Aiding a New Vision in Healthcare
"... in most places in this country you can't get full-service medical care at hospitals on weekends."
“Broadly speaking healthcare is one of the few remaining service industries operating with a Monday to Friday, nine-to-five mentality,” Tillman notes. “Healthcare makes up nearly 20 percent of U.S. GDP, yet in most places in this country you can't get full-service medical care at hospitals on weekends."
Tillman’s work at Piedmont is the latest step in a career committed to creating and unlocking value for mission-first organizations in higher education and healthcare. He specializes in thinking creatively about equity value often unconsidered on the balance sheets of nonprofits, and working with investors and operators to capitalize on assets and create resources for reinvestment in mission. Tillman attributes success to an emphasis on people and common objectives initially developed during his time at Goizueta.
“My business approach was deeply influenced by my stepfather Jerry Love, who was CFO of a packaged concrete company,” Tillman recalls. “I always admired his witty, understated and common-sense approach, and when I came to Goizueta, I realized I could be successful by emulating him.”
"... pick an industry, learn some accounting, find your niche."
Raised in Atlanta, Tillman grew up a self-described "introvert in a large Irish-Italian Catholic family."
"My mother was one of eight, all of whom still live in the area, so I have more than 20 first cousins in Atlanta," he said. "I had to learn how to be around people.”
After college in Colorado, where he majored in economics, Tillman returned to Atlanta in 1999. A “foodie,” Tillman took an accounting role at Emory over a more delicious opportunity at a prominent local restaurant group. He intended to pursue his MBA at Goizueta. His stepfather, an advisor to Tillman said: “pick an industry, learn some accounting, find your niche, and you’ll be fine.”
He enrolled in Goizueta’s evening MBA program while administering a $52 million of biomedical research funding portfolio at Emory. By the time he completed the MBA, he was overseeing $250 million in contracts for a global medical device manufacturer.
Tillman recalls a pivotal moment with a professor at Goizueta.
"The professor says, ‘How many of you imagine yourselves being CEO or chairman of your own company?' Out of 65 in our cohort, maybe eight raised their hands, and I remember shyly raising mine. I was struck as many classmates I knew were smarter than me and didn't raise their hands. The professor made a point that the best business leaders aren't always technical experts but are people who can see opportunity and bring the other people together around common business objectives. This has been a guiding philosophy for me since.”
"He sees complex opportunities that other people don't see, makes them simple and makes them happen, and that's what great dealmakers do."
After Goizueta, Tillman was a consultant with PwC but was recruited back to Emory into leadership roles including assistant vice president for research and real estate, and associate vice president for corporate development for Emory University and Emory Healthcare.
Beyond Goizueta, Tillman notes more recent success including an eight-figure joint venture monetization of a genetic testing laboratory, and his work with Merrick Furst, who leads the Center for Deliberate Innovation and its incubator, Flashpoint.
“Working with Flashpoint was tough, the kind of tough where we got smarter and stronger as business people,” Tillman said.
Furst describes Tillman as possessing "a rare combination of stamina, people skills and business skills."
"He sees projects through to the end and he does it ethically and with an authenticity that I admire," he said. "He sees complex opportunities that other people don't see, makes them simple and makes them happen, and that's what great dealmakers do."
During his time at Emory, Tillman formed a close working relationship with Emory’s Executive Vice President Mike Mandl, with whom he later co-founded an advisory firm assisting universities and medical centers in identifying and unlocking assets. More recently the two partnered up again to join Piedmont.
“We had tremendous success as business partners, making a difference for institutions,” Mandl said, adding that Tillman is “a gifted person of high intellect and character, focused on making a difference in his professional life for something larger than himself.
"I think Jack is defined by the risks he takes in pursuit of his dreams.” Mandl said “We decided to join Piedmont Healthcare together and return to making a difference in the health and well-being of Georgians.”