Throughout his career, John Miclot has embraced innovative technology and its impact on the world of business. This, along with the advantages of a Tippie education, helped him evolve from his first job selling dog food to today serving as president and CEO a major biomedical company.
Miclot received his BBA in marketing from the University of Iowa in 1981 and feels that the opportunities here helped him launch his successful career.
“I started working and managing people early on: I was a resident assistant in a dormitory, and active in the student government,” he explains. “I learned that by engaging the people around you, you will grow and develop. When I was an RA, I found that there are so many interesting and completely different personalities. Iowa really taught me to reach out. Network, network, network!”
Miclot understands the incredibly fast-paced world the students of today will be moving into, and he has some advice. “Be what I call ‘learning agile’,” he says. “Put yourself into new situations. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and into a new learning zone. Don’t say what you can’t do; say what you can!”
He has obviously done this throughout his career, from discovering his love of sales to his current work in the medical technology industry.
“A good example of this in my career,” he says, “is when I was promoted from president of Respironics Homecare Division to chief strategic officer. The first was an operational role, but in the second I was tasked with developing the long-term strategy for the company. Then I became CEO and needed to focus on implementation.”
These roles required very different skill sets, but Miclot was able to adapt to his changing environment.
Miclot also recognizes that team-building is one of the most necessary skills for success.
“You need to acquire the right people with the right competencies. A good human resources manager is key,” he says. He also advises not to silo the HR department, saying, “My HR guy is as important as my CFO!”
Now Miclot is CEO of Tengion. He is passionate about his current work, saying, “We are the leaders in organ regeneration for patients with bladder cancer and kidney failure. We are making significant progress in providing life-saving regeneration to chronically ill patients. It fundamentally changes people’s lives.”