This fall, Dr. Henry Perez joined the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business as Academic Chair of online and campus MBA specializations in Healthcare Management. Dr. Perez recently completed his PhD in Public Administration. In the first part of a two part series, Dr. Perez shares insights about his passion, entrepreneurial spirit, and international business expertise.
1. Could you tell us what inspired you to become a professor in the healthcare management field?
I came to the field in a “planned” accident. I have spent a number of years in sales and marketing and most recently setting up distribution and sales organizations in Latin America. I wanted to devote more time to my family and help with the care and education of my daughter Lily who has a rare neurodevelopmental disorder called Rett syndrome; for more info see www.rettsyndrome.org.
in 2004 I decided to start work on a Ph.D. in management and to focus on social responsibility. However, several things, including my work advocating for families with Rett Syndrome, lead me to a program in public administration were I focused my research on public policy and long-term care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This gave me the corner stone of healthcare management and the potential to tie my passion to my academic and intellectual aspirations.
2. You are one of our faculty entrepreneurs. Could you tell us, from your perspective, why a student would select entrepreneurship as a career path?
I do not see entrepreneurship as a career path but more as a life style. I think in today’s world more than ever in order to provide for yourself and a family, in order to get ahead and have some level of individual/financial security you have to embrace continues learning and be innovative.
Entrepreneurs have to be passionate about what they are doing and about learning. Entrepreneurs have to hear “NO” and say “why not”, they have to see opportunities were others see failure or nothing at all. They have to break a lot of eggs before they make the perfect omelet; and once that is done, they move on to the eggs Benedict or to an Asian fusion meal.
I think this life style is fun, risky, frustrating, and rewarding all at the same time – it is not for everyone. But, I tell my students that I value CPP — curiosity, perspiration, and persistence — and I think companies, investors, and consumers see value in this. This is entrepreneurship to me.
3. You also have extensive experience in international business. Could you tell us, from your experience, the importance of learning about different global regions?
I first read the expression “Think Globally, Act Locally” in the context of organizational theory, but I had been living that expression for over 20 years when I read it. Right after I finished my undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech, I was fortunate enough to go live and work in Spain in the mid 1980’s for a small company that sold building materials to the Middle East. My first significant assignment was to go solve a quality problem with a shipment of terrazzo tile that we had shipped to Saudi Arabia; mainly because the owner could not go at that time. After I found Saudi Arabia on the map, I read a book on the Kingdom of Saud and flew to Jeddah to solve a problem.
Being in a place that was so different hooked me on understanding and embracing the similarities in our differences. Traditions, norms, and culture create the environment in which relationships are formed. In order for there to be meaningful communication necessary for any kind of transaction, especially commercial transactions that are often based on trust, you have to understand this. You have to look for and know what makes another person/culture tick.
For more on Information:
Dr. Henry Perez faculty profile: http://www.fit.edu/faculty/profiles/profile.php?tracks=eperez
Nathan M. Bisk College of Business MBA specialization in Healthcare Management: http://www.fit.edu/programs/grad/mba_healthcare_management .
Stay tuned for Part Two of Dr. Perez’ interview.