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Life After the Sale – Aviva

Aviva (right) with her Vistage group.
Aviva Wolmer
Former CEO of Pacesetter
Joined Vistage in 2014
Vistage Chair since 2020

Initially, I never planned to work in my family’s business. I wanted to pursue my own career and be recognized for my own merits rather than just being known as my father’s daughter. Moreover, seeing my father working long hours without any real hobbies made me believe that being a business leader requires a lot of hard work and little fun. I did not want that kind of lifestyle, which is why I decided to pursue a law degree with the goal of becoming a public defender for juveniles.

While waiting for my bar results, I took a project with my family’s steel service center, Pacesetter, to rebuild their Corporate University. In the process, I interviewed all 150 team members, and they opened up to me about everything. I discovered trends that exposed the need for a strategic plan for the company, which then became my project. I was tasked with leading the execution.

Realizing the impact I could make at Pacesetter, I decided to shift my focus to business instead of law. My father and I mapped out a plan for me to lead different areas of the company, and in 2014, I was promoted to CEO and joined Vistage. Under my leadership, Pacesetter was recognized as a Top Place to Work by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for four consecutive years. We became known as a leader in our industry for our people-focused culture and innovations in technology.

I still wanted to start a business from scratch, which led me to pursue an ancillary metal fabrication business. Unfortunately, COVID-19 made it clear that the timing wasn’t right, and I pivoted. That’s when I became a Vistage Chair, encouraged by my Vistage Chair, peers and a speaker.

Now, I Chair three CEO groups and recently started my first Key group. With every career change, my goal has always been to make a bigger impact. As a public defender, I hoped to help one child at a time, and as a CEO, I was able to affect 150 team members and their families. Now, as a Vistage Chair, I have the opportunity to work with approximately 45 companies and make a difference in the lives of their leaders and the people they touch.

Best of all, I have more flexibility in my life, which allows me to spend quality time with my husband and my 5-year-old son. I’ve learned that by designing my life the right way, I can have everything I want and make a meaningful impact.

Aviva (left) enjoys some ice cream with her family.
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Life After the Sale