Growth, Jonathan B. Smith outlines an integrated approach that helps ambitious leaders accelerate the growth of their businesses. He includes three essential elements:

  1. Business operating system with process and tools to articulate the vision, cascade it through the organization, clarify roles/responsibilities, and ensure execution through accountability.
  2. Peer advisory network to learn from thought leaders; share issues in a confidential setting; leverage the collective wisdom of the group and hold each other accountable.
  3. Individual coach to reflect, reframe, hold accountable and develop leadership skills.

In a panel Zoom meeting setting, Ed Holinski and Jim Hume will address each facet briefly, followed by practical examples of how these elements help separately and as a set, with an emphasis on peer groups and coaching. Research will validate the effectiveness of peer groups. Ed will speak from the perspective of an advisory board chair and Jim will share his perspective as a participating executive, both in Small Giants and Vistage. Expected timing:


Ed Holinski | CEO advisory board chair, Vistage Michigan

Ed is an accomplished business leader and advisor to executives. He works closely with CEOs of mid-size companies, coaching on leadership development and organizational growth.

He led a transformation and a redesign of human capital strategy at Mercer. At Marsh Inc, he co-led a transformation that embedded growth practices for client-facing leaders. Ed started, turned around and led several businesses in the e-learning and financial services sectors.

He is passionate about helping leaders transform businesses and enhance cultures. He gets great gratification from working with select leaders to improve performance, while enhancing their lives and those of their employees. Ed earned his BSBA at Madonna University and completed his executive education at Ross. He has taught leadership and risk management in the university and private sectors.

His greatest joy comes from being a loving husband to Lisa and a father to three wonderful children. Lisa’s and Ed’s most recent joy/challenge at home is developing their Cavachon pup, Beatrix.

Jim Hume | principal, Phire Group

Jim Hume is the founder and principal of Phire Group: a brand research, articulation, and activation agency. Phire’s mission is to unleash the potential of organizations by unearthing and celebrating authenticity, inspiration, humanity, and purpose. With more than 20 years in the industry, Jim has a wide range of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to successful startups across a wide variety of industries. Phire Group was recently named a Forbes Small Giant: one of America’s 20 Best Small Companies.

Jim attended the University of Michigan where he was a student-athlete. He founded his first company “fearlessly but naively” in 1998, just a few short years after graduation. As a result of starting so young, he credits mentors, like-minded leaders, and peer groups as essential in his growth both professionally and personally.

Jim lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife Colleen and their three teenage children.

Amy Cell | founder & CEO, ACTalent

Human resources and talent thought leader. She’s an entrepreneur, connector, business leader, and ‘carpe diem’ enthusiast passionate about people, mentoring, workforce development, community service, and talent attraction.