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Meet John Tillery of Whiteboard in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Tillery.

Thanks for sharing your story with us John. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago with two awesome parents and two older brothers. I absolutely hated school even though I have a great deal of respect for schools I went to. I played sports and was much more focused on making my friends laugh than get good grades.

I worked all kinds of jobs: bagger at Jewel (Albertsons), residential landscaper, wedding & funeral caterer, manager at a cigar shop, and, at the lowest point, sales at Hollister. I came out to LA and attended Azusa Pacific University in 2006 and dropped out in 2010. I was offered a job at an insurance agency and jumped on the opportunity. I saw some serious holes in the insurance agency business model and decided to follow my entrepreneurial heart.

In 2014, Jeff, Dallas, and I sold everything we owned, uprooted our lives, and went all in on creating a new kind of commercial insurance brokerage focused on delivering real and measurable value. Our risk has paid off; we’ve grown dramatically and are poised for phase 2, scaling. We operate as human capital management brokerage focused on work comp, group benefits, and media development.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We’ve screwed up on almost every single decision we’ve made. Jeff, Dallas, and I all had a background in sales and had never run a business before so starting from scratch with no real prior experience was a heavy gamble.

We’ve gotten into long term service contracts that were useless, we’ve targeted the wrong businesses for months, we’ve acquired technology that didn’t work appropriately, we’ve hired the wrong people, we’ve lost the right people, we’ve mismanaged our cash flow, etc.

We’ve learned ALL of our lessons the hard way, but our vision hasn’t wavered, and that’s made all the difference. Our commitment to our vision and to our clients turn these roadblocks into motivation.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Whiteboard was started as a full-service commercial insurance brokerage. Our function is to architect an insurance portfolio that appropriately protects our client’s businesses. That’s how we get paid, but not where we separate ourselves from our competition.

Our flagship product is a claims and data management platform that focuses on driving down our client’s work comp premiums. This platform consists of claims adjusters, nurses, EMTs, and safety officers – no other agency in the country is doing this type of work, and the impact on our client’s bottom lines is amazing to see. We also manage our client’s employee benefits and provide benchmarking benefit structuring and online enrollment. Most of our clients are in LA – here’s what they are saying about us: Reference Compilation Video

What I’m most excited about is our Media Department that is headed up by Megan Cody. Megan and her team are creating beautiful promotional, hiring, on-boarding, safety & training videos for our clients. These videos are shot on site with the staff so our clients can have something that is truly theirs. The pride of our client’s and their employees have in the video products is really something special to see.

What were you like growing up?
My mom always says that I was the easiest kid… until I hit 4th grade. I started struggling in school, and my parents took me to a doctor to see if there was something wrong. The doctor diagnosed me with ADHD and wanted to put me on amphetamines; and much to my parent’s credit they didn’t let that happen.

My parents always said that when I found something I was interested in I’d be able to focus. I was always playing around with entrepreneurial ideas and would become obsessed with ideas that made sense to me (there were LOTS of dumb ideas). I knew that I wanted creative direction on whatever route I chose.

I was obsessed with music and have always had the heart of an artist – unfortunately, I am profoundly tone deaf and never pushed myself to play an instrument. My creativity would come out when problems needed solving, or in games of monopoly when deals needed to be structured. My art is entrepreneurship, it always has been.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Megan Cody

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