Exclusive Interview: Myron Gellman, Managing Director and Principal at Mercadien
As a Managing Director and Principal at Mercadien, Myron Gellman provides various business consulting services to his clients, including strategic planning, succession and exit planning, mergers and acquisitions, as well as CEO and Board of Directors coaching and advisory services. Serving as an independent, trusted outside voice, he challenges CEOs and Boards to think differently about their businesses. Myron’s clients value his creative thinking skills and perspective, bringing them peace of mind as he helps them work through and solve business problems. An active leader in Mercadien’s Private Company Services Group, Myron believes in getting to the root of the issue and working together to develop a solution, whether it’s getting struggling boards to come together with a unified vision, assisting with a change in management, or offering best practices to control dynamics and varying personalities between stakeholders. With this in mind, he helps his clients alleviate these issues as well as develop innovative and strategic solutions for other complex leadership, managerial and financial problems. When Myron sets a goal, nothing can stop him. Living by the words “never, never, never give up”, he is able to achieve his goals and more through his persistent and diligent work ethic. With 30 years of experience working with private companies, Myron has a wealth of valuable knowledge that is utilized by his clients and Mercadien associates on a daily basis. Whether it’s helping an associate solve a problem their client is having, or brainstorming opportunities with the firm’s leadership, Myron is always willing to provide guidance and serve as a mentor. He has played an integral role in the growth of Mercadien over the last two decades and continues to drive its growth today.
Myron Gellman believes that patience and intellectual curiosity have driven him from his path to his Bachelor’s degree to his MBA to his position now as CEO of The Mercadien Group. In an exclusive interview with Business Today (Grace Guan), Mr. Gellman discussed his life story in depth and provided insights relevant to any undergraduate looking to go into the business world.
Mr. Gellman started off at The College of New Jersey, which was formerly known as Trenton State College, and received his Bachelor’s degree there. He worked for approximately ten years in the legal community as a chief operating officer of a law firm. Four years into that career path, he began going to school at night at Monmouth College and did so for four years, while working full time. After receiving his MBA from Monmouth University, Mr. Gellman decided to stay in the legal industry for around a decade, running operations of law firms. In these jobs, he managed the firms’ finances, human resources, technologies, and operations. Then, 20 years ago, Mr. Gellman came to The Mercadien Group, at the time, a regional accounting, consulting, technology and wealth management firm. The name of the group is derived from the Latin word for merchant, mercator. In 2000, firm changed its structure, and expanded into a technology and wealth management as well.
Active in Hamilton, New Jersey, and actually on the border with Princeton, The Mercadien Group has many service lines and multiple companies, and goes to market within those business lines consisting of a full spectrum of accounting and tax services; consulting and advisory services, including traditional auditing and financial reporting, tax compliance and planning, compliance oversight, risk assessment and litigation support services; management, board and technology consulting; family office advisors and wealth management solutions. A very entrepreneurial firm, The Mercadien Group gives an aggressive, high-quality hands on treatment service to its clients. This treatment has been very successful in the past and continues in the present. In the past two decades, Mr. Gellman has held various managerial roles within the company. For the first decade, Mr. Gellman was an Executive Director, running operations. Soon afterwards, he entered into a growth role, growing the firm in a variety of ways, including industry, business, consulting, client growth services, strategic planning, mergers, acquisitions, succession planning, and corporate therapy. Corporate therapy is when a Board who has a common economic interest do not work well together, and Mr. Gellman was able to help them get behind their common goals and work through their issues. Mr. Gellman was able to manage the approximately 150 people in the firm as well as work with clients throughout the tri-state area, regionally throughout the east coast. Very recently, in December of 2017, Mr. Gellman was promoted to the CEO position at The Mercadien Group, and will be transitioning over a period of time fully into this role. Mr. Gellman also believes that the world should focus on technology in a significant way. Referring not just to the applications from someone’s phone, but rather, how to leverage tech to improve efficiency to add value to do much more, Mr. Gellman believes that things such as AI, robotics. Mr. Gellman believes that innovation is taking over so much so as to creating an innovation council at The Mercadien Group. He often looks at technology, business processes, and efficiency, so that The Mercadien Group can become leaner. Mr. Gellman always desires to increase operational efficiency and technology.
It’s easy to get lost in Mr. Gellman’s accomplishments as an executive, but he stays modest and is very human about his achievements. He has a black belt in karate, and works out five days a week. Furthermore, Mr. Gellman believes the people make working at Mercadien memorable. Glowing, he affirmed that “interacting with wonderful, professional people, who share a common view camaraderie, common view of accountability and responsibility, all trying to do very best they can is great”. He truly enjoys being with people like those whom he works with.
When asked for insights for Business Today’s undergraduate readership, Mr. Gellman emphasized patience and intellectual curiosity. In his own words, he recalled how patience, specifically through teaching and being taught, helped him evolve throughout his career. In a telling personal statement, he expressed that “I think that it takes a lot of patience to develop people, to coach people. Right now, I am 53. When I was much younger, I had more tenacity in terms of getting things done: getting from point A to point B. As I have evolved over my career horizon, I still retain the same sense of urgency, but I’ve tried to coach people. I have tried to teach them the skill set to be successful. Learning and being patient is something I have worked on. I am getting better at it, and I believe that you can’t coach or develop people without it.”
Mr. Gellman also believes that those looking to break into the business world cannot be intellectually lazy. Indeed, he stated that there has to be a natural sense of urgency for intellectual curiosity, especially when “understanding when you’re exposed to a new concept, you have to challenge the ‘why.’” In fact, Mr. Gellman claims that pushing the envelope in terms of the critical and creative thinking allows one to get to the underpinnings of what is being discussed. In his words, those who pursue and achieve “business greatness” have natural intellectual curiosity and are not lazy to pursue what they need to know in order to understand and solve problems.
However, Mr. Gellman remains very human about his own advice. “My largest challenge [throughout my career] has been me being able to apply what I shared with you about intellectual curiosity to myself. I had to develop that skill for myself. I tried to master that skill so that I could pursue certain goals that I had. I realized that nobody will ever push me harder than I’ll push myself. Once you master this yourself you will become better at being a leader.”