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Maria Gunther Appointed CEO as Trellist Announces Leadership Progression

02/02/2021

Trellist Marketing and Technology is thrilled to announce the appointment of Maria Gunther as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). As part of this transition, Trellist founding partner and longtime CEO David Atadan will become Chief Ventures Officer, while continuing to hold the role of Chief Operations Officer, and serve on the firm's Board.

Gunther joined Trellist in 2005 as a design contractor and soon moved into project management, building strategic relationships throughout the years and across industries. She was promoted to an Account Services Lead in 2010, a role that gave her an enhanced view of customer challenges and how Trellist's unique portfolio of services can help meet them. In 2016, Gunther was unanimously elected as a partner in the organization thanks to her extraordinary efforts in building the business.

As CEO, Gunther says, "One of my goals is to be reflective of what I can bring to the position in order to keep the company running in a sustainable way—as well as working with the extended leadership team to explore areas of growth that are in line with our charter, mission, and vision. I was honored to be chosen as Dave's successor two years ago, and I am now ready to help drive the organization forward."

A Business Evolution

Gunther's assumption of the role of CEO marks the next stage of Trellist's evolution from an "entrepreneurial company to a corporation," says Atadan, who founded the firm in 1995 with Pat Toman. "When you start a company from the ground up, you play all the positions. You're the finance person and the operations person and the HR person and the chief bottle washer. But as the company grows, you pull yourself out of each of those positions and move into new roles where you add the greatest value."

With Gunther as CEO, Atadan can devote his focus to business ventures, including plans to replicate the success of the first products and services company Trellist launched, Andy Lally ALIVE®, a digital marketing and technology ecosystem serving the automotive and motorsports vertical. Trellist plans to integrate all of its venture products and companies with its services in ways that deliver extreme value to its client base.

Gunther rises to CEO after a two-year transition period, starting with Trellist's hiring of Melanie Schilling as Chief Financial Officer, in 2019, along with more recent moves within the company's human resources department. These changes allowed Atadan to minimize his involvement with ancillary functions and help Gunther grow into the new role.

Gunther's transition was made easier by her familiarity with the company and its mission, models, and foundations. "Because we have a very special way of doing things, we needed someone with more than an academic understanding of the models we use within our company. We needed someone who had lived them," says Atadan. "We saw Maria as the right person to take the company to its next stage, as a higher-level consultancy and services-based organization."

Setting Clients up for Success

While marking its 25th Anniversary in 2020, Trellist celebrated the maturity of its internal operations and the start of new stage of growth. Along with continuing to build a set of service offerings that meets the needs of today's clients, the company hired senior talent in a variety of practice areas—from Corporate Communications to UX/UI Design—from around the country. Trellist also deepened its strategic partnerships with several leading marketing technology providers. Moreover, the company recently expanded its geographic footprint to include a new office in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

But for Gunther, it is the durability of Trellist's existing clientele that is most gratifying. "I'm especially proud of the tenure of so many of our client relationships," she says. "We don't consider ourselves a revolving door. We treasure our client partners who see the difference in the solutions we offer. And we do everything we can to ensure that we are setting them up for success and long-term growth."

"Over the years, our ability to both retain and deepen our relationships with top clients has owed a lot to Maria's skill, diligence, and attention," says Atadan. "She has always been a leader in maintaining a client-first mentality, and the success of our enterprise has benefitted tremendously from it. I am thrilled to be able to work hand-in-hand with her to build a true family of companies within and beyond the Trellist brand."

About Trellist

Trellist is a professional services firm delivering performance-driven business solutions that are flexible, innovative and optimized to maximize efficiency and return. The firm consults on, and integrates, data with marketing, design, technology and digital services for clients at the global, national and regional level. Trellist utilizes a unique approach to business—from the firm's employee-shared structure, to how it partners with its clients. Learn more at trellist.com

About Trellist

Trellist is a professional services firm delivering performance-driven business solutions that are flexible, innovative and optimized to maximize efficiency and return. The firm consults on, and integrates, data with marketing, design, technology and digital services for clients at the global, national and regional level. Trellist utilizes a unique approach to business—from the firm’s employee-shared structure, to how it partners with its clients. 

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