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2015 40 Under 40 Broker Awards: Jonathan Gilbert

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Senior managing director, private equity and mergers and acquisitions group

Crystal & Company

Age: 35

Jonathan Gilbert could have been an accountant.

“I liked the idea of accounting. It was interesting to me and provided a foundation for understanding financial statements,” said Mr. Gilbert.

However, he did not find the discipline “exciting” and elected not to pursue it as a career.

Instead, an early job drew him to the industry he would eventually embrace.

“When I was in school, I worked full-time at Hartford Insurance Co., Hartford, Connecticut, in 2003 in a co-op program, and that's how I got introduced to the insurance industry,” said Mr. Gilbert, who now works for Crystal & Company in New York.

He said he appreciates the diversity and client contact in insurance.

“I like it from the standpoint that you have good interaction with clients and deal with a number of issues that are financial in nature, legal in nature. There's claims management and loss control. I like the blend of everything. It's a bit analytical, and you also have to use intuition to solve problems,” said Mr. Gilbert.

“It allows you the ability to learn a significant amount about a diverse group of industries and companies,” said Mr. Gilbert. “You really get to understand the guts of the business.”

“He's terrific at pulling the right resources from within his firm and working with our management teams,” said Bill Connors, principal with Stonebridge Partners in White Plains, New York.

“Jon has good instincts and judgment, and he's helped us a lot, shepherding programs from coming up with ideas through helping with implementation,” said Mr. Connors.

“Professional” was the first word to describe Mr. Gilbert from Sanford Crystal, executive vice president at Crystal & Company in New York who leads the company's Financial Institutions Group and Management and Professional Risks Group.

Amidst the pressures of merger and acquisition activity, “Jon is extremely level-headed and thorough,” said Mr. Crystal. “Nothing rattles Jon.”