Imagine being handed complete control of a small business operation and told to “trust your instincts.”
Our GVP Program
The Chenmark GVP Program is designed to give individuals with the drive to run a small business the skills and experience needed to do so. This program sets GVPs on a course for success while helping Chenmark grow in line with our core values.
Successful GVPs spend one to three years progressing through the three-stage program. Advancement is based on the balance of performance, skillset, and the availability of opportunities at existing companies and newly acquired businesses.
When evaluating candidates, character and attitude are more important than prior experience. If you have what it takes to be a small business CEO, we’ll help you develop the tools necessary to be effective.
The three core stages of the GVP Program
Stage One: GVP
This stage provides the GVP with the chance to work directly with our leadership team in Portland, Maine. During this stage, the GVP’s time is split between M&A work and working with our operating companies on a constantly varied mix of challenges related to sales, operations, HR, finance, and technology, among other things.
Stage Two: SLT
In this stage, the GVP is given the opportunity to step into a senior leadership role at one of our companies, working and learning alongside the CEO who is often a former GVP themselves. This direct operating responsibility, and exposure to small business management creates an ideal training ground for our future CEOs.
Stage Three: CEO
This stage involves stepping into the primary leadership role at one of our companies. This is the final step in the program where you get handed the keys to a small business that is then yours to run with the support of Chenmark.
Former GVP / Current CEO of Freedom Tree Farms
When Matias received his MBA from Yale School of Management in 2020, he didn’t imagine that in two short years he’d be a tree farmer in Tennessee. After he completed Chenmark’s GVP Program, Matias says that stepping into the role of CEO at Freedom Tree Farms has been an exciting challenge, full of valuable lessons in leadership.
Former GVP / Current CEO of Southern Star & Buccaneer Pirate Cruises
Prior to Chenmark, most of Sean’s career had been in middle market private equity. Joining Chenmark as a GVP has given Sean the fulfilling career experience he’s always wanted, on a timeline he didn’t know was possible: he became CEO of a small business in just one year. As CEO of Southern Star and Buccaneer Pirate Cruises, Sean has traded in his suit and briefcase for shorts and a swashbuckling eyepatch. It’s been an unexpected life change, but he’s enjoying the change, the freedom, and the responsibility.
Words From Our GVP Alumni
If you want to run and build a company, you want the challenge and autonomy and are comfortable with true ownership and responsibility. And that’s exactly what you’ll get with the GVP program at Chenmark.
Did I ever envision myself running a dolphin cruise and a pirate cruise for kids in Florida? I certainly did not. It’s been as challenging and rewarding as it has been unexpected that I ended up here. It’s a constant learning process. Thankfully, it’s also a lot of fun.
Every day I’m learning something different about what it takes to run this business. Taking time to understand the ‘why’ of what we do and how we do it has been really important for me.