CEO Stress Project

How do very successful, highly visible business leaders manage the enormous pressures of their jobs AND sustain an enjoyable personal life and good health?"

That question has become my mission and the inspiration for the CEO Stress Project - a national study conducted by MHK Coaching.

How do successful business people address the pressures they feel every day? Simply put, they are the superstars of managing stress - the experts on how to deal with competing pressures. As noted in a Wall Street Journal article that featured my stress management coaching, high level managers are the white collar athletes of the corporate world.

Whether you aspire to be a company executive or to build a successful small business, or you've already achieved these milestones, there's always something to be learned from successful leaders. They're models and mentors for anyone aspiring to improve their capacity to manage stress in order perform optimally.

The CEO Stress Project: Sharing Strategies That Work

The purpose of the CEO Stress Project has been to identify and share the most effective strategies used by these masters of stress management. For several years I interviewed CEOs and other high level executives in a range of businesses and organizations.

Prospective participants were identified through self-referral or by the recommendation of someone who knew them. Each executive was interviewed by telephone for 45-minutes. The interviews consisted of specific questions but allowed for open-ended replies. The questions addressed the issues that are most in keeping with the mission of MHK Coaching. The interviews were tape recorded and transcibed.

Participants in the CEO Stress Project

The following is a partial list of the participants consisting of those who have explicitly given their permission to make their participation public. Company information listed first is what it was for each person at the time of the interview. Current information, when available, is at the end of the listing.

Tom Beerntsen, President & CEO, Heritage YMCA Group.Currently CEO of the YMCA in Door County WI

George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports; Co-chairman, Disney Media Networks.

Marilou Bova, President, BOVA International Inc.

Pamela A. Bresnahan, Partner and Chair of D.C. Litigation Group, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP; Member, ABA Board of Governors (2014-2017); Member, NITA Board of Trustees (2010–present); named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America; and, Best Lawyers in America in four categories: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Legal Malpractice, Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

Robert Castle, M.S., SPHR, Senior Director of Human Resources, Woodbourne Center, Inc. Currently a LCPC counselor at the Renewal Counseling Center in Perry Hall, Maryland.

Chris Coile, Founder & Chairman of the Board, Champion Realty, Inc. Currently retired.

Jon Coile, President & CEO, Champion Realty, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. In addition, he is currently chairman of the board of MRIS.

Gabriel Goncalves, President & CEO, PeopleAnswers, Inc.; Co-founder of HomeTracker software; founded, built, and sold Erapmus, Inc.; served on the international board of the Entrepreneurs Organization.

Howard Cruse, Superintendent of Schools, Indian Prairie CUSD 204, Naperville, Illinois.

Tom Darrow, Founder & Principal, Talent Connections, LLC. In addition, currently Chair-elect SHRM Foundation board of directors.

Jon Davis, Director of Texas Operations, MATRIX Resources, Inc. Currently executive vice-president at MATRIX.

Brad DeVries, President & CEO, HomeServices of Kentucky (dba Semonin Realtors & Rector-Hayden Realtors).

Carolyn B. Elman, CEO, American Business Women's Association; Speaker & facilitator for groups discussing issues affecting women; partnered with an Executive Exchange think tank to identify issues affecting women-owned businesses

Jon Feld, CEO, Navigator Systems, Inc. Named to Inc. 500 list 5 successive years; member of the Inc. 500 Hall of Fame; rated as one of the 25 best Small Companies to Work for in America by SHRM and GPTW .

F. Carter Heim, CPA, President, HeimLantz, Professional Corporation. Past President of the Maryland Association of CPAs.

Bill Hickman, President, The Gyst Group; Keynote Speaker; Trainer. Currently Trainer, Speaker and Coach at

Tom Hood, CPA, Executive Director & CEO MACPA; Previous positions include: Past President of MACPA; Treasurer and CFO of Bryn Awel Corporation, Accounting Systems Manager at RTKL Associates, Inc.

