What is Aileron and what do you do?

Aileron is a non-profit organization whose vision and mission is to: Raise the quality of life in America by unleashing the potential of private businesses through professional management. Aileron is a community of business owners who have learned, lived and studied professional management. Aileron’s Professional Management System, as well as many other learning tools, experiences and resources have been developed based on years of practical experience to help businesses employ the disciplines of professional management. 

We want to help you achieve your dreams and we want your help to achieve ours. Your growth is our measure of success. Together we can raise the quality of life in America.

What is professional management?

Professional management will help you run your business so your business doesn't run you. As your business grows and takes shape, it becomes more complex and vulnerable to external forces. Running a profitable business takes more than a good product or service. Every business needs a professional management system in order to gain control, grow and be sustainable. It helps you navigate changing markets, reduce your risk and manage your growth.

Why is Aileron so focused on helping private businesses implement professional management?

With every successful relationship we foster with a small business, Aileron strives to improve the life of the owner, their family, and the employees and their families by assisting them in reaching not only a new found sense of control over and predictability of their businesses, but also through greatly enhancing opportunities for stability and growth. 

In turn, this growth will serve as the catalyst for a positive, recurring economic cycle that includes greater revenue streams, new jobs and a better quality of life, not only for the companies we serve directly, but also for their suppliers, customers, partners, and others who interrelate with our client companies.

As a non-profit, how does Aileron stay sustainable?

Aileron is an operating foundation funded through the generosity of Clay Mathile and our contributors. Aileron's learning, doing, and giving model helps to create a community of business owners who share a commitment and energy throughout the process of implementing professional management.

What is Aileron's non-solicitation policy?

"Clients Can Buy But No One Should Sell". Aileron strives to create an environment where our clients can focus on implementing professional management. With this goal in mind, we ask everyone to refrain from "selling" their products or services while at the campus or at Aileron events.

Click here to learn more about Aileron's non-solicitation policy.

How many clients does Aileron have?

Since 1996, Aileron has served over 1,700 private businesses.

What are your business hours?

Aileron's campus is open from 7:30 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday, closed weekends.

Which holidays will the Aileron campus be closed?

The Aileron campus will be closed New Years Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the Friday after, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

Is Aileron solely focused on working with Dayton Ohio businesses? If not, what is your growth strategy?

Aileron is focused on helping private business owners in order to fuel free enterprise regardless of their geographic location. However, as planned, Aileron is easily accessible to business owners in the Dayton region, and if they engage themselves in all Aileron has to offer, they will grow in their knowledge; their businesses will grow; they will employ more people; and the community, region and state will benefit substantially.

What are the typical sized businesses you work with?

Typically, we work with private businesses that are between $1–20 million in sales and have 10 or more employees.

I'm not sure how to get started. What is the first step?

Many business owners get started by attending Aileron's flagship course, the Course for Presidents®. You can also review our service descriptions and select the topic or format that interests you based on your current circumstances and or position. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to talk to someone regarding your business needs and where to start. Please call our main line at 937-669-6500, or attend the Introduction to Professional Management.

What kind of services does Aileron offer?

Everything Aileron builds and offers is specifically designed to help business owners and their organizations. All of Aileron's services focus on providing private business owners with the resources, tools and knowledge to implement a professional management system into their organization. Aileron offers courses, workshops, roundtables, individualized support, opportunities to meet peers and an inspiring environment in which to work. Our services have been designed to help business leaders focus on the role they need to perform within their organization and work on the critical areas of their business.

Do I have to be a member of Aileron to register for a course?

Working with Aileron doesn't require a membership. Aileron offers services that are designed to help private business owners implement professional management, and most of our services are considered "open registration." Aileron works to describe who will benefit from each service to help participants evaluate and register for the services that meet their individual needs.

Are Aileron's services duplicative of other entrepreneurial programs?

The services at Aileron are not the same as area business schools or other local entrepreneurial programs. Our objective was to create services that were not competitive with what was already offered locally and that would meet the unique needs of private business owners whose organizations were past the start-up phase of business.

How are your courses different?

Several things. Aileron provides:

1. A fresh perspective that provides clarity and focus on your business.
2. Guidance from experienced business owners and leaders who live and study professional management.
3. A simplified, proven approach that empowers you to build your business and reach new levels of growth.

