After steering the Manchester Monarchs hockey team through most of its first decade, team president Jeff Eisenberg was looking to build another organization.
The hockey executive made himself a free agent and bought a local advertising agency.
“I pushed all my chips in the middle of the table here,” Eisenberg said, sitting in his spacious Millyard office decorated with several Monarchs souvenirs.
Each year, more than 44,000 Granite Staters will be promoted or change occupations, according to projections from the state’s Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau.
Nearly three-quarters of people surveyed nationally were either actively looking for new job opportunities or had the topic on their minds at least some of the time, according to a 2017 survey released by the nonprofit group Mental Health America and The Faas Foundation.
John Scuto hears many of their stories as a career counselor.
“They need some kind of change, but they don’t know how dramatic of a change it needs to be,” said Scuto, owner of John Scuto’s Career & Academic Planning Services in Exeter. “They want to be happy in their jobs, using skills they want to use, and they want to be themselves.”
People strive to reduce stress in their lives. “They want to wake up and look forward to what they’re doing,” Scuto said.
Scuto urges people considering a change to pause before making the leap: “Before they do anything dramatic, they need to take a step back and think about themselves and survey the landscape. Think about where they want to go.”
Back in 2000, Eisenberg came to Manchester to prepare the new hockey franchise to start playing in a new downtown arena in November 2001. As the seasons ticked by, he saw ticket usage slowing and fans less emotionally invested in the team, as players often stayed only for one season before moving on.
In early 2008, Eisenberg started thinking about doing something different and settled on buying an ad agency in late 2009.
“It’s fundamentally important to go with your gut on a lot of things too, because if you try to analyze things to the nth degree, then you’ll never end up doing anything,” said Eisenberg, 62.
He discussed his career change with friends and had failed talks with one ad firm before agreeing to buy another, now known as EVR Advertising.
“Do proper due diligence on the opportunity,” Eisenberg said. “That’s important, but don’t wait for some divine guaranteed guidance to fall out of the sky and to hold your hand.”
He heard plenty of people asking, “What are you doing?” but there were “probably more (doubters) than I realized at the time.”
Alex Walker, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Catholic Medical Center, worked with Eisenberg on community events and committees. He wasn’t surprised that Eisenberg left the team.
“Jeff, he does not sit idle for any length of time, and he’s a big believer in the idea of that you should leave an organization in a much better place than you found it,” Walker said.
“I think there’s a lot of skills that are transferable” between Eisenberg’s former and current careers, said Walker, whose hospital is an EVR client. “Where Jeff sets himself apart, he’s fundamentally an extremely inquisitive person.”
Walker himself switched employers in 2012, when he left as president of the Devine Millimet law firm to become CMC’s general counsel.
“Life, you’ve got to keep it interesting,” Walker said. “I felt I had slayed my dragons and made a change.”
Since taking charge of the firm, Eisenberg has more than doubled EVR’s staff to 19 and recently moved into 10,000 square feet of space in the same Dow Street building the firm was in when he purchased it. The new space once housed the Labatt USA Beer Academy.
“You’ve got to know you’re going to have some bumps. Just be ready to stay up at night with bees in your head,” he said.
If his mind went racing at 2:30 a.m., he would often get out of bed and start working.
Today, his firm handles about 20 clients, including Irving Oil and the Community College System of New Hampshire, and books about $6.5 million in gross revenues annually.
During more than a quarter-century working in professional sports, including for the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies, Eisenberg learned a few key lessons.
“It’s all about putting the right people in the right seats on the bus,” he said. “Understand what motivates people.”
Running the Monarchs taught him about the business community.
“I learned how Manchester and New Hampshire tick,” he said.
Deciding on a career change comes down to a few core things, he said:
“You have to have confidence in yourself, and if you have a good gut feeling, again do the due diligence, ask the questions, meet with as many people as you can, but at some point believe in yourself and go for it because the chances are that if you are willing to work really, really, really hard, you will succeed,” Eisenberg said. “You’re going to figure out a way to get over any impediments or any challenges.”
This article was originally published in the Union Leader. Click here for the original article.