Jim Huling, President & CEO, MATRIX Resources, Inc., rated as one of the 25 best Small Companies to Work for in America by SHRM and GPTW; awarded the Turknett Leadership Character Award; Keynote Speaker. Currently Managing consultant for Franklin Covey's four disciplines of execution; Keynote speaker. Selected for the Turknett Leadership Character award; author of Choose Your Life.

Gary Jobson, President & CEO, Josbson Sailing, Inc. World class sailor, television commentator, lecturer, author, winner of the America's Cup with Ted Turner.

Ed Kelley, CPA, CFE, CFO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Annapolis. Now deceased.

Ann Kottcamp, CEO, Pharmaceutical Research Plus. Currently, she is the founder and owner of Argonauta Communications, Inc.

Clarke Langrall, Jr. President, Forecast Strategic Advisors.

Alan E Leis, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools, Naperville CUSD 203, Naperville IL.

Patricia Lynch, Founder & CEO, Women's Online Media and Education Network and Editor-in-Chief of WomensRadio and WomensCalendar. She was the first woman to begin an advertising agency single-handedly in the South; listed in the World's Who's Who of Women,the International Who's Who, and Strathmore's Who's Who. Speaker.

Barry Melancon, CPA, M.B.A., President & CEO, American Institute of CPAs.

Philip Merril, Publisher of the Capital-Gazette newspapers and Washingtonian Magazine; philanthropist; formerly Assistant Secretary-General of NATO in Brussels; Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State; member of the Department of Defense Policy Board; President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Now deceased.

Thomas B. Modly, M.B.A., Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Financial Management). Currently Managing Director in PwC's National Security Practice and the Global Government Defense Network Leader for the firm.

Emory Mulling, Founder & Chairman, The Mulling Corporation. Fellow of the Inter-national Board for Career Management; past president of the Society for Human Resource Management-Atlanta Chapter, recipient of its "Lifetime Achievement Award."

David Nour, M.B.A. Founder & Managing Partner, The Nour Group, Inc. Named to Georgia Trend's 40 Under 40, Atlanta Business Chronicle's Up and Coming and Who's Who in Atlanta Technology Awards.

Lynn Osborne, M.B.A., Founder & President, AD Management Insights, LLC. Awards from: APEX, Clarion, Communicators, MarCom, and AWC Excellence.

Aadil B. Palkhivala, is the founder of Purna Yoga™, Founder-Director of Yoga Centers™ in Bellevue, Washington (currently Alive and Shine Center), and The College of Purna Yoga. He is the President and Founder of Eastern Essence™organic Indian food company and President and CEO of The Innerworks Company™. He is the author of Fire of Love: Teaching the Essence of Yoga, a federally-certified Naturopath, a certified Ayurvedic Health Practitioner, and holds degrees in law, physics and mathematics. Aadil is a world renowned speaker, writer and teacher on yoga, yoga philosophy and alternative health care.

Mike Pappas, President, The Keyes Company, Real Estate-Mortgage-Title; YPO International Chairman 2007-2008;recognized as Real Estate "Up and Comer of the Year" by Price Waterhouse and South Florida magazine; YPO Legacy Award,named in the National Top 200 Most Powerful People in Real Estate by Swanepoel Power 200. In addition, he is currently Chair of El Shaddai Ministries, and Chair of the National Christian Foundation of South Florida

Ron Peltier, CEO, Home Services of America, Inc.; CEO, Edina Realty; Chief real estate strategist for Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway team; Honored with RIS Media’s first annual Homeownership Person of the Year Award; ranked number one on REALTOR® Magazine’s list of the real estate industry’s top 25 most influential people; named by a REAL Trends survey as one of the top five most admired individuals in the real estate industry.

Pamela Pine, Ph.D., MPH, Founder & CEO, Stop The Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse. International public health and health communication specialist and current Project Director for a positive development and coca prevention communication and education program in Ecuador with Constella Futures, the international health unit of Constella Group. Dr. Pine has been working for 30 years globally addressing some of the most challenging health and communication issues in the world today.

