Wendell, thinking back to when you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
After experiencing the spirit-crushing realization that the world was full of average height point guards with just above average jumping ability and that a career in basketball was highly unlikely, my focus on what I wanted to be when I grew up centered on more business-related themes. In my high school yearbook I indicated that my future would be in medicine and computers and as it turned out much of my career was in the medical IT industry. (Note: at the time I thought my future would have medicine as the major theme and IT the minor theme; reality had those themes reversed.) Although this kind of future career aspiration forecasting would best be described as the “right church; wrong pew” I enjoyed the significant business challenges that I found in this segment of the IT Industry.
What would you say was the turning point in choosing the Telfer Executive MBA?
I had already decided that IF I was going to do an Executive MBA that I would apply to the Telfer Executive MBA Program. As an individual with significantly more experience than most Executive MBA applicants I had questions regarding whether I would benefit from the curriculum sufficiently or would attaining the graduate degree be the main reward. The recruitment process provided me with an opportunity to audit a lecture by professor Jonathon Calof on Strategy and Competitive Intelligence. This topic was of interest to me as I recently had been responsible for corporate strategy for a publicly traded company. I felt this would be a good opportunity to validate how much the Program would leverage my professional experience. The lecture was extremely informative, insightful and entertaining. I wanted to return in two weeks to hear the next lecture. After this one lecture I no longer had any questions about the value that I would obtain by completing the Telfer Executive MBA.
What do you admire in a leader or mentor? Do you have someone who you consider a strong mentor or leader within your life?
By definition a leader must instill a will in those around him or her to follow and achieve defined objectives. I had the pleasure of working for an individual during my career who elevated the decision-making and productivity of an entire division by ensuring that the corporate objectives were clearly defined, achievable and communicated effectively throughout the organization. Everyone knew what their respective roles were and how their efforts directly affected the division’s ability to achieve annual objectives. That leader understood that without communication and understanding, “following” wasn’t possible. More recently in my career, I found a mentor in an individual who was my CEO. This individual has an exceptional ability to identify potentially disruptive technologies or business strategies and envision how they could affect market segments well before most people even began to connect the data points. He is also quite skilled at gaining access to the financing required to convert his vision and strategy into a viable business entity. I am fortunate to continue to have him as an entrepreneurial mentor.
Originally Posted: October 23, 2014