The Modern Junto: How Executive Peer Groups Print Millions

(Lindsay Kaplan & Carolyn Childers are printing Benjamins with their modern, women-centric executive peer group, Chief)


  • In 1727, Ben Franklin started a group of fellow business owners he called The Junto. They met regularly to promote mutual learning, and this model has lived on to today in the form of executive groups.
  • Executive groups can be lucrative, with several generating $100m+ in annual revenue from a mixture of membership dues and paid events.
  • The primary value: Meeting regularly with a trusted cohort. Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), for example, hosts regular forums, where curated groups of 6-10 meet to discuss business and personal growth. Nearly 90% of EO members take part in forums, with some investing additional time and money to travel to in-person gatherings.
  • Groups live or die by the quality of their member interactions. They maximize this by: 
    1. Vetting members, often by a mix of quantitative and qualitative measures (i.e., company size, revenue, age, as well as culture fit and personality as judged by live interviews).
    2. Training volunteer leaders to manage group meetings.
    3. Building a purposeful culture around vulnerability, giving, and confidentiality that allows for high-quality interactions.
  • Many still suffer from a lack of diversity. Women, for example, make up ~50% of the workforce, but only 7.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs. This lopsided representation transfers to peer groups too, where women and other underrepresented leadership demographics have a hard time finding the support they need. One of the fastest-growing organizations — Chief — has zeroed in on this need, offering a space specifically for high-powered female leaders to meet and share ideas with one another.

Table of Contents

  1. Intro
  2. History
  3. Business Models
  4. Secret Sauce
  5. Key Players
  6. Challenges
  7. Opportunities

1. Intro

Recently, we wrote a deep dive on the business behind paid communities, looking at companies like Creative Mornings and Harley-Davidson to figure out what draws people to those brands, how the communities around those companies build value, and why they’re important for helping a business survive tough economic times. 

Of those, the largest we found was Harley-Davidson’s Harley Owners’ Group (H.O.G.), which generates tens of millions of dollars per year in revenue.