I’ve long been a fan of annual letters for their ability to show a different side of a business, leadership team, and reality about what’s going on. So as I begin my season as CEO, I decided to kick it off with just that, my first annual letter.

What would you say if you wanted to write openly and honestly to your employees, clients, and partners about 2021?

Out of the Fog, Into the Hunt
2021 was a glimpse of what could be if we got a few quarters of all hands on deck where we had all the hands and they were all on the deck. The marketplace was ripe for re-connection, so we reaped the rewards of our relationships by having our most significant growth year in company history. Membership grew just shy of 30%, where our churn matched the previous year. So, an influx of leaders were ready to get shoulder to shoulder with others carrying the same burdens and the opportunities ahead.

We’re now just shy of 100 high-octane owners and CEOs in Kansas City. As we approach the century mark, the depth of our community creates opportunistic connection, impact, influence, generosity, and commerce. Here’s to a consistent heartbeat and creating more deep communities of impact and influence in 2022 and across the country.

Across the Country
After many coffees, lunches, and coffees, we partnered with
Steve Van Diest as our President of the Front Range Region. This is our first region outside of Kansas City. Our plan for the Front Range starts in Denver and rolls into Boulder, Castle Rock, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs. We look to create the same “team of teams” community movement evolving in Kansas City.  

Steve launched his first team in Denver last year and will be launching a new team early in ’22. He is also recruiting other Growth Catalysts (what we call our team facilitators) to work alongside him.

Is this you?
In fact, that’s our biggest challenge. Like many businesses right now, the lack of talent could constrain our growth and connection in both Kansas City and the Front Range.

We’re looking for new Growth Catalysts in each market to launch a new team in 2022. So if you or someone you know has these qualifications below … we’d love to talk to you.

      • Former CEO, President, Business Owner
      • Robust professional network
      • Humble, Hungry and Smart (EQ not IQ)
      • A shared vision to “ignite a higher standard of CEO influence and business impact by creating owner-centric accelerator communities that sharpen, challenge & inspire.”
      • Have a reasonably mature and strong Christian faith foundation
      • Right time in life: Moving from success to significance where creating value and impact are important while experiencing an economic benefit

Let’s Get Together
One of the highlights of last year was getting back together. Once a quarter, our entire community gathers for our Advance Leadership Workshop. We had presentations from Coca-Cola Consolidated/T-Factor, David Horsager from the Trust Edge Institute training on his newly launched book The Trusted Leader. in November, we welcomed Chris McChesney with Franklin Covey and author of the 4 Disciplines of Execution. November’s Advance was our highest attended event in a year of breaking records. We look forward to the challenge of breaking that record over and over again each quarter.

Painting the House
We rebranded early in the year, repositioning our messaging, look, and feel for the future. Our new website focused on the journey that all CEOs and Owners make throughout their business life. Where are you on the journey?

2021 Annual Letter

Growing Team
Like any rapid growth, it challenges your current team, org chart, and systems. So, while the outside of the house got a new coat of paint, we deepened our bench inside with new team members in Client Experience with Elizabeth and Marketing with Jennifer. These key players have allowed us to level up our playbook, technology, and infrastructure and turn our creativity to an 11. Do you know what else new voices do? They make your team meetings more fun. We had fun this year working on the nuts and bolts of our house.

And finally, we’ve communicated quite a bit about our transition so I’ll just link to the announcement

After ten years of creating a vision and trailblazing the way, our Founder and my business partner, Drew Hiss, has transitioned from CEO to Founder/Chairman. Thank you, Drew, for the vision and fortitude to take an idea and make it the thriving organization that Acumen is. 

What’s next?
I’m excited to step into the CEO role and continue walking out Drew’s vision and going deeper – with our clients, their companies, and our community.

Simon Sinek calls it the infinite game. We’re playing the infinite game with an eternal mindset. People are eternal, and relationships change our companies, communities, cities, and world.

Acumen exists to come alongside owners and CEOs building great companies driven by excellence and Biblical principles.

Grow your business and yourself. Be a part of a community. Receive insights and make better decisions. Give back.

Come and see.


Dan Cooper
Post by Dan Cooper
January 21, 2022
Dan Cooper co-founded ej4, a video-based online training company, in 2003, and was its CEO until selling in 2012. During his time with ej4, he grew the company from a startup to a nationally-recognized firm, serving clients including Pepsi-Cola, Dr. Pepper Snapple, Honeywell, Monsanto and Syngenta. Channel partners included SAP and Oracle. As of the 2012, ej4 was serving 1,000+ customers, delivering millions of program views, was highly profitable and debt-free. Today, he is the CEO of Acumen, a mastermind community platform built for CEOs and Owners of strong and growing companies. He and his wife, Ali, have three children and attend Cure of Ars church in Leawood, KS. Dan enjoys running, all things soccer — coaching, playing and watching —and burning all types of meat on the backyard barbecue grill.