014: Demonstrating love, care, and concern for your network with Cheryl Grohman

About Cheryl Grohman

Cheryl Grohman currently serves as the President & CEO of Executive Agenda, an exclusive membership organization dedicated to the professional and personal growth of senior leaders in Wisconsin. Prior to assuming this role, she served as President/COO for 6 years and Vice President and General Manager for 15 years.


Cheryl has been affiliated with EA and TEC/Vistage since 1987. Cheryl holds an Executive MBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and a BBA degree in office administration and business management from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.


Is networking an integral part of the organizations you run?

·         “Definitely, one of the most powerful aspects of EAs group learning experience is that each topic is discussed within the context of each members specific situation. By being together for so long and building trust, they really get to understand each others individual circumstances.”

Executive Agenda groups professionals from a wide variety of business and industries, what’s the reason for that?

·         “The strength of Executive Agenda is through the diversity of their members by experience, age, education, gender, and industry. That’s really what makes the organization unique, no matter how smart we are, how old we are, or how much experience we have, nobody has all the answers.”

Do members of Executive Agenda use social media to connect with each other?

·         “Absolutely! Even though EA groups only meet formally on a quarterly basis, the intent it to remain connected throughout the year.”

Share with us one of your best networking stories

·         “EA has been affiliated with Vistage International for that past 20-25 years. While attending one of the international conferences I had met a colleague from Argentina (Alejo Canton) who was in the process of developing peer advisory groups within South America. 


The second year of my EMBA program at UW-Madison included an international trip component. Our trip was going to be to Latin or South America (specifically Brazil and Argentina). I thought of Alejo Canton immediately and contacted him via e-mail. Alejo then put me in touch with two different contacts in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Through those connections a few of my EMBA colleagues and I were able to arrange in-person visits with local businesses in Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. A very neat experience!”

How do you stay in front of your network or community?

·         “Continually stay in touch with your colleagues, friends and acquaintances from time to time and demonstrate that you care when called upon for information. Be courteous and responsive!”

What advice do you have for business professionals looking to grow their networks?

·         “It’s critical to take time to cultivate your personal network every day, not just when you are in need of something. I try to be helpful and offer assistance whenever anyone approaches or contacts me, whether they are affiliated with my personal network or not. My personal core purpose is one of serving others. Therefore, for me, it’s always about helping others given you never know when you might be in need of someone else’s help.  I truly believe in the “pay it forward” concept.”

Digital networking or traditional networking?

·         “Social media (or digital networking) is simply people communicating through technology.


Currently, the majority of my initial communication with someone is digital that in turn creates an entré to establish a face-to-face or in-person meeting. But with current technology those face-to-face meetings can now also take place digitally (via Skype or Facetime) with anyone across the globe at any time. My personal preference, however, is to still meet with someone face-to-face in order for me to establish a more in-depth connection.


There is place for both, and my belief is that it depends on what you are attempting to accomplish through the networking connection.”

If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career?

·         “You spend the majority of your waking hours making a living to support yourself. So, it’s vital that you find a career that you love and are passionate about. I’ve been fortunate to have found that for myself – a profession that aligns with my personal core purpose that is one of serving and helping others. If you are truly passionate about what you do and can make a difference in some small way, it will seem like you have never worked a day in your life.”

Who would you love to connect with and do you think you could do it within 6 degrees?

·         “Either Tom Brokaw or Bill O’Reilly.  Both are excellent writers and are historians in their own right.  I might be able to make a connection within the 6th degree. I would likely start by connecting with colleagues within my Vistage International network with any connections in the broadcasting industry.”

What book are you reading right now?

·         “The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. Lencioni discusses a model for organizational health that is an everyday choice and can be a way of life for companies.”

Any final words of advice for our listeners??

·         Love, care and concern, must continually be demonstrated. Going the extra mile, helping others and doing the little things are what people remember. 


I believe the quote by Maya Angelou is: ‘At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel’.”


You can get in contact with Cheryl at:


Either by her e-mail: cgrohman@executiveagenda.com


via LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cherylgrohman