CEO Testimonials

I certainly got an appreciation for this leadership event. It is unique —unscripted and candid perspectives. Hard to find in my world. I am not sure how you prepare for such an event. The breadth of knowledge at your fingertips is awesome. So, thank you for the invitation to participate. I am grateful.

—Anne Mulcahy, former Chairman, Xerox

Candid comments by participants allow for organic discussion to take place. Not pre-planned as to outcome, only structure for discussion. Jeff moves the conversation around the room and people can weigh in. This is measurably better than we often find in other formats.

—Kay Koplovitz, Founder, USA Network

The sessions I was in were as good as I have been part of in a long time. People were lining up to jump in the conversation. Nobody wanted to see the second one end!

—Greg Fleming, Senior Research Scholar, Yale Law School

Another stellar event, Jeff. Lord knows how you continue to keep it so fresh and relevant!

—Bob Cross, Chairman, Revenue Analytics

Best Summit yet —content, attendance, Jeff, and fast pace was best ever.

—Chris Jacobs, former Chairman, President & CEO, Theragenics

I really appreciate the opportunity to be at the CEO Conference last week! It was like I went to the fountain of youth and wonder why it had been so long since my last! I really appreciate the opportunity and assure you that I will ready to go again! Your format and presentations are awesome! Plus it is networking at its best with genuine leaders and unique comrade connections!

—David C. Potter, Chairman & CEO, SOURCE Inc.

. . . an amazing performance by Jeff, as always.

—Alan Murray, Deputy Managing Editor, The Wall Street Journal

Congrats on another hit. Wouldn't have missed it.

—Ashton Carter, U.S. Secretary of Defense

I have been to seven of your CEO conferences and loved them all — but I had the best time at this one of any type of event like this! It was equally entertaining and educational. Part of this was due to the topics and preparation you put in and part of it was due to the perfect mix of industries and generations.

—Mike Leven, former President & COO, Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Thanks Jeff for a productive and interesting conference. I appreciate how much effort you put into these and how you focus on the key issues facing business. Keep up the great work.

—Ivan Seidenberg, retired Chaimran & CEO, Verizon Communications

Thanks for hosting a very meaningful discussion across many important subjects. Good tone, engagement and leadership by you. Well done....

—James McNerney, Chairman, Boeing

Great session. Never saw someone so electrified. You are such a master. The session on the bail-out and ‘should Wagoner leave GM’ was something any great Biz School would go nuts to replicate. Wow!

—Rick Goings, CEO, Tupperware Brands

I'm simply glad to support you.

—Stephen Schwarzman, CEO, Blackstone

Jeff, you simply are the best. It is always a privilege to see you at work. I always learn new things and come away so inspired. Again, thank you for another terrific Summit.

—David Miller, Director, Faith & Work Initiative, Princeton University

The past two days were not only interesting and educational but it was tremendously enjoyable. I want to thank you for including me in this summit. Your skill in combining deep knowledge of the business context, economic context, political context, and the personal history of the CEOs is unmatched. Seriously, I kid you not, it is no wonder, these busy CEOs and other leaders come back again and again.

—Anil Menon, President, Global Systems, Cisco Systems

Thank you very much for another wonderful CEO Summit. I left this one as I have the ones in the past -- energized and ready to apply what I have learned to my own firm. I am impressed by the job your team does. Well done by everyone.

—Timothy Harkness, Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US

Thanks for including me in the Yale CEO Summit. I always learn something, always meet interesting people who can help us in our public diplomacy effort, and always marvel at the ground you cover and the uniquely engaging style with which you do it.

—Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus, DDB Worldwide

The CEO Summit was truly 'over-the-top.' The discussion re: China-India-US was fabulous . . . so timely, interesting, informative, provocative . . . as always you extracted the essence of what is important. . . . I am grateful for the opportunity to re-charge, hear new ideas, see friends made at earlier Summits, make new friends . . .

