Letter from the founder

The Idea: As the founder of Acclaro Growth Partners, (acclaropartners.com), I had always wanted to do more work with the portfolio company management teams that I so admired, The Operators. I had respected their work to improve value under tight timelines, and demanding boards. After hiring a CEO and COO to run the core business at Acclaro, I successfully transitioned myself out. With time to pursue interests, I began to informally reach out to self-described PE-Backed Executives on LinkedIn.

Discovering an Unmet Need: 

  1. PE Culture Shock resonates; and Imposter Syndrome can play a role as well.

  2. There are very, very few other career support resources for PE-backed Executives.

  3. The need for collaboration, brainstorming, support and networking is much wider and deeper than I originally realized. I simply focused on asking questions: What do you want, need, and how can a Community of The Operators support you? The answer, overwhelmingly, boiled down to two words: Career Support. The average tenure of a public company executive is six years. The average tenure of a PE-backed executive is three years. 

The Vision: To empower Operators in their roles as executives of PE-backed portfolio companies, by enabling them to find the answers they need (without feeling foolish), succeed in their value creation quests more easily and efficiently (by providing resources and content to enabling them to do so), gain enhanced peace of mind and contentment by making their jobs (if even only very slightly) easier, and facilitate ways for them to find their next role more quickly and efficiently. You have a very stressful, challenging, time-constrained role – with outsized expectations in terms of value creation in a short period of time. And that is in addition to everything else involved in running a business!

The Operators Community exists as a series of peer advisory groups and on our online community platform, Circle. Our goal is to facilitate cross-pollination for those involved in the middle market private equity ecosystem. Below are our peer advisory groups. Let us know if you would like more information about joining.

  1. Career Resource Council — There are at least four purposes of the Group: Career Transition Support — To enable Operators to land their ideal next role more efficiently and more effectively.  We meet three times per month (once as a peer group, once with an expert speaker on topics involving career transition process steps, and once with a PE Group in hiring mode).  First 100 Days Discussions. Value Creation Content and Support. Exit Planning Thought Leadership.

  2. Strategic Growth Council — A dedicated, recurring group of about 10 Operators who meet once a month for 2.5 hours to formally solve at least one “case” (a strategic growth / value creation dilemma) inside their portfolio companies. We also have value creation discussions at the beginning of each meeting, followed by an expert guest speaker. The highlight of the meetings, however, is the intentional, formal process for solving “cases.” Here is a link to the website.

  3. Operating Partners Roundtable — Currently only a nascent, emerging group, the intention behind it is to serve as a Strategic Growth Council for OPs. Operating Partners have tremendous wisdom, insight, experience, skills, connections, resources and more. They are called upon to solve portfolio company “up-at-night” dilemmas, quandaries, questions, concerns, challenges, or perhaps ideas or opportunities. From time to time, they face a portfolio company situation that requires best practice assistance that the Operating Partner simply does not possess. In other words, Operating Partners acknowledge that they occasionally are asked to assist portfolio companies in ways that are outside of their comfort zones. They appreciate the opportunity to share, confidentially, the issue they are facing with other experienced Operating Partners who may have highly relevant experience with the “case” at hand. We also invite Operating Partner expert speakers to the Group and discuss the Operating Partner career path, as amorphous as it is.

  4. Independent Sponsors Council — Because Independent Sponsors must find ways to perform the functions that whole staffs of business development, LP relations, deal teams, operating partners, and administrative team members conduct, and more, in traditional private equity funds, they routinely find themselves a little “over their heads.” Independent Sponsors benefit from asking for advice, support, guidance, best practices, or introductions — from other Independent Sponsors, who are also jacks of all trades, but may be masters in an area that is highly relevant or needed. The purpose of this group, which meets monthly, is to enable networking and collaboration.

  5. Trusted Advisors Council — Those small professional services firms that participate in the middle market M&A ecosystem often struggle in the branding, marketing, business development outreach to PE and portcos. Most of the “cases” we solve relate to business development, business model and relationship building within the PE ecosystem. 

A Sincere Invitation:  Join Us. If you are like the rest of us, you’d benefit from a safe space to ask, share, and collaborate with other PE-backed executives – to resolve strategic dilemmas, quandaries, concerns – or to ideate, brainstorm, vet ideas, and discuss opportunities.

May you have many more successful liquidity events, and have fun achieving them,


Independent Sponsors Council

The Independent Sponsors Council exists to enable small Private Equity Groups known as Independent Sponsors to help one another out in aspects of running their businesses where they have less experience. Independent Sponsors must find ways to perform the functions that whole staffs of business development, LP relations, deal teams, operating partners, and administrative team members conduct, and more, in traditional private equity funds. You therefore are responsible for numerous areas of responsibility, some areas of which you are clearly masters at, and some areas of which you are, perhaps, in a little over your head. You may want to ask for advice, support, guidance, best practices, introductions or to find answers to dilemmas. Your best sources of insight may very well come from other Independent Sponsors, some of whom will have expertise in the areas in which you may feel less comfortable. The purpose of this group is to enable such networking and collaboration.

This group meets on the First Friday of each month, from 11-1230 Eastern.

Middle Market M&A Ecosystem Council

The Middle Market M&A Ecosystem Council is for smaller trusted advisors serving private equity groups and portfolio companies. We brainstorm on best practices in business development, marketing and outreach and we solve cases relating to strategic growth dilemmas. The Middle Market M&A Ecosystem is composed of hundreds of small professional services firms, trusted advisors who would make business decisions more effectively and efficiently if they had a dedicated, recurring cadre of peers serving the same end market: Middle Market Private Equity Group and their portfolio companies. Here are several ways that being a part of the Ecosystem Council may create value for you:This group meets monthly on the second friday of the month from 1030AM-12N.

Career Transition Council

Career transition situations serve as the most significant motivator for members to join the community of operators at large. This group is composed of more than 75 Operators in some stage of career transition.The Group meets every two weeks on a recurring basis, Wednesdays at 11-12 Eastern. We discuss best practices in the Career transition process, network, introduce, solve dilemmas with/for one another, and celebrate progress individually and collectively.

Strategic Growth Council

The only peer advisory council specifically for PE-Backed Operators. We focus on solving strategic growth dilemmas. Benefit from our community of C-level executives to act as your informal advisors — and you as theirs — in a confidential environment you can trust. We match you with the best peer group for you and provide you with experienced moderating in a proven format.

This group meets on the third Thursday of the month from 11:30AM until 2PM Eastern.