The CEO Collective Launches New Website

Built with You In Mind

In our ongoing efforts to further enhance and elevate the services of The CEO Collective, the Raffoni Group has begun a website redesign project.  Going live in Q1 of 2014, it is our goal to deliver a state-of-the-art tool for all of us to employ in our ongoing, collective communications. 

The new site will:

  • offer comprehensive content on the value of the Collective - much of which you as members have helped us to develop
  • provide a For Our Members section for selective information and membership data
  • provide a For Our Partners section to provide interactive tools and information this group needs to further the Collective's success

About the Raffoni Group

The Raffoni Group has represented Boston's premier CEO network for over a decade. Their experience and carefully curated network of CEOs puts the power of active reciprocity in motion and enables CEOs to achieve great things.  Members of their invitation only collectives are carefully screened to ensure true peer representation and mutual "fit" that enables them to use their time spent with the group in the most meaningful way.  These groups are not simply support groups--they are programs that use proven methodologies to help CEOs identify, articulate, and execute intelligent business strategy. As a result, their member CEOs represent some of the most strategic minds in business. 



How to Frame Your Messages for Maximum Impact

A manager’s job is, quite simply, to motivate people toward achieving a common goal. Succeeding at this job requires an array of communication skills, ranging from delivering a prepared talk to helping team members negotiate the best way to move ahead on a project. No communication skill, however, is more critical to the manager than the ability to frame an issue effectively.

What exactly does it mean to “frame” or “reframe” an issue? Think about the metaphor behind the concept. A frame focuses attention on the painting it surrounds. Different frames draw out different aspects of the work. Putting a painting in a red frame brings out the red in the work; putting the same painting in a blue frame brings out the blue. How someone frames an issue influences how others see it and focuses their attention on particular aspects of it. Framing is the essence of targeting a communication to a specific audience.

Although conceptually framing seems pretty staightforward, the reality is that most people don’t do it well. This can be a problem especially for a manager leading a diversely talented team. Individuals tend to focus on their own particular needs and on matters relating to their specific areas of expertise. In so doing, they may lose sight of the details that matter for the project they are currently working on.

For example, consider a multidisciplinary team discussing how to improve a poor customer-service rating. The conversation wanders from product development to pricing to internal political struggles. Although discussion of each of these topics is fruitful to some degree, the team is not making much progress at finding a solution to the problem.

This is where the manager steps in to reframe the discussion. He points out what is and isn’t relevant to the issue at hand and brings the team back on track while simultaneously reassuring everyone that he hears and understands their concerns. By reframing the issue, he brings clarity to complexity.

Circumvent obstacles 
Helping employees get around roadblocks is one of the leader’s most important roles. Even if she does a terrific job of communicating her vision and motivating others to work toward realizing it, her team will encounter obstacles. A leader skilled at framing anticipates what those obstacles will be and uses framing techniques to help employees navigate around them.

The leader begins by isolating the issue and framing it so everyone understands it and its relevance to their own work. Then, she highlights the options for removing the obstacles, either by directly recommending courses of action or by posing questions that guide others to find them.

The manager’s reframing ensures that everyone understands the issue at hand: “So, you are saying that we should lower the price.”

The reframing also incorporates the perspectives of the various constituencies affected: “If we lower the price, customers will buy more, but we will lose margin, and it will mean more work for marketing and sales. Do we still think this is the best option?”

If the discussion gets off track, the manager uses reframing to bring everyone back to the issue: “Let’s keep in mind that the question is whether or not we need to lower our price.” The leader will continue to reframe the issue until the best solution emerges and the obstacle is removed.

Sometimes the obstacle is something employees are not comfortable discussing — for example, a colleague whose contributions are not hitting the mark. By framing tough questions in nonthreatening ways, the manager can fix the problem and get everyone moving ahead: “Let’s figure out what we need to do to make the project successful; do we need to move Jane to another team?”

Correct organizational disconnects
Strong leaders see where people need to come together. Because they typically oversee a group of people possessing different talents and skills, they are in the best position to point people to each other: “Your plan seems to be on track. You should consider setting up a meeting with marketing to make sure you are in sync. I know they are working to make your project a success, but it might be helpful to review things with them one more time.”

In this scenario, the leader frames the issue in a way that puts both parties in a positive light and makes it in their best interest to connect.

Change the Style, change the frame 
In their book, Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence (Harvard Business School Press, 2002), Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee state that the best leaders act according to one or more of six distinct approaches to leadership: visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pace-setting, and commanding. Their research found that the leaders who achieve the best results practice more than one style on any given day, depending on business needs.

Skillful framing shapes a manager’s communication to reflect the leadership style he needs for a particular situation. Strong leaders are cognizant of the role they want to play at any given time and frame their communications accordingly.

