Meet Mereo: Jay Mitchell

Over the past several months we have been spending time with each of Mereo’s principals to provide a behind the scenes look at these seasoned professionals, what they bring to the Mereo team and some fun facts about their lives. Today we are completing the series with Mereo President and Founder, Jay Mitchell. {Kelsey}

How did you get in this industry and start Mereo?

I met this industry when I was a kid. My family ran a business in a small town in Texas. Those values stuck with me as I studied sports broadcasting at Baylor University. Before I left college, I interned at a marketing agency and gained experience in public relations and advertising. And right out of college I transitioned my experiences into a television advertising sales job. I sold television advertisements for a year in Dallas, but my wife and I always wanted to move to Colorado. So we explored our options, and we were blessed to uncover a role with a high-tech company that just went public in Colorado Springs. Here I put my expertise into play for investor relations and the marketing team. Following that initial venture into marketing and sales, I led sales, marketing, sales enablement and solutions marketing teams in a variety of tech companies — from i2 Technologies to JD Edwards. Then I moved from the tech arena to the services industry, bringing the principles I shaped in the technology space with me, serving as the chief marketing officer and partner-in-charge of marketing and revenue at Tatum. In three years, our team increased the firm’s annual revenues by more than 400% — from ~$40 million to more than $210 million.

The idea for Mereo had always been on my backburner. The catalyst for Mereo came alive when I spoke with some friends and realized I could only help one company at a time where I was at, as an employee. But through a professional services model, I could help more companies and provide a platform for others to do the same, which were two huge wins. My goal wasn’t to make more money, the traditional motivator for professionals looking to move from industry into consulting. Rather, my goal was to share the collective capabilities and expertise with more businesses and connect with more people. And Mereo was born in 2007.

What is your area of expertise?

My expertise is three-pronged: sales, marketing and operational leadership. From an industry perspective, my focus has been in technology, professional services, manufacturing & distribution and retail.

What is your favorite client success story?

I don’t have one particular favorite story — because it is not just about success for me, it is about the people and the relationship I foster with each person, and by extension, the relationships we build as a firm with our clients. The best part of my job is getting to engage with people on a personal level. I have the pleasure of supporting people in their careers, with their businesses and in their lives. With this consultation business, I get to live out a broader purpose in life of engaging with people and their journeys. 

Where do you go for insight and thought leadership?

While I don’t love to read, I read a ton — and I have throughout my entire career. I consume information in bursts. In the mornings, I sit for an hour and read through articles and news bites and sound bites and clippings from a multitude of sources with the goal of coming away with something new — be it data points or insights across the industry. Sometimes I read just the headline, sometimes the headline and a paragraph and other times I am well into an article’s second page and still interested.

Why is Seek to Serve not to Sell™ important to you and Mereo?

Seek to Serve drives everything I do and all Mereo stands for. Too many people get caught up in careers. They lose that connection and that broader, spiritual purpose of life. For me, Mereo is not about revenue and creating a consultation business. I could have continued to find success working for other companies, but by starting Mereo, I was able to serve more businesses — and more importantly, people — and serve them along their journeys in the best way that I can. Sometimes that means joining a client for dinner. Sometimes that means meeting them in their office long after 5 p.m. And other times, it is a phone call and them saying “I’m struggling with this personal matter, and as I have gotten to know you, I wanted to bounce a couple things around with you.”

What do you see for the future of Mereo?

This goes back to the original driving force of Mereo: How can we help more companies? Right now we are looking at how to build a scalable business that continues to deliver the value that clients have garnered without losing it in a larger infrastructure. How do we keep providing unique results in a repeatable, effective way? How do we reach people on individual levels when our size increases?

What are some of your hobbies?

I am a sports nut. Not a fan. Not an enthusiast. A nut. I can turn on a game without being a fan of a specific team and be just as engaged as the Cub’s fans were when they won the World’s Series. I love the nature of sporting events, and I love being live at the game. I do have a soft spot for my alma mater, Baylor athletics. I catch their games on television or listen to John Morris on the radio.

Our entire family is also active in a church in Colorado Springs, Woodmen Valley Chapel. My wife, Stephanie, and I have been involved in the youth programs for more than a decade. And now as my four children are growing up and getting into the programs, too, we have amplified our involvement and help with mission trips, weekly youth group meetings, and leading programs. All in all, I enjoy doing things that let me spend a lot of time with my family.