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Kirk McMillan

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©2019 Kirk McMillan

Meet Peter LaMotte, Principal Chernoff Newman



Vistage fueled my entrepreneurial spirit

My 20+ year career in marketing has given me the unique opportunity to guide companies from across the U.S. in all aspects related to their brand and image, including crisis communications, advertising and public relations. After spending 10 years in Washington D.C. where I led a firm with Fortune 100 clients, I decided to return home to South Carolina where I joined Chernoff Newman — an integrated marketing communications firm — as the senior vice president.


I was struggling to find my stride in a new city

Although I’m originally from South Carolina, I spent the majority of my career in larger metropolitan cities like LA, Memphis and Washington, D.C. I was struggling to find my stride with the slower pace of Charleston. A few weeks into my role, the president of Chernoff Newman, who is also a Vistage member, recommended joining a Vistage group. I was initially hesitant, but I knew there must be some merit to Vistage if the leader of our prosperous, 40-year-old firm praised it.


Vistage provided a safe and open environment

That’s when I connected with Vistage Chair Kirk McMillan. During our first meeting, he listened to the challenges I was experiencing working in a new environment and for a company in transition. At the time, I did not have anyone to turn to or confide in; I had just relocated and my network in Charleston was small. Kirk invited me to a few Vistage meetings and I decided to join Vistage in 2018.


One of the key reasons I decided to join Vistage was Kirk. He is warm and soft-spoken, with proven business and leadership experience. As a Chair and accomplished entrepreneur himself, he gives our group the space to support each other, step in when needed, and pull from his own experiences to steer us in the right direction. He fosters a close-knit familial environment that encourages sharing and helping one another on the path to success.


The members of my Vistage group are talented, driven executives from diverse industries and backgrounds.

From entrepreneurs, first-time business owners, and leaders of multi-generation family businesses, we come to each meeting with a variety of opinions, perspectives and experiences, which are invaluable when processing tough decisions. Our group meetings provide a safe and open environment where we can show up for one another, participate, work hard and leave with actionable takeaways.


Access to information that I could immediately put into play

Since joining Vistage, there are several key moments that stand out in my membership. One of my first meetings featured an SEO expert guest speaker who touched on the exact issue I was dealing with in my business at that time. I went back to my office equipped with new information that I was able to immediately put into play.


Since joining Vistage, there are several key moments that stand out in my membership.

Another guest speaker, Steve Snyder, inspired me more on a personal level, offering advice on how to live a better life and take moments to breathe. I can vividly recall at least two instances when I applied these tools to my personal life and multiple times when I used these tools in my business when I’ve hit roadblocks.


Becoming part-owner of Chernoff Newman

Most notably, Kirk and my Vistage group were by my side during one of the biggest highlights of my career: becoming part-owner of Chernoff Newman. During this process, there were multiple moments when I wanted to quit out of frustration, but my fellow members made me see the forest through all the trees. In fact, three members in particular offered perspectives that helped open my eyes to see a different path I could take. Today, I am the second-largest stakeholder of this historic brand in the South.


I may not have made the decision to become part owner if it were not for Kirk and my Vistage group who fueled my entrepreneurial spirit. Two years into my membership, Vistage members are who I go to when I have a problem, question or if I need advice on how I should manage an issue.


We have a strong caliber of people who have devoted themselves to helping each other on this path of success which – to me - is what makes Vistage unique and worth every penny. My career isn’t just a success story of Peter — it is a success story of Vistage.

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