Editor's Note: This week's Thought Leader is Mark Avery, President and Founder of MarketPay, the state-of-the-art on-line market pricing system that seems to be catching the world by storm. Mark has over 27 years of compensation experience - including time in corporate compensation management as well as seven years as a Compensation Consultant with Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Mark has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Economics from Chapman University and an MBA from George Washington University.
Compensation Force: What led you to choose (or land in) a career featuring the field of rewards?
Mark Avery: I did indeed "land" in the career, primarily due to a poor job market during the last "great recession" in the early eighties. I graduated from college with a degree in Finance/Economics, with courses focused on statistics and quantitative analysis. My college's placement office had a position listing with a small compensation consulting firm, a part-time job at that. I was offered and took the job, somewhat surprised that those statistical courses might come in handy. Almost 30 years, later I remain in the compensation field.
Compensation Force: What person and their ideas/teaching/writing has had a significant influence on your thinking and your work?
Mark Avery: The late (great) Peter LeBlanc, who hired me into my first comp practitioner role at Northern Telecom in 1986 and went on to be a true thought-leader in our profession (and a consultant with Sibson and Axiom), had the most influence on my thinking and work. Peter was always ahead of his time and ahead of the curve as he worked to make compensation programs truly effective. He saw things clearly at the 30,000 foot level, and helped me to see the big picture of driving organizational success through compensation programs.
Compensation Force: Is there a book you’d recommend to others in the reward field that has impacted your thinking and your work?
Mark Avery: Swim with the Sharks (Without Being Eaten Alive) has been the most influential book in my professional career. As a compensation person turned entrepreneur, the book taught me simple, common sense, and effective lessons for making decisions, running a business, and keeping customers happy. "Never buy anything in an office with a chandelier", "It's not the people you fire that make your life miserable, it's the ones you don't", "If you can't be #1, make sure you're #2", "Be prepared to walk away from the deal", "If you have a problem that can be solved with money, you don't have a problem" (all paraphrased from 20-year old memories), were straightforward 2-page gems of wisdom that I remember and utilize to this day.
Compensation Force: Looking to the future, what trend or development do you think will significantly impact the reward profession and those of us working in it?
Mark Avery: Technology. Our profession increasingly relies on data for decision making, and I expect that the data we use will become more easily accessible, and easier to use and analyze. Of course, I'm biased in this regard.
Compensation Force: What are you currently working on?
Mark Avery: Making market compensation data easier to access and use, and expanding on our system's analytical capabilities. We're going to go "deeper" into market data analysis at MarketPay, as opposed to trying to broaden our service offering.
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Our special thanks to Mark for participating in the Compensation Force Thought Leader series and taking the time to share some of his history, thoughts and ideas with us today!
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