John Gerzema

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John Gerzema
John Gerzema (2014).jpg
Gerzema in 2014
EducationOhio State University, Northwestern University
OccupationBusiness executive, columnist

John Gerzema is an American CEO and columnist who focuses on social sciences and the impact of leadership ethics and corporate culture on consumer behavior and financial performance. He has a particular focus on female leadership traits and competencies in modern-day leadership. He is CEO of Harris Insights & Analytics, one of the world’s leading public opinion, market research and strategy firms known widely for The Harris Poll.[1][2] Previously, he was chairman and CEO of WPP Group’s BAV Consulting,[3] overseeing the BrandAsset Valuator, a consumer and brand survey.[4] He was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Behavior 2014 by Trust Across America.[5] and was one of Forbes’ Must-Follow Marketing Minds on Twitter 2014.[6]

Book author[edit]

Best Countries: Defining Success and Leadership in the Twenty-First Century

Gerzema co-wrote the ebook Best Countries: Defining Success and Leadership in the Twenty-First Century[7] with David Reibstein, Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.[8] The book explores how countries are assessed as brands based on the proprietary model they built, in partnership with U.S. News, to create the Best Countries Rankings. The rankings are hosted on U.S. News & World Report and updated annually.

The Brand Bubble

Gerzema is the author of The Brand Bubble: The Looming Crisis in Brand Value and How to Avoid It (John Wiley & Sons, Oct. 13, 2008), written with Ed Lebar, which documented the $4 trillion overvaluation of brands in companies in contrast to their declining perceptions in the consumer data.

Spend Shift

Gerzema’s book, Spend Shift: How the Post-Crisis Values Revolution Is Changing the Way We Buy, Sell and Live (Jossey-Bass, Oct 18, 2010), written with Pulitzer-Prize winner Michael D'Antonio, studied the strategies of companies to adapt to a consumer marketplace focused on ethics, integrity and values in post-recession America. Spend Shift appeared on the "best of" lists of The Wall Street Journal,[9] The Washington Post,[10] Fast Company[11] and the WEEK Magazine.[12] The book became a TED talk, “The Post-Crisis Consumer.”[13]

The Athena Doctrine

Gerzema’s book, The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule The World, also written with D'Antonio, was published in April 2013.[14] The book[15] explores the rise of feminine traits and values in society, leadership, and business. The book is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller[16][17] as well as a TEDx talk[18][19] The book was the subject of an Inc cover story, "Between Venus and Mars: 7 Traits of True Leaders."[20] In their research of more than 60,000 people in 13 countries, the authors found that “traditionally feminine leadership and values are now more popular than the macho paradigm of the past.” The research found that “two-thirds of people feel the world would be a better place if men thought more like women-including 79 per cent of Japanese men; 76 per cent of French and Brazilians and 70 per cent of Germans.”[21]

Proceeds from the book benefit the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign.[22][23]


Gerzema writes regular columns for the Huffington Post,[24] Google Think Quarterly,[25][26] and PSFK.[27][28] Gerzema has written and been featured in numerous articles, including in such publications and websites as McKinsey on Society,[29] Harvard Business Review[30] The Next Woman,[31] The Daily Beast,[32] Financial Times,[33] Forbes,[34] the Daily Mail,[35] Inc. magazine,[36] Fast Company,[37] USA Today[38] and U.S. News & World Report.[39]


Gerzema received a bachelor's degree in marketing from The Ohio State University in 1983 and his master's degree in Integrated Marketing from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1987.[40] In 2014, Gerzema was inducted into the Medill Hall of Achievement.[41]


Gerzema worked as an account supervisor at Campbell Mithun from 1987 to 1992, providing account services and brand management to a diverse array of blue-chip marketers.[42] In 1992 Gerzema joined Fallon Worldwide, an international marketing company, . While there, he co-founded account planning at Fallon Minneapolis, served as planning director and managing partner of Fallon New York (1997-2000) and then oversaw Fallon’s global network, which included founding offices and completing acquisitions.[43]

In 2004, Gerzema joined Young & Rubicam as chief insights officer, overseeing oversees account planning, research, and analytics.[43] In early 2011, Gerzema became executive chairman of BAV Consulting, a division of Burson Marsteller and the company that is responsible for BrandAsset® Valuator, the world's largest global brand database and management tool.[4][44] In 2017, Gerzema became CEO of Harris Insights & Analytics (Ref), one of the world’s leading public opinion, market research and strategy firms known widely for The Harris Poll®.

