I like to compare a healthy business to a healthy baby: They both grow automatically. Babies grow because Mother Nature demands it, while businesses grow because existing satisfied customers remain and new customers find their way in, which creates the need for new employees to join too.
Babies not only grow, but grow up, and in most well-run enterprises so do the people who work there. Young hires mature, build new skills and get ready to assume new roles and responsibilities. That is exactly how things are playing out here at Palisades Hudson as we get ready to begin our 25th year.
Shomari Hearn, who has been with us since 1998, will soon become our firm’s first-ever managing vice president. Shomari established our Florida office in 2005 and has been our sole vice president since the middle of 2012. He also serves as our chief compliance officer on the investment side of the business.
Two of our senior managers, Eric Meermann and Paul Jacobs, will become vice presidents. They will retain their current responsibilities – Paul is our chief investment officer and heads our Investment Committee from his base in Atlanta, while Eric runs our client service practice in the Northeast office – but they will also take on new assignments in building the firm’s practice and technical strengths. Eric joined Palisades Hudson in 2000, and Paul came aboard two years later.
Shomari, who is still based in Florida, will supervise and collaborate with Paul and Eric in their new executive roles. He and Eric lead our newly established Entertainment and Sports Team. Eric has already registered with the NFL Players Association as a financial advisor, while Shomari has introduced our services to established figures in the urban, hip-hop and electronic dance music corners of the music business. Shomari has closely followed the urban music scene since his boyhood in the Bronx.
Anthony Criscuolo will take over Shomari’s day-to-day responsibilities for supervising the Florida staff and office operations. This makes Anthony, who was our 2007 summer intern and joined us full time a year later, the youngest of the “station chiefs” who run our five offices.
Back in the Northeast, our firm is moving from Westchester County, New York – where I launched the business from my kitchen table in 1992 – to a new office in Stamford, Connecticut. We will be in Scarsdale through the end of 2016 before making the move to Connecticut, but Stamford will not be our new headquarters. Due to Shomari’s promotion and my own increasing presence in Florida, Fort Lauderdale will become our official headquarters at the start of the year.
Shomari and Eric will rotate off the firmwide Investment Committee, where they have served for many years, at the start of 2017. Rebecca Pavese, who is our Atlanta station chief, and Melinda Kibler will take their place. Melinda is a client service manager based in Fort Lauderdale.
Our talented graphic artist Ashley Bell will join our management team when she is promoted to administrative manager on Jan. 1. Ashley has been known to do everything from designing our books, brochures and website graphics to coaxing stubborn printers with a combination of perseverance and Krazy Glue.
All of these changes will leave us with a Fort Lauderdale headquarters, a Northeast office based in Stamford, and other locations in Atlanta, Austin and Portland, Oregon. The firm has come a long way from its start on my kitchen table, and our staff has come an equally long way from the newly minted college graduates that most of them were when we hired them.
But that’s how it goes. Babies, businesses and the people who nurture them just can’t help it. Nature designed them to grow.
I have much to be thankful about, in my personal as well as my professional life. This seemed like a good day to share so much good news about the business with readers of this blog, many of whom are clients who have watched alongside me as all of these people, and the rest of our staff, have grown in their professions. We all wish you and yours a joyful and peaceful Thanksgiving.