Alison Gutterman is the President and CEO of Jelmar, the 52-year-old family-owned cleaning products manufacturer of CLeaR CLR® and Tarn-X® products and acquirer of ESPRO, now named CLR® Sports Stain Remover. As the third-generation family owner, Alison has brought the company unprecedented success with her modern approach and leadership techniques.
Alison began her career at Jelmar in 1993 in an unusual way — she didn’t have a desk or a job title. Having earned a Bachelor of Science in speech communication from Syracuse University, she knew that consumer research was the key to success. Alison worked her way through various jobs including customer service representative, vice president of sales, and COO. She later received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University in 2002. In 2007 her father, Arthur, passed the reins of the family business down to Alison. Since then, she has refreshed the household brand with innovative new products and bold designs.
Alison has led the charge in reformulating some of Jelmar’s CLR® products to be more environmentally friendly — and was one of the first branded CPG companies to do so — by partnering with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safer Choice Program. Jelmar has since been named “Safer Choice Partner of the Year” by the EPA for six consecutive years: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.
In 2020, Alison led the company through a total brand refresh of its CLR® products. Now pronounced “CLearR,” the products feature sleek packaging that showcases Jelmar’s commitment to innovation while staying true to its roots.
Based on her extensive experience and notable presence in the business world, Alison can speak to a host of issues related to the workplace and gender dynamics, including how to handle the array of challenges — big and small — that women face in the workplace today and how to turn those challenges into successes. She can apply key learnings from her personal and professional messes and successes to the women entrepreneurs of today. Alison can further empower them to tackle anything head-on and show them how to use roadblocks as a jumping-off point to learn, build, and grow.
As a result of her community leadership, contributions, and achievements Alison has been honored with a number of noteworthy awards and recognitions including, including the 2017 “EY Entrepreneur of the Year® in the Midwest” winner in the family business category, and has been featured in publications such as Forbes, SUCCESS, Thrive Global, and Chief Executive.