Workshop sizes are restricted and are interactive so your specific issues and challenges are given the proper attention. And once you've attended our flagship course, the Course for Presidents®, you can return anytime you like for half the current fee of the course. We are sincerely interested in your progress in implementing professional management in your organization. Therefore, we also offer one-on-one business advisor services to help you apply what you learn.

What if I can't attend a course that I am registered for?

Cancellation Policy — Aileron requires 10 business days notice to cancel and receive a full refund. If the cancellation notice is received 10 business days prior to the event date, then the client will receive a full refund. If the cancellation occurs within the 10 business days of the event date and time, the participation fee will not be refunded.

My company's president is not interested in any Aileron courses. I am the senior vice president, and I do believe in the training, so why can't I register for the Course for Presidents®?

Aileron has found that unless the owner, CEO, or president is actively engaged with Aileron, the chance for successful implementation throughout the organization is limited. We welcome senior leaders to:

  • Participate in our Course for Senior Executives
  • Participate in Becoming an Effective Board Member
How does Aileron help non-profit organizations, government agencies, or schools?

Although everything Aileron builds and offers is specifically designed to help business owners and their organizations, many leaders of organizations can and have benefited from participating in these services:

  • Participate in our Course for Senior Executives
  • Use our campus to host business meetings. Review our campus pass guidelines to ensure the purpose of your meeting aligns with our mission. If so, contact Tracy Harnish at 937-669-6505 for more information.
I am the president of a public company. Why can't I attend the Course for Presidents®?

The reason we request you attend the Course for Senior Executives, is that owners of private enterprise deal with very unique issues that come with having their personal capital at risk. The Course for Presidents® spends more time exploring these issues, and having all the participants understand and living that reality helps the dynamic of that course. The Course for Senior Executives is intended for leaders who do not have their personal capital at risk, but fill a very important role within their organization.

How does Aileron find its guest facilitators?

Aileron has found guest facilitators in several ways. We have a process for seeking facilitators with a specific expertise to work with us on the development and/or delivery of a specific topic. We also have a process for working with individuals who approach Aileron and offer their services to further the Aileron mission. For more information, visit the Contribute section of our website.

I would like to give back to Aileron. What are the different ways I can contribute?

Thank you for your interest in contributing to Aileron's mission. There are many ways for you to help Aileron clients:

  • Guest Facilitate
  • Advisory Board Service
  • Mentorship
  • Subject Matter Expert
  • Consulting Services
  • Ambassador
  • Blogger
  • Financial Donor

For more information, visit the Contribute section of our website or contact Jennifer Rohren at 937-669-6533.

I would like Aileron to facilitate a customized course for my organization. Would Aileron consider a request like this?

We would like to speak to you about your needs and discuss if a private, customized course makes the most sense for your organization. Please contact Tara Hemelgarn at 937-669-6515, and she will work together with you to find an appropriate solution.

I am in need of a facilitator, financial advisor/planner, sales consultant, attorney or human resources manager. Does Aileron provide any outside referrals?

Aileron focuses on professional management and does not specialize in any of the above areas, however we have developed the following "how-to" guides to help you find the right person (or people) to assist you. You'll also find links to helpful resources to track down the right advisors for your business:

How to find a facilitator

How to find a financial advisor or planner

How to find a sales consultant

How to find an attorney

How to find an HR professional

Can I work one-on-one with Aileron's clients?

We work with outside contributors when it is in the best interest of the client, and follow-up work is orchestrated through Aileron. We want to emphasize that this is a non-solicitation environment; we are here to help our clients and will not allow our programs and workshops to be used as an opportunity to generate leads. Aileron will terminate its relationship with any contributor who is selling a product or service to a client, failing to serve the best interest of the client or inhibiting our ability to act as a trusted, objective resource.

As a contributor, what do I get in return?

In return for your time, you can expect a deep sense of personal satisfaction, knowing that you've made a lasting difference in the futures of other business owners and their companies. It's altruism at its best! Contributors who have ongoing relationships with Aileron also have the pleasure of watching individual client's grow, succeed and improve over time as they implement what they have learned through Aileron.

As a guest facilitator, will I receive any compensation for my time?

