Leaders Coming Together

Founded in 1996, the Alliance has become the premier organization for chief executives in Northern California. Our members run companies in virtually every industry and market sector ranging from emerging companies to multi-billion dollar global public enterprises.

The Alliance creates very private, high-level, confidential environments for members to have strategic business conversations that typically wouldn't, or simply couldn't, take place anywhere else. Technologies and markets are rapidly converging on a global basis and face-to-face meetings with other chief executives have become increasingly difficult, but even more critically important. We have found that simply bringing top executives with diverse talents and expertise together results in the discovery of innovative new strategies and opportunities.

Our Philosophy

We believe that every top executive who has valuable experience and a genuine willingness to help other executives should be part of the Alliance of Chief Executives. We do not judge people by their balance sheets, but by the experience, wisdom and creativity that they can share with their fellow members. However, it is critical that members develop respect and trust to enable frank discussions on very sensitive issues. As a result, we meet personally with each individual to determine their fit prior to extending an invitation to join the Alliance. We carefully craft each Alliance Group with a focus on the following values:

  • Our diversity provides access to executives who have already been there and done that on virtually every challenge or opportunity that a CEO may face. Diversity allows groups to conceptualize problems in novel ways that create innovative solutions and fresh ideas. Our members include men and women ranging in age from their twenties to their seventies who grew up in over 40 countries around the world.
  • Our independence ensures our members can trust that the advice and ideas offered by their fellow members will be unbiased. Independence enables frank, candid discussions on the most sensitive and confidential issues. Top executives find it difficult to find peers they can honestly talk to who are not their investors, board members, employees, competitors or paid consultants.

Alliance CEO Groups

Every Alliance member is invited into a group of chief executives who fit together and value the experience other members are able to offer. Alliance Groups are led by experienced Alliance Directors and meet in confidential, behind-closed-doors sessions where they use a unique Alliance methodology to:

  • Learn from the collective experience;
  • Gain a deeper understanding of fast-changing technology and market trends;
  • Discover new opportunities and fresh perspectives for future strategic initiatives.

Top Team Alliance™ Groups

Alliance member CEOs asked us to help develop the personal leadership skills of their senior executive team members and to enable them to address their most difficult challenges in the same way that we help our member CEOs. Therefore, the Alliance developed Top Team Alliance™ groups which include a diverse mix of CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CIOs, CTOs and other top marketing, sales, operations, legal and product development executives. Our Top Team Alliance™ groups share valuable experience and information to tackle their own real world issues and opportunities just like our Alliance groups for CEOs. Participants receive the equivalent of extensive business management consulting services and high-level executive education by listening to and interacting with industry experts.

Alliance Community

The collective wisdom and experience within the Alliance community of members is truly extraordinary. Although superficial networking is not allowed, members are able to make powerful connections with other CEOs who have experience dealing with similar critical issues or market opportunities. These strategic connections typically result from Alliance members and Directors proactively helping each other. In addition, the Alliance creates a variety of ways for Alliance members to connect with other top executives who have the exact experience or knowledge they need.



Membership Principles

The Alliance of Chief Executives brings chief executives together in safe, confidential environments where they can discuss their most challenging strategic issues and opportunities. Members come together with the understanding that in exchange for their willingness to share their personal experience and knowledge, they gain access to the collective experience and wisdom of CEOs from virtually every industry and market sector. To maximize the power of each of our private Alliance Groups, members agree by joining the Alliance to adhere to the following principles:

Alliance members agree that information divulged during private Alliance Group meetings shall be treated as confidential. Although we do not generally engage in discussions regarding, or ask members to share, highly confidential information (such as trade secrets, proprietary information, or information subject to a non-disclosure agreement), we do discuss business strategies and other issues that may be sensitive in nature. Members must use their own judgment and discretion in determining what information they choose to disclose. However, Alliance members typically feel comfortable in discussing their most challenging strategic issues because of the mutual understanding that members will honor the confidentiality of the information discussed in their private Alliance Group.

Alliance members gain the most value from the collective experience and wisdom of their fellow members when they discuss their most difficult strategic issues or most exciting opportunities. The most valuable ideas emerge when discussing major initiatives or significant challenges. The time our CEOs spend together is too valuable to waste on day-to-day tactical or routine operational issues.

