“Leaders aren’t born – they form, develop, grow and improve over time. To lead, others must willingly follow. Leaders listen. Leaders coach. Leaders prioritize others. Leaders act. Leaders make mistakes. Leaders learn. Leaders serve and stay calm in the storm. I’m privileged that others count on me to lead, and I take that responsibility seriously.”
Grayson and Emily Blair have called Charlotte home for more than 20 years with a family that includes two teenage girls, Ella Gray and Sarah, and a playful Golden Doodle named Bailey. He enjoys hiking, biking, tennis, golf, soccer and basketball; Grayson loves to read, cook breakfast, hit the movies, host dinners and listen to live music. He’s a member and Elder at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, Vice Chairman of the board for the Mountain Retreat Association in Montreat, NC and board member for the Psychology Department within the school of Liberal Arts at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Tennessee, Grayson started his consulting career at Andersen Consulting where he spent nearly a dozen years learning, applying and improving his craft. For the last decade, Grayson led business development, client solutions and award winning teams at Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, NTT DATA and Capco. Within financial services consulting, Grayson specializes in retail banking distribution, post-merger integration, client experience management, operational effectiveness, technology implementation and organizational design. At summusgroup, Grayson helps advance market development, alliances, talent, community engagement and more.
“Great leaders unite their people around vision and purpose. My goal is to empower individuals and my teams to take genuine ownership over their roles and responsibilities, and then do everything I can to remove obstacles that impede their success. ”
Brett and his wife, Eliza, have two children and have made Charlotte their home since 2014. He enjoys coaching his kids’ youth sports teams, playing golf and taking trips to the beach and mountains. Brett and Eliza met while attending North Carolina State University and they are passionate about all things “Wolfpack.” While attending NSCU, Brett was an integral part of the Army ROTC program, where he led the NC State Army ROTC Battalion his senior year. Upon graduation, he joined active duty as a commissioned officer in the US Army. Brett served a three-year tour of duty in Germany as an Armor Officer; where he led several cross-functional combat warrior teams in high-intensity operations. After completing his military service, Brett was honorably discharged as a US Army Captain and returned to the states.
After serving, Brett decided to pursue a career in management, IT and business consulting. He has honed his craft working with a variety of teams and clients; his experience ranges from government agencies to enterprise-level businesses. Brett has provided growth and value to several top-tier firms which include Deloitte, Grant Thornton, Carlisle and Gallagher and NTT DATA. Today Brett serves as the Consulting Practice Leader for Summus Group where he continues to follow his passion for helping clients solve their biggest challenges.
“To me, leadership really boils down to a few simple ideas – doing the right thing, at the right time, being fair, holding yourself accountable and having the confidence to stand tall when you do those things no matter the outside opinion. Surround yourself with smart and highly driven people; the greatest accomplishments come from a teaming dynamic and the results are more fulfilling when you can share them with people you care about.”
Wes and his wife Jaime enjoy spending time with their two kids, Avery and Mason, and beloved household favorite Bernice the Bulldog. Wes also enjoys all things youth sports with his children from coaching to cheering to anxiety and smiles that last a lifetime, big mountains for snowboarding, sandy beaches for surfing, and golfing. He attended James Madison University for his undergraduate studies in Computer Information Systems and received his MBA from the University of Florida with a focus in Finance and Marketing. Starting his career at Accenture in the Strategy and Business Architecture group out of Washington DC gave him exposure to the Public Sector, Travel and Tourism, Hi-Tech, and Multinational Fortune 10 clients. From DC, Wes and his family relocated to Charlotte and immersed himself in Financial Services working for Bank of America as a Change Management Executive, then Ally Bank as the Strategic Initiatives Executive. Looking to round out his experience in the emerging FinTech space and work on the vendor side, he spent time with Fiserv as the Business Intelligence and Strategic Transformation executive before ultimately joining the summusgroup family in 2017. Wes’ 20+ years of work across Management Consulting, Financial Services, and FinTech industries has contributed to a foundation of experience spanning strategic planning, transformational execution, business development, customer relationship management, business intelligence, analytics, and vendor management.
“I relate to the Coaching style of leadership. Our people are our “team” and we are driving towards well-stated goals. I enjoy helping teammates understand what is expected of them, raise the bar, and continue to unlock their potential.” I particularly like this quote from Oliver Wendall Holmes, “A mind once stretched to a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
Jason and Michelle Rideout moved to Charlotte in 2002 and are parents to three kids. They enjoy spending time visiting family in Florida, Virginia, and the Jersey Shore. Most evenings and weekends you can find Jason on a ballfield, basketball court, or golf course coaching or caddying for his kids. Jason also enjoys playing golf, road trips, live music, taking his kids to amusement parks, and making everything a competition.
Jason graduated from James Madison University with a concentration in Computer Information Systems and Finance. His professional career has been spent across a variety of roles, predominantly within financial services, but has also included Retail and Healthcare. At summusgroup, Jason manages the technology and operations workstreams along with being the Executive career advisor.
“I believe in recognizing people’s successes and supporting their personal career objectives. By managing relationships and providing strong mentorship, I am able to shape individuals into leaders.”
Megan and her husband, Pat, live in Charlotte and share an adorable puppy named Teddy. She loves traveling, spending time with family, and tap and hip-hop dancing. She enjoys volunteering in the community and is a leading member of the summusgroup Philanthropy Committee. She attended University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she majored in International Business. She stayed at Wilmington to earn her IMBA, a dual program where she was able to study abroad in the UK while focusing on human resource management. After graduating, she moved to Charlotte and joined NTT Data Consulting where she was able to apply her knowledge in HR as an HR associate then subsequently as a recruiter. She came to summusgroup three years later to become involved with every aspect of human resources including talent acquisition, onboarding, and retention. Megan is recently SHRM-CP certified and is the head of the summusgroup Associate Satisfaction Committee, fully committed to ensuring all summusgroup associates are happy and supported.
“Hire people smarter than you and let them get to it.”
Bill and his wife Kerry reside in the Charlotte area with their three kids and English Lab, Boomer. They enjoy water sports, snow skiing and traveling as a family. Bill also enjoys golfing (if you can call what he does ‘golfing’) on the rare occasion when he gets a chance to play. In terms of Bill’s professional life, he earned his B.A from the University of Oklahoma before moving to New York City to join Andersen Consulting/Accenture. After leaving Accenture, his career path brought him to Charlotte to work on M&A transition work. He continued to work for major financial institutions in a management consulting capacity on a variety of large initiatives, working to build a diverse consulting skillset and better understanding of client needs. Throughout these experiences accumulated while spending an entire career in management consulting, Bill always had a desire to be part of something different, something special. Using the knowledge he gathered along the journey, he decided it was time to stop thinking about finding this special place and go create it. From this, summusgroup was born.