August 2, 2018
40 Under Forty 2018

Jillian B. Mayer

Photo | J. Fiereck Photography
Photo | J. Fiereck Photography

Age: 37

Company: Bead Industries Inc.

Title: CEO

No. of years with current company: 11

Town where I live: Cheshire

Town where I work: Milford

College: University of Vermont, Champlain College

Highest degree: Master's of science in managing innovation and IT

Jill Mayer is the CEO of Bead Industries Inc. and the great granddaughter of the company's founder, W. Calvin Bryant. Bead is comprised of two divisions: Bead Chain and Bead Electronics, and a wholly owned subsidiary, McGuire Mfg. Company.

In 2007, Mayer began her career at Bead as financial controller. In 2014, she assumed the role of corporate president and was responsible for strategic planning and executive leadership. This past January, she was promoted to CEO to lead the company into the future through growth and innovation. Revenue in two of the three divisions is at its highest level to date.

What's been your biggest professional accomplishment?

So far I'm most proud of our company culture. We recently crafted an internal mantra, "Making Way to What's Possible," which is a simplified way to say that to grow and succeed, we must find the time and energy to go beyond our day to day to work on future possibilities. When we look back on our long company history, we know that's how we stood the test of time. Now that we have identified this as our core strength, we can keep doing it and carry it on to the next generation.

How are you involved in the community?

I'm vice president of the New Haven Manufacturers Association and chair of the strategic planning committee. Connecting with other manufacturers in the state, sharing best practices and helping others find success and fulfillment in manufacturing is important to me.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with my family outdoors, as well as cooking, reading, golfing, organizing (nerd alert), watching my sons play sports and attending local concerts. I've never heard a live band I didn't like. I believe live music is good for the soul.

What must the Greater Hartford region do to attract more talented young professionals to the area?

More than anything young professionals want process and purpose. A disorganized, inefficient business is not attractive to digital natives who like to work productively. Having a clear purpose gives them the passion and energy to stay engaged.

Four reasons why you deserve to be a 40 Under Forty:

• This year I became the first female CEO at Bead after more than 100 years of continuous operation.

• I took the reins of our fifth generation family business amid multiple generational transitions in our workforce.

• I have been a member of the Center for Family Business at the University of New Haven for more than a decade and serve on its board of advisors.

• As a working mother of two young boys, I understand the challenges of work-life balance, and I try to be as flexible with our employees.

Fun Fact

I'm a twin, and I was born and raised in Alaska.

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