CEOs seeking guidance and support to elevate their businesses can now benefit from the Master CEO Coaching Series by FSC First. This program provides personalized solutions to CEOs, empowering leaders to overcome obstacles and accomplish their goals.

Sponsored by FSC First and facilitated by Bay Crossing Consulting Services LLC and Integrative Management Solutions, LLC, the Master CEO Coaching Series is led by former FSC First CEO Shelly Gross-Wade and uses the I.N.S.I.G.H.T. assessment tool developed by co-facilitator Dr. Drena Valentine to guide participants’ experience.

Offered through FSC First’s Level Up program, the Master CEO Coaching Series fosters a non-competitive environment for transparent discussions and unparalleled learning, connecting entrepreneurs from diverse industries. The program is tailored to its participants through a needs assessment, placing non-competing businesses in different cohorts. Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, the program has already seen one successful cohort and authorized at least two more cohorts for future sessions.

Gross-Wade explains, “I jumped on the opportunity to lead this course because I’m very passionate about ensuring business owners have access to the tools they need to succeed,” says Gross-Wade. “That doesn’t always equate to just having access to capital. It could be having access to opportunities and other resources that are readily available in the community but that the business owner may not be aware of.”

“One of the things that we want the businesses to gain from The Master CEO Series is improvement in their business operating skills, as well as strategies and tactical approaches to growing their business,” Gross-Wade says. “They can gain that insight by talking to subject matter experts who have encountered some of the challenges they’re disclosing to us. More importantly, they do it in a non-competitive environment where they can be transparent about what they need to succeed.”

Gross-Wade says the program’s first cohort drew a diverse group of participants — entrepreneurs in the first-round program represented a range of industries, including a cleaning service, a yoga studio, and after-school tutoring. The facilitators had in-depth conversations with each participant, allowing them to select subject matter experts to present on topics most relevant to them during the course.

“The thing I liked most about this group is that while they were very diverse, they were very willing to share their challenges and personal limitations as entrepreneurs,” Gross-Wade explains. “Through that sharing experience, they identified individuals who will partner with them as they go through the next leg of their journey as entrepreneurs. As a result of the cohort, we saw some synergies and friendships develop. They’re comfortable sharing and know they can use each other as a small advisory board to help them overcome some challenges they will continue to encounter.”

In their assessments at the end of the course, Gross-Wade says the participating business owners valued the interactive environment. They will also hold future cohort sessions at different times of day to gauge what works best.

“They were most satisfied with the opportunity to have a coach available to assist them one-on-one,” says Gross-Wade. “They also greatly benefited from the group dynamics and the security of meeting bi-weekly with a small group of friends you can be transparent with. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive in that regard.”

For future cohorts, Gross-Wade explains that they intend to invite subject matter experts to speak at each session and provide more coaching in between sessions. Furthermore, prospective participants will be tasked with applying a learned lesson to their business in the interim and sharing their outcomes when the group reconvenes bi-weekly.

“I believe that what makes the Master CEO Coaching Series work for the small business community is that FSC First is committed to providing not only access to capital but transformational opportunities for businesses,” says Gross-Wade.

Dr. Stephanie Parson is the President of Crowned Grace International, a solution integration provider for public and private sector companies. They help clients like the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, Western Area Power Administration, DC Water, and Torrent Technologies, Inc. define, align, and execute their strategically focused business objectives through mission support, organizational development, change management, and information technology support services.

Dr. Parson recently completed the first cohort of the Master CEO Coaching Series and found the counsel she received through participation among its most valuable assets.

“Having participated in the Master CEO Coaching Series, I can confidently say it was a game-changer for my business,” says Dr. Parson. “Through this transformative program, I gained access to a dynamic mastermind group and expert advisors, providing unparalleled support and knowledge that proved essential in unlocking my company’s full potential. The series of comprehensive business assessments provided a clear roadmap for integrated change and growth, while the actionable strategies from industry leaders allowed me to implement immediate improvements. Engaging with fellow CEOs enabled me to exchange ideas, receive candid advice, and shift my focus from working ‘in’ the business to working ‘on’ the business. The Master CEO Coaching Series provided a safe and inspiring space to bounce ideas, ask hard questions, and recharge.”

Gross-Wade greatly values the chance to help entrepreneurs shape their path and encourages them to take advantage of this “perfect opportunity.”

“I value the opportunity to listen to people’s aspirations of creating a unique service in the marketplace and then determining its niche value, ultimately allowing it to become a lasting legacy for their family,” states Gross-Wade. “I find it very rewarding to be in a position to share and coach people through their challenges. It’s also satisfying knowing that what we share has the potential to level the playing field for these businesses and elevate them to an entirely new level of achievement.”

If you’re a Prince George’s County CEO seeking a distinct competitive edge, this is the perfect resource to enhance your business journey. Learn more about the opportunities Level Up offers on our website.


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