Gretchen Blake

Barrington, IL 60010

630.728.3645 cell phone



I am seeking a position as Vice President of Sales and/or Business Development. I will motivate and manage your sales team to achieve their highest sales goals, I can execute aggressive marketing plans to target new and existing customers and I will create and groom sales at the executive c- level down.



Professional Experience

IRH Capital LLC-Director of Business Development (2005-present) National Account Executive (2002-2005)

IRH Capital LLC was established in 2002 after the demise of Lexington Capital with five of the key employees. It has grown into a $50 million company excelling in franchise financing. It is a nationally preferred lender for Great Clips, Dairy Queen, Subway, Golden Corral, Domino’s Pizza, Denny’s and Little Caesar’s.  


Sales and Business Development Skills

·         Prospects and researches new franchises by cold-calling high-level executives and franchisees.

·         Researches and contacts new lenders nationally, establishing programs with each by communicating their parameters to all sales reps and working directly with the credit department to funnel transactions to the appropriate lender. IRH has met and exceeded the yearly sales goals with each lender and was one of the top brokers for two main national lenders in 2008. 

·         Communicates and meets regularly with CFOs and/or Controllers of National Accounts: DQ, Great Clips, Golden Corral, IPC (Subway division)

·         Consistently one of the top two Account Executives on a sales team of twelve over a nine year period. Personally generates sales of ten to fifteen million dollars for the company yearly.

·         Increased sales year over year over a nine-year period superseding all sales goals set.

·         Regularly attends tradeshows and vendor meetings.

·         Works directly with the Marketing Manager to create and rollout a monthly and yearly marketing calendar for each franchise.

·         Manages existing (junior) account executives/sales representatives as well as searches for, interviews and hires new sales representatives.  Inclusive of managing sales reps including continuous training, holding monthly sales meetings, motivation


Lexington Capital Corporation – National Account Executive (2001)

Lexington established itself as a leader in the franchise finance industry with its largest accounts being Domino’s, KFC, Papa John’s, Quizno’s and Dairy Queen.  This position required skill in prospecting new accounts and vendors, maintaining and growing current accounts and vendors and significant analytical skill in finance. The customer was typically a small business owner with little or no experience in financing or credit issues.


Account Management Skills

·        Consistently one of the top two sales representatives in monthly sales volume and profit on a team of four with two to five years experience each.

·        Prospected two new accounts, designed a specific finance program for each account, established a marketing program for both and finally “won” the corporate preferred vendor for finance for both accounts within six months, hence creating relationships with each of their vendors.

·        Maintained three of the largest accounts (Manufacturing, Lincoln Foodservice and Domino’s) while other sales reps maintained one each.

·        Met the individual yearly sales goal in volume and profit given by Lexington within nine months.



-Gretchen Blake-


Thomson Newspapers – Project Manager (1998-2000) Project Coordinator (1994-1998)

This organization, a $1.2 billion division of The Thomson Corporation (TTC - $5.8 billion company), consisted of 58 businesses throughout North America ranging in size from $4 million to $315 million. This position required significant skill in dealing with the emotions and politics associated with influencing people who work in operating units that have goals that may or may not coincide with the strategies of the corporation.


Project Management Skills

·        Managed multiple projects: Y2K Project Manager for the following four Thomson divisions: The Thomson Corporation (international, Canadian and US offices), Thomson Newspapers (58 businesses with 112 locations), Thomson Interactive Media, Thomson Target Media (2 businesses with 2 locations) that encompass twenty-six people at the business units within North America and six internationally (London; Sydney; Amsterdam; Luxembourg; Zug, Switzerland; Singapore; Tokyo)

·        Authored a comprehensive Year 2000 project management plan that brought a systematic approach to dealing with technology and processes. This plan touched each of the business/newspaper functions from the mailing and labeling systems to editorial to advertising to billing. To create the plan, all businesses were evaluated and inventoried, creating for the first time, comprehensive inventories that proved useful to accounting, technology and the executives in creating budgets, evergreen policies and inventory management.

·        Responsible for upgrading and replacing 9000 PCs and Macs to standardize on the companies platforms and to integrate into the standardized network involving: NT, Unix, Cicso, MS Outlook and Windows 2000. Thomson Newspapers was mainly a Dell shop with a 64/46 pc ratio to Mac.


Leadership and Management Skills

·        Awarded the Vendor of the Year in 2007 by Great Clips.

·        Recognized as a leader in the industry for Y2K. Quoted and featured in a variety of publications. A regularly requested speaker at many industry events.

·        Communicated effectively with all levels within the Thomson organizations, vendors and accounts.  Performed quarterly reviews with management on project and account statuses. Effective at navigating the political waters of multi-faceted organizations. Ability to move the projects and organization ahead by influencing.

·        Contributor to the Franchise Times, articles on credit and finance parameters



·        Current member of First United Methodist Church Palatine’s Staff Parish Committee (Church has membership of over 800). This position requires extreme confidentiality and oversight of the Church’s entire staff, budgets, salaries and performance.  Also Committee Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee.

·        Board member and Philanthropy Chair of the Gamma Chi Gamma alumni association for sorority Alpha Chi Omega.



Financial Acumen

·        Analyzes financial packages for loans up to $2 million including, profitability, debt service ratio, long-term capabilities, refinancing, personal net worth and taxation issues.

·        Oversees marketing budgets for specific franchise accounts to stay on or under budget.

·        Brought financial responsibility by completing 99% of projects on or under budget, on time or earlier.

·        Managed a budget of $11 million in expense and $13 million in capital.




·        Millikin University, Decatur, IL BS History and Political Science majors, German minor