In addition to the rewarding experience of sharing your knowledge, guest facilitators who lead programs and workshops are thanked with an honorarium. For example, our roundtable programs are typically short and have a tight focus. While not part of a prescribed roadmap, they make the journey richer and provide a more relevant experience. These programs invoke deeper thinking and connect participants with the Aileron environment and to each other. Therefore, the typical honorarium is $100-150 per hour of class time.

What kind of time commitment is expected?

Because of our desire to engage practitioners and business owners—and our respect for your time and busy schedule—we ask that you commit at least two days per year to Aileron.

What is Aileron's approach to learning?

We are focused on private business owners who want to work "on" their business to position it for growth. Aileron encourages owners to step away from the day-to-day grind of running their business and get them focused on the future. We don't give our clients sales pitches or tell them to read bulky textbooks. As peers helping peers, we give real-world advice that gets them results.

What is Aileron's non-solicitation policy?

"Clients Can Buy, But No One Should Sell". Aileron strives to create an environment where our clients can focus on implementing professional management. With this goal in mind, we ask everyone to refrain from "selling" their products or services while at the campus or at Aileron events.

Click here to learn more about our non-solicitation policy.

Do I have to attend the Course for Presidents before going to the Outside Boards program?

No, it is not a requirement, but we do highly recommend that you participate in the Course for Presidents prior to attending the Outside Boards program. Aileron strives to unleash the potential of private businesses through implementing professional management.  Having an outside board is a critical piece to the equation, but it is just one piece in a much larger picture. There are many benefits for a business owner to fully understand professional management before putting a board together; therefore, we encourage you to start with the Course for Presidents.

Can I bring my senior leadership team to the Outside Boards program?

We recommend that you only bring your partners and not senior leaders of the organization to the Outside Boards program. An outside board exists to support you, the business owner, not your senior team. That said, however, we will consider exceptions. Please contact Event Manager, Mary Butts, at (937) 669-6512 to discuss in more detail.


Do I have an assigned advisor for the Creating an Outside Board service?

Yes, you will be assigned an Aileron business advisor after you attend the Outside Boards program.

Am I required to take any particular services prior to Creating an Outside Board?

There are no service pre-requisites; however, we strongly recommend that you begin with the Course for Presidents to see the big picture of professional management and how outside advisors play a critical role.  After the Course for Presidents, you will meet with an Aileron business advisor to explore the right next steps.  If from that meeting the development of an outside board is identified as a high priority, then we recommend you take the Outside Boards program to ensure you have a good foundation before beginning to build your board. After the Outside Boards program, you will meet with your advisor to determine if the Creating an Outside Board service is the appropriate next step for you.

What is the typical span of time I need to invest in building my board?

You should expect to invest anywhere from 6 – 12 months, depending on your commitment and your specific needs. During these months you should plan to commit time to interviewing and selecting your board members, preparing for your board meetings, and facilitating your board meetings, as well as spending time with your Aileron business advisor debriefing and coaching.

Can I recruit my own board candidates?

That works, too!  You can still rely on Aileron for guidance through the process of building your board.  Your Aileron business advisor will work with you to identify the skills and experience needed, provide guidance and examples to assist in interviewing and selecting the right board candidates, and provide the necessary preparation for running effective board meetings.  Aileron’s goal is to help you establish an outside board that can function effectively to support you moving forward with strategic thinking and key decisions.

Where does Aileron find its board candidates?
Individuals interested in serving on advisory boards come to Aileron from a variety of venues.  They may:
  • Be a business owner or executive who is working, or has worked, with Aileron or one of our staff,
  • Have heard about Aileron from a colleague, mentor, or peer, or
  • Have read about Aileron in the media and pursued an opportunity to get involved.
In all instances, the board candidates looking to serve are driven by one motive: a passion to help other business owners grow and be successful in leading their organizations.  Moreover, many of the board candidates that Aileron provides have participated in Aileron’s Becoming an Effective Board Member program, so you and the board member can speak the same language and have similar views of the roles and responsibilities of a board.
What if I don’t like the board candidate that Aileron has provided?

If you find that you do not like the board candidate provided, you can simply let your Aileron business advisor know, and we will continue looking for a better match. We will offer up to the three board candidates for each open position.

Can I bring my senior leaders and / or family members to the board meetings?

