TEC, an organization of chief executives and other business leaders once known as The Executive Committee, is expanding in Central Iowa. The group, whose Greater Des Moines branch was founded by former Lutheran minister Terry Slinde, is gaining members as corporate leaders search for support and look for ways to improve their businesses. The Business Record spoke with Slinde last week.

Q: Can you tell us about your organization?

A: We have 15 chief executives and presidents involved in Central Iowa. We're starting another group of 15 now. We're part of a larger network across the U.S. and in 16 other countries. The larger organization has about 9,000 members worldwide.

Q: What TEC's purpose?

A: It's not a networking group. It's not a social or political organization either. Our intent is to provide a safe place where chief executives and other final decision makers can talk about issues that are affecting their lives and businesses. We're about gaining tangible, measurable results for members.

Q: How does someone get involved? What is the time commitment? How much does it cost?

A: You have to be invited and interviewed. TEC isn't for everyone. I've interviewed some chief executives in this town and told them it wasn't a match. Members meet for one full day each month, and they'll meet with me for two-hour sessions individually each month. During the group meetings, we have speakers come in the morning sessions. We've had the former president of Porsche speak to the group, as well as the guy who turned Snapper around. In the afternoon, someone presents a case study and we discuss both it and its applications to the real world. There is an initiation fee of $1,800, and a quarterly fee of $2,475. It's expensive, but we're about business and helping businesses succeed.

Q: Why would someone want to join?

A: Good companies are led by people who know who they are. This business is about changing lives and impacting businesses. We can increase effectiveness and change the lives of chief executives. We provide a safe place for people to talk. We don't invite direct competitors to join the same group, nor do we have members who are primary suppliers or primary customers in the same group.

Q: How is this role different for you from your prior job as a pastor?

A: I was a pastor for 20 years, and in many ways the jobs are similar. I am helping people find themselves, and helping them learn what a difference they can make in the world. I often find that chief executives are some of the more spiritual people in the world, because they operate more on intuition than most. The primary issue that leaders of companies deal with is isolation. It's lonely at the top, and this organization challenges members to think so they make better decisions.