Helping CEOs grow great companies

It takes a new breed of leader to drive success at one of today’s high-growth, investor-backed technology companies — a leader who believes in continuous re-invention through innovation, collaboration, and customer focus. 

Since 1989, CEOs have come to High-Growth CEO for our proven frameworks, proprietary tools, and highly targeted resources to help plan for and manage growth and change. We’ve combined our deep technology-industry knowledge and our sole focus on the CEO experience to develop a range of offerings that helps innovative leaders grow great companies.

About Us


Bouzha Cookman, CEO & Leader, High-Growth CEO

Hear Bouzha talk more about her work with High-Growth CEO. View video

Bouzha Cookman began her work in this field in 1998, and considers herself extremely fortunate to have worked with more than 100 outstanding, investor-backed, innovative CEOs since then. She currently works on an ongoing basis with more than 25 CEOs in her High-Growth CEO Forum® program, and with numerous others as consulting clients.

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In addition to leading four of High-Growth CEO’s High-Growth CEO Forums, she manages and delivers the company‘s Planning for Growth™ strategic planning and Building the Executive Team as Leaders of Growth® practices. A certified Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI) practitioner, Cookman blends these skills to help her clients build great companies by connecting their vision to successful execution. Clients learn how to adjust their CEO roles to match their companies’ growth.

An experienced panel moderator, Cookman enjoys and is skilled at helping conferences select topics and speakers related to the CEO growth experience. Some examples include “Tipping Point for Growth,” “Innovating Through the Economic Downturn,” “How CEOs Grow with Their Companies,” “Leading Toward (and Beyond) the IPO or Acquisition,” and “Growing Great Companies,” respectively, at the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 Nantucket Conferences. Her panels were voted first, second, or third in popularity each year.

To hear these interviews, please go to: 2012 Nantucket Conference: Growing Great Companies

Cookman has been in high-tech for more than 30 years. Her most notable operational experience was an exciting seven-year tenure at Avid Technology. As the 20th employee, she witnessed firsthand the wins and challenges of growing a company from start-up through IPO. Her Avid experience is key to why she is so keen to help her clients succeed with their companies — at every growth stage.

She also is proud of collaborating with great team members to help Avid succeed. As sales director, she and her sales organization grew revenues from $1.5M to $20M over a three-year period. Later in her career, she led a product-marketing effort that increased revenues from $51 million to $110 million in one year, and created an Academy Award-winning film-editing system. Cookman also was responsible for marketing communications and business development for Avid‘s $280 million professional-products business.

Cookman is a Cum Laude Honors History graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School where she was selected by faculty to tutor first-year students. She loves learning from her clients and leveraging that learning to help all succeed.

Paul DiGiammarino, Leader, High-Growth CEO

Serving as a President and CEO for much of his career, Paul led three companies that were sold for $50 Million to over $1 Billion. From securing financing to the sale of these organizations, he led teams through various stages of development and successfully scaled all of them. He is passionate about helping leaders and organizations accelerate growth -- no matter what their stage.

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Paul and his investors benefited significantly from his long-term membership in the High-Growth CEO Forum™ and from his and his companies’ participation in the High-Growth CEO Consulting process. His HGCEO Forum colleagues helped each other immensely in key areas such as product development, sales, marketing and strategy as well as managing investors, fundraising and executive team performance. Paul believes that the HGCEO tools and quarterly structured review of his most pressing challenges were key to improving performance of his companies. Most of his CEO Forum members also achieved outstanding exits and agreed that they would not have accomplished what they did without the group.

As a retired CEO, he is excited about the possibility of helping others grow their companies through the HGCEO Forum and consulting. When not doing this, Paul can be found spending time with his grandchildren, working on his golf game and traveling throughout the globe.


Nikki Fisher, Leader, High-Growth CEO

As a member of leadership teams at industry pioneers in long-distance telecommunications, cellular telephony, and Internet consulting, Nikki Fisher has learned through hands-on experience what it means to be at the center of the high-tech/high-growth whirlwind. As a result, she brings to the High-Growth CEO a unique ability to provide practical insight and support to CEOs striving to build not only fast-growing but also sustainable and profitable enterprises.

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For the past eight years, Fisher has been president of The Fisher Group Consulting, LLC, where she specializes in helping high-tech companies grow profitably by improving the customer focus and integration of their sales, marketing, and service functions. Strategic projects include helping a global technology company develop the vision and plans to transform itself from a product to a services/solutions business; helping a software start-up use deep customer research to determine its next breakout product; and coaching a CEO and his team to successfully bring a 30-year-old direct-marketing company online.

Fisher began her career as employee #379 at an upstart company called MCI where, after writing the company’s first annual reports, Congressional testimony, and marketing materials, she led the in-house litigation support group for MCI’s antitrust suit against AT&T. After the initial suit was won, she was asked to lead the interdisciplinary team that created MCI’s first cellular applications to the FCC, then became the company’s first female VP, heading marketing, customer service, procurement, human resources, and IT for MCI’s newly formed paging and cellular subsidiary.

After nearly ten years at MCI — during which time the company grew from $6 million in revenue to $3.6 billion — Fisher was recruited to become a member of the leadership team at Sprint’s startup cellular venture. There, after turning around an ailing sales organization, she was tapped by the CEO to lead all customer service and operations support.

After three years in the cellular subsidiary, Fisher joined Sprint’s $6 billion business-to-business, long-distance division where, as a vice president in corporate marketing, she implemented industry-leading processes and systems in sales compensation and database marketing. In 1995, at the height of the “long-distance wars,” Fisher was named president of a skunkworks start-up that established Sprint’s first non-branded reseller of long-distance services to small businesses.

