We had the pleasure of talking to Michael Blake, Director of Strategic Advisory Services with accounting firm Brady Ware and Company. Michael is a SACC-Georgia individual member and joined the chamber last year. Brady Ware and Company is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. Michael works from the Alpharetta office in Georgia, but has only been at the office a few times since March because of the coronavirus pandemic. His job at Brady Ware & Company is to help clients make major strategic decisions and to help them understand those decisions with empirical data and analytical methods. Michael hosts a podcast called Decision Vision where episode #102 was launched this week. Read on about why Michael chose accounting, his interest in Sweden, his podcast, and much more - enjoy!
Brady Ware & Company was founded about 65 years ago. It entered the Atlanta Market about 12 years ago with the acquisition of two firms and has continued to grow. Now they have about 140 employees, of which 34 are stationed in the Atlanta market.
“I like being an advisor more than I like being a broker and it’s been good ever since.”
Michael joined Brady Ware & Company a little over three years ago with a background as a venture capitalist and an investment banker before becoming a business and intellectual property appraiser. Because of his experience with business appraisals, mergers, acquisitions, and strategic decision support, he was a natural fit.
Math is what makes us unique
Blake explained that he’s not afraid to analyze data and to crunch numbers.
“I'm actually not a mathematician and when I was in school, I was not particularly good at math”
He believes that people too often make important decisions without the benefit of consulting data. It is just a matter of being willing to explore the data, he says. “Reading data is not easy, it's a language all to itself that I've had to learn and our clients really like the fact that not only do we do that, but we also explain it to them in a way that they can use it.”
Clients turn to Brady Ware’s strategic advisory support for help in making decisions that are consequential and hard to reverse. They utilize empirical data in order to help their clients make those decisions. Blake further explains that people do not have to be mathematicians, economists, or physicists to understand the data and inform their decisions. Our job is to bridge the gap between the math and the client’s application.
Business is about the purpose
Blake emphasizes that Brady Ware recognizes that, “…the client can often be in a very lonely place, especially if their role is to manage risk. The risk manager can often be under tremendous pressure from colleagues, bosses and advisors to take a decision in a certain direction, while the risk manager resists because they think it’s in the company’s best interest to do so. We want to be the ally of the person that is managing risk who is often putting themselves on the line for what they think is the right thing to do – or not to do.”
Michael is passionate about the podcast that he hosts in cooperation with Brady Ware & Company. He develops and hosts all the episodes of the podcast called Decision Vision, and episode #102 was released this week. Some of the people that have been interviewed are SACC-GA board member Tom Rosseland and Deborah Lanham, CEO of the
Alpharetta Chamber of Commerce. This is a project he has been working on for almost two years. He is thankful for the whole team involved in the podcast such as the producer John Ray at Business RadioX, the Brady Ware marketing team, andover 100 guests who have appeared on the program.
“My goal is to help clients become better decision-makers by sharing the experiences of people who have had to make those decision before”
The interest in how people can make better decisions was inspired by world chess champion Garry Kasparov. Kasparov once said that improving your skill in chess is about learning how to become a better decision-maker. Michael was inspired by that sentence and strives to make Decision Vision about helping people become better decision-makers.
Atlanta is a great place for business
Michael thinks Atlanta is a great place for business because of the opportunities to develop relationships. “My relationship with the Swedish American Chamber is really a great example of that because I've had a fascination with Sweden for a while.”
Atlanta offers lots of organizations as well as landmarks. The places that Michael likes to visit are the Civil Rights Museum, Georgia Tech, and The Downwind Restaurant and The Globe Hub at Peachtree DeKalb Airport.
His relation to Sweden
Michael is not aware of any Swedish heritage, but that hasn’t stopped him from developing an interest in the country. Sweden is known as an innovative nation and, due to Michael’s background in technology, this fascination with Sweden comes naturally. He even recently completed the Swedish course on Duolingo.
“Innovative companies have come out of Sweden and continue to come out of Sweden”
Sweden’s strong set of social programs and innovative spirit further fuels his interest. He referred to an article that said that Sweden is considered one of the top-3 innovative countries in the world.
He wanted to finish this interview with two highlights. “First of all, I think the Swedish chamber is fantastic.”
He has always looked for an opportunity to get involved with the chamber since he has learned the language. He would love to do more with the chamber in the future and also travel to Sweden and learn if there is an opportunity to develop business relationships there.
The second point is that people are more than welcome to contact him for advice. “I've been very fortunate that I had the help of many people to make good decisions over the course of my life and career, and I want to do the same for others”.
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