Honoree Headshot

Dan Gerelick

Chief Financial Officer
Bluum

Location: Phoenix, AZ
Founded: 1981
Industry: Education Technology

Dan Gerelick said his greatest leadership lesson — “fail fast” — comes from New York Yankees Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.

As a young ballplayer in the minor leagues, Jeter set a record for making the most errors in a season. He eventually became one of the greatest shortstops and winners in baseball history. Jeter credited his ability to “fail fast” and quickly learn from his mistakes that allowed him to progress rapidly into a star player.

Gerelick said he tries to model the same approach in his role as chief financial officer at Bluum.

“I have been willing to try out different methods and adjust to how well they work in my career,” he said. “Instead of waiting for the moment when everything is perfect, I try to set a course toward an aspirational destination and make course corrections as I proceed and learn more.”

Bluum has relationships with nearly one-third of school districts in the U.S and Canada and provides technology products and services to nearly 27 million students each day.

Bluum’s goal is to become a billion-dollar revenue company. In the next five years, Bluum aims to increase the amount of students it assists to threefourths of the overall student population. “Just as Xerox is synonymous with copiers, Bluum plans to be synonymous with education technology and known as the single-source education technology provider for helping districts improve learning outcomes,” Gerelick’s team said.

Gerelick demonstrated acute timing by doubling credit lines and freeing up cash to buy more inventory as the pandemic was striking the U.S. It helped Bluum grow from a $216 million company in 2019 to a $614 million company by the end of 2021.

While other companies contracted during the worst of the pandemic, Bluum expanded, selling more than one million Chromebooks in 2020 and merging with another company in 2021 — and profit, revenue, assets, EBITDA and equity increased to all-time highs.

Since Gerelick joined the company, Bluum has been named to the top half of the 2021 Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Companies and one of the Top 10 Integrators by Systems Contractor News. Both of those honors were firsts for the company. Bluum was also named the Fastest-Growing Company in Arizona by the Phoenix Business Journal, as well as one of their Top 50 Private Companies. It was also honored on CRN’s Fast Growth 150 List and 2021 Solution Provider 500 List.

In his career, Gerelick has been honored with both a CFO Award and CEO Award at Avnet and was also named the co-chair for Phoenix’s CFO Leadership Council. He currently serves on the ArmorWorks Board of Directors and was also a board member for the nonprofit Release the Fear.

“I have progressed far enough in my career to share both my successes and missteps with my coworkers and the finance community,” Gerelick said. “Since I work for an education company, I plan on using that knowledge as I engage in mentorship both internally and in the finance community.”

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Honoree Fun fact

Dan has visited more countries than U.S. states during his time supporting international businesses. His favorite aspect of traveling is sampling the local cuisines.

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