Hope Global has seen revenue grow significantly under the leadership of Cheryl Merchant. But as president and CEO of the 133-year-old company, Merchant doesn’t only provide solid management decisions and keep an eye on the bottom line. She also has a personal dedication to mentoring to help develop the next generation of leaders.
It was during a leadership-training program at General Motors that Cheryl Merchant says she found her calling as a leader and mentor. She joined Hope Global’s predecessor in 1999 and has fostered a spirit centered on teamwork that has helped the company triple annual revenue. She was recognized earlier this year as the 2015 outstanding mentor among businesswomen by Providence Business News.
PBN PHOTO/STEPHANIE ALVAREZ EWENS
Posted: Saturday, December 5, 2015 12:05 am
Throughout my career I have always known the importance of mentorship. I had an amazing mentor early on that pushed me, challenged me and advised me on everything from how to dress to how to tackle complex problems. I can’t think of a day that has gone by where I have not used a lesson or drawn upon that wisdom imparted upon me. My mentor was and is such an influence upon my career. I still talk to him weekly, as I now call him a friend.
Mentorship is not just about sharing all the happy endings where everything worked out and you ended up winning one. It really is about sharing lessons learned. Mentorship is about taking your life experiences and breaking it down, the mistakes, the hard knocks, the “one you wish you could do over” and giving insight into what you learned and what you would have done differently. It really is about being vulnerable and open to examining the moments where we didn’t shine. It is in those moments where growth happens.
Beyond the professionals at Hope, I am currently mentoring three young professionals. We meet regularly and discuss issues, life’s questions, things that are important and how to make decisions. There is a truly remarkable thing that happens when you mentor. You will get as much back, if not more, than you give. At least, I do!
– Cheryl Mechant, CEO Hope Global
Hope Global has been on the banks of the Blackstone River since 1883.
It is thriving, having adapted to the demands of the automobile industry, as well as making material for the military.
But, after floods in 2005 and 2010 halted work at the company and forced huge clean-ups, business owner Cheryl Merchant looked at her options. She decided the only smart thing was to move out of state.
“It was on the books,” Merchant said. “We were moving.”
That’s all in the past now. Hundreds of jobs have been saved thanks to grant funds, as the federal congressional delegation came through on Friday with a $1.5 million community block grant for disaster relief.
That means Merchant will be able to outfit her machinery to be raised off the floor during the next flood. All her company’s office computers will be moved to the second floor.
“We have taken all of our corporate it and massive amounts of servers and they’ve been raised upstairs,” Merchant said.
The change will make her company safe, and preserve the 250 jobs in Cumberland.
Rep. David Cicilline said the company is expected to grow.
“We want to make sure they do it right here in Rhode Island,” he said.