Meghan Jodz, partner, Grant Thornton, is one of 36 dealmakers named in Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. Click here for the full list. This year, we asked the dealmakers to tell their stories in their own voices through Q&As.
How did you get into dealmaking?
While working as a tax advisor in 2013, one of my clients was going through a more than $100 million-bankruptcy process. I worked alongside bankruptcy attorneys to navigate the complex M&A transaction tax rules tied to the bankruptcy. During that engagement, I fell in love with fast-paced M&A processes and decided it was time to change career paths.
How has a mentor helped your career?
John Stine is a senior Tax partner at Grant Thornton who gave me countless nuggets of wisdom over the years. Above all else, he encouraged me to maintain my sense of humor. John has also demonstrated to me invaluable business development techniques and taught me memorable lessons about human behavior. John has truly instilled in me the confidence that I could succeed as a woman in sales.
What is your current role?
I lead Grant Thornton’s M&A Tax practice for the Atlantic Coast region. My goal is to create value for my clients through tax savings strategies and tax risk mitigation. My practice is built on respect for clients, colleagues, and especially for new or unique ideas. I also lead “Tax University,” Grant Thornton’s continuing education program around tax services – and more recently tax reform – for the entire M&A team.
Describe your influence on the middle market.
As one of the few women in M&A, I intentionally make myself heard and always look to forge connections across Grant Thornton and in the Philadelphia M&A community. I serve on ACG Philadelphia’s women’s committee and have planned several events and roundtables for the organization in an effort to increase female engagement. Together, with other active ACG women, we are building a strong coalition of female M&A executives in Philadelphia and around the US.
Describe a recent deal.
In January 2018, I served as tax advisor to the Rodale family in the $200M sale of its health-and-wellness-focused publishing company. I helped the family transition a business that began in the post-WWII era by J.I. Rodale, the grandfather of organic farming. The deal was not only significant from the family’s perspective but it also highlighted a transformative time in publishing when companies needed to modernize in order to compete.
Describe a challenge you overcame.
When my children were young, I was faced with the decision to continue advancing my career, remain in my existing role or pause my career. I talked to colleagues and clients and realized I could have both an incredible family and satisfying career. I also recently became a breast cancer survivor. Through the love and devotion of my family and Grant Thornton’s support, I overcame one of the scariest things I have ever faced.
How do you support women?
I’m always receptive to networking and mentoring opportunities, especially when women in our industry approach seeking advice. Rather than thinking of other women as competitors, I find myself gravitating toward them. It is incredibly important for me to go out of my way to collaborate with women in our industry and to serve as a mentor to young women, helping them realize that they too can thrive in this industry.
What is your advice for women?
Be bold. Don’t doubt yourself – the men certainly don’t doubt you nor themselves. And always speak up and offer ideas. Earning a seat at the table may seem challenging, but it is never far out of reach.
When you’re not making deals, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love sailing with my family in Lewes, Delaware, during the summer months, and I enjoy skiing in the Poconos during the winter. I also have a passion for photography. There is something very special about capturing a moment, whether it’s on a sailboat, in knee-deep snow or simply spending a lazy Sunday with my family.
What other career path might you have chosen?
I always wanted to be an architect or engineer because I appreciate knowing how things are built and creating something new out of nothing. In a way, M&A shares similar attributes. We help companies reach their growth potential or assist in the creation of new business ventures altogether.