Consider the following situation: A team is frustrated with the performance of a newly launched product and wants to discontinue it. The manager can help the team in a variety of ways. He can decide that his purpose is to lift morale and convince the team to stay the course. By framing a discussion around the mission of the company and how this product is critical in achieving it, he assumes a visionary role. Or, he might choose to drive the team to come together to brainstorm ways to improve the product, acting as a coach.

Effective framing can be learned and strengthened with discipline and effort. The real challenge is when you are faced with the unexpected, such as new information or an unforeseen question. Keep your purpose and your audience foremost in mind so you can thoughtfully frame a response that furthers your goals — and strengthens your leadership.

Melissa Raffoni is founder of Raffoni CEO Consulting. She specializes in helping CEOs and senior executives improve their effectiveness and the performance of their companies.

The CEO Collective Announces 2013 CEO of the Year Awards

Outstanding Leaders Selected by Elite Groups of Their Peers


Boston, MA (January 21, 2014) – The CEO Collective, one of Boston’s foremost CEO Networks run by the Raffoni Group, recently announced its annual CEO of the Year Awards. These awards are presented at the CEO Collective’s annual retreat, a gathering of approximately 40 of the region’s preeminent CEOs. Nominated and ultimately chosen by their individual peer group members, award winners are those CEOs the groups feel best exemplify the qualities of an outstanding CEO and leader.


The CEO Collective connects these leaders through ongoing strategy sessions and rigorously structured dialogue throughout the year.  Facilitated by the experts at the Raffoni Group, members of the network are carefully selected for their experience, strategic acumen, their proven record of success, promise of future success, and most importantly, their “humble confidence.”  They consistently call upon each other to execute meaningful change and action, and want to engage in strategic discussion to push their peers’ thinking and sharpen their CEO skill sets. They are achievers, risk-takers, bold visionaries and enlightened leaders who inspire and challenge one another every day to reach their fullest potential.


The 2013 CEO of the Year Awards were given to Josh McCall, Chairman and CEO of Jack Morton Worldwide; Nick Gaehde, CEO of Lexia Learning Systems, Inc.; and Vic Odryna, CEO of ZeeVee.  Each was recognized for a unique set of strengths they bring to their group as well as their individual accomplishments over the past year.  McCall was recognized for consistently mentoring and pushing his group further towards excellence, his thoughtfulness and focus and for bringing compelling trends and issues to the forefront time and again.  Gaehde, whose company was strategically acquired this past year, was recognized for sticking to his vision and ensuring the acquisition remained focused on what was best for the company and its shareholders.  Odryna realized significant business growth in the past year, overcoming significant hurdles in the process but staying on track to execute his vision, which his peers felt was unparalleled in his group. 


The CEO of the Year award is not given lightly.  Each group needs to feel that its members are honestly listening and remaining proactive in their interactions with each other. “This is a great honor to be recognized by my peers. The CEO Collective exists to help member CEOs challenge and support one another to become better leaders and achieve our individual company goals. I am gratified by this recognition of my contributions to the success of others, as well as my ability to effectively act-upon the advice of my peers,” said Nick Gaehde.


Melissa Raffoni, CEO of the Raffoni Group, stated that the nominations and awards “illustrate the dedication and commitment that our program members have to each other’s success, which I continue to find it quite incredible, year after year.” Echoing Gaehde’s remarks, Raffoni also said that “one of the things that our CEOs tell me they love about our program is the accountability they have to each other.  They consistently drive each other towards success, with award winners seeming to strive even harder the next year, and non-winners aspiring to be the next year’s recipient.”


About the Raffoni Group

The Raffoni Group has represented Boston's premier CEO network for over a decade. Their experience and carefully curated network of CEOs puts the power of active reciprocity in motion and enables CEOs to achieve great things.  Members of their invitation only collectives are carefully screened to ensure true peer representation and mutual "fit" that enables them to use their time spent with the group in the most meaningful way.  These groups are not simply support groups--they are programs that use proven methodologies to help CEOs identify, articulate, and execute intelligent business strategy. As a result, their member CEOs represent some of the most strategic minds in business. 



MEMBER NEWS - Newmarket International Acquired by Amadeus

Amadeus Accelerates Move into Hotel IT Sector with USD 500m Acquisition of Newmarket International

Acquisition of leading IT provider to the hotel sector adds deep industry knowledge, key customer relationships and complementary product set 

  • Transaction is in line with Amadeus’ strategy of diversification into new business areas. 
  • Deal significantly strengthens presence in the Hotel IT market, and emphasizes commitment to the sector. 
  • Adds strong management team with deep subject matter expertise and understanding of the hotel industry. 
  • Newmarket will bring a strategic customer base with top tier hotel chains and substantial hotel infrastructure and expertise. 
  • Newmarket is a growing, profitable and cash-generative business that will be earnings accretive to Amadeus from day one. 
  • The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014. 

