Lawrence “Larry” Tenebaum sets the strategic direction and objectives of Smart Circle throughout the United States and internationally. In 1981, Larry started his direct sales business in Toronto, Canada, and grew and developed that product-based door-to-door business into today’s Smart Circle, a preeminent leader in face-to-face marketing and direct sales with an expansive network of independent corporate distributors. With steadfast determination and the support of a strong, experienced corporate team and partners, Larry continues to bring focus and leadership to Smart Circle.
Larry holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from York University in Toronto, Canada and lives in Newport Coast, California with his wife and children. Larry and his wife are avid volunteers and supporters of CASA of Orange County, as well as several other local and national charities.
Chief Executive Officer
As Chief Executive Officer, Michael Meryash ensures that Smart Circle’s strategic and tactical objectives are attained and that client expectations and capacities are fully analyzed and understood before campaign launch. Under Michael’s leadership, Smart Circle has become a leader in delivering customized face-to-face, vertically-integrated marketing solutions for Fortune 500 clients and emerging brands across various industries, including alternative energy and telecommunications. Michael has more than 25 years of business operations and development experience in the face-to-face marketing arena. Prior to joining the direct sales industry, Michael practiced as an attorney with a prominent Los Angeles law firm. Michael graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with honors from University of California, Berkley, and holds a law degree from University of Southern California.
Since 2003, George M. Graffy has served as the President of Smart Circle. George holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1986. He earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where he graduated with Highest Distinction in 1989 and was the recipient of the Dean’s Service Award. Prior to joining Smart Circle, George held executive marketing positions with Yum! Brands, PepsiCo, and The Clorox Company. He is also a Certified Public Accountant and enjoyed an early career at Deloitte.
George currently serves as a board member for several organizations including the University of Pennsylvania Board of Overseers for the Annenberg Performing Arts Center and the Penn Parent Council. In addition, George is the Board Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee for US Lacrosse and is on the Board of Directors for the US Lacrosse Foundation. He is also a Class Officer and Reunion Co-Chair for both the Penn Class of 1986 and the Kellogg Class of 1989. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, George now resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife, Fran, and their three children.
Chief Operating Officer / General Counsel
Jigna Patel serves as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, responsible for all company operational, legal, compliance and human resources matters. Prior to joining Smart Circle, Jigna served as Corporate Counsel for World Premier Investments, and as General Counsel for Ria Financial Services. Jigna earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of California in Irvine, and is a graduate of Loyola Law School, where Jigna was a Dean’s Scholar and Editor-in-Chief of the International & Comparative Law Review.
Senior Vice President – Business Development
James “Jimmy” Stone brings over 25 years of business development and marketing experience to Smart Circle. As Smart Circle’s Senior Vice President of Business Development, Jimmy takes the lead in identifying new business opportunities and developing strategic alliances across various industries and markets. Jimmy has been an integral part of Smart Circle’s presence and success in the home improvement and retail staffing industries. Prior to joining Smart Circle, Jimmy served as a senior executive for business development with another face-to-face marketing company, and as Senior Vice President and National Sales Manager of The Apparel Group. Jimmy earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland and now lives in Newport Beach, California with his wife Jodi and their four children. Jimmy enjoys running, cycling, golf and spending time with his family. Jimmy also participates in outreach activities at Corona Del Mar High School and Lincoln Elementary, and is an avid supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, a cause very close to his heart.
Executive Financial Advisorr
Following his tenure as Chief Financial Officer for Smart Circle, Michael Shimada now serves as our executive financial advisor working with management across finance, accounting, legal, operations and information systems. Prior to joining Smart Circle, Michael served as CFO at various companies for almost 20 years, including Elexsys International, Ltd., a publicly traded company. Michael has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California Los Angeles and an MBA from Pepperdine University.
Chief Operations Officer (Canada)
As Chief Operations Officer, Camila manages the day to day operations of the Certificate division of Smart Circle. Having started with the Smart Circle family of companies in 1995, she has seen this division grow from its infancy to the robust production environment it is now. Camila started in the finance division at Smart Circle, and previously managed a public relations firm. With a diverse corporate background, Camila brings her extensive knowledge of finance, marketing and operations to her work with Smart Circle.
Ron Van Bavel
Vice President – Logistics
Ron has been with the Smart Circle family of companies for over 22 years in a variety of roles. Currently, Ron leads the international logistics and domestic LTL freight team. Ron holds a CMA (Certified Management Accounting) designation from Canada. He lives in south Orange County and enjoys playing golf with his wife, Anne, whenever possible.
Vice President – Events
With over 30 years of logistics, inventory management, and event facilitation experience, Marty Tenebaum manages the coordination and facilitation of all Smart Circle corporate events, including nationwide sales network conferences as well as local and regional meetings. Marty is also responsible for the negotiation and development of strategic alliances with event and travel partners throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Director of Taxes
William “Bill” Nicely is responsible for the planning and compliance related to the federal and state income, partnership, sales and property taxes for the Smart Circle family of companies. Bill graduated from San Diego State University with an MS in Taxation in 1985 and prior to coming to Smart Circle worked for one of the largest accounting firms in the world, as well as for a billionaire and several publicly-held companies.
Director of Product Development & Quality Assurance
Possessing over 25 years of product development and quality assurance experience with both domestic and Asian manufacturers and suppliers, Barry heads the product development and QA teams for the Smart Circle family of companies. In working to deliver quality products that drive our sales force to success while meeting our quality and regulatory requirements, Barry facilitates beneficial relationships with domestic and foreign suppliers, and works hands-on with suppliers to ensure product development standards and quality assurance. Barry earned his bachelor’s degree at Pennsylvania State University and his MBA from California State University.
Director of Customer Service
Timothy has been with the Smart Circle family for over 12 years and has worked with the executive team in several capacities during this time. He has been the Director of Customer Service for the past 7 years. Timothy received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and resides in Austin, Texas.