Monday, May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024
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Meet the CEO: Frank Roby

The head of Concero Global shares the most important lesson of his life.
photography by Cord McPhail

While still a student at Southern Methodist University, Frank Roby taught Sunday school, got married, and began selling insurance. He had a net worth of $1 million before he was 30; it had dropped to zero again by the time he was 40. (The ’80s were tough.) Roby bounced back, though, and went on to serve as CEO of Holmes Murphy Texas, one of the region’s largest healthcare and employee benefits firms. In 2009, he founded Concero Global, a social enterprise investment and advisory firm that specializes in healthcare and education ventures. Portfolio companies include Teladoc, GeoWhiz, Ed2Net, and RevelationMD, a software tool that helps physicians improve outcomes, thereby reducing medical costs. His conscious capitalism approach doesn’t stop in the boardroom. It has taken him on humanitarian and business trips to Uganda, India, Nigeria, and Mexico, as well as classrooms at Woodrow Wilson High School, where he taught students about microlending.

TITLE: Chairman and CEO, Concero Global

AGE: 60

FIRST JOB: Digging latrines for the Boy Scouts of America at age 14 in Missouri. I got poison ivy, and my folks spent more on the doctor bill than what I earned.

OTHER CAREERS CONSIDERED: Pastor, television news anchor or station owner, city council member, or mayor of Dallas.

FAVORITE CAR: During the hard years, the Cadillac went away and I drove a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle convertible without air conditioning for two years. I was famous for stopping at intersections 20 feet short of the light if there was shade. The kids loved that Volkswagen, and say it was the coolest car we ever had.

BEST CAREER ADVICE: Percy Goyne, who worked for Mutual of New York, taught me the most important lesson of my life during the early days of my career. He said, “Frank, if you just get 10 years experience, you can accomplish more than you can possibly imagine.” I told him I was not a quitter and could make it 10 years. His response is seared into my mind: “You miss my point. Most people just have one or two years of experience and then just repeat them their whole lives. What you need is 10 years of experience—not one year that you just live over and over.”

STRENGTHS: An ability to identify and recruit talent. I’m also often able to realize market opportunities that others miss. I’m a good communicator, have a strong sense of stewardship, and am willing to give people a chance—which is both a strength and a weakness.

WEAKNESS: I’m easily distracted, hate delivering bad news (but I do it), take on too many things at once. And ice cream.

BEST PART OF JOB: Emerging companies are always creating a movement, compared to long-established companies that run like institutions. Think of movements as creating and institutions as preserving. The biggest part of my job is to manage the human and financial capacity of the company while we prove the value of what we created.

FAMILY: I met my wife Linda, a Methodist pastor, during our freshman year at SMU. We have three grown children, eight grandchildren, and two more coming in January.

FREE TIME: Linda and I like to go for long walks along the Katy Trail. I also spend time with my kids and grandkids. I love to go to the mountains in Colorado for fly fishing, hiking, and backpacking.

READING: Right now I’m reading three books: The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of the World; Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us; and Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.