J. Clarke Price, CAE, President & CEO, Ohio Society of CPAs. Recognized by Accounting Today magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the accounting profession in the United States and by Accounting Technology magazine as one of nine technology superstars in the CPA profession; first non-CPA to chair an AICPA committee; past President of the Ohio Society of Association Executives.

Mary Lou Quinlan, CEO, Just Ask a Woman, Author, "Time Off for Good Behavior, How Hardworking Women Can Take a Break and Change Their Lives. Awarded "Woman of the Year" from Advertising Women of New York, "Matrix Award" from New York Women in Communications;" Speaker.

Wadi Rahim, President, AmDyne Corporation; currently managing partner Annalix Enterprises LLC.

E. Clarke Ross, D.P.A., CEO, CHADD. Over 30 years as an executive, including: Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy at the National Alliance on Mental Health; Executive Director at the American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association; Assistant Executive Director for Federal Relations; Deputy Executive Director at the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors; Director of Governmental Activities at the United Cerebral Palsy Associations.

Charles W. Sawyer, Jr., Managing partner, Meridian Financial Resources, Certified Estate Planner.

Linda Schuett, Esq. County Attorney for Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Selected as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women for 2001 and 2011.Co-author of "Maryland Rules Commentary" and author of "Advance Court Rules Service for Maryland." Currently Attorney at Blumenthal, Delavan & Williams, P.A. in Annapolis, Maryland.

Chip Schuneman, President, Kaplan IT Learning, Inc.

Paul Silber,Ph.D., President, CEO & Founder, In Vitro Technologies, Inc., Winner of Maryland's International Business Leadership Award and Entrepreneur of the Year Award for High Technology; Baltimore Business Journal's "40 under 40 top business people and "Who's Who in Technology;" Washington Techway's "Top 10 Bosses;" Greater Baltimore Committee's Leadership in Bioscience Award; the University of Baltimore Distinguished Entrepreneurship Award.

Mike Skarr, President & CEO, Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Martha A. Smith, Ph.D. President, Anne Arundel Community College; one of The Daily Record's “2003 Power Elite” and Maryland’s Top 100 Women.

Philip L. Soucy, Co-President & CEO, Modern Technology Solutions, Inc.

Dawn M. Sweeney, President & CEO, AARP Services, Inc. Currently President & CEO National Restaurant Association.

Susan Torroella, President & CEO, Columbia MedCom Group. Awarded “2004 Best Boss” by FORTUNE Small Business Magazine and Winning Workplaces; Named a Finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Donald E. Treinen, Co-President of Alliance Plus, Inc.; past Co-Executive Director of the Alliance for Employee Growth & Development, Inc.; Published author in four books on training, education, and partnerships. Certified skilled facilitator through the international Association of Facilitators. Currently retired.

Patricia H. Troy, CAE, Founder & President, FacetsWoman, Inc. Honors: Baltimore's Top 100 Women, ABWA Top 10 Women in Business.

Alfred J. Verrecchia, CEO, Hasboro, Inc. Currently Chairman of the Boards at Hasboro, Inc. and Iron Mountain, Inc.

Clinton Wingrove, CEO & Principal Consultant, Pilat HR Solutions. In addition he is currently co-CEO of CKT Solutions and co-author of Super Teams: Using the Principles of Respect to Unleash Explosive Business Performance.

Jeffrey Winter, Captain, United States Navy, Commanding Officer, VFA 113 Stingers, FA-18C squadron.

Ronald D. Wynne, PhD., ABPP, President, Washington Assessment & Therapy Services, Inc.

Publications Reporting The Findings of The CEO Stress Project

My book based on the project is titled, Mastering the CEO's Greatest Challenge: Strategies For Staying Cool in the Executive Hot Seat. It provides a report with anecdotes capturing how the participants manage their pressures, and guidelines from a variety of sources on optimal performance. The objective is that the reader will be able to develop the necessary skills to manage the three, often competing, facets of their lives -- work, personal relationships, and self -- to foster Synergy for Success.