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The Influencers in Depth

Mary Josephs

Sphere of Influence: Structures innovative ESOPs for middle-market companies

Mary Josephs had a promising career as an investment banker focusing on Fortune 500 companies, but it wasn’t all that interesting to her. In 2009, she left Bank of America and she took a risk, launching Verit Advisors. “There were a number of opportunities for me, but they were uninteresting to me compared with having the opportunity to grow and build something,” says Josephs. “It might sound insane, but I consider it a gift to work with the awesome people who are caretakers for their families’ legacies.”

Given the fact that most investment bankers are incentivized to close deals quickly, Josephs saw an opportunity. “It struck me that another approach could be to listen to the client and execute, not worry about when the deal happens,” says Josephs. That’s exactly what Josephs did when Maureen Beal came to her with her family’s company in 2010.

Beal was a fourth-generation owner of National Van Lines, a national moving company. Beal lived on the top floor of the office and cared deeply about what her family gave to grow the business. In 2010, at 70 years old, Beal knew she had to do something to ensure the future of the business. After Beal hired Verit Advisors, Josephs walked Beal through the pros and cons of what a sale would look like to various buyers, including a strategic buyer and a private equity firm. Beal made the decision to do an Employee Stock Option Purchase in 2011. The deal secured Beal’s grandfather’s legacy and ensured the careers of more than 100 employees.

“Mary listened, and she understood,” says Beal. “Her prominence as one of the nation’s premier ESOP practitioners preceded her, but what set Mary and her colleagues apart was their ability to understand our unique situation and help craft a solution.”

In 2012, Verit Advisors led another ESOP transaction in the sale of footwear company Dankso. For "the most altruistic of sellers," according to one deal maker, ESOP deals saw a strong momentum.