The Jeff Werbalowsky 60 Second Interview

Jeff Werbalowsky is Houlihan Lokey’s Co-Chief Executive Officer and a Senior Managing Director in the firm’s Minneapolis office.

He is also co-head of Houlihan Lokey's financial restructuring group, which has been ranked number one in the world for the last several years.

And Jeff is the subject of our latest 60 Second Interview.

Q - How long have you been in the industry, and what is your current job title ?

A - I started my career as a lawyer, and I moved to investment banking in 1988 with Houlihan Lokey, where I have been ever since.

Q - Did you have a mentor and, if so, who ?

A - Joe Eisenberg was my principal mentor when I practiced law, but I have not been fortunate enough to have had a mentor as an investment banker  - no one wanted that job (which I can understand).

Q - Are you by nature a pessimist or an optimist ?

A - I am very much an optimist, but given my career in financially distressed situations, I expect disaster. Go figure.

Q - Which business leader do you admire the most and why ?

A - I am a huge admirer of Messrs Buffet and Gates for their incredible efforts at transforming the world for the better through their personal and evangelical philanthropy. Their business successes are very impressive, but their philanthropic actions are truly inspiring.

They are wonderful role models for business leaders worldwide given that a necessary component of success is 'getting', but the meaningful element of success is 'giving'.

Q - What's the biggest lesson you have learned in your career to date ?

A - Make the best plan you can, then take action and give it your all. Patience may be a virtue (from what I have heard at least), but it is seldom a good advisory strategy.

Q - What's your favourite business quotation or life motto ?

A - My grandfather used to say 'The worm in the onion patch thinks there's nothing sweeter', but recently I have adopted: 'Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle', which I am trying to embrace as best I can.

Q - What's the best business book you've ever read ?

A - Peak - How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow by Chip Conley.

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