By Vistage Malta’s newest Chair: Dr Claire Cassar

My Membership Journey

My journey with Vistage Malta started a few years back. In 2013 I joined as a member, what was then the Academy of Chief Executives (ACE). In 2018, ACE was bought over by Vistage in the US and the membership benefits for all increased significantly with this takeover. 

Instantly, we had access to the Vistage Portal – this meant that we could now connect with over 25,000 CEOs globally. As a member I have the opportunity to engage on various topics of interest. The support and active participation is incredible! 

Through my membership over the years, I have had the privilege of a peer group of CEOs. My peers and I have developed a culture based on trust, respect, and challenge. We pushed each other beyond our respective comfort zones to become the best versions of ourselves. Moreover we also had the opportunity to participate in several speaker sessions by acclaimed international speakers. In these sessions we focus on various topics which move us to think in alternate ways about our personal and professional development.   

How Membership Helped me

One such experience for me was around 2015/16 where I was toying with the idea of leaving my position of CEO for an international company at the time. I had become partial to embarking in entrepreneurship. I was curious about what it really meant to run my own business. Having managed stakeholders, teams, budgets and organisations for shareholders and business owners for a number of years and wanted to pursue my next challenge. I wanted to see see if I was capable to achieve similar successes in my own ventures. 

My peer group helped me explore this juncture from various angles. I then took advantage of the 1-2-1 coaching with Nathan Farrugia, the Chair of my Peer Group to explore this further. With the support of my peers I took the plunge and embarked on some start-up projects. Their backing and encouragement was invaluable in helping me to prepare for this change and new ad/venture.

Becoming a Vistage Chair

It is this very support and the culture of a growth mindset within Vistage that encouraged me to propel myself further within the Vistage community. 2021 saw me become a Vistage Chair. Earlier this year, the same Nathan Farrugia, Vistage franchise holder for Malta, approached me to consider this avenue. A brief assessment of this opportunity quickly drove me to realise that I had a passion for it and would be excited to embark upon this journey.

I enrolled to the Vistage Academy in April 2021 and underwent training with the elite of US Vistage Chairs. They set us on in an intensive training programme but it was worth every minute. The programme covered elements from how to assess and attract new Vistage members, all the way to how to create an effective peer advisory group based on the Vistage values. They provided all the tools imaginable and assessed my skills each step of the way. In so doing, determining whether I have what it takes to run such a group. 

I am delighted to have successfully completed the training modules and received very gratifying feedback. Now I am proud to have successfully launched my first peer group for CEOs and business leaders in Malta, as part of the growing Maltese Vistage community. So far, the group is made up of 8 CEOs and business leaders from non-competing industries. We aim to grow the group by a few more members to enrich the experience for all. My aim is to have as balanced a group as possible, from a diversity perspective as well as ranging across a spectrum of professional experiences and expertise. The upshot is for all to benefit from the meaningful exchanges which take place within the group.