Tension fuels Mercedes Concepcion-Gray like adrenaline. After 20 years of leading global IT organizations through acquisitions, optimization, and P&L, and working with a portfolio of 75 different companies, Mercedes Concepcions-Gray realized that every business struggled with how to execute solutions to their operational problems. This became a passion project for her, and what she then dedicated her career to.

Concepcion-Gray has worked with large global companies such as Intercontinental Hotel Group as Vice President, IT Portfolio Management; SVP Conversion and Technology at Swiss Re and Divisional CIO and Operational Process Governance with Computer Science Corporation.

Today the Marietta resident is the CEO/Founder of GrayMatter, LLC. This business combines Mercedes’ passion for optimizing operations and aligning technology and business needs with a proven methodology. She also serves as President of Coalescence Inc. dba, through which she is a Regional Developer for Patrice and Associates, a franchise commonly referred to as the ‘Gold Standard in Hospitality Recruiting’ and focused on providing top talent to the hospitality/retail industry.

Because of the nature of her work – helping people land their dream job – Mercedes sees firsthand how entrepreneurship can provide women with financial and professional freedom. She wanted to help others, particularly Latina women like herself, achieve this freedom. This desire sparked her heavy involvement in encouraging entrepreneurship amongst the community.

What inspires you to be successful?

Passion and belief in what I do, always giving it my best and not letting fear keep me away from my dreams and the satisfaction of helping others.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Solving the tough problems to help businesses succeed, and mentoring talent to achieve their life dreams.

What are some of the challenges facing your industry and what are you doing to combat those challenges?

A tight job market makes it challenging to find top talent to deliver on our commitment to our restaurant and hospitality industry clients. We are constantly improving though, through leveraging technology, helping my employees think strategically, and constantly researching and finding new ways to source. Great talent is the key component for business success.

Tell us about your upbringing and how that might have shaped you in your life and career.

I grew up in Dominican Republic, I come from a large family with many women as my role models. My family was working class, and we had the necessities, but not the luxuries.

My parents were also always learning and proud to provide and give what little they had or the blessing of their talents. My father and mother only had high school educations, but always taught us to be our best at whatever we decided to do, and that a great education was the best gift that they could provide us. And they did. From an early age, I never took for granted opportunities. I always wanted/was taught to give my best and not be afraid to go after what I wanted. That has shaped who I am today.

For me, it is not about better than anyone else – what I consider a ‘win’ is improving from where I was yesterday, always giving my best, learning from my failures and as someone told me, “fall forward.” A great mentor early on in my career told me when offered an opportunity never be afraid to try, so you know what you are good at today, the worst that can happen is that you learn.

What are some of your personal interests/hobbies and causes you support outside of the office?

Because of my parents, I am a big believer that education is the greatest gift we can give. I am engaged with groups like “Los Ninos Primero,” a nonforprofit that focuses on providing early education to Latino immigrant children to prepare them for school. I’m also involved in Sandy Spring Education Force, that is focused on after school programs for public schools. exposing them to technology, robotics, etc. I have a dream to launch a nonprofit (it was my MBA final project) called “Meant To Be” to help unite children in orphanages with their “meant to be” parents. There should be zero children without families.

For fun, I play tennis, spend time at the beach or the lake with my family, and we all love to travel.

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