Benjamin Clark

Ben ClarkAge: 31

Occupation: Executive vice president and chief operating officer, IDx

Greatest professional achievements: When I take a step back and look at the organization we’ve established at IDx, I see a company with an unbelievable collection of brainpower that’s firing on all cylinders to reimagine the role that technology plays in health care.

Who are your mentors: Dr. Michael Abramoff (president, IDx; professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences; professor of electrical, computer and biomedical engineering), Gary Seamans (CEO, IDx, former president, chairman and CEO Westell, Inc.) and David Hensley (clinical professor and executive director, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center; associate vice president for economic development, University of Iowa).

Best advice you ever received: I was told early in my career that opportunities to do challenging and rewarding work would come from interacting with people who I respect and find inspiring. It’s a truism that has served me well over the last decade – particularly in my decision to join IDx.

What would most people be surprised to learn about you: I started my career in the nonprofit sector, but made jump into the business world when I came to appreciate that high technology offers numerous opportunities to simultaneously advance the common good and generate an economic return.

What do you know now that you wish you had known earlier in your career: It took my wife to drag me out to Iowa from the East Coast. If had known earlier what a hotbed of talent and innovation exists in this community, we would have headed to town years ago.

What’s something people should know about your generation in the workplace: Millennials get a bad wrap for being narcissistic. The truth is, we just want to find meaning in the work that we’re doing. Businesses that can help millennials find real purpose in their jobs will be incredibly successful at deploying a workforce that’s the most educated and most tech-savvy this country has ever seen.