—Marty Evans, former CEO, American Red Cross

A tour de force! What else can I say after one of the most informative, productive, and enjoyable 26-hour periods of my long business career. Your energy is amazing—on your feet hour after hour, but never losing a step. While other emcees might have snatched 40 winks instead of breakfast, there you were on CNBC, looking fresh as a daisy and rattling off cogent insights on the previous day's seminar. Amazing . . . but I repeat myself.

—Jack Bogle, Founder, Vanguard Group

Thank you for allowing me to sit in on the SOM conference. You have a loyal following because of your incredible energy, insight, and intellectual showmanship. You also have the courage to ask some probing questions.

—Bob Pozen, MFS Investment Management, formerly Fidelity Investments

Thank you for including me in the Yale CEO Leadership Summit. The session was terrific. The topics, the participants and your approach and skills as a moderator made this experience far better than any other CEO forum in which I have participated. I hope our paths cross again soon.

—Ray Gilmartin, former Chairman, President & CEO, Merck & Co.

You have created and cultivated an incredibly rich environment that is truly without parallel. I am grateful to be part of it . . . I can’t believe how much you know! Thanks again for a fabulously enlightening 24 hours!

—Stewart Friedman, The Wharton School

You are a wonder. What a show. So much talent. So much value added. You are so gifted, but the one thing I find overall most fun and helpful is your ability to leverage all the connections to go after that possible new insight, that possible new articulation that shapes, simplifies, or gets in some nuance or way a better or clearer grip on truth. And, most respectfully, your team continues to reflect the passion of this determined effort with their quiet competency, graciousness, and always helpful manner. All together a great treat of inspiration, heart, and can-do worth-it-ness in a world that continues always overburdened with bad models and among other troubles a believe it or not presidential (Carter) musing on our current and long decay. Well, in this wonderful season to have your joyful work of art is a huge gift.

—Don Burr, Founder, People Express Airlines

I have been to many conferences over the years. However, the Yale CEO Conference was 'the best' experience I have had at one of these conferences. . . . I left New Haven with a smile on my face thinking about what I experienced over the last 24 hours. I left with a wonderful sense of satisfaction that this was well worth my time. I also left with a great sense of respect and appreciation for what you and your staff did for so many of us during our time together. A tip of the hat to you, Jeffrey. I hope you feel as good this morning as so many of us do today because of the opportunity we had to attend and participate at your conference. I hope you will provide me with the privilege to return to this conference on an annual basis. Count me in as one of your more satisfied customers!

—John Connolly, Managing Director, Bain Capital Ventures

I have a low degree of patience for long speeches and abstract, naïve theory. This 24-hour event had my riveted attention throughout. I learned a great deal about current and future challenges for our business, and loved the tone, the timing, and the topics. In fact, I even met five or six CEOs seated around me I’ve always wanted to know. Count me in for future Summits.

—Jim Donald, former President & CEO, Starbucks

What a wonderful experience! Your work with the group, making everyone feel a part of the experience whatever his or her role or background was truly admirable. The organization and thought that goes into such an event is mindblowing to say the least.

—Lynda Katz, 3rd President, Landmark College

It has been five years since I attended my last Yale CEO Leadership Summit, but the program has not lost any of its allure. In fact, the program seems to go from strength to strength. I found the sessions both interesting and topical. Jeff is still the best in bringing out a rich discussion on the issues of the day, and a master of multi-media as he has been in the past. I came away with several new points of view that pertain to my own business and a variety of relationships, some new and some refreshed. Congratulations . . .

—John Harris, Managing Partner, Booz Allen Hamilton

I admire the enthusiasm and participation of the really good execs. It’s truly unusual and much better than the copycats.

—Ira Millstein, Senior Partner, Weil Gotshal & Manges

Normally your programs are very well done, informative and lots of fun. I think this was the best I have attended. The energy on the first afternoon and evening was just outstanding.

—Larry Selden, Professor Emeritus of Business, Columbia Business School

As a non-profit executive, I don’t often get the opportunity for such high quality learning. Thank you for inviting me.

