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The CEO Program: Leading with Purpose 

June 26-29, 2017

Program Brochure

This one-of-a-kind, proven program is designed for both current and aspiring CEOs or for those who simply want to excel with confidence and conviction in the upper echelons of executive responsibility.

Program Description (+)

Leaders today must know how to handle the complexity of unpredictable, volatile forces that impact their business. These include changing priorities, counterintuitive imperatives and events largely beyond their control. Organizations are simply not built to innovate in a transformative era characterized by decaying business models, transient competitive advantages, bad strategies and an unquestioning reliance on archaic management methods and tools. This new world demands a different kind of leader – one who is mindful and focussed on initiating strategic conversations that question rather than reinforce the status quo.

Leading with purpose requires, among other essential skills, the ability to make tough but smart decisions, develop and apply one’s strategic intelligence and foresight, see the organizational bumps and anticipate career derailers before they arrive, select talent and build a strong, cohesive executive team, relate well with key stakeholders and gatekeepers, deal with unexpected crises and high-impact surprises, articulate strategies that both inform and inspire, foster a culture of resilience and create business and management models that can compete for the future.

Beyond skills alone, the responsibility of leadership demands that you deal effectively with ethical dilemmas and avoid the ever-present allure of the slippery slope, know how to nurture and lead people who are brighter than you are, design and build smart, healthy organizations, decide when "the game" must be retooled, overcome self-doubt and find those enlightening answers to role-defining questions that will determine your destiny.

Do you have the requisite emotional and mental competencies, interpersonal skills, street-smart insights, decision-making competencies and the executive presence to lead others? Regardless of your ultimate pedestal or station in business, do you know what it really takes to lead others? And, if so, do you actually possess the inner moral compass and critical skill sets to do it with purpose? Because, today, the opportunities abound – organizations now replace their CEOs every four years on average and over 40% (the unprepared) flame out within their first 18 months.

This practical, intensive, provocative, highly interactive and advanced program is the creation of Dr. Jim Murray who has successfully led large and small organizations in the public and private sectors. He has a remarkable track record of helping senior executives and over 600 organizations achieve their often underappreciated potential. His life’s quest over 40 plus years of exemplary practice is to liberate personal genius and change lives.

Before you decide if this potentially life-altering learning experience is for you, take a moment to read the testimonials of prior participants to determine whether it will deliver what you are seeking.

Who Should Attend (+)
This program is aimed primarily at those currently in positions of executive responsibility. Its premise is that, no matter what your starting point, you can always get better. Indeed, with the right framework, tools, insights and guidance, you can become extraordinary. Face it: you are the only one responsible for realizing your ultimate station in life. Where you are today is a consequence of your past choices. Where you will be in the future is the product of your decisions today.
Testimonials (+)

While there is plenty of information about the program on this site, the best information often comes from your fellow peers. Here is what some had to say about the The CEO Program:

