About Chief Executive Network

Our Mission

Chief Executive Network’s mission is to help our members and their teams to grow and succeed.

We believe in the power of peer networks to help smart leaders who are committed to continuous learning and improvement to accelerate growth, improve profitability and avoid mistakes by sharing benchmarks, best practices, lessons learned, advice and insights.

We also believe in the power of free markets. We believe that free-market capitalism has done more to create jobs and prosperity—and ensure democratic freedoms—than any other force in history.

We feel honored to serve the leaders and stewards of these free-market enterprises. CEOs and senior business leaders face a multitude of challenges and opportunities, and the vast majority care deeply about their employees, customers and communities. By helping CEOs and business leaders take their companies to the next level, we help you cure, feed, entertain and improve the lives of billions of customers, and create jobs and opportunities for millions of employees.

Our History

Throughout the 1980s, after leading numerous CEO groups, organizational expert Dr. Ronald E. Wiley came to the realization that executive effectiveness was dramatically improved in those rare cases when CEOs met with industry peers. Wiley recognized that industry focus gave CEOs not only outside perspective, but also specific, actionable ideas based on directly relevant, real-world experience. Chief Executive Network (CEN) was launched by Wiley on this principal in 1990.

In 1994, then-CEN member Bob Grabill took over the reins of CEN and professionalized the organization. Bob Grabill grew the network substantially and introduced the Senior Executive Network (SEN) for the direct reports of CEN members.

Fast forward to 2012, CEN became part of the Chief Executive Group (CEG), the leading provider of information and insights to America’s CEOs, senior executives and board members. CEG was established in 1977 and publishes award winning Chief Executive and Corporate Board Member magazines in addition to producing newsletters, research, training, events and data products for CEOs, senior executives and board members of America’s enterprise, middle-market and emerging companies.

In January of 2023, Chief Executive Boards International (CEBI) joined the CEN family. CEBI was founded by the same Ron Wiley as CEN to create powerful local CEO peer groups for busy CEOs. CEBI (it’s team and members) have a similar philosophy and DNA built on servant leadership and continuous improvement. Kevin Minton, the President of CEBI and former member, continues to lead CEBI and is now part of the CEN leadership team.

Chief Executive Network now has over 600 members spanning a variety of industries and locales and is growing rapidly. CEN employs over 25 facilitators who are personally chosen for their professional facilitation and business acumen skills. The result: a dramatically accelerated learning and growth curve for member CEOs and their organizations.


Wayne Cooper

Wayne is the Executive Chairman of Chief Executive Group, LL, which publishes Chief Executive magazine and produces events, research and communities for CEOs, Board Members, other senior executives. He is also the CEO of the Chief Executive Network.

Wayne is an experienced CEO and entrepreneur. Prior to his involvement with the Chief Executive Group, he was the Chairman and CEO of Kennedy Information. He and his team have also transformed the Institute of Finance and Management, Pyramid Research and Media Publishing International. He was also the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Vizeum, a web-marketing services company.

Wayne has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Stanford University. He lives in Greenwich, CT with his wife, Lisa, and has 3 grown children.

Rob Grabill

As President, Rob is responsible for supporting the existing CEN member base and growing the Network with high-caliber, high-achievement new members.

In addition to helping set the direction of the organization, Rob is skilled in sales management, meeting facilitation, contract negotiations, public speaking, social media and executive memory skills.

Rob has held positions of increasing responsibility with CEN. He began in 2003 as Meeting Manager, was promoted to Director of Sales & Marketing (2004) and then to Director of Sales & Operations (2007). He became VP of Operations in 2009, COO in 2012, and was promoted again in 2015 to his current position.

Rob has a degree in Economics from Southern Methodist University and lives in Kansas City, MO.

Kevin Minton
Managing Director

Kevin is Managing Director of The Chief Executive Network and President of its Chief Executive Boards International (CEBI) division. He is responsible for supporting our members and ensuring their success.

Kevin is a graduate of The Citadel. Upon completing college, Kevin began his career with the Fluor Corporation. Throughout his 20+ year career, he excelled through the ranks to became Vice President with assignments in multiple countries where he navigated existing and start-up operations through challenges, downturns, scale-ups and success. 

Following his heart, Kevin ventured toward helping private business owners and leaders to succeed not only in business, but also with an enhanced quality of life. An ensuing purchase of Chief Executive Boards International in 2013 facilitated this calling in which Kevin re-energized a legacy organization to provide an elite, business leader peer advisory growth and development experience.

Kevin is an accomplished speaker and author who’s latest book entitled “In Search of Balance – The Business Owner’s Guide to Building a Business and a Life” has guided many entrepreneurs with the techniques used by business pros. 

Chuck Smith
Managing Director

Chuck is Managing Director of Chief and Senior Executive Networks and responsible for new member development and member satisfaction.

Prior to joining the network, Chuck was a member of CEN for 5 years, as founder and President of NewHire. While leading NewHire, Chuck helped more than 2,000 companies create more effective and efficient recruiting processes. Chuck has been a featured speaker for business and industry on a variety of talent and leadership topics.

Chuck holds a BA in American Literature and Religion from the George Washington University and an MA from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

JoEllen Belcher
Director of Operations

JoEllen is an expert in meeting planning and membership operations. She began her career with CEN as a Project Coordinator before being promoted to Meeting and Conference Manager. In 2022 she was again promoted to Director of Operations and Member Services.

JoEllen has a BA from the University of Kansas. She holds the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation from the Events Industry Council.

Season Crawford
Marketing Director

As Marketing Director, Season is responsible for creating and implementing on-going membership marketing activities, including mail, email, social media outreach, content for the website, and promotional materials.

Season is a senior marketing executive with 10+ years of experience developing B2B multi-channel campaign strategies that build brand awareness, generate leads, and engage consumers.

She has a bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology from Washington & Jefferson College, a master’s degree in publishing from George Washington University with an emphasis on business and technology, and certifications in product marketing management and social media and email marketing.