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Climbing Higher Everyday

Frank Day receives 2023 Don Cope
Memorial Award at ChairWorld.

In August 2012, Matthew Day received an email from a friend, a Key Executive member, with a note that said, “I think your dad would be interested in this.”

The subject line read: Pay it forward with a Vistage Chair nomination. The sender was seeking someone ready to become an executive coach who could guide and mentor leaders of small and midsize businesses, a person ready to “parlay his or her success into even greater significance.”

Matthew promptly forwarded the email to his father, Frank Day, who had recently sold the operating side of the Pella window and door business he had been part of for 41 years. Shortly after that, he was working as a business broker, helping a client prepare his company for sale.

“As fate would have it, I received the Vistage email a few days after my client told me that I had helped him get the business into such great shape that he decided not to sell it after all,” Frank says. “It was a great feeling to help him in such a significant way that I knew I wanted to continue to serve business owners. So, I followed up on the email to learn what being a Vistage Chair was all about.”

The more Frank learned about Vistage, the more he thought: This is something that I can do … this is something that I can do well … this is something I want to do.

And so Frank’s Chair journey began.

“I worked hard at becoming a Chair, and I had plenty of help from other Chairs — like [Chair Emeritus] Gary Kitchen in Birmingham and [Master Chair] Ken Stibler in Dallas,” Frank says. “They coached me, encouraged me, answered every call, and supported me. As I saw the potential for building a meaningful Vistage practice early on, I hired an executive assistant, Jenny Lysinger, who remains an invaluable part of my practice today.”

Together, the duo built the practice up to 140 members, including groups for CEOs and key executives, emerging and experienced leaders, and those inside a prominent company in the metro Birmingham, Alabama, area. For Frank, Chairing is neither a retirement job nor a part-time gig. It’s something he’s passionate about and deeply enjoys.

“THERE IS NO FINAL DESTINATION;
IT’S ABOUT GIVING YOUR BEST
EVERY SINGLE DAY.”

Frank says his Chairing philosophy is summed up in one particular mantra: Keep getting better.

“That’s my email signature line,” he says. “I want to remind members that they are in Vistage to get better in every way. Sometimes I intentionally leave the comma out as a reminder to me: ‘Keep getting better Frank.’ Keep that saw sharpened. There is no final destination; it’s about giving your best every single day.”

Tim Gray, senior vice president for the Southern region at Vistage, calls Frank “the consummate gentleman and Chair” who goes above and beyond for both members, Chairs and the community at large.

“His members appreciate his deep wisdom, and they know he cares deeply,” Gray says. “His fellow Chairs always know they are going to get the truth from Frank along with great compassion.”

One of Frank’s group members, Brian Shupe, COO of Wood Fruitticher in Birmingham, Alabama, has been a member of Frank’s group since 2020. He says Frank’s leadership has been invaluable in helping him see outside his perspective, which has led to positive outcomes.

“He always seems to have that one question that makes me think about a situation differently,” Shupe says. “I’m better because of him. Wood Fruitticher is better because of him. My family is better because of him.”

Frank says he didn’t necessarily aspire to be a Cope Award recipient — he was honored to “just even be nominated,” he says.

Learn about Frank Day’s Chair journey and how he inspires CEOs to keep getting better.

“When I was sitting in the audience at ChairWorld and Vistage CEO Sam Reese started describing the winner, it occurred to me … that it was me,” Frank recalls. “I was awash with emotion.”

Frank says it is deeply gratifying to be recognized for his efforts and hard work. “I was so thankful and overwhelmed,” he adds. “The magnitude of the honor is still sinking in. I hope to represent the legacy of Don Cope well, just as all my fellow Chairs aspire to do every day with their members and communities.”

Though the email his son forwarded him was the beginning of his journey as a Chair, Frank says receiving the Cope Award is not the end by any means.

“It is a peak,” he says. “It is a continuation. I plan on serving CEOs and business owners for as long as I can, which I hope will be for quite some time to come, Lord willing.”

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