Madrid, Spain, 18 December 2013: Amadeus, the leading technology provider for the global travel industry, today announced that it is to acquire Newmarket International, a leading provider of cloud-based group and event IT solutions to the hotel industry, for USD 500 million. 

The addition of Newmarket, based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, US will bring a strong management team and talented workforce to Amadeus that will significantly strengthen the Group’s expertise and experience in the hotel IT industry, a key target sector for future growth. Newmarket also adds established relationships with key customers in the hotel segment.

“This important and strategic acquisition will strengthen Amadeus’ position in the hotel IT sector, bringing important expertise and key customer relationships to the company that will accelerate our move into this key market,” said Luis Maroto, President and CEO of Amadeus. “With many hotel chains at a crossroads in their IT strategy, and the provider landscape fragmented, Amadeus is committed to playing a key role in partnering with the hotel industry to address its challenges and this transaction will greatly accelerate that objective.” 

“The acquisition by Amadeus is great news for both our customers and employees,” said Jeff Hiscox, President and CEO of Newmarket. “We have built a profitable and successful business that is the undisputed leader in our market segment and by joining Amadeus we have the ideal platform to take that success to the next level and extend our leadership in hotel IT solutions”.

“Amadeus continues to develop and provide IT systems for the Hotel industry based-on our successful cloud-based platform in use in the Airline IT segment of the market. We intend to leverage the Newmarket business and proven execution abilities to expand the Amadeus Hotel offering to hotels worldwide”, said Jeff Edwards, Head of Global Hotels Group at Amadeus. “The combination of Newmarket’s expertise and exceptional customer service, with Amadeus’ scale and global reach will enable us to deliver a comprehensive set of integrated high value products and services to the hotel industry.” 

Newmarket, which serves around 22,000 unique properties in 154 countries, operates in the group and event management segment of the hotel industry, which is estimated to account for 30-40% of a full-service hotel’s revenues. It will be operated as a stand-alone business within Amadeus’ Global Hotel Group which will integrate many aspects of Amadeus’ robust products and services over time. The combination of Amadeus and Newmarket is expected to result in revenue synergy opportunities in both Hotel IT and Distribution. 

Newmarket’s products and services offerings are complementary to Amadeus’ IT product set which is focused on delivering cloud-based enterprise solutions in the area of: Central Reservations Systems, Property Management Systems, Revenue Management Systems and e-Commerce platform solutions. 

As a result of the transaction approximately 430 employees globally, including Newmarket’s entire management team, will become part of the Amadeus Global Hotel Group, maintaining Newmarket’s headquarters location in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

Newmarket has a strong track record of growth and profitability with estimated 2013 revenues of $110m and EBITDA margin of 31%. The transaction is expected to be earnings accretive to Amadeus on day one. 

Amadeus and Newmarket expect to complete closing activities in the first quarter of 2014 and therefore do not expect the transaction to have any impact on Amadeus’ financial performance in 2013.  JP Morgan acted as financial advisors to Amadeus in this transaction. 

Conference call 

We are pleased to inform you that our President and CEO, Luis Maroto, and our Head of Global Hotel Group, Jeff Edwards, will hold a conference call to provide an overview of the transaction. They will be joined by Sean O’Neill, Chairman of Newmarket.  A conference call will take place today, December 18, 2013, at 18:30 h CET. If you wish to join this event, please register at the following website, where you will find full details:

Notes to editors: 

Amadeus is a leading provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel industry. Customer groups include travel providers (e.g. airlines, hotels, rail and ferry operators, etc.), travel sellers (travel agencies and websites), and travel buyers (corporations and travel management companies). 2013 Amadeus IT Group SA 

The Amadeus group employs around 10,000 people worldwide, across central sites in Madrid (corporate headquarters), Nice (development) and Erding (operations), as well as 71 local Amadeus Commercial Organisations globally. 

The group operates a transaction-based business model. For the year ended December 31, 2012 the company reported revenues of €2,910.3million and EBITDA of €1,107.7 million. Amadeus is listed on the Spanish Stock Exchange under the symbol "AMS.MC" and is a component of the IBEX 35 index. 

To find out more about Amadeus please visit 

About Newmarket International, Inc.

Since 1985, Newmarket International, Inc. (“Newmarket”) continues to deliver proven business solutions for empowering hospitality organizations to lower costs and increase revenue, while improving customer satisfaction and guest loyalty. With more than 40,000 installations and 150,000 users in over 154 countries worldwide, Newmarket technologies are a cornerstone in the global hospitality industry. Offering solutions for sales and marketing automation, customer relationship management, catering and events, guest loyalty, meeting intelligence, workflow management, and property maintenance, Newmarket enables hospitality professionals to work smarter and better manage all aspects of their transient, leisure, groups and meetings business.

Contact details: 

Corporate Communication 
Telephone: +34 91 582 0160 
Fax: +34 91 582 0188