August 27, 2012, 8:06 AM — Name: Jon Brilliant
Time with company: board of directors when founded, became CFO 3 years ago.
Education: Bachelor's degree in accounting from The Pennsylvania State University and a graduate degree, Juris Doctor, from Duke University
Company headquarters: Baltimore
Countries of operation: U.S., India
Number of employees total: 105
Number of employees the CFO oversees: 5
CFO's areas of responsibility: finance, HR, legal
About the company: WellDoc, a health-care behavioral science and technology company, develops and offers software and services that help patients and doctors manage chronic diseases.
1. Where did you start in finance and what experiences led you to the job you have today?
I began my professional career at Arthur Andersen and then went back to graduate school, and I think what really led me to finance was more my frustration than anything. I was a deal and transactional lawyer, where I did everything from restructuring the entire debt of the country of Bolivia to the IPOs of Office Max and Borders. Along the way, I found myself wanting to provide business advice and became very frustrated with the attitudes that, "those are just business issues not legal, and we don't need your help with that."
I was with JM Family Enterprises, with about 10 billion revenue, with a small group -- this was in '97, the Internet was booming and we started building different business models for how we could leverage the Internet within our business. We were the largest privately held distributor of Toyota cars and parts. It was there that I was able to apply what I wanted to apply, but hadn't been able to because people would say, "you're just a lawyer."
When we took our ideas to management, they did what management does when employees come up with great ideas -- they went and hired a consultant. We spent more than a million dollars with Cambridge Consulting Partners and they validated what we had come up with. So management said if you're so smart, we'll let you be chief Web officer, so that's really when I started to manage business.
2. Who was an influential boss for you and what lessons did they teach you about management and leadership?
The person I will name, who has passed away, I'm sure would be proud to be named and that is a gentleman by the name of Jim Moran. Jim was a self-made Horatio Alger Award winner from Chicago. He founded and ran JM Family.