  • Relevant, current, distilled research, an abundance of valued information for reflection, working tools for years to come and actual scenarios of the challenges I will face.   –  President, Montreal
  • A slap in the face, a wake-up call that taught me what I need to know to be CEO. Your passion is incredible – a living example of  “do what you love.” – VP Finance, Vancouver
  • I now recognize the paramount importance of where I’m at in my skills and my progress. You brought the necessary clarity to where I want to go and how to get there.         – CFO, Bermuda
  • I came with a great deal of self-doubt but I am leaving with the knowledge that I have the DNA to do the job and that I need to start doing it.  Thank you.  – COO, Calgary
  • Your tools and questions forced me to really think about what it takes and whether I really want to be a CEO. Now comes the time to step forward.     – COO, Belleville
  • Most informative and enjoyable – one of the best I’ve attended. Your personal experiences were very much an integral part of the program.     – President, London
  • This course lit a fire for me to strive for more. You stimulated my desire to do it the right way.     – Controller, Edmonton
  • I learned the critical difference between leading and managing. I met some great people with different perspectives on important issues. I will map the next steps but now know how to do this.     –  CFO, Red Deer
  • I now have the tools needed to clinically evaluate why my organization is not functioning well. I now know how to correct it.     – CFO, Vancouver
  • Your style and challenging ways are thought-provoking. You have both academic and life experiences to back it up. Thank you for inspiring me.      – Senior VP & COO, Kelowna
  • Overwhelming!! The best insights I’ve ever received as to what I don’t know and how I need to change my way of thinking, doing and acting if I want to succeed.     – District Manager, Kelowna
  • I have an MBA from a great school but your insights and street smarts can’t be taught in a regular school.   – Partner, Vancouver
  • After a year as CEO, this experience helped me refocus on the big picture, prioritize matters that really count and make a serious commitment to making changes.     – CEO, Richmond
  • The challenges you framed, your stories and thought-provoking exchanges confirmed my full commitment to becoming an outstanding CEO. You left me with some significant questions I need to answer.  – VP, Toronto
  • Provided a conceptual framework to help me focus on what really matters. Your “agent provocateur” style is the right dosage for the hardwired brains of most accountants.    –   CFO, Dubai

Our alumni include participants from the following organizations:

Al Ghurair Group, Rogers Media, Bell Canada, CMN Global, York Central Hospital, Halton Region, The London Community Foundation, Bermuda Press Holdings, Dentsu Canada, Kinross Gold, and many others.

Curriculum (+)

The CEO Program is highly practical, reflective of the latest research and interactive. The teaching/learning emphasis is placed squarely on participation and relevant case studies are used to ensure "learning by doing." The depth and breadth of participant experiences is one of the primary benefits of attending this program. You will receive a pre-course workbook with readings and diagnostic exercises and are expected to complete certain tasks prior to your arrival. Doing so will ensure a higher return on your investment and enable more material to be covered in the time available.

2017 Curriculum

  • The Opportunity and Realities of CEOdom
    • Lesson #1 – the reasons why CEOs get fired
    • The difference between "the good" and "the best"
    • Uncomfortable truths and gritty realities of being top dog
    • The CEO disease: The affliction of high achievers
    • The antidote: What every leader needs to acknowledge
    • What will disqualify you as a leader (before you begin)
  • The Challenges of Leadership
    • The challenges CEOs face: Inside, outside and in the future
    • Leadership in the C-suite: What it is and what it is not
    • The critical intelligences that separate leaders from pretenders
    • Achieving clarity of focus: The CEO’s defining mantra
    • Leader or manager: Defining the CEO’s role and purpose
    • Understanding organizational DNA: The critical ‘genes’
    • Developing strategic intelligence, foresight and symbiosis
    • The CEO’s primary role in ensuring organizational success
    • Avoiding bad strategies and reordering the business agenda
    • Getting started: What to do (and how) in the first 100 days
    • Diagnosing the health and savvy of your organization
  • The Ingredients of Leadership
    • The CEO entrance exam: Did you pass or fail?
    • Making the right choices: Time and energy audit
    • Realistic self-assessment: Do you have what it takes?
    • The CEO map: Leading others where you want to go
    • Setting your compass: The non-negotiable rules
    • Connecting: Building networks and getting advice
    • Power, politics and intelligent self-promotion
    • Reconciling the paradoxes of being the top dog
    • Self-motivation and willpower: Sustaining the drive
    • Achieving mindfulness: Dealing with the ego traps
  • Perfecting the Critical Skills
    • Selecting and building a cohesive, focused executive team
    • Designing the optimal span of control: Defining key roles
    • Vision and values: Misunderstood and misused tools
    • Leading really bright people who are smarter than you
    • Keeping the high impact performers happy and in check
    • Developing a symbiotic relationships with your Board
    • The bumps and land mines that will derail your best efforts
  • The CEO as Chief Decision Maker
    • Three fatal flaws that confront every decision maker
    • The bubble of ignorance: Why it exists and how to escape it
    • The key decision domains that will make or break you
    • Why bad decisions are inevitable and how to avoid them
    • The echo chamber and the CEO’s Achilles heel
    • Creating a powerful team decision-making culture
    • Tools that enhance decision making and accountability
    • Dealing with experts: The errors and traps to avoid
    • Making the really tough calls that define a good CEO
    • Building risk management intelligence and capability
    • Getting and giving feedback that makes a difference
  • Building Organizational Resilience
    • Dealing with crises and forecasting high-impact surprises
    • Building smart organizations: What every CEO must know
    • Fostering a culture of innovation by embracing intelligent failure
    • Finding a business model that delivers thick customer value
    • Achieving competitive advantage through organic growth
    • What ultimately constrains organizational performance today
    • Why game changing is the new constant in unpredictable times
  • The Ultimate Responsibilities of Leadership
    • Dealing with ethical dilemmas: The tricky slippery slope
    • Knowing and embracing the highest calling of leadership
    • Succession planning: How to find and evaluate the next CEO
    • Guidelines for acquiring the mindset and resolve of a great leader
    • The questions you must ask (and answer) at the end of your time
    • What you can’t be taught but must learn for yourself
    • Going forward: Sustaining the commitment to excellence
Dates and Times (+)
June 26-29, 2017
The program begins on Day 1 at 5:30pm, with a working session, dinner and networking, and ends on Day 4 at 3:00pm.


