Naveen Jindal School of Management Alumni Spotlight
From real estate to healthcare management, to information technology and finance, we are proud to shine a spotlight on some of our alumni whose career paths are representative of the many employment options to which a degree from the Naveen Jindal School of Management can lead. With more than 29,000 alumni, the Jindal School is impacting the culture of business in the U.S. and beyond.
These JSOM graduates agreed to share their Jindal School experiences with others. If you are an alumnus and would be willing to share your personal story, please contact Brittany Huber, Director in JSOM Development.
Bradley Almond , MA'95Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President Administration; Vertex Business Services Almond, who lives in Dallas, has enjoyed a rich career that started with KPMG in 1989 in audit. He then returned to school to earn his MBA at The University of Texas at Austin, and then landed with multinational communications giant Nortel. While at Nortel, he returned to school yet again, this time to earn a master’s degree in International Management at the Jindal School of Management. After graduation, he received a three-year assignment in Paris, in the office of Nortel Europe’s president.
Almond and his family
What are some highlights of your professional career?
Working in Paris was a dream assignment. I worked as the aide-de-camp for two wonderful mentoring presidents in the period when Nortel was on top of the telecom world. Those types of grooming roles feel like a thing of the past but it was instrumental in my career. It gave me an international perspective and provided me with a diplomatic approach that I use to this day.
Upon my return from Paris, I joined a Nortel spin-off in Dallas called Entrust. A year after I joined, we took the company public in a very successful IPO. I ended up as president of Entrust Japan and general manager of Entrust Asia based in Tokyo, Japan. Upon returning from Tokyo, I become CFO of ZixCorp, a publicly traded email encryption company in Dallas. It was my first CFO position and I have been a CFO ever since. I consider this a natural role for me. After ZixCorp, I was CFO of Cambium Learning, an education curriculum company in Dallas and, for the past three years, I have been CFO of Vertex Business Services, a provider of software solutions for the utilities sector.
What are your proudest achievements?
Running Entrust Japan at the age of 35 and becoming a public company CFO at the age of 37.
What brought you to UT Dallas?
When I was part of the Nortel senior management training program, I knew I wanted an international assignment but so did hundreds of other young Nortel executives. In the 1990s, UT Dallas had a great connection with Nortel. I thought a second master’s degree focusing on international management would set me apart so I spent two years at nights gaining a Master of Arts in International Management. I guess it worked. I was given my first international assignment in Paris a couple months after graduating from UT Dallas.
What is your favorite UT Dallas memory?
One of my classes involved an international market analysis for Trinity Industries. It was a fantastic project and the people at Trinity were great.
Who was your favorite professor and/or what was your favorite class and why?
No doubt, my favorite professor was Dr. Stephen E. Guisinger. He founded the master’s degree program in International Management Studies. The program was small when I joined and Dr. Guisinger acted as a close adviser and mentor to all of us. His background and credentials alone were impressive but his love of teaching international topics was even more impressive. UT Dallas and the world lost a great educator in 2001 when Dr. Guisinger died – he was only 60 years old.
What’s the best advice you have received?
John Ryan, then CEO of Entrust, convinced me that joining a small spin-off of Nortel called Entrust in 1997 was a risk worth taking. He was right.
What advice do you have for students hoping to succeed in the business world?
There will come times in your career that you are presented with opportunities that will stretch your comfort zone and ask that you take a risk. It can be a relocation, international assignment, job outside your current career path, joining a start-up or taking on a risky project. My advice is to seriously consider saying “yes” when offered the opportunity. These do not come along often and it’s these out-of-comfort-zone opportunities that provide pivotal career path options. Go for it. What is the worst that can happen?
What makes an effective leader?
Diplomacy, empathy, honesty and integrity provide a leader with organizational capital and trust, essential elements needed in order for people to want to work with you.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love to spend time with the family, scuba dive, cycle and build things. I am still a travel addict. I’ve been to more than 75 countries and I still feel like I do not know this world.