In 1996, Fisher joined another startup — IT services pioneer Sapient. Over the next three years, as the company grew from $49 million to $276 million in revenue, she established the first marketing, strategic planning, and alliance functions. As chief marketing officer, she was also a critical player in the company’s highly successful efforts to rebrand itself as a full-service Internet consulting firm.

Fisher graduated cum laude with a BA in English from the University of Missouri and has completed executive education courses at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Darden School at the University of Virginia. Although she has lived in a number of cities including Washington, DC, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Boston, she recently returned to her Midwestern roots, settling happily in a house near Lake Michigan in Racine, Wisconsin.

Dan Schimmel, Leader, High-Growth CEO

Dan has enjoyed a long career as a successful technology company CEO. His track record includes creating significant increases in financial results and shareholder value by developing compelling content, leveraging technology drivers, and transforming business models. Results include early adoption of the annual subscription business model, an IPO with subsequent strategic sale and winning an E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year award. Over the course of his career, Dan has found great value from Catlin & Cookman Group’s High-Growth CEO offerings and is excited to join the team to help other CEOs successfully grow their companies!

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Dan will be leveraging his recent work as an active advisor, board member, consultant, and investor in early to growth stage technology companies with his experience leading companies through phases of the company growth lifecycle, from startup through turnaround, as well as management buyout, IPO, and M&A transactions. He also brings insights gained from his long tenure in the High-Growth CEO Forum – of which he was a founding member – helping his fellow members navigate their CEO roles. His background aligns perfectly with Catlin and Cookman services and focus areas.

It was during Dan's formative CEO growth experience at OneSource Information Services in the late 90s where he first encountered Catlin and Cookman Group (CCG) , and experienced the dramatic difference they can make. He initially engaged CCG as a client of their strategic growth and team alignment consulting. Their collective work very rapidly positively transformed every aspect of OneSource. Dan and his leadership team developed a clear and compelling multi-year growth vision backed up by a detailed strategic plan to achieve the results. These initiatives were supported by a new 12-month annual operating system to create better structure, accountability and communication, along with a vastly improved culture of innovation and teamwork. With CCG helping Dan lead these fundamental and lasting improvements to the company's foundation, strong revenue and profit growth soon flowed, leading to the aforementioned IPO.

During this same time period, Dan also became a charter member of CCG’s first High-Growth CEO Forum, adding a completely new dimension to Dan's growth as a CEO. Still close friends with many in his Forum, he learned together with some of Boston's very finest investor-backed technology CEOs. Through a range of market cycles, they shared best practices, helped each other navigate through their most agonizing turbulence challenges, and capitalize on dazzling growth opportunities. Dan remained a loyal member of the High-Growth CEO Forum as he moved on to lead additional companies, and additionally used CCG’s strategic growth consulting services when needed.

As we move into an entirely new era of opportunity and growth possibility in the 2020s, Dan is very excited to reconnect with Bouzha and her team. It promises to be rewarding and exciting to help teach, coach, connect, motivate and facilitate a new set of entrepreneurial CEOs on their transformative growth journeys.

Dan is married with three young adult children, is a pretty spoiled fan of Boston sports teams, and loves to spend time on Lake Winnipesaukee in NH playing golf and fishing, albeit not very well.


Janet Kraus, Leader, High-Growth CEO

Janet has spent her career (and her weekends) starting, leading, and advising high-growth start-ups creating both financial and social value for employees, customers, investors, and communities.

She started and sold three companies – Circles, Spire and Peach – and she spent six years on the entrepreneurial management faculty at the Harvard Business School where she taught and/or mentored over 1000 students, many of whom have gone on to start and grow amazing companies. There is nothing she enjoys more than entrepreneurial journey (well, except her family, family, nature, music, dancing, and meditation).

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As an entrepreneur and CEO, Janet has been involved in every stage of the
entrepreneurial process including idea generation, product development, assessing product/marketing fit, building teams, fund raising, identification of key strategic partners, business development and direct sales, operational scaling, crisis management and recovery, buying and exiting companies.

As a CEO, one of the best decisions she ever made was to join the High-Growth CEO Forum™. In her HGCF she discovered the “board” that she really needed - a dedicated, unbiased, and equally passionate group of entrepreneurs going through the same predictable stages of growth and facing the same types of challenges.

It was her CEO Forum members - who led some of the best start-ups in the country at the time – HubSpot, EInk, IRobot, OneSource, ZipCar, and others – who helped her wrestle with and successfully tackle some her hardest issues.

Janet is excited to be a part of the organization that grew her, and to help advise and mentor others on their journey. As a member of the team, she leads CEO Forums, provides strategic planning, CEO coaching, and ad hoc advisory services.

Janet received her BA in political science from Yale University and her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She and the companies she has led or advised have been profiled in the Wall Street. Journal, Fortune, Fortune Small Business, the New York Times. She spoken at conferences and educational institutions about entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, building teams, vision, values leadership, happiness, and life planning.

A seeker, a hiker, a beach lover, and music & musical theater enthusiast, Janet values people and the planet we live on over everything else. And most of all, she is deeply lucky to be happily married to Jim and “mama” to 16-year-old twin girls, Ally and Ceci.

In Memoriam, Katherine Catlin

Founder Katherine Catlin helped CEOs grow great companies for more than 25 years and cared deeply about her clients. With a unique set of proven processes and practical tools, she addressed the full range of growth issues. As a thought leader she co-authored two books, Leading at the Speed of Growth: Journey from Entrepreneur to CEO and Building the Awesome Organization: Six Essential Components that Drive Entrepreneurial Growth in conjunction with the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Catlin was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Sweet Briar College and received a Masters’ degree from Lesley College in Cambridge, MA. We thank her and miss her.