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7 Questions with Greg Clute
7 Questions with Greg Clute
Name: Greg Clute
Current title: CSO
Current organisation: HealtheFirst
As a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in accounting, I have grown through my work at Wells Fargo, Merrill Corporation, and PwC. I also had the privilege of building my own retail sales company prior to those corporate experiences and have greatly benefited from all my diverse experiences. I learned that passion, energy, and intelligence are appreciated and respected at every level of business I have been in.
I’ve always felt the need to give back. I've done that as a coach/teacher/mentor for youth and my peers at school, church, and work. I've been recognized for my ability to interact and build lasting relationships with the people I serve. Knowing that financial reporting and accounting knowledge are essential to business success, I've always worked to learn and then outperformed expectations throughout my career. At PwC, I learned rapidly from other driven, intelligent, honest, and respectful people. My unique experiences that have been filled with energy, obstacles, surprises, and challenges help me to assess, address, communicate and plan using processes and intelligence that are typically only available to major companies.
I currently serve as the CFO/CSO at HealtheFirst as well as the Director of Business Development at AtEase Glasses. I have led and assisted our exceptionally well-networked team in growing both businesses from seed stage thru initial launch and into growth phase. I am thrilled to be part of these new, nimble, innovative, and energetic companies where I can help people both with our SaaS software(HealtheFirst) and our product(AtEase Glasses). Our companies represent the American Dream and I am thrilled to be part of it and to offer all my network the ability to get involved and benefit. Please email, text, or call me to talk about what we're up to, catch me up on where you're at, brainstorm and create a strategy around your career, or just to chat and see where energies might lead!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Trust and priority management - As a leader in multiple small companies, you have to constantly be managing where to spend your time. There will always be more to get done, things you could have done better, and a voice in your head asking you at the end of the day, 'did I accomplish all that I should have today?'
You have to have faith that what you're doing is the right thing, and to put forth your best energy once you decide what that next step is. That was hard to balance in the early stages of working as a leader in this industry, but it's strengthened my faith and has been instrumental in keeping good balance across all other arenas of my life.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I always had a dream of working in a young, new company that helped people. Where I could feel a sense of purpose and see the fruits of my labor. As the son of a lifetime entrepreneur, I knew I always wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps.
It wasn't immediately after college though. I started off my career in the corporate world as I wanted to have that experience to lean on as well. I spent some time at two of the largest corporations in the world, Wells Fargo and PwC. Both of those companies provided great opportunities to learn how business operated on that sort of scale.
As I stepped into my mid-20s, I always thought that would be a great time to take a risk to learn as much as I could about the small business side of things. Watching my dad go through it, I knew that the skills I could learn early on in my career working as an entrepreneur would be foundational. In July of 2017, I took that step into the SME world and have not looked back. It has provided the highest highs and the lowest lows in my career so far, but each of those experiences has shaped me into the person that I am today.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I always try to start my day with an intentional time with the Lord. As a Christian, my faith is always the priority and I know that the rest of my day stems first from that relationship. From there, each day is different. I'm wearing a ton of hats in my day to day so there's not a strict protocol for what I'm accomplishing each day.
It's important for me to stay focused on the task at hand and to be able to see the short term goals and the long term vision each day. Both can be leveraged at different times. There are days when you need to remember what the long term vision is of the company, and others where you just need to focus on getting one thing done because the long term might seem too daunting.
Going back to question #1, it's about faith, trust and priorities. Knowing where I put my trust helps me with each of the tasks that I accomplish throughout the day.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Be humble. Don't get so caught up in what you're doing every day and start to think that you are more important than anyone else. Slow down enough to think about how you approached a certain scenario. Continue to learn with each circumstance that you're presented with. Be grateful for those opportunities that are disguised as challenges. It's in each of these moments that our character is defined, so don't see them as challenges. Humble yourself and get to work, being grateful for the blessing to be able to do what you do.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The Bible. There has been no other book that comes close to its impact on who I am as a leader and as a person. I believe that we desperately need one another, and that couldn't be more true than in the business world. Relationships are EVERYTHING, and the Bible is the foundation on which relationships stand. Love God. Love your neighbor.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Trusting others through strong relationships. We don't want to feel like a number or just a cog in the wheel. We all want to feel like we have meaning and purpose. It takes courage to approach relationships like this, but when we do, it builds a culture that can be trusted and will operate with efficiency. Lifting up your teammates with encouragement, caring for them, and working together will always be the best recipe for the success of the team.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
The relationships that I've been blessed to build over the course of the last 4 years have been the most meaningful thing to me. It's been through those relationships that I've grown in confidence to step forward each day as a leader and know that if I stumble, there will be others there to pick me back up.
Early on in my career, it was daunting to try to feel like I could be a value add in different scenarios. It's been through the encouragement of others, and their willingness to trust me with big tasks that I've been able to grow into the leader that I am today.