Last week, TJ Parker, founder and CEO of PillPack, joined us at the Chamber as a featured guest for one of City Awake’s Lunches on Leadership, where he spoke about his journey and gave advice for young professionals who are trying to create a path for themselves in the Greater Boston business community. PillPack is a tech-based pharmaceutical company that makes the management of multiple prescriptions easy.
TJ Parker is no stranger to success – you can tell that much just by meeting him. He has established himself as an innovator within the healthcare industry. He was named one of Forbes' “30 Under 30” in Healthcare in 2015 and one of Inc’s "Most Dynamic Young CEOs in America" in 2016 – and is one of the Chamber’s 2017 Ten Outstanding Young Leaders award recipients.
But Parker was not always an award-winning CEO of a company with multimillion dollar investments. He started out like anyone else, with a dream and desire to enact change.
Here are a few lessons to learn from TJ Parker’s origin story:
Don’t risk it all
While Parker certainly took risks when creating and in running PillPack, he never made a decision that could have been detrimental to either his business or personal life. By not having all his assets – and resolve – tied in to one project, he was better able to keep a levelheaded mindset and make logical decisions, a factor that can make or break you in the business world.
Observe, then act
Much of Parker’s story dealt with how he reacted to certain situations, as opposed to how he tried to control them from the beginning. By taking the time to take note of his surroundings – both in terms of business and opportunities – Parker received all the information he needed to make strong decisions, which contributed to the overall success of his business.
Confidence is key
Despite his many accolades and media appearances, Parker did not always have the same level of confidence he has now. As a college student at MIT, Parker found himself as more of a wallflower than vocal and outspoken, but once he saw the positive responses to his business plan and ideas, he gained the momentum he needed to turn them into realities. Although Parker said that ambition is the economic model he follows, he equally credits confidence to his success.
Seize your opportunities
As an MIT alum, Parker utilized his network to build PillPack from the ground up. He secured much of PillPack’s initial funding through these connections and made sure to maintain relationships with those that could help him with his business. As they say, your network is your net worth – something Parker knew and took advantage of.
See a problem? Fix it
TJ Parker is nothing if not driven. As a sensible observer, he noticed a problem within the health care industry and created a company that strived to solve it. When Parker was in college, he noticed that realtor fees were unfairly high, so he obtained his realtor license to remedy this gap. Parker saw problems that were not specifically his and made it his business – pun intended – to remedy them. This tactic allowed Parker to remain engaged in issues and industries he was passionate about, a fact that drives him to work hard each and every day.
Remember, with the right mindset, anyone can be a TJ Parker.
Learn more about City Awake programs and events here.