Born: Brooklyn, N.Y. Grew up on Long Island.
Education: Georgetown University, marketing management; Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, MBA
What was the biggest challenge you faced, and how did you overcome it?
In 1997, I was president and CEO of one of our affiliates, Acordia Small Business Benefits. It was a subsidiary company that has since been sold off.
The first merger that our company did, the Ohio-Indiana Blue Cross merger, was an eye-opening experience for myself and many other people, and was really a difficult challenge. That was when our company really appeared on the map.
It was a merger of two very well-established companies. There was a lot of uncertainty, and I learned a lot in that period of time about how organizations come together. I learned a tremendous amount about not reacting to what happens in the first six months in a deal like that.
What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned?
Take your time, make sure you’re positive and supportive, and just see how things play themselves out.
That’s the best lesson I could have ever learned because I’ve applied it numerous times since (that first merger). Things change, and they may not be perfect for the way you want them today. But I think you’re far better off if you plan to stay in an organization if you’re positive and supportive and see how things work out.
What was your first job?
I worked for my dad’s company in high school, Sky Sales and Service on Long Island. I was essentially a warehouse guy. I loaded trucks at a business that my dad owned.
I learned a lot by watching how my dad ran his business. I also probably learned that I didn’t like lifting boxes for a living and hoped I could find other ways to earn a living.