Driven: How Did I Get Here
About This Show
The Driven: How Did I Get Here podcast explores the unconventional path to leadership. Host Justin Gray talks to some of today's most badass leaders about how they arrived where they are today. Discover how they overcame obstacles, navigated the detours, and
learned to trust the journey.
Most Recent Episode
From the Safe Route to Bold Innovation
Jeff Pruitt, CEO of Ethology and Tallwave, and general partner within Tallwave Capital, joins Justin Gray on this episode of “Driven: How Did I Get Here?” podcast. When you were growing up, did you know what you wanted to be? My dad was in the construction business so he would take me to groundbreakings of buildings. I remember one of the new CEOs of Circle K talking about a turnaround they were doing. I was driving home with my dad, I was probably only 14, and I said to him, “That sounds interesting to me.” It was about being part of a company that might not be doing well and figuring out a way to turn it around. I turned that into being on the innovation side of things. What did you focus on when you were going to school? I got sidetracked a bit. My dad said if you’re going to go in and try to run companies, get an accounting degree. That was the right advice, but I took that and turned it into go getting a job at Arthur Andersen. They probably were one of the more innovative accounting companies at the time, yet it wasn’t really who I was. So I was talking to a mentor partner at the time, and he introduced me to the founder of Microfin, who was really charismatic. He had a lot of big ideas on what he wanted to do in the marketplace, and it felt like the right time to jump out. I became the CFO, and ultimately the president. Have you had mentors throughout your career? How important have those relationships been? My dad imparted upon me some business things that sounded easy coming from someone who’s been through the trenches. Then you go and do it on your own and it’s never as easy. My mom was very attuned and connected with staying in the present. Those two things started to become the DNA that I was raised with. Now I’m part of a young presidents organization where you just get really good people around you. It helps to listen, to learn from their experiences and the obstacles they went through. How do you find that balance when you’re trying to run an organization and are responsible for both the bottom line and the culture? I’ve seen people who do it very, very well because they take the emotion out of it. You look at the team, you look at the accountability, and those who aren’t