It is recommended that the leader of the organization - whether it is the business owner or the president - be the only one at the board meetings. Traditionally, senior leaders and/or family members may be invited to attend to discuss specific topics during a board meeting, but it is not recommended that they attend the entire meeting every meeting.

Does the business owner have to pay the board members?

As a guideline, we recommend that the business owner pay each board member for each meeting attended.  Depending on the size of the business, this range may be $500-$1000. However, it’s up to the business owner to decide how much to pay their board members.  Checks can be sent with the board book and preparation materials before the board meeting or can be distributed at the end of each board meeting as a ‘thank-you’ for their time and expertise.

I don’t live in Ohio, can I still register for the Creating an Outside Board service?

Yes, Aileron can provide the same support to you using virtual tools.  However, many of the board candidates in Aileron’s pool are local to Ohio.  Therefore, you can plan to hold your first several board meetings at Aileron and then transition to a board in your home state after you are comfortable with the process or Aileron can provide board candidates who are willing to travel or participate via virtual tools.

What databases do you have in the Information Commons?

1. Hoovers – Delivers company and industry information on over 30 million companies - limit of 1,000 downloads of information per session.
2. IBIS World - These reports are helpful in understanding key components of each industry.

When and where can the databases be used?

You must be present in the Aileron Information Commons to use the databases. The databases are available for use between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday. Ask an Aileron Representative to log you in to the databases. An appointment is not necessary, but recommended in order to have an Aileron Representative available in the Information Commons to provide a tutorial and answer your questions. To schedule, please call 937-669-6500.

How do I prepare to use the databases and save my reports?

It is helpful to come with a clear objective of what you are looking to research. It is necessary to bring a flash drive with you to save the report of your findings.

How do I checkout a book?

You must have a Campus pass in order to checkout a book. If you are a new pass holder, please see an Aileron Representative in the Information Commons.

If you do not have a book in the Information Commons, can you get it?

We will look into getting the book requested, and determine if it fits within Aileron’s Professional Management System.

Can I donate a book?

Yes, we are always looking to grow our collection. See an Aileron Representative in the Information Commons.

How do I use the campus?

Private business owners are invited to select from two passes that have been designed to describe the benefits and costs associated with the use of the campus for business purposes.

The Adventurer Pass is created for private business owners who want to enjoy daily access to the campus and the ability to rent space for business purposes.

The Journey Pass is designed for private business owners and their senior leaders who want daily access to the campus and enjoy these additional benefits:

  • Discounted rates on room rental
  • Advanced booking privileges for all rentable space
Can I host an event for my customers?

The Aileron campus is not to be used for revenue-producing events. You can, for example, host an internal sales training for your employees at the campus, but you may not host a sales event for external customers.

Click here to view the Campus Usage Guidelines.

Can I bring a customer or prospect to the campus?

The Aileron campus is designed to help you think, learn and focus on implementing professional management into your business, which requires you to get away from the day-to-day operations of your business and focus on the long-term plan. In support of our mission, we ask that you do not bring your clients or day-to-day work to the campus, as that is contradictory to our mission.

Click here to view the Campus Usage Guidelines.

What if I have a room reserved and catering scheduled but need to cancel at the last minute?

Please contact us at 937-669-6500 as soon as possible.

Cancellation Policy for Room and Catering Reservations: Aileron requires 5 full business days notice to cancel and receive a refund. If the cancellation notice is received within the allotted time, the client will receive a full refund. If not, the reservation will not be refunded. If recurring cancellations (three in one year) become a problem, Aileron has the right to limit client rights to make reservations.

We will always work with the client to fairly reconcile and minimize everyone's losses in the event of a cancellation.

I am a pass holder, why can't I host a meeting at the campus for organizations I am affiliated with?

You may reserve space for your business but not other entities you may have associations with such as churches, trade organizations or networking groups. 

Click here to view the Campus Usage Guidelines.

As a pass holder, can I use the campus for my company's holiday party?

The Aileron campus has been built to help the owner, CEO, or president concentrate on their business. While Aileron recognizes the importance of social activities, it is not within the mission of Aileron to support those activities. You are welcome to schedule activities like all-company meetings, board meetings, budget planning sessions or similar activities and events directly related to your business.

Click here to view the Campus Usage Guidelines.