Michael Merigold


Independent Agent


Carrying Mike Tyson and Don King’s luggage, the time a severe stock market correction, a mushroom pizza, Yankee stadium, and Hercules made me laugh and cry at the same time, or how I learned the difference between onsen and sunaburo etiquette…the hard way.


When you grow up as a sports fan in Cleveland, Ohio, you receive an early lesson in rolling with the punches. But for Michael, all that mattered was the excitement of trying new things, and in high school, he got into all kinds of extracurricular activities, including tennis, track, band and orchestra (trumpet and French horn)—and, during those harsh Midwestern winters, “King of the Mountain,” wherein he developed fearsome accuracy with a snowball. Life was good, but an adventurous spirit was kindling, one that burst into full flame Michael’s freshman year when he was elected student council president. Traveling to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the national association meeting, he enjoyed his first peek at the world beyond his home state and was instantly hooked on exploration, which opened the door for him to perform in NYC’s St. Patrick’s day parade with his marching band and attend Bush’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. After completing a degree in international relations and economics at American University, he went to Belgium for further studies and kept moving east from there, visiting thirty-five countries in all, with Japan making the best case as his next home. Michael returned to New York to work as a stockbroker for a few years, but Nippon called him back, and it was then that he discovered his passion for recruitment. Winning seasons come a lot easier to this guy than they do his home teams, but don’t chalk it up to luck. He’s got “gold” in his name.

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Values: A message to our awesome tribe

Years from now, you may not remember the particulars of deals you closed at Zensho (or what the returns were). You will remember your colleagues and how it felt to work with them. The imprint you left on the world.

We invited you to join our tribe because you impressed us as someone who shares values intrinsic to our culture. But just to ensure we’re totally on the same page, here they are, spelled out in black and white and trimmed in our corporate colors.

Freedom is Zensho’s central pillar. Beyond the mere state of being free, for us the word carries with it a sense of obligation: “Freedom to…” What follows should define you as a person. Of course, to provide your business community with amazing service, but also to engage and give back to the world. And that’s where Autonomy comes in. Unlike the general implications of self-rule, ours leads not to detachment but to a broad and radical sense of interconnectivity. One that enables each of us to commune with others in infinite ways. Together, these two values empower you like nothing else on earth, and they’re here waiting for you.

So, what do we ask in return?

Transparency means not only having open books, but being one yourself. No secrets or ulterior agendas. It is to share personal and industry information without seeking to leverage it for profit or motivate others in any way. Its cousin, Clarity, is about including precision and context in the communication process. At Zensho, we always try to anticipate the details a fellow partner might need and supply them up front.

Which leads us to…

Collaboration. That is, to cooperate meaningfully. Because only through recognizing individual strengths can we thrive as a whole. For us, collaboration requires presence as we listen and respond, evolving toward a collective goal represented by the name of our charity initiative: Ayni (reciprocity). This can’t exist without Collegiality. How we care for each other and the tribe as a whole, share both opportunity and responsibility with open hearts – that’s what empowers us to excel as a firm.

With these six in place, our seventh value happens all by itself.

Harmony. When your environment manifests balance between all people and things – even forces that oppose each other – life just flows. Living completely becomes a state of being. After all, that’s the very meaning of Zensho.