Alliance members agree not to trade in the securities of any public companies with which any of the other members in their private Alliance Group are associated.

Alliance members understand that it is not appropriate to use their Alliance membership to solicit the business of other Alliance members. It is acceptable, however, for Alliance members to buy products or services from other Alliance members if they choose to do so.

Alliance members understand that the Alliance is not in the business of offering specific advice or recommendations. Alliance members make their own decisions and are not required or under any obligation to follow any recommendations of any representative or member of the Alliance. Therefore, neither the Alliance nor any of its agents, employees or other members shall be liable to an Alliance member for any advice, information or recommendations that such member may receive.

We encourage all members to get to know the other members in their private Alliance Group. Each Alliance Group becomes a powerful team of executives when each member's objectives, strategies and personal values are well understood by the other members in the group. Alliance members come together with a philosophy which encourages each of us to ask "how can we help one another" to clarify and achieve our visions and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get a better understanding of the Alliance of Chief Executives

The Alliance of Chief Executives was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area – the center of global innovation. The Bay Area includes people from all over the world and companies in virtually every industry. And, the people in the SF Bay Area actually believe they can change the world – and do! As a result, the Alliance culture, structure and members are quite different from other organizations founded anywhere else.

The first members who joined the Alliance in 1996 created a unique culture where leaders can come together in very confidential, “safe” environments and discuss their most sensitive issues. By enabling our members to access other members through a variety of roundtables, dinners and other “behind-the-scenes” connections, a culture of “willingness to help” was established.

Finally, the diversity of the Alliance is truly extraordinary and is “by design.” Most all breakthrough ideas come from outside of one’s own industry circles so the Alliance includes executives who lead companies ranging from small private companies to global multi-billion dollar enterprises. They come from all backgrounds and the pool of collective wisdom and experience is extremely deep.

Although every leader has important things that have to get done, they participate in the Alliance because they understand they must challenge their basic assumptions, explore new strategies, be exposed to new ideas, and observe how other executives approach similar challenges and opportunities. The average time our members spend participating in the Alliance is about 40 hours per year … less than 2% of their working hours. Alliance members believe the time invested to engage with fellow CEOs is some of their most valuable time. Listen to Alliance members discuss how they justify the time invested in the Alliance.

Although we certainly like all of our members to attend as often as possible, no Alliance member is able to attend all of their private group meetings. They are all busy executives with critical conflicts that simply can’t be avoided.

The Alliance structure was designed to provide the opportunity for executives to engage in the most intense and confidential conversations that they really can’t do anywhere else. The optimum size for such intimate and deep brainstorming sessions are between five to ten participants – 8 is about perfect. The average Alliance member is able to attend about 2/3rd’s of the time. Therefore, Alliance groups include about twelve members so: a) the actual meeting is the optimum size; and b) no member needs to “feel guilty” if they have to miss a meeting. We’re all very busy.

Hear Alliance members share some of the unexpected benefits they've received..

Although every member is quite unique, we’re pretty confident that you will find other members in the same industry or market sector … or with similar business models or structure … or who share similar personal characteristics. Our members include both men and women ranging from “twenty-somethings” to “seventy-somethings” and who were born in 48 different countries!

Members of the Alliance have grown up in countries such as: Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, Cuba, Czech, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad, United States, Viet Nam, Zambia.

One of the founding principles of the Alliance was the value of “diversity.” Founder, Paul Witkay, was in a group of healthcare CEOs in the ‘90s and, although he loved the individuals in the group, he found that they all thought like “healthcare CEOs.” They all had the same set of assumptions about what would and wouldn’t work. Paul, however, came from outside of the healthcare industry and believes that most breakthrough ideas are generated by connecting ideas from other industries who have different business models, different ways of doing things and simply “think differently.” Although Alliance members constantly learn ways to improve, the big “aha moments” come when they identify an entirely fresh new approach that can make a major difference in their businesses and sometimes even their industry.

