CMM’s Joe Campolo has joined forces with John Miller, CEO of the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs, to moderate the monthly meetings of the HIA-LI Gold Membership. The Gold program is open to CEOs and Presidents of HIA-LI member companies that currently have 10 or more employees. Members enjoy camaraderie, support from fellow business leaders, access to high-profile speakers and elected officials, as well as a forum to network and collaborate. Below, read Campolo’s article from the March 2021 HIA-LI Reporter about the benefits of Gold Membership. To learn more, call the HIA-LI at (631) 543-5355.

A Golden Opportunity

By Joe Campolo

In 2019, midway through my term as Chairman of the HIA-LI Board of Directors, I began to focus on getting the HIA-LI Gold Membership Program off the ground. Working closely with my friend and HIA-LI President Terri Alessi-Miceli, we envisioned the Gold Membership as not just another networking group, but an exclusive CEO forum: a comfortable environment for decisionmakers to discuss issues only fellow CEOs can understand, without being pressured for business. This forum would bring together business leaders with high-level speakers at impeccable events, offer direct interaction with elected officials and other influencers on policy issues, and foster collaboration among elite executives and business owners.

In January 2020, we held a fantastic kickoff event at Jewel in Melville. Over delicious sushi and hors d’oeuvres, CEOs of some of Long Island’s most influential companies mingled and looked forward to a full calendar of sophisticated speakers, delectable food, and immense opportunity.

Then 2020 laughed at us.

But since then, HIA-LI Gold Membership has transformed from an event-driven program into a critical resource for Long Island leaders continuing to navigate the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the truth behind the adage “It’s lonely at the top,” we have been meeting monthly on Zoom to discuss solutions to the very real challenges these businesses owners and leaders are facing. These range from economic concerns (“How can I better manage my cash flow?”) to employment issues (“How do I manage the return to the office for remote workers?”) and everything in between. The support we’ve given and received from the group has made all the difference when facing difficult decisions that would otherwise be paralyzing.

We have also continued to bring the high-level speakers we had always envisioned as part of Gold Membership. In January 2021, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul joined us to discuss the New York State vaccine rollout, and following her remarks, members stayed on the call to discuss their current issues and share advice. As of press time, we are gearing up for our next meeting featuring HIA-LI board member John Bauer of Littler discussing employment concerns, as well as Roy George, Assistant Vice President of Clinical Initiatives at Northwell Health, who will address post-COVID healthcare issues. Upcoming meeting topics include a focus on the restaurant/hospitality industry, a deep dive into healthcare, and future investment in Long Island.

Gold Membership is offered to CEOs and Presidents of HIA-LI member companies that currently have 10 or more employees. While the look of membership has evolved from our initial vision (although we’re hopeful we can resume in-person meetings sooner rather than later), the goal remains the same. Gold members have the opportunity to brainstorm and innovate with fellow leaders in a comfortable environment where the focus is on collaboration and learning, not trying to get business. We hope you’ll join us.