Registration and Fees (+)

 Full package (program fees, meals and accommodations) - RecommendedDay package (program fees and meals only, accommodations not included)*
Members and CPAs$3,850 (register here)$3,450 (register here)
Non-Members$4,350 (register here)$3,950 (register here)

An early-bird discount of $200 is available for registering 60 days in advance of the program start.

*Please note: A limited number of program spots are available to those who do not wish to have accommodations. As there may be evening activities (group work and/or networking opportunities), this option is recommended only for those who reside nearby.

Facilities (+)

The CEO Program: Leading with Purpose will be held at the White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa, a premium, four diamond, five-star resort that has achieved a reputation for outstanding comfort, service and atmosphere to ensure a memorable learning and retreat experience for all executives who attend.

Program fees include meals, accommodations*, wi-fi access, use of basic fitness facilities, and a hospitality room for evening networking opportunities.

*Excluding registrants who have opted for the non-accommodation option.

Getting There:

From Pearson or Buffalo airports:

The Niagara Airbus offers Shuttle Transfers to and from Toronto’s Pearson and Buffalo Niagara’s International Airports and can drop you off right at the facility front doors. The Niagara Airbus website is

Another option is the Falls Livery & Taxi. They can offer private cars for transport to and from the airport as well. They can be reached at 905-356-4500.

From Toronto:

Average time to drive from Toronto to the Resort is an hour and a half*. Click here for a Google Map and directions.

*Please note that these directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, weather, or other events may cause conditions to differ from the map results, and you should plan your route accordingly.

CPD Information (+)
Subject to CPA Ontario regulations, members may count up to 28 hours of verifiable CPD for the completion of the CEO Program: Leading with Purpose.
Faculty (+)
Dr. Jim Murray is CEO of optimal solutions international, a firm dedicated to helping people and organizations reach their full potential. Described by his clients as "a rare breed" and "an organizational therapist" and by his students as "a man of brilliance," he has been in the leadership development business for over 40 years. He has led major enterprises in both the public and private sectors and provided his strategic counsel to over 600 organizations. He has taught courses designed specifically for accounting professionals since 1982. He is the architect of several residential executive development programs that are continuously offered by CPA Ontario. Thousands of attendee testimonials confirm his ability to "connect" with the thinking style and professional development needs of accountants today. His full biography describing his eclectic career and many accomplishments can be accessed through his website"
Contact Us
For more information please contact Lawrence Wong, CPA, CA, at CPA Ontario, at: 1-800-387-0735 ext. 4343, or at