We invest in exceptional people to create exceptional companies. Since 2001, Alpine has believed that inspiring growth in people is the most sound way to build growth and revenue. We start within our own offices, and share our learnings with our portfolio companies. Here are some of our favorite stories about heroes being unleashed.
Written by Jacob Balley, VP at Alpine Investors
How Alpine Investors changed the face of leadership—and transformed the path to CEO—by radically changing the way they recruit, hire, and develop talent.
Alpine Investors is changing the face of leadership. We believe that with the right attributes—and a lot of hard work—aspiring leaders from all backgrounds and experiences can stand at the helm of great companies.
What if you could choose the best people for a role, give them the opportunity and support to excel, then watch them win? What if decades of experience and a typical “path” didn’t define a candidate’s qualifications, but rather humility, competitive fire, and a growth mindset? At Alpine, we tested that theory and believe that training—not recruiting—great CEOs early in their careers not only produced successful leaders, but also outsized returns for our portfolio. Our CEO-in-Training (CIT) program is designed to do just that.
Teeing incredible people up to learn, develop, and lead is our model for excellence. And as a result, we’re changing the face of what leadership looks like—in private equity, and beyond. Today, 48% of our CITs are BIPOC and our 2021 CIT class is 70% female-identifying. We are determined to make a positive impact on the world, and we believe that inclusion is a necessary part of that effort. Read more about how we elevate diverse leaders in our Force for Good Report , and explore our PeopleFirst programs here.
Why Create a CEO-in-Training (CIT) Program?
We place a heavy emphasis on people, culture, and values, and we believe that people are the best way to help companies grow and prosper. In 2015, we put our theory to the test by hiring the first CITs, a group of three recent business school graduates for management positions in three of our portfolio companies. The concept was to place them in roles alongside seasoned CEOs who would mentor, coach, and guide them to develop their own leadership styles. Then when the time came (for the individual and the business), they would step into CEO roles. Today, our CITs run some of Alpine’s top companies, and the program that began as an informal career growth plan has grown to include more than 60 individuals, 34 of whom have become CEOs. Read Rachel Green’s leadership story to learn about her path from chief of staff to CEO of TEAM Risk Management Strategies.
CITs at Alpine (Who Becomes a CIT?)
A 4.0 GPA is not your ticket to a CIT role. Yes, we want to hire smart people, and success in school (and a graduate degree) are strong markers of a person’s IQ. But to be a great leader, we believe that attributes matter more than experience. This job is challenging, and not everyone will thrive in the CEO role. When we talk about risk, we often say that our CITs are taking a bet on themselves. During our intensive interview process, we assess attributes to predict a candidate’s readiness for the CEO role. We also explore the life experiences that have shaped each individual, and how they will translate to leading teams and growing companies.
The Pillars of Alpine’s CIT Program (Our Commitment)
Our CITs give us their all—there can be late nights and frequent changes in the process of company building. To maximize learning, and to continue learning from and connecting with these incredible leaders, we provide our CIT community with support on many levels. They include:
• Meaningful operating experience on day one: Whether you join as a CEO or begin in another executive role, you’ll have the chance to lead from the start. We’re committed to partnering with each CIT to find an ideal home in the Alpine portfolio.
• Mentorship & Training: Informal mentorship happens daily, whether through conversations with board members or other experienced Alpine executives. More formally, our functional mentorship program provides opportunities to build skills in functional areas, and to learn from others with complementary disciplines. Accelerate your growth path through tactical trainings tied back to elements of our operating playbook.
• Community: Gather with fellow CITs at our summits where we connect, network, and mentor our fellow peers. A mix of work and play, these summits are a highlight for our CIT community and provide a chance to meet others who may share similar experiences, to celebrate wins, and to reflect on our broader purpose as members of the Alpine community.
The Future of Leadership (How CIT relates to Alpine’s mission + vision)
Our promise is to provide an accelerated growth path to the CEO seat. And we’re winning because of it. Our great reputation among top business schools—we’re the most applied-to job at our target schools—and national recognition as a best place to work, ESG certification, and certified B Corp, are just a few benefits of this approach.
You can read more about the CEO-in-Training and CEO-in-Residence experience on Alpine’s stories page.
Jacob Balley has worked with Alpine’s CIT program for the past three and a half years. The former recruiter believes that serving others is his purpose, and he loves helping connect the dots and supporting CITs as they develop into world-class CEOs. He’s passionate about fostering a sense of community at Alpine and our portfolio companies, coaching, and personal growth. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Meagan and dog Guapo.