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Willlis Hulings

Associate Professor of Practice of Managerial Studies, VU College of Arts & Science


Willis Hulings is a Managing Director at Compass Executives Group, a Nashville based consultancy of C level Executives that has advised small and mid-sized companies for almost 20 years. He is a recognized advisor; helping organizations to embrace change, improve operating strategies, expand business development efforts and attract/deploy financial resources. He also teaches a course on Corporate Valuation at Vanderbilt University and is a Mentor to start-ups at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Willis has held a number of senior positions in investment banking, corporate and consumer finance, and service/technology companies. His accomplishments demonstrate a consistent record of delivering measurable results for companies in diverse stages and operating under various business models.

Q. What excites you most about the Wond’ry?

A.My brief interactions on panels at the Wond’ry have suggested that there is a unique feel and flavor to a campus facility that is dedicated to entrepreneurial collaboration. There is also an inherent drive in the Vanderbilt community that I would love to contribute to.

Q. What do you feel are the most important skills you have to offer in your role as a mentor?

A.In addition to having worked on a myriad of fundraising transactions – as a lender and a capital markets investment banking person, – I also have C level experiences where I have faced a number of successes and challenges across many aspects of corporate leadership.

Q. What has been your proudest moment in your career?

A.It’s a wonderful feeling to watch people who have worked for you go off to other companies and create success elsewhere.

Q. What has surprised you most about your job?

A.When you enter a company to help solve a problem or issue, you often find that the problem being discussed is just a symptom of a bigger challenge facing the company.

Q. If you could do everything over again, would you make the same career choices?

A.Yes – I have always liked change and challenges and, as a result, I have done lots of different things in different parts of the world.

Q. In your opinion, what is the most important quality for success?

A.Persistence. It lies at the heart of true success. Quitting is not an option. Persistence allows you to pick yourself up and try again.

Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A.President of the United States (I have definitely given up on this)


Office Hours: By appointment only

Areas of Expertise: Finance, Leadership, Operations, Presentation