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Darrell Gunter

President & CEO, Gunter Media Group

Darrell GunterPlease tell us a bit about yourself (e.g. hometown, current locale, course of study).

I was born and raised in Atlantic City, NJ, USA and attended Seton Hall University where I obtained my BS, Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.  Later on, in my career, I obtained my MBA at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management on the campus of Motorola Corporation in Schaumberg, IL.  In 1999 I was selected to attend the Class #2 of Reed Elsevier’s (RELX) Executive Development Program at Oxford University’s Green (Templeton) College.

Describe some of your current responsibilities, and what type of organization you belong to.

GMG is a strategic management-consulting firm that helps executives to not only solve their key operational, technical and human assets but address new business opportunities.   Our expertise extends beyond sales, marketing, operations and technology to M&A, capital raise and special events.

What was your first scholarly publishing role? How did you get that job? What path led to your current position?

In the fall of 1996, I was the National Sales Director for Dow Jones Financial News Services in NYC.   Elsevier was seeking to hire a VP of Sales for the Americas region to achieve three key objectives.  First to build a world class sales and customer service organization, secondly to convert their market place from print to digital and third to introduce long term commercial agreements.   Over the next 11 years, the RSO Americas organization led sales globally for Elsevier.  We had the great opportunity to launch EES (Elsevier Electronic Subscriptions) which later was rebranded ScienceDirect OnSite (SDOS), Scopus and a host of other digital products and services.

In 2007, I joined Collexis Holdings, Inc. as their EVP / CMO and over the next three years we successfully launched BiomedExperts.com, Experts Profiles and Reviewer Finder.  Elsevier acquired Collexis in June 2010.  Over the next few months, I worked with AIP as their Chief Commercial Officer and then I started my consulting firm Gunter Media Group, Inc. in August of 2011.

If there was a pivotal moment or key person in your career development, please describe briefly.

There have been several pivotal moments in my career but I will focus on the one in the scholarly publishing industry.  During my initial interview with Jan Willem Dijkstra a long time Elsevier executive, he asked me what was my reaction to the November 1995 Financial Times article that cited the Forbes Article stating that information was going to be free on the web.  Having worked for Dow Jones & Co., Inc. for the last 13 years selling the Dow Jones Financial News Wires and Factiva (DJ News Retrieval at the time) I stated that curated, edited and high-quality information will always have significant value and Elsevier’s content will not be affected negatively but will be greatly enhanced.  It is my belief that my answer set the stage for me to hired as the first RSO Director for the Americas.

What tools, web sites and organizations do you find most valuable for your career development?

Over the last few years we have seen the growth of MOOCS (Coursera, Khan Academy, Universities, etc.) and I have utilized these courses to get a better understanding on several topics or learn something new.  I also have maintained a steady regimen of key information sources, i.e., The Scholarly Kitchen, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Information Today, Research Information, and several different informational websites, webinars and whitepapers.

What are some of the surprises/obstacles that you’ve encountered during your career?

There are always surprises and obstacles that occur often.  I think what is important is how do you address these surprises and obstacles for a successful conclusion?  Creating a best practice to manage these surprises and obstacles will provide you the best opportunity to address them in the most effective manner.  I have had to address employee, customer, product, etc., issues over the course of my career and my best practice of understanding the PMI (pluses, minuses and interesting points) and being consistent and fair minded has afforded me the opportunity to address difficult situations to a successful conclusion.

What do you wish you knew more about?

I am always very curious about people and their motivations and the more that I read about people, psychology, sociology, etc.  the more I read the more I feel that there is so much to learn but I am very appreciative of my growth.

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications?

The scholarly publishing industry has something for everyone.  The critical path of publishing includes all facets of business, finance, sales, marketing, customer service, etc.  I would suggest to the individual is first that you have to want to help people, secondly, understand your gifts and strengths and focus your efforts towards those areas.  Last but not least leverage your contacts to discuss your thoughts about your plan and get their feedback about your plan.