Although the core of the Alliance is our private Alliance groups which provide deeply intimate and strategic discussions, we provide many ways for members to meet other members throughout the Alliance in a variety of industry roundtables, topic roundtables, Alliance Dinners, our LinkedIn Group and other activities. Because the Alliance fosters deep relationships, we don’t believe you’ll find more effective networking anywhere else.

Listen to Alliance members share some of the reasons why they joined.

If the Alliance is not the right “fit” for you for any reason – don’t join. We have no “long-term contracts” with any member and we certainly do not want to waste a minute of any busy leader’s time. If you join and if it ever stops working for you, you are free to leave at any time. We have members who have been members for more than 15 years, but we don’t want anyone to be here who doesn’t want to participate.

Candidates must be in qualified leadership positions when they are invited to become members of the Alliance. Once they are accepted by their private Alliance group, they are a member of that particular group for as long as they wish. However, very few leaders these days stay with the same company forever – particularly in the fast and furious Silicon Valley. The members in a great Alliance group build valuable relationships with other leaders whom they respect and trust and we don’t believe that these deep relationships should be taken lightly. Therefore, Alliance members are not automatically asked to leave the Alliance if they leave their current companies. If they still value the group (and vice versa), Alliance members are more than welcome to stay.

In fact, if they are “in transition” and don’t have a new company to lead at that time, our members are invited to attend our Alliance “Executives in Transition” Roundtable group which meets on a monthly basis at no additional charge.

The Alliance was founded in the SF Bay Area where most every CEO thinks and acts globally. Our members do business in well over 140 countries around the world and grew up in over 40 different countries. In addition, the Alliance has a partnership with the CEO Collaborative Forum which brings CEOs in Europe together. Alliance members are invited to attend CEO-CF meetings to connect with European CEOs and CEO-CF members also travel to the SF Bay Area to meet with Alliance members. Although we are based in the SF Bay Area, we ARE a global organization.

Although most Alliance members live in Northern California, a number of members fly into the Bay Area to participate. Let’s face it, leaders come to the Silicon Valley from around the world to be part of our dynamic ecosystem where they find investors, talented employees, strategic partners and other people who simply “think differently.”

Note: We are often asked when the Alliance will come to other areas of the United States and the world. If you believe there is a critical mass of CEOs who are willing to share knowledge and experience and challenge each other to build great organizations in your area, please contact Paul Witkay at paulwitkay@allianceofceos.com or at (925) 942-2403 and we will be happy to discuss the possibilities.

If you’re interested in the Alliance, simply call or email us and we’ll be happy to talk with you. We meet personally with every candidate for membership prior to inviting them to join the Alliance for two reasons:

a) We build deep relationships with our members and that requires that we actually get to know you; and

b) We “craft” each of our private Alliance Groups to create a powerful group of individual leaders who will respect and trust one another while bringing a diverse range of experience and skills to the group. To properly “fit” you into an Alliance Group, we want to learn not only about your company, but also your personal background and future ambitions as well.

First, no one really understands how powerful the Alliance can be until they experience it for themselves. Therefore, we do not charge anyone until they have attended their first meeting with their private Alliance group and we have confirmed that they are a good “fit.”

In addition, the Alliance does not require "long-term contracts” with any of our members. Although we have many members who have been participating for well over a decade, we do not want anyone to waste their valuable time if, for any reason, it’s not working for them. Our members can leave at any time by just letting us know.

If you are a fit for the Alliance, the cost of membership includes a one-time enrollment fee of $750 and annual dues that range from $9,000 to $10,000 depending on the type of Alliance Group. We also provide monthly and quarterly payment options for those members who prefer to pay on an on-going basis. We hate “nickel & diming” so our membership dues cover everything from our private Alliance groups … to our Alliance roundtables … to regional Alliance meetings … to “behind-the-scenes” Alliance Connections … and our “All-Alliance Dinners” for members and their spouses/guests.

Alliance Directors are highly experienced executives who are interested in leading one or more of our Alliance Groups. Directors not only bring a wealth of experience and wisdom, but are able to challenge and support members to achieve more than they thought possible. If you would like to learn more about the opportunity to join our extraordinary team of Alliance Directors, please contact Paul Witkay at (925) 942-2403 or at paulwitkay@allianceofceos.com.