Advisory role[edit]

Gerzema is a board adviser for University of the People, an NGO tuition-free university,[45] Girl Up, a United Nations organization empowering girls to become global leaders and raising awareness and funds for United Nations programs that help the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls,[46][47] and the National Kidney Foundation. He is also a fellow with the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College.[48]


Gerzema is married and lives in New York with his wife, Mary, an executive at Shiseido,[49] and daughter, Nina.[50]


  1. ^ "Harris Appoints Joint CEOs". Research Live. Research Live. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Harris Announces New Leadership Team". Daily Research News Online. Mr. Web. May 16, 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  3. ^ "BAV Consulting". Retrieved August 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ a b "What We See". BAV Consulting. Retrieved August 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ "The Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business 2014". Trust Across America. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  6. ^ Goodson, Scott (December 17, 2013). "Must-Follow Marketing Minds On Twitter 2014". Forbes. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  7. ^ Gerzema, John; Reibstein, David. "Best Countries: Defining Success and Leadership in the Twenty-First Century" (PDF). US News & World Report, BAV Consulting, Wharton School. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  8. ^ Wharton School. University of Pennsylvania Retrieved 16 May 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Book Shelf". Wall Street Journal. Oct 16, 2010.
  10. ^ "Book World". Washington Post. Oct 31, 2012.
  11. ^ "Best Business Books of 2010". Fast Company. Retrieved August 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  12. ^ "JBBiz Authors in the Spotlight". Jossey-Bass. Retrieved Dec 1, 2010.
  13. ^ "The Post-Crisis Consumer". TED. TED. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  14. ^ "The Athena Doctrine". Retrieved December 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  15. ^ "Ted Gerzema, The Athena Doctrine". KCUR. Retrieved September 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  16. ^ Cowles, Gregory (May 5, 2013). "Best-Sellers". New York Times.
  17. ^ "est-Selling Books, Week Ended April 21". Wall Street Journal. April 21, 2013.
  18. ^ "The Athena Doctrine: John Gerzema at TEDxKC". Retrieved Oct 1, 2012.
  19. ^ "John Gerzema at TedXWomen2012". Retrieved December 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  20. ^ Buchanan, Leigh (June 2013). "Between Venus and Mars: 7 Traits of True Leaders". Inc. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  21. ^ Waterlow, Lucy (May 3, 2013). "How men should think like women in order to succeed". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  22. ^ "Thank you note from Hillary Rodham Clinton". Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  23. ^ "Events". Harvard Business School Club of New York. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  24. ^ "John Gerzema". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  25. ^ "Brand Building in a Digital Age with John Gerzema". Think With Google. Google.
  26. ^ Gerzema, John. "Why You Should Hire E-Lancers". Inc. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  27. ^ "Author". PSFK. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  28. ^ Gerzema, John. "A thought-leader details the powers heading innovation in the 21st century". PSFK. PSFK. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  29. ^ Gerzema, John. "The rise of mindful consumption". McKinsey on Society. McKinsey. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  30. ^ Gerzema, John (August 12, 2013). ""Feminine" Values Can Give Tomorrow's Leaders an Edge". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  31. ^ Gerzema, John (March 29, 2013). "The Athena Doctrine: The Rise of Feminine Values in Business". The Next Woman.
  32. ^ John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio. "The Athena Doctrine: Feminine Qualities Will Rule The Future" (April 12, 2013). Daily Beast.
  33. ^ Gratton, Lynda (May 3, 2013). "Make Room at the Top". Financial Times.
  34. ^ Schwabel, Dan. "How Women Will Rule the Future of Work". Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  35. ^ Waterlow, Lucy (May 3, 2012). "How men should 'think like women' in order to succeed: Feminine traits make 'the world a better place' according to new book, the Athena Doctrine". Daily Mail.
  36. ^ Buchanan, Leigh. "Between Venus and Mars: 7 Traits of True Leaders" (June 2013). Inc.
  37. ^ "Tomorrow's Leaders Will Be Flexible, Selfless and Ready to Collaborate". Fast Company. Fast. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  38. ^ Klein, Julie (May 30, 2013). "Book explores how girl power will rule world". USA Today. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  39. ^ Gerzema, John (January 24, 2016). "The Best Countries Understand 'Soft Power'". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  40. ^ Schawbel, Dan. "Personal Branding, John Gerzema". Retrieved Oct 9, 2010.
  41. ^ "Medill Hall of Achievement 2014 Inductee". Medill Northwestern University. Northwestern University. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  42. ^ McClellan, Steve (Feb 13, 2006). "Revamped Offering Key To UM Turnaround: Gerzema". Ad Week.
  43. ^ a b "John Gerzema bio". Red Room. Retrieved 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  44. ^ "Y&R creates BAV Group". Mediavataarme. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  45. ^ "Business Administration Advisory Board". University of the People. Retrieved Aug 31, 2012.
  46. ^ "United Nations Girl Up Campaign Announces Advisory Council". United Nations Foundations. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  47. ^ "Marketing Guru and New York Times Bestselling Author John Gerzema Appointed to National Kidney Foundation Board of Directors". National Kidney Foundation. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  48. ^ "Athena Center for Leadership Studies". Athena Center for Leadership Studies. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  49. ^ Caldwell, Georgina (February 6, 2017). "Shiseido Americas creates new Senior Vice President of Corporate Media role". Global Cosmetic News. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  50. ^ "John Gerzema Bio". Miami Ad School. Retrieved 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)