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CEO Interview

Jillian Braverman (February 22, 2009)
Jon R. Wampler, President and CEO
PacifiCare Health Systems and JRW Consulting
Chairmen on the boards of Clarient, American Career College, Therapy Solutions & Portico

1.) There is “no substitute for being there” to provide an overall feel of the company. What were a few of the defining characteristics of the company that stood out in your mind?

I was fortunate enough have the opportunity to interview Mr. Wampler, a man of high integrity, knowledge and kindness. Mr. Wampler began his career in the healthcare industry “by sheer dumb luck” when him and some friends started a chain of emergency care centers which became the nation’s largest Emergency Department physician staffing company. Mr. Wampler and I enjoyed a long and insightful lunch at a local club in Newport Beach, Ca. With that said I was unable to discern the defining characteristics of his company.

2.) What were the two or three most valuable insights you learned from the individual you took to lunch (or dinner, or whatever)?

My lunch with Mr. Wampler was one of the most insightful business related experiences of my life. Mr. Wampler shared with me three specific necessities he thought would benefit every college graduate to attain: 1.) To be able to think critically 2.) To communicate in every sense of the word: this can be verbally, non verbal, written, etc. and 3.) Know how to play on a team.  The second valuable insight Mr. Wampler shared with me concerned his beliefs regarding corporate environment/culture which I found to be some of the most discerning points of our conversation.

Mr. Wampler asserts that an employer should never ask of his employees what the herself/himself is incapable of achieving- a statement I found extremely judicious, astute and logical. Mr. Wampler also shared with me what he considered the greatest lesson he had ever learned in his experience as an employee and CEO- to always grant forgiveness for mistakes. According to his views an employee “can and is encouraged to make any number of mistakes- so long as they are not the same mistakes.”

3.) What were the two most valuable lessons you learned not to do in the process of putting together your interview/meeting? (Remember: All of us learn from our mistakes than our successes, and admitting mistakes to others is adult behavior.)

In all honesty I am extremely pleased with our conversation and feel as though I had learned from my past mistakes in prior interviews to ensure that this interview ran smoothly- which I genuinely feel it did.

4.) In what two or three ways has this experience changed you, your thinking, or your outlook on the career landscape?

During our lunch together I learned something I will never forget- that not all CEO’s are created equal and in my search for a future career I should be lucky enough to encounter an employer such as Mr. Wampler. His passion for both his work and employees is highly evident in that he views each of his employees as individuals who have individual needs, concerns and abilities. Mr. Wampler also feels personally responsible for both the successes and failures of his employees as he sees himself as not only their “boss” but their leader and example.

Mr. Wampler believes in a corporate environment that facilitates communication while also maintaining that people cannot be managed, they must be lead. Mr. Wampler only furthered my respect and defference for both himself and his business practices by his honest advice, “always admit when you are wrong and apologize-” a sincere statement that may not be heard from many CEO’s.  He also states that he has “never wanted someone to work for him; rather with him-“ a proclamation I found incredibly respectable.

5.) What else did you learn from the overall experience?

I feel as though Mr. Wampler imparted so much wonderful advice it is unfortunate I am relegated to a 2 pg. maximum account. Two insights we spoke of still resonate with me 1.) “You have two ears and one mouth- use them in that order” and 2.)  The power of many is always greater than the power of one. I feel incredibly fortunate to have spoken with a CEO of such distinction, knowledge and passion as Mr. Wampler.

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