The ancient Greeks had a temple with the words “Know Thyself” inscribed in the forecourt. Thales, another ancient Greek philosopher, wisely noted, “The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.” In my study of leadership, I have found that great leaders understand who they are and where they are going. Unfortunately, as human beings, we can easily fall into self-deception or lack understanding of ourselves altogether. People who know what they stand for and their own strengths and weaknesses are able to better lead others to accomplish great things.
Greg Markow is a values-based leader who has enjoyed a successful career in leadership. Markow, who recently joined the CPA firm GranthamPoole as a partner, has been involved in leading businesses and accounting organizations for almost 30 years. Markow was raised in Syracuse, N.Y, and after moving to Mississippi in high school, he went on to get his undergraduate and master’s degree in business from Ole Miss where he was an Academic All-American football player. He began his career in public accounting with KPMG where he practiced for 18 years becoming a partner with a focus on tax planning and services. Markow’s career includes serving as chief financial officer for Reformed Theological Seminary for 10 years before he joined the private equity backed North American Midway as CFO. This year, Markow has returned to public accounting with GranthamPoole where he serves in a senior leadership role.
Markow shared that one of the key principles he follows as a leader is to make sure that, “you and the other members of the leadership team understand the organization’s core values and purposes – know where you are going and why.” He continued, “Once that is understood, teamwork is absolutely critical to a successful organization.” Markow credits Jack Carlisle, his football coach at Murrah High School with instilling in him the importance of teamwork. Markow shared, “Carlisle built teams by motivating individuals to sacrifice for the common good of the team while at the same time motivating individuals to compete to the best of their ability.” He noted that teamwork requires buy-in throughout the organization on the long term goals, and team members that are willing to listen and serve others.
Under the leadership of Bob Cannada at Reformed Theological Seminary, Markow learned the importance of vision for an organization and making sure that the organization remains true to the vision. He also learned from Cannada the importance of understanding the principle behind a rule and how that principle ties into the mission of the organization. Markow shared about his move back to public accounting, “Serving as a partner with GranthamPoole provdes me an opportunity to contribute to a firm whose core values include a desire to serve God by serving others with trust, integrity, and excellence, and an opportunity to learn from a successful and experienced leadership team that applies these core values in serving its clients.”
Markow’s father taught him how to set and work to accomplish goals, the value of hard work, and the persistence to get the job done. The instilling of these types of core values has made Markow the leader he is today. By knowing himself and aligning himself with values-based organizations, Markow has demonstrated the power of values-based leadership. These type leaders serve as the backbone of our business community and serve as a model for tomorrow’s leaders.
Up Close With Greg Markow, CPA
Title: Partner, GranthamPoole
Favorite Books: Integrity (Dr. Henry Cloud), Big Russ and Me (Tim Russert), The Blind Side and Evolution of a Game (Michael Lewis)
First Job: “Mowing yards in junior high and retail sales in high school.”
Hobbies/Interests: “Spectator sports (particularly Ole Miss sports); golf and jogging.”
Martin Willoughby is a business consultant and regular contributing columnist for the Mississippi Business Journal. He serves as chief operating officer of Butler Snow Advisory Services, LLC and can be reached at martin.willoughby@ butlersnow.com.