—James Firman, President & CEO, The National Council on the Aging

A triumph of topic selection, substance, and engagement of the audience by Jeff Sonnenfeld. By far the best business-oriented conference I attend. Congratulations on another triumph of substance and active engagement with a significant audience. You are remarkable and should count me as a lifelong enthusiast.

—Ashton Carter, U.S. Secretary of Defense

This was an outstanding event —the first of this type I have ever attended. I don’t know how it could possibly be improved.

—Peter Johnson, President, Sinclair Oil Corporation

It’s difficult to believe that you can find a way to make each of these summits better than its predecessor! And, you make it look so effortless. The ”live cases” that began each day were fascinating, energizing and provocative. The buzz was terrific. The breakouts seemed particularly energized.

—James Guthrie, National Advertising Review Council

Absolutely terrific event—nothing else comes close!

—Jeremy Eden, Co-CEO’s, Harvest Earnings

Many, many thanks for including me in the Summit—24 hours to engage and reflect on really significant issues . . . I so appreciated the "food for the soul" you provided. . . You are simply the best teacher I know. It’s a privilege to be a student!

—Marty Evans, former CEO, American Red Cross

You did a fabulous job of hosting the session I was involved in. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so adept at asking so many people the right question, keeping things flowing, inserting video when needed, etc.

—John Pepper, CEO, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Once again, a masterful performance! Thanks for thinking of me (again).

—Richard Cavanagh, former President & CEO, The Conference Board

. . . had a great experience last week. Thanks again and I look forward to our paths crossing again.

—Richard Moore, former Treasurer, State of North Carolina

This is the one CEO gathering which I never want to miss. There is no place where you see comparable preparation, let alone energetic and honest discussions. Once again, I really learned something. Count me in again for the next one.

—Reuben Mark, former Chairman & CEO, Colgate-Palmolive Company

Great format and star-studded group of attendees. The learning is continuous. Jeff is the best moderator I have ever seen!

—Gerald Kokos, former President & CEO, VFA Corporation

I am stunned with admiration of your knowledge and understanding of EVERY person there and the most amazing skill at ‘group facilitation’ I have truly ever seen. The whole event was truly one of the most extraordinary events of my life.

—Barbara Toffler, Author, Final Accounting

Masterful facilitation, amazing participants. This is truly the next generation of executive education —the real article....

—Dina Dommett, Oxford Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

It was, for me, a smashingly exciting adventure, my first entry into the ‘Sonnenfeld Boys and Girls Camp for CEOs’ . . . I was a bit awestruck at how skillfully you handled the crowd, particularly the first name basis with everyone and the penetrating prodding to keep the heat on!

—Jack Valenti, retired President & CEO, Motion Picture Association

It was a great conference, and I know where the producers of Larry King Live will turn once the incumbent can no longer serve. You cover quite a range of ground in the conference, which probably makes it most interesting for the participants. I enjoyed the chance to participate, appreciated the invite, and was privileged to watch you conducting the orchestra.

—Richard Breeden, Former SEC Chairman and Chairman, Breeden Capital Management

It WAS a terrific summit, and I thank you.

—Tom Stewart, former Editor, Harvard Business Review

Thanks again for including me . . . . The events were outstanding. Every time I participate I marvel at the extraordinary group of people that you assemble and the excellent discussions and contacts. I always come away with great, new ideas and new ways of thinking about the issues.

—Joel Reidenberg, Fordham Law School

You put on a great conference again this year. I continue to marvel at your unique talent for drawing people out in productive ways and in keeping everyone feeling that they are an integral part of what is going on; congratulations!

—Sam Hayes, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School

It was a great meeting . . . that you went ahead and held it in the face of September 11, and wove the incredible implications of the event for one and all. I thought the inclusion of representatives from all sectors (profit, nonprofit, government, etc.) as well as academics from Yale and elsewhere enriched the experience.

—Bill Donaldson, 27th Chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

This is as stellar a group as I’ve seen at this type of event; big-time kudos to you!

—Sydney Finkelstein, Professor of Strategy & Leadership,Tuck School, Dartmouth College