Why Paragon, Mike?

In my first weeks at Paragon I’ve had many conversations with friends and colleagues that always seem to reach the same question: why Paragon, Mike?

I thought it would be fitting to use my first blog to answer.

Transitioning from a decade at a research & advisory firm to my new role in a communications firm has taken me through a range of emotions from excitement and exhilaration to uneasiness and downright fear.

The fear is fueled by a number of things, including the memory of my wife’s initial reaction when I told her of my plan to reunite with Simon and join Paragon. Tilting her head to say, “So let me get this straight. You want to be a PR guy? ….I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say that before.”

And now that I’m actually working at Paragon, that conversation – along with a thousand other things – comes flooding back in, like: “What the heck am I doing? I don’t know anything about this. Quick! I’ve got to binge-watch a season or two of Mad Men and get in touch with my inner Don Draper!”

Then I manage a clearing breath or two to eliminate the fear-provoking voice in my head, and recall what it was that attracted me so much to this particular opportunity.

An industry disrupted…

At TABB, I saw first hand the destruction of traditional business models in capital markets. From banks to market data vendors, exchanges and everything in between, we’ve seen business models blown to bits in less than a decade.

We’ve weathered events like the Great Recession and its fall-out. We’ve endured “black-eyes” of every kind for the industry – LIBOR fix, Flash Crash, Flash Boys, rogue traders, code thefts, and data breaches of alarming frequency and magnitude. Layer on to this that the “Internet Age” has finally caught up with financial services – where business models have gone from high-value & well differentiated to commoditized and disrupted – and there’s no such thing as “business as usual.”

The result is a market where investors, regulators and the general public are lacking confidence in the incumbents’ ability – as a group – to maintain fair and orderly markets. In short, it’s an industry disrupted.

Yet I am optimistic. The industry I know is chock-full of people who are smart, tough and competitive as hell. You mix in innovation from the cloud, crowd, social and crypto, and it becomes easier to see the Phoenix rising as our industry transforms itself.

That’s why my journey has led me to Paragon. To help clients of all kinds, from market disruptor to transforming giant, navigate these seismic shifts and reach a future they can be proud of.

So for now, I’ll leave Mad Men out of my Netflix queue and focus on the future of a new field for me. So far, it’s abundantly clear that the key to adding value won’t reside in a vintage suit and fedora.

Lead Image courtesy of Master isolated images at
Graph via Paragon Public Relations

This post was written for Paragon by Mike Ross.

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